About the Featured Book

"The Best We Could Do" by Thi Bui

The Best We Could Do is a haunting memoir about the search for a better future and a longing for a simpler past. Thi Bui documents her family’s daring escape after the fall of South Vietnam in the 1970s and the difficulties they faced building new lives for themselves in America. As the child of a country and a war she can’t remember, Bui’s dreamlike artwork brings to life her journey to understanding her own identity in a way that only comics can.


The Best We Could Do has made a place for itself in the graphic novel canon and has received 5 starred reviews from Publishers Weekly, Booklist, Library Journal, School Library Journal, and Shelf Awareness. It was also nominated for a National Book Critics Circle Award in the autobiography category and made it onto over thirty “Best of 2017” lists everywhere from the Washington Post to Entertainment Weekly.

About Thi Bui

Thi Bui

Thi Bui was born in Vietnam three months before the end of the Vietnam War, and came to the United States in 1978 as part of the “boat people” wave of refugees from Southeast Asia. Her debut graphic memoir, The Best We Could Do (Abrams ComicArts, 2017), has been selected as UCLA’s Common Book for 2017, a National Book Critics Circle finalist in autobiography, an Eisner Award finalist in Reality Based Comics, and made several Best of 2017 book lists, including Bill Gates’s top five picks. Bui is also the Caldecott Honor-winning illustrator of A Different Pond, a picture book by the poet Bao Phi (Capstone, 2017). Her short comics can be found online at the Nib, PEN America, and BOOM California.

Bui taught high school in New York City and was a founding teacher of Oakland International High School, the first public high school in California for recent immigrants and English learners. Since 2015, she has been a faculty member of the MFA in Comics program at the California College of the Arts. Thi Bui lives in the Bay Area.

Thi Bui will discuss 'The Best We Could Do'

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Seattle Reads Books and Information for Book Groups

Book group kits of The Best We Could Do are available to reserve. Book groups already registered with The Seattle Public Library may reserve their kits now. Additional copies of Bui’s book are available at all Library locations for informal borrowing by community book groups and individuals. Books are also available for informal borrowing from The Wing Luke Museum and Northwest African American Museum.  Digital copies are available for streaming or download.

Join us for a discussion of The Best We Could Do. Books and discussion guides are available at the hosting Library.