Maya Lin: Thinking With Her Hands – Susan Goldman Rubin

Hardcover, 100 pages
Expected publication: November 7th 2017 by Chronicle Books
Source: Raincoast Books


Before reading this book, I had no idea who Maya Lin is and not being American, I didn’t know about the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington D.C.

In case you, too, have little idea, let me elaborate. Maya Lin is the designer of the Vietnam Vet’s Memorial. Her design won the contest when she was a mere 18 years old. Goldman touches briefly on the discrimination and sexism Lin faced when her design went to the professionals who were supposed to bring it to life. She speaks about how she treated by these so-called professionals who took umbrage to the fact that it wasn’t just a woman who won the design contest but that she was also a woman of colour. Scum.

Anyway, Rubin’s book follows Maya Lin’s professional life, paying attention to her achievements in design and art. The book makes for wonderful reading, giving everyone a chance to see where perseverance and passion can lead you. Maya Lin’s work with environmentalism is also important and this book could function as a springboard for more discussion in that context.

Also important, this book presents a different direction girls can take with their futures and their careers. The photography in the book is wonderful and the text simple enough for middle graders to read and understand. Recommended especially in classrooms.