Viet Book Fest Starts a New Journey: Spotlighting Vietnamese Children’s Books

VAALA’s inaugural Viet Book Fest goes virtual with four prominent book authors, illustrators, and a Halloween celebration every Saturday in October.

ORANGE COUNTY, CA – The Viet Book Fest starts October 3rd, 2020 with 4 pre-recorded children’s book story-times followed by interactive live Q&A with the authors and illustrators, moderated by Maya Le Espiritu of MaiStoryBook, a popular interactive read-aloud children’s books storyteller on YouTube. We will hold a celebratory Halloween party on October 31st with authors, illustrators, and artists from across the Vietnamese community.

The events are open to all ages, and will spotlight Vietnamese voices and stories in literature. Attendance will be $5 per event, with the proceeds going to help VAALA sustain our service to the community. The majority of VAALA’s art programs are offered at no cost or low-cost to our community, with the goal of promoting equitable access to the arts. The events will be held every Saturday throughout October from 3:00PM – 4:00PM on Facebook Live. RSVP link:

This virtual series will promote literacy focused on the theme of identity, family and community in children’s books to a broad audience of Vietnamese in the global diaspora. Books featured will be in English, but we are also excited to promote bilingual Vietnamese-English content.

We are excited to have Tran Thi Minh Phuoc kick off the Viet Book Fest event series on October 3rd with a reading from “Vietnamese Children’s Favorite Stories,” accompanied by illustrations from Nguyen Thi Hop and Nguyen Dong. Winner of a 2015-2016 Anne Izard Storytellers’ Choice Award, the Creative Child Magazine 2015 Book of the Year Award, the 2015 Moonbeam Children’s Book Awards Gold Medal, and the City Pass Guide Top 5 Books about Vietnam. In this fantastical collection of fifteen tales told by Minnesota’s first Vietnamese librarian and active member of the Vietnamese American community, Tran Thi Minh Phuoc, cherished folktales are reimagined for story-time.

On October 10th, award-winning author Minh Lê will share “The Green Lantern: Legacy,” the story of a young boy becoming a new hero. Full of adventure and imagination, the book is illustrated by Andie Tong. Author Minh Lê will also be sharing “Drawn Together,” a story about language barriers between a grandfather and his grandson brought to life with fantastic illustrations by award-winning Dan Santat.


Bao Phi will be joining us on October 17th to read his award-winning story, “My Footprints.” A coming-of-age story of Thuy, a young Vietnamese American girl with two moms, and her experience with bullying and the power of imagination.

Our final story-time welcomes “Chicken of the Sea” author Viet Thanh Nguyen and illustrator Thi Bui, and their co-creator sons, Ellison Nguyen and Hien Bui-Stafford on October 24th. This collaboration between two generations of artists and storytellers invites us all on a journey of chickens leaving the boredom of their farm for the adventurous pirate life.

Finally, on Halloween (10/31), VAALA will be hosting a Halloween party with our authors, illustrators, and artists. We will be fundraising for our community arts programs, featuring autographed copies from our featured children’s book authors and other incredible items! The Halloween party will include guest artists and performances.


SAVE THE DATE: Viet Book Fest 2020 on October 3, 10, 17, 24, and 31, 2020

Viet Book Fest is a program presented annually by VAALA. Founded in 1991 by a group of Vietnamese American journalists, artists, and friends, the Vietnamese American Arts and Letters Association (VAALA) is a community-based, 501(c)3 non-profit organization. VAALA’s mission is to enrich and connect communities through art and culture. VAALA has organized numerous cultural activities such as art exhibitions, book signings, recitals, plays, filmmaking panels, Viet Film Fest, Children’s Moon Festival Art Contest, year-long art and music classes, and free art workshops for youth.