Love Cannot be Lost in Translation: The Work of Minh Lê and his impact on Young Men of Color by Darius Phelps
In the realm of picture books Minh has single handedly broken barriers for young men of color everywhere, and has made even more of an impact with his middle grades graphic novel series Green Lantern: Legacy and the follow up, Alliance, that detail the growth of the main character, a young Vietnamese boy named Tai Pham. Tai is a young Vietnamese boy faced with unexpected grief with the sudden loss of his grandmother, who learns through the trial and error of being an adolescent, of what it means to unearth his joy.
Reminiscent of the practices of both the late bell hooks and Thich Nhat Hanh, Minh shows us that love cannot and will not be lost in translation, especially if we continue to advocate for books that reflect exactly what the world needs to see - authenticity, vulnerability, and most importantly, radical love. With his writing and service to the field of diverse literature and education, Minh is doing what I like to call the “heart work”, meaning that lets the words flow from his fingertips out onto the page. As the days get closer to the debut of his upcoming release Enlighten Me, a stunning graphic novel and future award winner that's find a young boy by the name of Binh learning the power of meditation and coming to terms with his own feelings, I know Minh will only continue to rectify and restore what it truly means to let our souls speak, reverberating love from the depths of his veins.
hooks, b. (2021). All about love: New visions. William Morrow, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers
Lê, M., (2021). Green lantern legacy. Urban comics.
Lê, M. (2022). Green Lantern: Alliance. DC Comics.
Lê, M. (2023). Enlighten Me. Little, Brown Young Readers.
Muhammad, G. (2021). Cultivating genius: An equity framework for culturally and historically responsive literacy. Scholastic.
Muhammad, G. (2023). Unearthing joy: A guide to culturally and historically responsive teaching and learning. Scholastic Inc.
Vu, D. (2021). Life, literacy, and the pursuit of happiness: Supporting our immigrant and refugee children through the power of reading. Scholastic.
Darius Phelps is a PhD Candidate at Teachers College, Columbia University and 2023 Recipient of the NCTE Early Career Educator of Color Award. He is the Assistant Director of Programs under The Center for Publishing & Applied Liberal Arts (PALA) department at NYU and is a Manager at Brooklyn Poets. An educator, poet, spoken word artist, and activist, Darius writes poems about grief, liberation, emancipation, reflection through the lens of a teacher of color and experiencing Black boy joy. His poems have appeared in the NY English Record, NCTE English Journal, Pearl Press Magazine, ëëN Magazine, and many more. Recently, he was featured on WCBS and highlighted the importance of Black male educators in the classroom.
Darius can be contacted via email at: email@example.com.