The Reading Culture Welcomes Dan Santat

author dan santat
Masthead Waves

Just before my interview with Dan Santat began, he had learned his graphic novel memoir, “A First Time For Everything,” was longlisted for the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature. Dan, who won the Caldecott medal for his book, “The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend,” was overwhelmed with gratitude. Looking back on his life, this is not how he would have seen his story unfolding when he was a kid. But thank goodness it did. From collaborations with Mac Barnett to his solo work (and even a television show), Dan Santat has written and illustrated over sixty books that delight young readers.


Dan, a son of Thai immigrants in rural SoCal, found solace and belonging in the storytelling of 80's TV shows and movies, connecting with others' experiences and perspectives. His fascination with storytelling coupled with his talent for drawing led him on a journey of  self-discovery that would ultimately diverge from the career path his parents had urged him to pursue.


In this episode, Dan shares openly about his fraught relationship with his dad. Dan’s honesty is humorous and nostalgic and real all at once. He talks about the freedoms and limitations of growing up in the 1980’s and how they helped him discover a passion for storytelling as a means of communicating. Dan also tells us about his experience of embracing art, despite his parents' differing expectations, and how his journey has impacted the messages he imparts to students he meets today.


For his reading challenge, Profound Panels, Dan wants readers to embrace the hidden wisdom in the medium that first sparked his love of storytelling: comics. 


This week's Beanstack featured librarian is Connie Sharp, the Librarian Training and Development Specialist for Metro Nashville Public Schools. As a former elementary librarian, Connie has a unique perspective to share and talked with us about the importance of the partnership between administrators and librarians.


Listen to the full episode, “Family Ties: Dan Santat on Childhood, Parenthood, and Finding Himself” on Apple, Google, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts. Like what you hear? Please leave a 5-star review, subscribe, and share with someone who will enjoy it!


Follow the podcast on Instagram @thereadingculturepod to see reels of our guests and subscribe to our newsletter at to watch bonus content, get more intimate background stories, and learn about upcoming giveaways! #readingculturefam (for life!)


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