Author Spotlight: Mượn Thị Văn


July 23, 2021

We are excited to feature author Mượn Thị Văn and her picture book Wishes, illustrated by Victo Ngai (Scholastic, May 2021). Enter to win a copy!  

Tell us about yourself and how you came to write for children.


I’m a former software engineer who’s always loved literature. About twelve years ago, I decided I wanted to pursue fiction writing. I started writing short stories but soon turned to picture book writing because I wanted to expand the world of picture books. I wanted to tell new stories and I wanted to tell them differently. 


Congrats on your recent picture book, Wishes! Tell us about the story and what inspired you.


Wishes is my seventh book but it’s the one that compelled me to write. It’s a story based on my family’s experience as refugees when I was a baby. We fled our home in the middle of the night to escape political persecution and oppression, and we left many beloved family members and friends. Our journey from Việt Nam was incredibly difficult and dangerous and after several weeks at sea, we made it to Hong Kong. We stayed in a refugee camp there until we eventually found asylum and a new home in the United States. Wishes is a distillation of of our experiences and I have to thank Victo Ngai, the talented and brilliant illustrator behind Wishes, for bringing it to life!

Illustration © Victo Ngai


Was your initial road to publication long and winding, short and sweet, or something in between?


Definitely something in between. Though I had some interest from various editors, it took me two to three years to secure a publisher for my first two books. Both book deals were unagented (so have hope if you don’t have an agent!)


What projects are you working on now?


I’m very excited about a new book that’s coming out in January, called I Love You Because I Love You. It’s a collaboration with Jessica Love, who’s an incredible artist. The book explores the big and small, simple and complicated reasons we love someone, and I think families will really enjoy this fresh, honest look at love.


What advice would you give your younger self? Is this the same advice you'd give to aspiring authors?


This is what I told myself when I began writing, and it’s the same advice I still give to myself and others: Write the story only you can write. Write the story you want to read.

© Victo Ngai


What is one thing most people don't know about you?


If I could, I would probably constantly revise my work. Fortunately, there are such things as publishing deadlines so at some point, I just have to say, “I’m done.” Of course, years after a book has been published, I’ll still ask my family, “Do you think the title of this book should have been _____?” or “What if this were the ending instead?” 


Where can people find you online?


Twitter @muonthivan and



Mượn Thị Văn stitches stories by starlight and by daylight. Some of these stories become books, and some of these books are read around the world. From her acclaimed debut, IN A VILLAGE BY THE SEA, illustrated by April Chu, to her latest, WISHES, illustrated by Victo Ngai, her books have received many distinctions, including a New York Public Library Best Book, a Kirkus Reviews Best Book, and an Irma Black Honor Book. Mượn Thị Văn lives in California.

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  1. The technique and the colors are really great! This looks so atmospheric!

  2. I love this book! I borrowed it from my public library and read it aloud to my class.

  3. I can't wait to read this book, the illustrations look amazing! Congratulations

  4. This book is a must read one for me. The cover is gorgeous.

  5. This is a beautiful, poignant book made through a wonderful collaboration.

  6. Such a beautiful cover! Thank you for introducing me to a new picture book author.

  7. Such a compelling cover and title. Congrats on this beautiful book!

  8. Gorgeous looking book with a heartfelt message. I'd love to have it. Thanks.

  9. This book looks amazing. I'm looking forward to reading this!

  10. I hope this book gets into every child's hands. What an important story, beautifully illustrated and told.

  11. This looks like a powerful book. Congratulations on the starred review from Kirkus.

  12. Book looks great, think my twins would love it!

  13. Wow, this sounds amazing! I can't wait to read it. Congratulations!

  14. This book is so beautiful. We really enjoyed it!

  15. What a dreamy cover illustration.

  16. This book is beautiul. It would be a welcome addition to my classroom library!

  17. What a beautiful book! Congratulations.


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