Posted by: Kathy Temean | January 19, 2021

Book Giveaway: EYES THAT KISS IN THE CORNERS by Joanna Ho

Joanna Ho has written a new picture book, EYES THAT KISS IN THE CORNERS, illustrated by Dung Ho and published by HarperCollins Children. They have agreed to share a copy with one lucky winner.

All you have to do to get in the running is 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 other things you do to share the good news, so I can put the right amount of tickets in my basket for you.

Sharing on Facebook, Twitter or reblogging really helps spread the word for a new book. So, thanks for helping Joanna and Dung.

If you have signed up to follow my blog and it is delivered to you everyday, please let me know when you leave a comment and I will give you an extra ticket. Thanks!


This lyrical, stunning picture book tells a story about learning to love and celebrate your Asian-shaped eyes, in the spirit of Hair Love by Matthew A. Cherry, and is a celebration of diversity.

“This tale of self-acceptance and respect for one’s roots is breathtaking.” —Kirkus (starred review)

“A young girl finds beauty in her uniqueness.” —School Library Journal (starred review)

“A poignant testament to familial love and legacy.”— Publishers Weekly

A young Asian girl notices that her eyes look different from her peers’. They have big, round eyes and long lashes. She realizes that her eyes are like her mother’s, her grandmother’s, and her little sister’s. They have eyes that kiss in the corners and glow like warm tea, crinkle into crescent moons, and are filled with stories of the past and hope for the future.

Drawing from the strength of these powerful women in her life, she recognizes her own beauty and discovers a path to self-love and empowerment. This powerful, poetic picture book will resonate with readers of all ages.


I wrote EYES THAT KISS IN THE CORNERS for myself when I was young and for my daughter who was in my belly when I wrote the first draft. Growing up, I used to wish for differently shaped eyes. I remember standing in front of the mirror and pulling up my eyelids to see what I would look like if my eyes were bigger. I envied girls with big eyes and long lashes, thinking I need those things to be beautiful. Every image of beauty, every animated movie, ads in the media featured someone who looked totally different than me. It wasn’t until I was almost 30 and traveling in Taiwan that I had an epiphany in the middle of a 7-11 while standing in line to purchase snacks. I picked up a magazine, flipped through it, and was struck by all the Asian faces on the pages. Beautiful faces. With eyes and noses and hair like mine. It was a powerful moment when I realized I could be beautiful too. Ultimately, I wanted to write a book that was about more than just recognizing one’s own beauty; I wanted to write a book that could point people to their own power and ability to define the world around them.

EYES THAT KISS IN THE CORNERS was on submission for nearly a year and a half before it was acquired. It got to the point where I was just happy to hear back from someone, even if it was a rejection because getting a response at least meant someone had read the manuscript! I often asked my agent, Caryn Wiseman, how long we should keep submitting before giving up, if ever. During that time, I worried she would regret signing with me because nothing we submitted got acquired. But she never let up; she just kept telling me my stories would find homes. Each rejection came with vastly different feedback. One editor said it needed to be more upbeat. Another said it didn’t explore the history of anti-Asian racism enough. If the feedback resonated, I went back to the manuscript and revised. The story ended up with Clarissa Wong, who sent the most beautiful email and I knew she was the perfect editor for this story. In the end, it was worth the wait!

The editorial team selected Dung Ho to be the illustrator for EYES THAT KISS IN THE CORNERS and I could not be more thrilled with her artwork. She truly understood the story and added so many layers that I’m still discovering when I read the book now. When I saw the drafts of the art for the first time, I cried. When I showed my then 2 year old daughter the art, she pointed at the screen and said, “Mommy! Me!” And I cried again. Her artwork is absolutely brilliant.

I’ve been completely blown away by the reception of this story. Throughout this whole process I just prayed that someone who needed the story would find it, that somehow parents or teachers would learn about the book and get it for the young people in their lives. To hit the New York Times Bestseller list in my debut week was a complete (and joyous!) surprise. I am filled with gratitude to all the people who shouted it from their social media accounts, in their friend groups, with their families. I don’t have words to express my gratitude to all the people who have picked up, shared, posted, gifted, supported and read EYES THAT KISS IN THE CORNERS.  


Joanna Ho is passionate about equity in books and education. She has been an English teacher, a dean, and a teacher professional development mastermind. She is currently the vice principal of a high school in the San Francisco Bay Area. Homemade chocolate chip cookies, outdoor adventures, and dance parties with her kids make Joanna’s eyes crinkle into crescent moons.

Her books for young readers include Eyes That Kiss in the Corners. Visit her at and @JoannaHoWrites.


