Saymoukda Duangphouxay Vongsay & Cori Nakamura Lin

Saturday, April 13, 11AM

Join author Saymoukda Duangphouxay Vongsay and illustrator Cori Nakamura Lin for a reading and discussion of their gorgeous book, When Everything Was Everything, Minnesota's first Lao American picture book.

Order your book here! If you would like your book personally inscribed and signed by Saymoukda Duangphouxay Vongsay & Cori Nakamura Lin, just indicate to whom you would like it inscribed in the customer notes when you order, or call us at 612-920-5005 to order over the phone. If you are unable to attend the event, you will be able to pick up your book anytime after April 13th.

About the Artists:

Saymoukda Duangphouxay Vongsay is a poet, playwright, and cultural producer. Her work has been presented by the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center, Theater Mu, and Lazy Hmong Woman Productions. She's received fellowships from the Loft Literary Center and Playwrights Center; and creative grants from Jerome Foundation, John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, and Bush Foundation, to name a few. Keep up with her @refugenius

Cori Nakamura Lin is a Japanese/Taiwanese-American illustrator and graphic designer based in Minneapolis & Chicago. Through art she amplifies stories from underrepresented people and cultures. When Everything Was Everything is her first book.


Saturday, 13 April 2019 - 11:00am
When Everything Was Everything Cover Image
ISBN: 9781634891592
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Full Circle Publishing, LLC - October 10th, 2018

With sparse, poetic language and lush watercolor illustrations, “When Everything Was Everything” explores the Lao refugee experience with uncommon tenderness, humor and wit, painting an indelible picture of resilience, endurance and love.

In the tumultuous years during and after the Vietnam War, thousands of ethnic Lao fled Southeast Asia to avoid persecution, imprisonment and even death. Many of these refugees eventually settled in the Upper Midwest, in and around Saint Paul and Minneapolis. Decades later, the older generation of Lao Americans continues to navigate the trauma of the region-wide conflict that ripped them from their homeland thousands of miles away. Their wounds have yet to scab.

Meanwhile, every generation of Lao still grapples with misrepresentation – or no representation at all – in popular and historical narratives, school curriculums, community conversations, and the arts. As a trans-generational narrative, “When Everything Was Everything” signifies a turning point for Lao American refugee stories.

Artfully stitched together from the author’s own imaginings, reimaginings and memories as a child raised on food stamps and forced into ESL classes while continuously being shuttled from one public housing address to the next, this remarkable picture book is a love letter to survivors that is sure to resonate with readers of all ages.

Praise for When Everything Was Everything:

I’ve never read a children’s book where I have shared so much with the author, from the streets we lived on, the haircuts we had, the cucumber fields we walked, right down to the food shelves and the wars we come from. “When Everything was Everything” is a singularly important book for all of us who inhabit the Southeast Asian refugee experience, for those of us who have been poor, new to English, we who are perpetually perceived as strangers here. This book makes a home on the children’s shelves for the little girls we were and the women we have become.     

--Kao Kalia Yang, author of The Latehomecomer and The Song Poet


This beautiful and detailed unfolding of memories from a Lao American girlhood vividly captures the author's family life in gorgeously illustrated moments and scenes. Child and adult readers alike from every American cultural background, and beyond, will be transported into the intimacy, love, outsider struggles, and hard work, that was Saymoukda Duangphouxay Vongsay's family's daily life in Minnesota.  
--Sun Yung Shin, author of Cooper's Lesson, a bilingual Korean-English illustrated book for children


A girl of color dreamscape, a refugeescape, that gives us "resettlement" in all its wonders and sorrows, its intimacies and dislocations, its early mornings and missed expiration dates, its Funyuns and bowl cuts.

--Lawrence-Minh Bùi Davis, Curator for the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center and editor of The Asian American Literary Review

Event Address: 
2720 West 43rd Street
Minneapolis, MN 55410
United States