In 1998, The Seattle Public Library launched a program to get Seattleites reading and discussing the same book. Seattle Reads is now an annual event and has been widely emulated in cities, states and countries around the world.

In the 21st year of the series, the Library will feature "The Best We Could Do" by Thi Bui. Bui will visit Seattle in April 2019 to talk with readers about her book. Details and a schedule of events will be announced in January.

"The Best We Could Do" was selected for its themes of family, history and immigration. The graphic memoir received 5 starred reviews from Publishers Weekly, Booklist, Library Journal, School Library Journal, and Shelf Awareness. It was also nominated for a National Book Critics Circle Award in the autobiography category, and made it onto over thirty "Best of 2017" lists everywhere from the Washington Post to Entertainment Weekly.


"The Best We Could Do" is a haunting memoir about the search for a better future and a longing for a simpler past. Bui documents her family’s daring escape after the fall of South Vietnam in the 1970s and the difficulties they faced building new lives for themselves in America. As the child of a country and a war she can't remember, Bui's dreamlike artwork brings to life her journey to understanding her own identity in a way that only comics can.


Bui was born in Vietnam three months before the end of the Vietnam War, and came to the United States in 1978. Her debut graphic memoir, "The Best We Could Do" (Abrams ComicArts, 2017), has been selected as UCLA’s Common Book for 2017, an Eisner Award finalist in Reality Based Comics, and made several Best of 2017 book lists, including Bill Gates's top five picks. Bui is also the Caldecott Honor-winning illustrator of "A Different Pond," a picture book by the poet Bao Phi (Capstone, 2017). Her short comics can be found online at the Nib, PEN America and BOOM California. She is a faculty member of the MFA in Comics program at the California College of the Arts.


  • Individual copies of "The Best We Could Do" will be available at all Library locations for informal borrowing by any person or book group. Details will be available in early 2019.
  • Book group kits of "The Best We Could Do" will be available to reserve in early 2019. Book groups already registered with the Library may reserve their kits then.

Seattle Reads deepens readers' appreciation of and engagement in literature, creates community around reading, and promotes conversation between readers and writers, friends and family. It is made possible by The Seattle Public Library Foundation and The Wallace Foundation, with support from media sponsors KUOW 94.9 Public Radio and The Seattle Times, and Abrams ComicArts.