Author Chat with Muon Van and April Chu




Contributed by Eden Grey, Staff Reviewer 


Today, our very own Eden Grey is sharing her interview with author Muon Van and illustrator April Chu. Together they created the book, In a Village By the Sea 



 Muon, what inspired you to write this particular story about a family living in a village by the sea? 


 I wanted to write an emotionally resonant and circular story that involved a family in a fishing village as my ancestral village is a fishing village and my father was a fisherman. Also, except for a brief stint in Kansas, my family has always lived by the sea so the sea holds special significance for me.



Can you describe your collaborative process (as author and illustrator)? 


We actually didn’t meet until the illustrations were done. With the exception of one small email exchange mediated by our editor, there was no real-time collaboration or other interaction. April produced these magnificent illustrations from only reading the manuscript and knowing that the story was dedicated to my father, who was a Vietnamese fisherman.



Do you have plans to collaborate on more books in the future?

No immediate plans though we both have new books coming out from Creston this fall! April’s gorgeously illustrated book, Ada Byron Lovelace and the Thinking Machine, is about a woman who was both a talented mathematician and the world’s first computer programmer. My book, The Little Tree, is a fable that touches upon familial and environmental themes and has been generously called “The Giving Tree for a new generation.”



What tips do you have for educators using In a Village By the Sea in a classroom setting? 


Creston Books has a fantastic curriculum guide at


The artwork and illustrations for In a Village By the Sea are absolutely breathtaking! April, can you describe the methods you used to illustrate the book?


Thank you! I sketch each illustration in pencil first, scan those images into the computer and then digitally color the final artwork in Photoshop.




Want to know more about this fantastic book? Read on!





In a Village By the Sea


Written by: Muon Van


Illustrated by: April Chu


Release Date: May 12, 2015


Description: Written in a spare, lyrical style using fresh, evocative imagery, In a Village By the Sea tells the story of longing for the comforts of home. A perfect book for teaching about diverse cultures and lifestyles through rich pictures and words, moving from the wide world to the snugness of home and back out again.