One Giant Leap

A playful wordless story about the power of imagination and creativity in play

A child zips up their orange suit, pulls on a pair of boots, and adjusts their hat. They’re ready for an adventure. But where are they going? With the push of an elevator button, their adventure begins, and they’re transformed … into an astronaut!

The child takes one small step into a barren landscape. Then one giant leap. Soon, they’re hopping around a strange new planet and scaling space mountains. As they explore the peculiar planet, the astronaut discovers colorful space creatures of all shapes and sizes. Suddenly, a blizzard hits, and the astronaut races through the storm right into … the school hallway! The little astronaut was a child on their way to school, and the space odyssey was all part of their imagination.

This inventive and satisfying new wordless picture book from acclaimed author and illustrator Thao Lam celebrates a child’s talent for making the mundane magical. Thao’s signature storytelling style is dynamic, engaging, and rewards close observation. Keen-eyed readers will spot clues in the illustrations that reveal what’s really going on and feel inspired to creatively reframe tiresome tasks.

Written and Illustrated by

Thao Lam


March 1, 2024 with Owlkids Books

Starred reviews

  • “Plenty of picture books encourage young readers to go outside and have an adventure, but Thao Lam’s wordless and wondrous One Giant Leap raises the bar by presenting an out-of-doors setting that’s also out of this world–at least in the mind of one imaginative child.” — Shelf Awareness – STARRED REVIEW

Notable reviews

  • “The out-of-this-world exploits of an intrepid explorer propel Lam’s well-paced wordless story … Careful paper cut-outs succeed in creating drama out of gesture, physical form, and the strangeness of the landscape being traversed.” — Publisher Weekly
  • “The collage illustrations, in a palette dominated by deep blacks and oranges, capture the spirited imagination of a young person at play. An out-of-this-world good time.” — Kirkus Reviews
  • “Lam leads readers on a wordless adventure through extraordinary paper collage illustrations … Whether shared with preliterate children or in units on imaginative play, this ingenious title will have readers flipping back to the beginning of the story to repeat the adventure.” — School Library Journal
  • “Thao Lam, known for her complex and meaningful books including The Paper Boat: A Refugee Story and The Line in the Sand, still knows how to do playful. Dressing in a snowsuit and venturing out into the greater universe, this child embarks on an other-worldly adventure, fueled only by imagination.” — CanLit for Little Canadians
  • “Lam has taken a child’s everyday journey from home to school and reimagined that journey as a marvellous adventure when seen through the eyes and imagination of her daughter’s first encounters with snow. Brilliant… One Giant Leap is a must-have book. It is suitable for pre-schoolers and early elementary students but, in reality, it will appeal to people with imaginations, regardless of their age.” — Canadian Review of Materials

Awards and honours

  • 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

Contact Thao Lam

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