Posted by: Kathy Temean | July 19, 2020


Author/illustrator Anna Kim’s debut picture book titled, DANBI LEADS THE SCHOOL PARADE, published by Viking Books came out this month. Anna has agreed to share a book with one lucky winner. All you have to do to get in the running is to leave a comment. Reblog, tweet, or talk about it on Facebook with a link and you will get additional chances to win. Just let me know the other things you do to share the good news, so I can put in the right amount of tickets in my basket for you.

Sharing on Facebook, Twitter, reblogging really helps spread the word for a new book. Thanks for helping Anna!


Starting school for the first time can be a whirlwind of butterflies and elation. But imagine what it’s like for a young child who’s just moved here from another country. New faces. New customs. New language.

Inspired by events from my own background, I created “Danbi Leads the School Parade” to be a fun and positive story that celebrates diversity and the immigrant experience. The story follows Danbi on her first day of school in America, where her classroom is​​ a colorful melting pot of cultures. Faced with one frustrating challenge after another, Danbi takes on this strange, new world with a simple philosophy: it’s okay to mess up, as long as you try again. With a spark of imagination, she finally wins the day by inventing a new game that turns all her classmates into adoring new friends.

I hope that my story will inspire children of all colors and backgrounds to feel as confident as Danbi and to believe in the transforming force of friendship in bridging and embracing our many differences.

Imaginative, irreverent, improvisational fun in kindergarten: Danbi shares a burst of “sweet rain,” complete with a rainbow. (Picture book. 4-7) KirKus Review


The idea for writing Danbi’s story came to me one day when I was book shopping for my nieces and couldn’t find any that captured a thoroughly positive immigrant story. There were also very few character-based stories featuring Asian characters. What struck me beyond that was the absence of immigrant stories that showed, not just the perspective of the immigrant, but also that of those who already live here. And so, writing Danbi’s story was me determined to do something about it.

After I finished the dummy and two illustrations, I sent query letters to a couple of agents. One agent wanted to pitch it to editors right away, and another told me the book needed work, made important suggestions, and asked me to query him after revising. I was torn but realized that getting published is only the first step. Readers are those who ultimately decide on a book’s success and I decided to bite the bullet. I had no idea that the revisions would take me a whopping four years!

As I started revising, I realized that my story had to be rewritten entirely. So, I slashed pretty much everything, except the look of the Danbi and one scene, and rewrote the whole thing from scratch. I sent the revised story to Steve Malk at Writers House, who emailed me that same evening “You made my day!.” Steve ran an amazing auction and got ten offers from major publishers. We decided on Viking (Penguin Young Readers) because of their reach and their belief that books would appeal to both the institutional and trade market.


Born in Seoul, Korea, raised in New York City, Anna grew up doodling around the edges of her notebooks and any loose scraps of paper she could find. A classically trained pianist with a B.A. in psychology from Wellesley College, she devoted herself to teaching music to young children. During those years of teaching, Anna discovered that drawing stories on yellow stickies worked wonders when kids needed a little push to regain concentration. That’s when she decided to expand her canvas from stickies to picture books and to pursue her newfound purpose:

“Through picture and word, I want to surprise, inspire, and delight children with fun and heartwarming stories. I want to plant seeds of love and kindness through living characters who jump off the page and touch the reader with genuine emotions. I want those characters to show kids of all sizes, shapes, and colors what it’s like to be courageous, resilient, and empathetic heroes. I want to show readers the magic of friendship in transforming our beliefs, our hearts, and our lives forever.”

Anna, thank you for sharing your book and journey with us. I love the cover and Danbi your little Asian girl. I am so glad you are filling that void in the market. Good luck with the book!

Talk tomorrow,



  1. […] via Book Giveaway: DANBI LEADS THE SCHOOL PARADE by Anna Kim — Writing and Illustrating […]


  2. I enjoyed reading about your journey in writing and publishing Danbi.
    Love the name too. Much success!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Karen! The journey took almost ten years.. I had a lot of revising and learning in those years. The name is phonetic, quite literally Dan – Sweet and bi- Rain. Thank you!


  3. Congrats on your debut picture book! It sounds wonderful. The illustrations are so magical and childlike! Thank you for writing this much needed story.


  4. This really interests me. Love the concept. As a former teacher, I remember a little girl, Sophia, who had immigrated from Vietnam. She was older than her years and a talented writer. Years later, Sophia told me I was more than just a teacher, I was a mentor. And that made my day. Look forward to reading.


    • Thank you for your insight – My very first friend in America was Mia. She gave me the welcome that I much needed. She showed me around and taught me English words. I love your story of Sophia. Thank you for sharing.


  5. Congrats, Anna! This book looks adorable. (I tweeted as well.)


    • Thank you for tweeting the post! I tried my best to bring out personalities of all 16 children – it was very important to me that children found themselves on the page with Danbi.


  6. Sounds like a wonderful book. Gorgeous illustrations!


  7. Love the story line and the illustrations are adorable! The sense of motion on the cover, with Danbi’s twirling skirt is spectacular.


    • Thank you, Carole! I wanted to show Danbi’s personality through the her twirling skirt. Thanks for catching that. 🙂


  8. I cannot wait to hold this lovely book and read it to my grandchildren. The story looks magical, and I love the soft, sweet characters the way you’ve depicted them. Congratulations, Anna!


    • Thank you for your kind words – I hope your grandchildren will take to Danbi. Thanks again.


  9. p.s. Anna – if you are reading this, I hope you will smile! I just ordered your book for my four-year-old granddaughter, JoJo, and am looking forward to reading it to her.


    • Wow – That is amazing. Thank you! Hope JoJo will enjoy Danbi’s story and all the games they’re playing. Thank you so much.


  10. So adorable! I can’t wait to read this one. Back to school! Congrats!

    I tweeted this post. 🙂


    • Thank you for tweeting the post on Danbi! This story would be great for back to school – Thanks again!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. This looks like a delightful book, the degree of detail of those illustrations is remarkable. Thanks for the chance to win a copy.
    I’ve tweeted a link to this post:, and pinned an image with a link on Pinterest:
    I also follow your blog daily by email: crs(at)codedivasites(dot)com
    Thanks again, have a great day!!


    • Thank you for noticing all the details in my work and retweeting!


  12. Danbi is about the cutest little girl ever! Congrats.


  13. This is such a darling story. I love the illustrations. Nice to meet another Korean-American writer!


    • Thank you, Tina! I look forward to seeing The Ocean Calls soon!


  14. Congratulations! Looks like a wonderful story! Well done.


  15. Looks like a beautiful book.


  16. positive DOT ideas DOT 4you AT gmail DOT com


  17. Hello,

    I saw few pictures from book and felt wow for each character. As if author knows each of them inside out. Definitely knows reactions of them.
    I love the “new found purpose of author” I made notes about that. I have never read such a beautiful purpose in my entire life from an author-illustrator.

    I just wanted to ask. Are the food items in book Vegan or Vegetarian? Since I get sensitive to look at non-veg images. I want to purchase the book. If food items are not obvious and one cannot make out flesh/food in that, then it is fine for me because book is so charming that I really want to get it.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


%d bloggers like this: