#WomenReadWomen2019 Books Early Readers Features Genre Lifespan of a Reader Middle Grade Non-fiction Wednesday Nonfiction Picture Books Reading Themes Reinventing Womanity, Redefining Womanhood

[Nonfiction Wednesday] Wound Made Visible in Maya Lin’s Vietnam Veterans Memorial

"Maya Lin: Artist-Architect Of Light And Lines" by Jeanne Walker Harvey and Illustrated by Dow Phumiruk.

Myra here.

We are delighted to join the Nonfiction Picture Book meme 2019 hosted by Alyson Beecher @ Kid Lit Frenzy. We would also be linking our nonfiction choices with our reading themes throughout the year, when we can.


Maya Lin: Artist-Architect Of Light And Lines (Designer Of The Vietnam Veterans Memorial)

Written by Jeanne Walker Harvey Illustrated by Dow Phumiruk
Published by Henry Holt & Co. (2017)
ISBN: 1250112494 (ISBN13: 9781250112491) 
Borrowed from the Jurong West Public Library. Book photos taken by me.

Maya is described as a child who loved the outdoors, going for long walks in the forest, listening to birds, squirrels, and chipmunks. She also had a supportive and enriched family environment, with immigrant parents who came from a restrictive country and now taking full advantage of America’s comparatively progressive and relaxed social environment.

Her parents had fled China at a time when people were told what to be and how to think. Her parents never told Maya what to be or how to think.

Given this kind of upbringing, Maya flourished and excelled academically. I especially love this image below, showing Maya standing in awe at the library, dreaming of how to create “buildings with art, science, and math.”

During her last year of college, Maya submitted an entry for a competition to design a memorial to commemorate the soldiers who fought bravely and perished during the Vietnam War. She imagined it to be “a knife slicing open the earth” hence, a wound made visible for all to see.

When she won the competition, I was amused to see how shocked the judges were that she was so young and still in school. Naturally, the pool of judges, at least as shown in the illustration, consisted mainly of male professionals, predictably.

While she encountered a great deal of resistance in actualizing her vision, despite her having won the award, Maya persisted, and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial became the first of the many designs she would make in her architectural career, redefining what it means to be a woman in a male-dominated profession.


#WomenReadWomen2019: United States of America

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Myra is a Teacher Educator and a registered clinical psychologist based in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates. Prior to moving to the Middle East, she lived for eleven years in Singapore serving as a teacher educator. She has edited five books on rediscovering children’s literature in Asia (with a focus on the Philippines, Malaysia, India, China, Japan) as part of the proceedings for the Asian Festival of Children’s Content where she served as the Chair of the Programme Committee for the Asian Children’s Writers and Illustrators Conference from 2011 until 2019. While she is an academic by day, she is a closet poet and a book hunter at heart. When she is not reading or writing about books or planning her next reads, she is hoping desperately to smash that shuttlecock to smithereens because Badminton Is Life (still looking for badminton courts here at UAE - suggestions are most welcome).

2 comments on “[Nonfiction Wednesday] Wound Made Visible in Maya Lin’s Vietnam Veterans Memorial

  1. I’ve read this one, Myra, & it is a wonderful story of Maya Lin, still hard to believe she was still in college.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Myra, I’m honored that you featured the Maya Lin book which I wrote and which the amazing Dow Phumiruk illustrated. Thank you! And thank you for ALL your wonderful book reviews — you contribute so much to the kidlit world.

    Liked by 1 person

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