Grandma’s Treasured Shoes Sydney Book Launch

On the 2nd of April 2019, we assembled together at Lost in Books to celebrate the Sydney book launch of Grandma’s Treasured Shoes, written by the wonderful Coral Vass, published by the National Library of Australia and my first illustrated book! It was also the first book launch I have ever put together and one of the most memorable nights of my life. It would not have been such a night without the help and support of my dear family and friends.

We had the honour of Susanne Gervay CEO of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) host and MC the night who welcomed all with her warm and charismatic presence. The President of the Vietnamese Community in Australia (VCA) Paul Huy Nguyen also shared insights into the work and values of the VCA and his own personal journey to Australia as a refugee.

Photo taken by Patrick Masangkay

Photo taken by Patrick Masangkay


The thought process and ideas behind the illustrations of Grandma’s Treasured shoes can be found in this speech I had prepared which was published on SBS.

Special thanks to Coral Vass, Susan Hall and The National Library of Australia, Paul and Kate from the VCA, Susanne Gervay, Lost in Books, Sandra May, SBS, my family and friends that helped oversee the night and all who attended - I hope you had fun (I sure did!)


The official launch of Grandma’s Treasured Shoes was held at the National Library of Australia in Canberra on the 23rd of March 2019.


We had the honour of ABC Journalist Alex Sloan begin with an introduction into her insights on the book along with Australia’s refugee history, after which she declared Grandma’s Treasured Shoes officially launched!


In the book, the illustrations of grandma’s main shoe is based off an existing shoe that was first shown to me by our family friend, Son Nguyen. It was found on Koh Kra Islands in Thailand and believed to have belonged to a young Vietnamese girl. Son Nguyen and my grandparents were kind enough to allow me to borrow these artefacts to display at both the Sydney and Canberra book launches.


It was such a wonderful day and the response that people have had with reading this book so far has been incredibly heart warming. Coral’s words and the story she has created in Grandma’s Treasured Shoes will stay with me always. Thank you Coral, Susan and the National Library of Australia for giving us a platform to tell our family story.

Special thanks to Tania McCartney for linking us together in this book, to Alex Sloan for coming out to officially launch Grandma’s Treasured Shoes, to Son Nguyen and my grandparents for generously lending me the artefacts and to Candice Cappe and the team at NLA for coordinating a wonderful day!