About Thao Lam

Thao Lam fled from Vietnam to Canada with her family as a child. Learning English was difficult, and it was picture books that helped her understand this new world and ignited her passion for visual storytelling. She has an insatiable love for colored and textured papers, which she uses to create her exuberant collages.

Since studying illustration for three years at Sheridan College in Toronto, Thao has developed her dual careers of illustrating and art buying.


Passionate about children’s books, Thao is especially interested in visual storytelling. She draws inspiration from the stories she hears, from the beauty in everyday things, and from the work of the many illustrators she admires. As an art buyer for an educational publishing company, she has the opportunity to work with thousands of different artists from all around the world.

Clients

Great and fun folks to work with.

Awards and Honours

The Line in the Sand

Published by Owlkids Books September 15, 2022

  • A Kirkus 150 Most Anticipated Fall Books, 2022
  • A CBC Best Canadian Picture Book of 2022
  • A Bank Street College of Education Best Children’s Book of the Year, 2022
  • A Book Riot Must-Read Picture Book of 2022

Thao: A Picture Book

Published by Owlkids Books April 15, 2021

  • A Junior Library Guild selection, 2021
  • A CBC Best Canadian Picture Book, 2021
  • A New York Public Library Vibrant Voices selection, 2022
  • A Bank Street College of Education Best Children’s Book of the Year, 2022
  • A USBBY Outstanding Books List selection, 2022
  • A CCBC Best Books for Kids and Teens selection, 2021

The Paper Boat: A Refugee Story

Published by Owlkids Books September 15, 2020

  • A School Library Journal Best Book of 2020
  • A Kirkus Best Picture Book of 2020
  • A New York Public Library 100 Best Books for Kids selection, 2020
  • A Booklist Editors’ Choice, 2020
  • A Globe and Mail Best Book of 2020
  • A Canadian Children’s Book Centre Favourite Book of 2020
  • A Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books Blue Ribbon Selection, 2020
  • A CBC Best Canadian Picture Book of 2020
  • A USBBY Outstanding International Books List selection, 2021
  • An Elizabeth Mrazik-Cleaver Canadian Picture Book Award Honour Book, 2020
  • An International Board on Books for Young People Silent Books Collection selection, 2020
  • A Kids Book Choice Awards Best Book of the Year: 3rd–4th Grade nominee, 2021
  • A CCBC Best Book for Kids and Teens starred selection, 2021
  • A TD Summer Reading Club Top Recommended Read, 2022

My Cat Looks Like My Dad

Published by Owlkids Books April 15, 2019

  • A Quill & Quire Cover of the Year, 2019
  • A Booklist Editors’ Choice, 2019
  • A Canadian Children’s Book Centre Best Books for Kids and Teens
    selection, 2019

Wallpaper

Published by Owlkids Books April 15, 2018

  • Cybils Children’s and Young Adult Bloggers’ Literary Awards – Shortlisted
  • A Kirkus Best Children’s Book of 2018
  • A New York Public Library 100 Best Books for Kids selection, 2018
  • An Elizabeth Mrazik-Cleaver Canadian Picture Book Award nominee, 2018
  • An International Board on Books for Young People Silent Books Collection selection

Skunk on a String

Published by Owlkids Books March 15, 2016

  • A Capitol Choices: Noteworthy Books for Children and Teens nominee
  • A Kirkus Best Picture Book of 2016
  • A Canadian Children’s Book Centre Best Books for Kids and Teens
    selection
  • A Toronto Public Library First and Best List selection, 2016
  • An International Board on Books for Young People Silent Books Collection selection

Contact Thao Lam

Illuminate stories with vibrant artwork, turning narratives into visual wonders. Let's bring your tales to life—reach out for unique illustrations!