Doan Phuong Nguyen

Doan Phuong Nguyen is an award-winning children’s author who loves crafting characters you’ll want to root for, and inventing plots that keep you turning page after page. She’s the author of A Two Placed Heart, a middle grade novel-in verse about identity, sisterhood, and the places we leave behind. Her debut middle grade historical novel, Mèo and Bé, is a 2024 Notable Book for a Global Society; a 2023 Freeman Book Award Honorable Mention; and semi finalist in children’s fiction for the 2024 Society of Midland Authors Award.

When she isn’t writing, she loves to travel the world and come up with delicious recipes in the kitchen and baking with her young son.

She is represented by Sara Megibow of KT Literary.

If you love emotional and beautiful literary novels for young readers, you’ll love my books.

I’m the author of the middle grade novels, Mèo and Bé (2023) and A Two Placed Heart (Sept 2024).

Keep in touch with my bookish news!

Meo and Be by Doan Phuong Nguyen
PRE-ORDER NOW – Available September 24, 2024

A Two-Placed Heart

Available in hardcover, kindle/e-book, and audiobook. Published by Tu Books/Lee and Low 2024.

Afraid her sister (and maybe even herself) could lose sight of their Vietnamese identity, twelve-year-old Bom writes a poetic memoir to help them both remember–a love letter in verse to sisterhood and the places we leave behind.

Bom can’t believe that her sister doesn’t see herself as Vietnamese, only American. She says she doesn’t remember Vietnam or their lives there, their family there, their house and friends. How could her sister forget the terrible journey through Saigon and the airplanes and… everything?

And what about Bom? She remembers now, but how long will she keep her memories? She always found comfort in the sound of her father’s typewriter. Clickity-clackclickity-clack. So she has an idea. She’ll write down all that she can remember: the time when her father was a spy, when her mother was nicknamed a “radio,” when they were so hungry Bom couldn’t walk well, when the family all said goodbye.

Bom will even tell her sister, and herself, about what it was like moving to Tennessee. The ESL classes, bullies, strange new foods, icy weather, friendships, and crushes–and how her family worked to keep their heritage alive.

She’ll type one poem at a time, until they’ll never forget again.


Pre-order from your local independent bookstore or the online retailers listed below:
Barnes & Noble


Notable Books for a Global Society 2024 Winner
2023 Freeman Book Award Honorable Mention
2024 Society of Midland Authors Award Semi Finalist in Children’s Fiction

Available in hardcover, kindle/e-book, and audiobook. Published by Tu Books/Lee and Low 2023.

Eleven-year-old Bé hasn’t spoken a word since her mother left. She hangs on to the hope that one day they will be reunited, but after two years of waiting, it’s becoming more difficult. Her father–who is now frail and helpless after a stroke–can do little to protect her from her stepmother, Big Mother, who treats Bé like an animal and a servant. Thankfully, Bé has a secret friend, her little kitten Mèo, to comfort her in the worst of times. Maybe if she just steers clear of Big Mother and is obedient, everything will be okay.

Unfortunately, Big Mother has other plans. She accuses her of stealing, and Bé is drugged and sold. When she wakes up, she finds herself in a locked underground bunker being held captive with a group of young women. Bé is too young to understand why they’re prisoners, but at least she still has Mèo! He was hiding in her shirt when she was taken. As weeks pass, Bé makes a friend her own age, Ngân, even without speaking, and Mèo becomes a solace for the women–being available for cuddles and catching the mice that annoy them.

Suddenly, a violent uprising enables the imprisoned women and girls to escape, only to realize the wider world of war is just as dangerous. Can Bé and Mèo, and their newfound friend, Ngân, find their way to a safe place they can call home–even though the world is literally exploding all around them?

A beautiful literary work, full of kindness and compassion amidst the devastation of war.
 View the Teacher’s Guide

Praise for Mèo and Bé

“Heart-wrenching, hopeful, and heartwarming. Extraordinarily deep and lovely. Please read Mèo and Bé and fall in love like I did.” — Jennifer Niven, #1 New York Times bestselling author of All the Bright Places.

 This historical fiction is so powerful, so gripping, and shows us the Vietnam War from a perspective I feel like we have rarely seen… it’s such a powerful and moving story of one young girl’s survival in the face of unspeakable atrocities. Hand this to middle schoolers who can handle unrelenting trauma and brutality.” — Amanda MacGregor of SLJ’s Teen Librarian Toolbox

“This moving debut novel, based in part on the experiences of members of Nguyen’s family, features well-developed characters, vivid depictions of wartime Vietnam, and a sense of everyday life for ordinary Vietnamese people during this period…An unsparingly brutal but ultimately uplifting story; readers will cheer as Bé finally finds her voice.” — Booklist

“An underrepresented topic on most shelves, this page-turner explores a girl’s search for love and connection while providing a unique and necessary historical perspective.” – School Library Journal

“This powerfully wrought portrayal of grief and perseverance sensitively depicts an underrepresented perspective of life in Vietnam during the war.” — Publishers Weekly

“This raw story of perseverance in the face of horror will challenge readers and their interlocutors.” — Kirkus

“An eye-opening story of a little girl’s strength and resilience amid family trauma and war-torn Vietnam. As she struggles to survive and regain her loved ones and her voice, Bé and her faithful kitten Mèo will win your heart.” — Tonya Duncan Ellis, author of the bestselling Sophie Washington series

“It’s a stunning debut by Vietnamese author Doan Phuong Nguyen about growing up in Vietnam amid war and is sure to make you smile, cry, and then smile some more. She knocked this one out of the park.” — George Jreije, author of the Shad Hadid series

Oh, my heart! What an INCREDIBLE book! I couldn’t stop reading, and I know as a kid I would’ve absolutely devoured this too. This book deals with some really difficult topics like war, human trafficking, and abusive family, but it handles them with such care and thoughtfulness. — Meg Eden Kuyatt, author of Good Different