Dung Ho was born and raised in Hue, Vietnam, where she studied graphic design at the Hue University College of Arts. After graduating, she worked in the design and advertising industries before discovering a great passion for illustration and picture books and becoming a freelance illustrator.

Currently, she lives and works in Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam. Ho draws inspiration from nature and the interaction between people and nature and especially loves to draw children. When not drawing, she enjoys cooking and watching movies.

Joanna, thank you for sharing your book and journey with us. Even though I love the shape of Asian eyes, but I know from my time around pre-schoolers that they worry about the way they look, just like adults do, so this is an important book. I hope it helps little girls appreciate their unique beauty. Dung did a wonderful job with the illustrations. Enjoyed them all. Good luck with the book.

Talk tomorrow,



  1. Kathy & Joanna what a great post. This is a beautiful and touching book. I love the lyricism and descriptions in this snippet. And I am really looking forward to reading this book. Thanks!

    Kathy – I subscribe to your blog and shared this on FB & Twitter.


  2. I can’t wait to get this for my daughter. Thank you for bringing your/this voice out to shine.


  3. Such a beautiful book and celebration of Asian culture! Thank you Joanna and Kathy! Kathy I am a subscriber to the blog posts.


  4. The illustrations and text are so lovely. Congratulations, Joanna and Dung!


  5. Reblogged this on Terry Pierce and commented:
    A new picture book about diversity with beautiful text and illustrations, EYES THAT KISS IN CORNERS by Joanna Ho and Dung Ho.


  6. This is such a beautiful book! I can’t wait to read it. I’m going to make sure my library has a copy. Congrats to both Joanna and Dung!

    I will tweet this and I follow by email, Kathy.


  7. Love this book -I look forward to reading it -congrats!


  8. Shared on FB, Twitter and PInterest. Kathy, notice that in your first line you call this a MG nonfiction book. Wasn’t sure that was how you would classify this. But looks beautiful!


  9. This looks amazing! I first saw the cover and title a few weeks ago, and was immediately drawn in. Sharing on social media!


  10. I love the idea of finding one’s power and specialness outside of physical attributes! I’m really looking forward to reading this story and enjoying the gorgeous illustrations!

    Kathy, I shared on twitter and get your wonderful blog daily.


  11. What a beautiful book! I can’t wait to read it. Thanks for sharing it. And I subscribe, too. Congratulations on the great reviews, too!


  12. This looks like a beautiful book. I’ll be looking for it when it comes out.


  13. Such a wonderful looking book. I’d love to have a copy. Thanks for the chance to win it.
    I’ve tweeted a link to this post:, and shared an image on Pinterest as well:
    I also follow your blog daily by email: crs(at)codedivasites(dot)com
    Thanks again, have a great day!


  14. I am sooo looking forward to reading this book! I’m a subscriber.


  15. I love that Joanna’s agent stuck with her and this book. I’ve heard such wonderful things about the book and the spreads Joanna shared are just lovely.


  16. I am so happy for this book’s success and cannot wait to get my copy! Congrats to all involved!!!


  17. Such a beautiful story with gorgeous illustrations. Congrats, Joanna & Dung!!


  18. This looks and sounds like such a beautiful and meaningful book! Congratulations Joanna and Dung!


  19. Looks beautiful! I just requested it from my library & did a shout out on Twitter.


  20. I can’t wait to read this book as mentor text–so beautiful with a wonderful message. I subscribe to your blog and shared on Facebook and tumblr:


  21. I can’t wait to read this book. It looks fantastic. ❤


  22. Gorgeous book, Joanna! I can’t wait to read it!


  23. EYES THAT KISS IN THE CORNER looks like a delightful book. I look forward to reading it to our granddaughter.

    Kathy: I shared on my Twitter and Word Press accounts. I also receive your emails.

    Thank you.
    Suzy Leopold


  24. What a beautiful book and what a beautiful idea for a book.Thanks for telling me about it.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Joanna’s book is just amazing!

    Liked by 1 person

  26. Really inspiring—thank you for sharing this story!

    Liked by 1 person

  27. Joanna and Dung – this book is gorgeous!


  28. What a beautiful book! I enjoyed reading about its journey! I am a subscriber and love your blog!


  29. Congratulations, Joanna and Dung, on a beautiful book! Sharing on Twitter.


  30. What a wonderful book! I love the story and the pictures and have been hearing all the positive buzz about this book. Shared on Twitter and can’t wait to get the chance to read it. Congrats to Joanna and Dung on a masterpiece of kidlit!


  31. I love books that celebrate what makes us unique. Congratulations Joanna!


  32. Beautiful backstory and book. Congratulations Joanna and Dung.


  33. This book looks so great!


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