LeUyen Pham

“Why do I make books? That’s easy. A book sits with you in your secret corner or in your favorite chair on a rainy day, and whispers in your ear, “You’re okay, I’m here. Let me tell you a story…” It’s like a hug made solid. That’s what I do. I make hugs for a living.”


LeUyen Pham is the award-winning and critically acclaimed illustrator of more than sixty books for children. LeUyen (pronounced Lay-Win) is the New York Times bestselling illustrator of the Julianne Moore’s picture book series, Freckleface Strawberry, Kelly DiPucchio’s picture book Grace for President, and Shannon and Dean Hale’s middle grade series Princess in Black. LeUyen is also the illustrator of God’s Dream by Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Twenty-One Elephants by Phil Bildner, the Vampirina Ballerina picture book series by Anne Marie Pace, and The Boy Who Loved Math by Deborah Heiligman.

LeUyen is the author and illustrator of Big Sister Little SisterThere’s No Such Thing as Little, A Piece of Cake, All the Things I Love About You, and The Bear Who Wasn’t There. She is also the co-creator, along with Shannon Hale, of the groundbreaking graphic memoir Real Friends.

Born in Vietnam, LeUyen and her family fled the country on the second-to-last transport out of Saigon in the final days of the Vietnam War. Growing up in Southern California, LeUyen always loved to doodle and draw, but her mother insisted she become a lawyer. For two years, LeUyen attended UCLA, where she majored in political science. Fortunately, the head of the art department spotted her artistic talent and helped her change course. LeUyen got an interview at the prestigious Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, won a scholarship to pay the tuition, and spent the next three years in an accelerated program and earned a degree in illustration.

Following school, LeUyen worked as a layout artist for DreamWorks Feature Animation, but on the side, LeUyen was busily illustrating picture books. She made the cover and pencil illustrations for Adrienne Bond’s The Sugarcane Houseand then did the drawings for Eve Bunting’s picture book Can You Do This, Old Badger? Soon, LeUyen was able to leave Dreamworks and pursue her true passion, a career in children’s picture books.

These days, LeUyen lives in Los Angeles with her husband Alex (who is also an artist), and their two adorable sons, Adrian and Leo. When she’s not writing and illustrating, she’s either dreaming about her favorite food, her mother’s cơm gà (chicken rice), dancing in her bathrobe (when no one is watching) or building Star Wars-themed birthday cakes.


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