The Magic Fish: (A Graphic Novel) (Paperback)

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The Magic Fish: (A Graphic Novel) By Trung Le Nguyen Cover Image
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Staff Reviews

I can't even begin to describe the beauty of this book. It is the most beautiful graphic novel I have ever read. It is so seamless in the way Trung Le Nguyen talks about queer identity, the complexity of family, and love. From a first glance, it is a simple story of love, told through his own experience and his love for reading fairy tales. But once you finish reading, it keeps running in your mind, and suddenly you are unearthing the hundreds of experiences you read through. I feel like it is SO difficult to weave so many different themes with drawings and few words, but it was executed to perfection. I feel so lucky to have experienced this graphic novel, and you will absolutely not regret picking this gem up.

— From Javi

Tiến doesn’t know the Vietnamese words to tell his mom he’s gay. His mom misses her home and family back in Vietnam. Together, they read fairy tales, and the stories help them both – to process grief, to bridge cultures, and ultimately to reach out to each other. The art is so beautiful -- and so is the story!


— From Allie

Fall 2020 Kids Indie Next List

“Tien connects with his mother through the fairy tales they read together to improve their English. As he finds escape in the stories, he tries to find the words to tell his parents he’s gay. Meanwhile, his mother’s memories of her family and home in Vietnam are awakened by the stories she reads with her son. Beautifully done and truly magical.”
— Myles Mickle, Village Square Booksellers, Bellows Falls, VT


NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR by New York Public Library • Kirkus Reviews • Booklist • Publishers Weekly

In this gorgeous debut graphic novel, fairy tales are the only way one boy can communicate with his Vietnamese immigrant parents. But how will he find the words to tell them that he’s gay? A powerful read about family, identity and the enduring magic of stories.
“One of the most astounding graphic novels of the year"  –Entertainment Weekly

Tien and his mother may come from different cultures—she’s an immigrant from Vietnam still struggling with English; he’s been raised in America—but through the fairy tales he checks out from the local library, those differences are erased.
But as much as Tien’s mother’s English continues to improve as he reads her tales of love, loss, and travel across distant shores, there’s one conversation that still eludes him—how to come out to her and his father. Is there even a way to explain what he’s going through in Vietnamese? And without a way to reveal his hidden self, how will his parents ever accept him?
This beautifully illustrated graphic novel speaks to the complexity of family and how stories can bring us together even when we don’t know the words.
“A lyrical masterpiece.” –BuzzFeed

About the Author

Trung Le Nguyen, also known as Trungles, is a comic book artist and illustrator working out of Minnesota. He received his BA from Hamline University in 2012, majoring in Studio Art with a concentration in oil painting and minoring in Art History. He has contributed work for Oni Press, BOOM! Studios, Limerence Press, and Image Comics. He is particularly fond of fairy tales, kids' cartoons, and rom-coms of all stripes. The Magic Fish is his debut graphic novel.

Praise For…

A Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books 2020 Blue Ribbon Selection

[A] gorgeously drawn…story of a first-generation Vietnamese American who is struggling with coming out to his parents.” —Forbes

A sparkling debutabout the child of Vietnamese immigrants who teaches through fairy tales—yet wrestles with how to come out to his family.” —The Washington Post

"Infused with emotional depth and integrity, this coming-of-age story broadens the range of Vietnamese American creative voices in books for young people.” —The Horn Book, Starred Review

Warm, loving family and friends are a refreshing alternative to immigrant stories that focus on family problems. Beautifully illustrates how sharing old stories can be the best way to learn how to share new ones.” —Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review

The magic happens here on every page, the perfection personified by debut author/artist Nguyen’s autobiographical homage to the infinite power of storytelling.” —Booklist, Starred Review

“Nguyen’s poignant debut captures the perspectives of, and essence of the bond between, a parent and child, proving that language—and love—can transcend words.” —Publishers Weekly, Starred Review

“How do you tell stories within stories within stories? Ask Trung Le Nguyen, who seamlessly blends family history, fairy tales, and a 1998 coming-out tale in this remarkable intergenerational graphic novel.” —The Bulletin, Starred Review

Product Details
ISBN: 9781984851598
ISBN-10: 1984851594
Publisher: Random House Graphic
Publication Date: October 13th, 2020
Pages: 256
Language: English