Lincolnwood Reads: Outside, Inside by LeUyen Pham

Posted & filed under Blog, Book Discussions, Early Literacy, Youth & Teen.

Our youth librarians chose Outside, Inside by LeUyen Pham as our youth Lincolnwood Reads selection. Participate in Lincolnwood Reads on Beanstack by creating an account.

Our youth librarians chose Outside, Inside as our youth Lincolnwood Reads selection, recognizing as Kirkus noted, that this book is “a powerful ode to community [delivering] a timeless message of humility, perseverance, and hope.” With her signature gorgeous and affirming style that reflects her deep, empathetic understanding of young readers, LeUyen Pham uses the concepts of inside/outside to help offer support, care, and insight to both document this moment in time – and also show how caring for each other is timeless.

As a book about the past year, please note Outside, Inside does discuss and show loss related to COVID-19. It is a beautiful book that deals with hard things in a hopeful, compassionate way. We wanted to share some resources to help you take care of yourselves and express any feelings you’re feeling.

Watch our archived Lunch Break Storytime: Feelings. You can also download our Storytime Handout.

How To Recognize and Respond To Big Feelings (Sesame Street Communities)

How Big Is Your Scary Feeling? (Sesame Street Communities)

Our community also has a variety of mental heath resources available:

Turning Point Mental Health Services

JCFS Chicago Response for Teens

No Shame On U

Metropolitan Family Services

Outside, Inside Grab & Go Kit

Our Youth Librarians have created a special Grab & Go Kit to explore Outside, Inside by LeUyen Pham together and extend the literacy experience with a variety of reading, writing, crafting, and connecting activities. Several of the activities in the kit are Beanstack tasks you can complete, check off, and win prizes! We’d love to see what you create so feel free to share pictures or videos with us at You can pick up a free Grab & Go Kit in our Great Green Box while supplies last. You can also use all of the ideas and resources available in this digital kit.

*Please note that several activities come from the activity guide created by Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group..


Read Outside, Inside by LeUyen Pham. You can put a copy on hold at our library. You can share it by asking open-ended questions. This is a technique called ‘dialogic reading,’ and research shows that it helps children increase their reading comprehension and critical thinking skills. Some suggested questions: Where is the cat? What do you notice? What do you wonder? How does this spread make you feel?


Call our Dial-a-Story line at 847-999-7600 to listen to a Read Aloud of Outside, Inside, read by Ms. Ann. This is a wonderful activity you can do as a family.

Join our Outside, Inside Book Discussion/Storytime

Attend our family book discussion/storytime on Wednesday, April 7 at 6–7pm CST! Register here. You can even share what you’ve created using this kit during our program! We will make the paper house together in the program.

Write a Thank You Note*

Every day nurses, doctors, grocery-store workers, post-office employees, teachers, and many others help make a world a better place. Write a thank you note to someone who has made a difference in your community. You can use the card, worksheet and envelope. Sesame Street Communities has resources to provide ways for everyone to say thank you. You can even create this Mail a Hug craft.

Interview Someone You Love*

Is there someone you miss seeing every day? Call them on the phone or set up a video call and interview them! You can use the worksheet for ideas for questions. You can even interview them for My Lincolnwood Story!

Shop Local

Support our local independent bookstore partner, Booked in Evanston, by purchasing a copy of our Lincolnwood Reads selections here. You can also email them at to request any of our readalike titles – or any book you desire! They are the best!!


Draw a picture of your favorite thing to do outside.

Draw a picture of your favorite thing to do inside.

We have also included some activity pages from the readalike book, Why Are You So Quiet? by Jaclyn Desforges & illustrated by Risa Hugo.

Make a Memory Jar

Inspired by In a Jar by Deborah Marcero and Memory Jars by Vera Brosgol, create your own memory jar. A memory jar can be a time capsule of an hour, a day, an event, or an entire season/year. Use the scrapbook paper and your own art supplies to draw or write down words that remind you of moments or feelings you want to capture. You can even put little objects into the jar. This is an activity you can do with the whole family. You could even make the jar to share with a friend or family member.

Host a Dance Party

Host a family dance party with your favorite music and dance moves. We have created a fun playlist of music we love to help you get moving and get everyone at home involved in creating your epic playlist. You can use speakers or a computer for quality sound. You can even dim the lights and set up some string lights or color-changing led lights to make it fancy. We’ve provided a glow stick bracelet and connector to add to the fun, which are recommended for ages 3 years old and up.

Paper House

Make a paper house using the provided template from the Eric Carle Museum. Watch the tutorial video with LeUyen Pham to learn how to make the paper house. The project starts at around 16 minutes.

Speaking of the Carle Museum, check out ART in PLACE: Social Distancing in the Studio, “an exhibition featuring inspiring artworks created by more than 20 of today’s leading picture-book artists during the global pandemic. Each illustrator shares one artwork, a self-portrait taken in their studio, and a statement about their selection.”

Mentor Text

The pairing of opposites of outside/inside offer an opportunity to use this book as a powerful mentor text for writers of all ages. Use the format of Outside, Inside as a prompt for a creative writing response after reading this book.


Watch virtual author visits and storytimes with LeUyen Pham talking about creating Outside, Inside.

LeUyen Pham launch Event from An Unlikely Story Bookstore

We recommend attending OUTSIDE, INSIDE: Teaching, Learning, and Reflecting on Life During the Pandemic on Monday, March 15 at 5:30 CST. All author proceeds will benefit the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank.

“Using Outside, Inside, rich conversation, and multimodal activities, author/illustrator LeUyen Pham and educator Kass Minor will help caregivers and educators develop a foundational landscape for engaging kids in authentic conversation and reflective practice grounded in and connected to the 2020-21/Global Pandemic teaching and learning experience. Kids, teachers, and caregivers have few opportunities to talk about how COVID-19 has shaped their lives, and many have become desensitized to its omnipresent force. LeUyen Pham’s newest book Outside, Inside offers a gentle touchstone for initiating and/or continuing these conversations.” This session is recorded so you can always register and watch it at your convenience.

Explore Readalikes

Check out readalike books that explore similar themes, such as community, kindness, family, creativity, various emotions, and resilience. Picture books are for everybody!

You can also pair Outside, Inside with other kinds of media such as poetry performances, art, comics, and film. Watch National Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman read her poem, ‘The Miracle of Morning (presented in April 2020). You can access a performance video here.

We’d love to hear what you think about our Grab & Go Kit! Fill out our survey with your input and you’ll be entered into a prize raffle.


A librarian always shares their sources 🙂 Here are some of the awesome learning resources we’ve found and used to create this Grab & Go Kit and Lincolnwood Reads programs:

KidLit These Days Podcast: Stay Safe

Strength as One (Librarian’s Quest)

Asian Lit for Kids Review

Sondra Eklund Review

In a Jar + Memory Jar Craft (This Picture Book Life)

Outside, Inside: The LeUyen Pham Interview and Trailer Reveal (Fuse #8)

LeUyen Pham: Evidence of love in a most difficult year (BookPage interview by Julie Danielson)

Teachers Books Reads Blog

Bookends Blog

‘Outside, Inside’ Is a Time Capsule That Helps Kids and Adults Reflect on Pandemic Life by Kara Newhouse (Mindshift)