About Our Storytellers

Amira Humes

Author & Illustrator

Amira Humes is a Filipino-Black illustrator, pattern artist, and food enthusiast based in Milwaukee. She has no fear in embracing her inner child and loves bright, bold colors and appreciating the things in life that feel magical. In her art, she enjoys illustrating food and embraces the unique beauty of the endless cultures the world holds.

Kim Thai Nguyen


Kim Thai Nguyen is a Vietnamese-American artist, currently based in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Kim is most passionate about communicating and connecting with others through illustration and design. She especially loves drawing characters and food while using delicate lines and bright colors. She hopes her artwork in A Very Asian Guide to Vietnamese Food helps readers of all ages learn more about her culture and gather inspiration for their next meal.

Catherine Nguyen


Cat Nguyen is a native of Houston, Texas and the daughter of two Vietnamese refugees. When she became an aunt and later a mom, Cat searched high and low for books in English about Vietnamese food and traditions without much success. She decided to write a book for Vietnamese-American families like her own. Cat works as a lawyer focusing on education and civil rights. She is a co-founder of VietLead, a non-profit that aims to connect and protect communities of color. She lives in Philadelphia with her husband, daughter, son, and their two cats.

Julie Ajinkya


Julie Ajinkya is a mom, equity advocate and professor of public policy who works to make sure that college is a true possibility for any student who wants to pursue a higher education. She was born and raised in New Jersey, but grew up traveling between the U.S. and India, where much of her large, extended family lives. She enjoys cooking and creating and lives in Washington DC with her partner and two boys.

Aditi Kakade Beaufrand


Aditi Kakade Beaufrand is an Indian illustrator based in France. She likes experimenting with bright and happy colours. She grew up reading fairytales, watching animated films imagining adventure stories. Likewise her style is an embodiment of her Indian heritage and western culture. She loves animals and taking long walks on the beach but is never too far from a pencil and paper to draw her perception of the world.

Michelle Li


Michelle Li is an award-winning, veteran journalist who co-launched The Very Asian Foundation in January 2022 alongside friend and fellow journalist Gia Vang. Her #veryasian response to a racist voicemail became a global movement of unity. Michelle spent years supporting adoptees through heritage camps and volunteer tours to Korea. She also launched a program to support Missouri children in foster care. All of this led to a congressional award in 2010. Michelle's journalistic work - often dealing with race or gender inequity - has been honored with a national Peabody Award, several national Murrows, and multiple regional Emmys. Michelle lives in St. Louis with her family.

Sunnu Rebecca Choi


Sunnu Rebecca Choi is an award-winning Korean/Canadian illustrator & printmaker based in London. Her goal is to create art that inspires people to connect with their inner selves and find joy within themselves. Her work is often inspired by various movements, thoughts, emotions and social issues we encounter. Her work is a documentation of life, covering small daily events to more significant moments. Her art is a way of looking back on the past, appreciating the present, and thinking of a better future.

Basia Tran


Basia Tran is a Polish-Vietnamese children's book illustrator currently based in Jersey City, where she lives with her husband. She hopes that she can share her love of laughter and learning with the world through her art.

Karen Chan


Karen Chan is a mom, entrepreneur and attorney who lives in Los Angeles. What’s That? is her debut children’s book and she is the founder of Gloo Books. She loves cooking and eating and is always thumbing through a new cookbook or children’s book.