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A CONVERSATION JOURNAL

Introducing A Conversation Journal: Your Passport to Family Legacy!
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A Conversation Journal, created to ignite captivating conversations, preserve family histories, and unearth your unique story. With engaging prompts and thought-provoking questions carefully curated throughout, this journal sets the stage for meaningful conversations and profound reflections. Pair it with the Vietnamese Boat People Conversation Cards as a complete kit to capture memories and legacies for generations to come.

“Within each family resides a compelling narrative waiting to be shared. Our family roots are crucial to preserving our heritage, fostering a sense of identity, understanding, and connection to our past, thereby allowing future generations to appreciate their origins and the journeys that have shaped us as individuals.”
 

Tracey Nguyễn Mang 
Founder, Vietnamese Boat People

We express our gratitude to the following Vietnamese authors and storytellers for their support of this journal and for inspiring us with their profound words and captivating literature.

Learn more about each author and click here to purchase their books. 

Alison Hng Nguyn Lihalakha     

was born in Vietnam and grew up in Florida and Kansas years before pho and Tiger Balm were popularized in the US. She is a seasoned globetrotter, dog lover, and the author of Salted Plums.

Salted Plums

A Memoir of Culture and Identity is a moving coming-of-age tale for anyone who has ever felt as if they don’t belong. Salted Plums explores the nuances of race and culture for a young immigrant girl growing up while caught between two worlds.

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Amy M. Le is a Vietnam War survivor and Congenital Heart Defect (CHD) warrior. She is the award-winning author of the Snow trilogy and is currently working on her phoenix series — three books showcasing the resilience of people who’ve survived deep trauma. Amy is the founder of Quill Hawk Publishing, a woman-owned, Asian American company that helps writers indie publish their books while amplifying diverse voices through storytelling. 

SNOW IN VIETNAM: A NOVEL
A Vietnamese mother risks everything to keep her daughter alive following the Vietnam War but is saving one life worth the risk of destroying others, including her own?

SNOW IN SEATTLE: A NOVEL
A Vietnamese woman resettles in Seattle with her young daughter and nephew after escaping war-torn Vietnam but how can she rebuild her life in the midst of trauma, PTSD, and culture shock?

SNOW'S KITCHEN: A NOVELLA AND COOKBOOK
A coming-of-age story of a young Vietnamese girl's turbulent past and conflicted present colliding to teach her the meaning of self-love and acceptance. Over 100 pages of photos and recipes included!

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Dennis (Dizzy) Doan, a Vietnamese American veteran tattoo artist, owns BLVCK LOTVS TATTOO & SOCIAL CLUB in San Diego, California. He’s also the Founder and President of The Doan Foundation, dedicated to supporting marginalized teens in Southern California pursue their artistic dreams, particularly through academic scholarships. Doan gained widespread recognition for his digital painting “Model Minority(c),” which went viral during the pandemic, serving as a response to rising Asian hate crimes worldwide. Originally created to support the nonprofit organization “Hate is a Virus” and aid affected AAPI communities and businesses, the artwork became a global symbol, appearing on screens, rally banners, and t-shirts.

 

Memento: Embracing The Darkness

In this raw and unfiltered memoir, renowned tattoo artist, Dennis "Dizzy" Doan, shares his stories and artwork chronicling his coming-of- age experience as a Vietnamese American. Rooted in his heritage and neighborhood, Doan vividly illustrates how he battled against family challenges, economic adversity, gang violence, and the complex realm of mental health struggles. Amidst these struggles, Doan's narrative shines upon how he harnessed these difficulties as fuel for his ambition and sculpted a path forward. 

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Hanh Bui was inspired by her first teacher at the refugee camp and pursued a master’s degree in Early Childhood Education and taught second grade before becoming a full-time mother to three children. She also served as a Development Officer for Senhoa Foundation in support of women and children who survived human trafficking in Cambodia, and has served on boards supporting children and parents in building community.

Hanh’s commitment to celebrating her heritage includes giving presentations in school visits about her refugee experience to children studying immigration as part of their school curriculum. She serves as co-chair of the Equity and Inclusion Team for the Mid-Atlantic region of SCBWI, and has been featured in Highlights For Children magazine and Next Avenue. She is the author of The Yellow Áo Dài and Ánh’s New Word.

 

The Yellow Áo Dài

An intergenerational story celebrating Vietnamese culture, traditions and family love. Inspired by the author's own family story about honoring those who came before us, identity and legacy.
 

Ánh’s New Word

A child living in a Vietnamese refugee camp learns their first word in English with a little help from their kind teacher and loving grandmother. Based on the author's lived experiences learning a new language at a refugee camp.

