The Line In The Sand

Critically acclaimed creator Thao Lam, author of The Paper Boat and THAO, is back with a wordless story about conflict resolution

A monster meanders down a beach, dragging a stick behind them and leaving a line in the sand. Meanwhile, a group of friends is at play—flying kites, building sandcastles, tossing a ball—until two of them become curious about the line that now seemingly divides them.

What does the line mean? Tensions mount as the two ponder the situation. Should the line be crossed? Can it be crossed? Eyes narrow, feathers get ruffled, and a scuffle starts, stemming from a series of misunderstandings and aggravated by the innocent, and very untimely, arrival of a bee. It’s only when their stomping and kicking has completely erased the line in the sand that the friends realize their scrabble was senseless. They rejoin the others at play, where the line becomes part of their games, while in the background, the line’s creator continues to meander across the page, oblivious to the impact of their actions.

This powerful wordless story, told in panels and illustrated in striking collage art, is at once simple, relatable, and profound and will encourage readers to think about conflict, communication, and the meaning of the lines we all draw, whether intentional or not.

Written and Illustrated by

Thao Lam


September 15, 2022 with Owlkids Books

Starred reviews

  • “The concept is clever and the playful art a delight … Another wordless winner from Lam, who knows how to posit questions and trust readers for answers.” — School Library Journal – STARRED REVIEW
  • “The story speaks volumes of imagined differences and the negative impact of imposed divisions … An elegant, profound story. A monstrously important message.” — Kirkus Reviews – STARRED REVIEW
  • “Without a single word, Lam has communicated a master class in conflict resolution”        — Quill & Quire – STARRED REVIEW

Notable reviews

  • Wordless picture books can be incredibly powerful, and the messaging in this story is clearly about camaraderie and understanding that transcends boundaries, either perceived or real.” — Booklist

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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