Hello, friends! And happy June! (checks notes... it's July already??) Can we please just pretend it's June still and like I got this up when I was supposed to? But seriously... is anyone else feel like they just barely have their heads above water this summer? I actually really love having my kiddos home. But it is b-u-s-y. Add to that some health challenges in some family members needing my care, and I dropped the ball. Thank you to Ha for being so understanding. But I promise you all, this is 100% worth the wait. Because this book is going to be FIRE and I cannot wait til I can read it and share it with you all. So please, join me in welcoming fellow PB23Bunch Member Ha Dinh to the blog today!
Hi Ha! Welcome. Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your writing journey?
From the moment that I held onto the very first book that I was able to check out in our school library in kindergarten, I knew I wanted to be a Children’s book author. I had just arrived in America and didn’t know much English, so having access to beautifully illustrated picture books accompanied with simple and descriptive words not only helped me to learn the language, it also opened my eyes up to so many amazing things in the world. I was in love!
I followed that love of reading and writing into college, but decided that I would make my other dream of being an elementary teacher a reality first after graduation.
While I taught, built an online community of teachers to share my teaching ideas, and began to grow my family, the desire to write never left me. Once my children were of school-age, I decided that it was time for me to dive back into my first love of writing to share stories based on my lived experiences and culture.
Oh Ha, that sounds absolutely wonderful. I love how all of your life experiences brought you to this moment. Can you tell us what specifically inspired your debut book?
My debut book is a love letter to my young self as a Vietnamese child refugee in the Philippines, who felt lost and unsure of moving across the Pacific Ocean to her new home. I wanted to document that very important historical time of our family at the refugee camp and the beautiful friendships made there before our emigration to America through the eyes of a young child.
That sounds absolutely incredible, and so very needed. I can't even begin to imagine what all of that must have felt like. How important to get that story out to both young and old alike. What message would you like for your readers to walk away with?
My hope is that it serves as a mirror for any child who is a child refugee, has ever felt anxious and worried about moving, or making big life changes in their lives that they know there is hope and they will continue to grow. I also hope that it is a window for other children to learn about this important time and place in history that is often overlooked and not written about in Children’s books.
This book truly sounds wonderful. I know that I personally can't wait to get my hands on it! So... When does your debut hit shelves?
We are hoping for it to hit the shelves June 2023 just in time for World Refugee Day which is June 20th.
That would be perfect timing! Fingers crossed for you in this wild publishing world. And truly, best of luck. I feel so grateful to be on this journey with you. Now, before I let you go, where can we follow you online?
Thank you, Ha! Now readers, Ha is generously offering one lucky reader a PB critique! To enter:
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About Ha Dinh
Ha Dinh is a primary school teacher, blogger, author, wife to her high school sweetheart, and mama of two. Her debut picture book, WHERE WILDFLOWERS GROW was inspired by her experiences of living in a refugee camp in the Philippines as a child. It is set to be published in the Summer of 2023, and she can't wait!
The PB23Bunch is a diverse group of 12 authors and illustrators with Picture Books debuting in 2023. We cannot wait to get our books in your hands!!