In this week’s Illustrated PEN, Guest Editor MariNaomi presents an excerpt from Thi Bui’s illustrated memoir, The Best We Could Do.

MariNaomi writes: Thi Bui’s book about her family’s escape from a war-torn Vietnam couldn’t be more timely in today’s political climate. It’s a deeply personal tale, but universal in so many ways, filled with familiar struggles and joys that so many of us will relate to. You need to read this book.

Thi Bui was born in Vietnam three months before the end of the Vietnam War, and immigrated to the U.S. with her family in 1978. Her forthcoming graphic memoir, The Best We Could Do (Abrams, March 2017) has been selected as both an Indies Introduce and Barnes and Noble Discover Great New Writers title. She has just finished illustrating A Different Pond, a children’s book by Bao Phi (Capstone, Fall 2017). Thi taught high school in New York City and was a founding teacher of Oakland International High School, the first public high school in California for recent immigrants and English learners. She currently teaches in the MFA in Comics program at the California College of the Arts. She lives in Berkeley with her son, her husband and her mother.