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Julie Mai Tris a first-generation Vietnamese Chinese American who loves to eat, cook and travel. In 2019, she created Share My Roots, a blog focused on authentic and modern twists on Asian recipes with a focus on Vietnamese cooking. She shares her heritage through food, preserving stories representing the refugee and immigrant experience, in honor of her parents. Her aspiration is to encourage people to cook, connect people to their roots and shine a light on Vietnamese food, people and culture. She is the author of Ăn Chưa? a Vietnamese cookbook (written in English) with over 75 classic recipes to remind you of home.

Ăn Chưa? Simple Vietnamese Recipes That Taste Like Home

Learn the fundamentals of Vietnamese cooking in this collection of time-honored recipes inspired by her mother. This cookbook includes over 75 recipes that celebrates Vietnamese cuisine and culture across the Northern, Central and Southern regions of Vietnam.

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Len Tran is the founder of Kinetic Mind LLC, a coaching and training company that helps individuals increase their productivity and get results. His clients include athletes, young adults, and emerging leaders. Before devoting his time to Kinetic Mind, he graduated from the City College of New York with a degree in Chemical Engineering. After working as a Process Engineer for several years, he transitioned to work for the Patent and Trademark Office. He has been at the Office for more than twenty years and is currently a supervisor, a role he has held for the last fifteen years. In addition, he has been practicing martial arts for the past thirty-five years and has trained around the world. Len traveled around the United States to provide seminars and training in martial arts. Len is also the author of “Split Up by the Sea, A Vietnamese Refugee’s Memoir of Survival and Hope" and "Break the Bricks: Break Through to Find the real You."

Split Up by the Sea: A Vietnamese refugee's memoir of survival and hope

Confused and concerned while tightly holding onto my father's arm, I was an eight-year-old boy split up from my family to be placed on a small fishing boat sitting closely with twenty-five other people. Our families were left behind; we were split up by the sea. In finding freedom, something else was lost. 

Break the Bricks: Break Through to find the Real You

Break the Bricks will guide you to surmount self-imposed limitations to realize your full potential. This book scrutinizes the impeding effects of impostor syndrome and self-doubt and will remind you to break free from self-criticism to embrace your grandeur through compassionate guidance.

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Ly Tran graduated from Columbia University with a degree in Creative Writing and Linguistics in 2014. She has received fellowships from MacDowell, Art Omi, and Yaddo. Ly Tran is the author of House of Sticks, a critically acclaimed memoir detailing her immigrant experience as she and her family emigrate from Vietnam to America in the 1990s through a US government program that helped resettle Vietnamese POWs in America. From child sweatshop labor to working in nail salons throughout Brooklyn to dropping out of college, Ly tells her story of what it was like to be a Vietnamese immigrant living in New York City.

House of Sticks

A memoir about a family immigrating from a small town along the Mekong River in Vietnam to a two-bedroom railroad apartment in Queens, New York. Ly's father, a former lieutenant in the South Vietnamese army, spent nearly a decade as a POW. He suffers from PTSD with a frightening temper and paranoia, leaving a mark on Ly's sense of self. As they navigate this new landscape, Ly finds herself torn between two worlds. House of Sticks is a powerful portrait of one girl's coming-of-age experience as she struggles to find her voice amid clashing cultural expectations.

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Phuc Tran —writer, tattooer, and classicist— has a train wreck of a resume. He is the author of the memoir SIGH, GONE which won the 2020 New England Book Award for Nonfiction and the 2021 Maine Literary Award for Memoir. He has been a high school Latin teacher and tattooer for over twenty years, for which he has won no awards. His 2012 TEDx talk “Grammar, Identity, and the Dark Side of the Subjunctive” was featured on NPR’s Ted Radio Hour. He has a forthcoming children’s book in collaboration with bestselling illustrator Pete Oswald entitled CRANKY. He lives in Portland with his wife and two daughters.

Sigh, Gone: A Misfit's Memoir of Great Books, Punk Rock, and the Fight to Fit In

Sigh, Gone explores one man's bewildering experiences of abuse, racism, and tragedy, revealing there's redemption through the connection of books and punk rock music. Against the hairspray-and-synthesizer backdrop of the '80s, he finds solace and kinship in the wisdom of classic literature and finds affirmation and echoes of his disaffection in the subculture of punk rock. 

 

Cranky

Cranky is a children's picture book in collaboration with New York Times bestselling illustrator of the Food Group Series, Pete Oswaldis, and is a hilarious story about big trucks, big feelings, and even bigger friendships!

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