Vol. 3 - Chasing Dreams, Becoming a Doctor - Green Card Voices

This unique English-Khmer bilingual graphic memoir starts and ends in Cambodia for a girl who will inspire readers to hold on to their dreams. 

Kim Uy and her parents waited 15 years in Cambodia before emigrating to the United States. She had to learn English in high school, ignore those who said “medicine is not for you,” and she had to stay strong to pursue her dream of becoming a doctor. And once Kim met her goals in America, she returned to Cambodia to care for those who needed her most. 

Chasing Dreams, Becoming a Doctor tells the inspiring story of Kim Uy’s ability to adapt to cultures, learn languages other than Khmer—Chinese and English—and succeed wherever she goes. Her memoir is beautifully illustrated in ink wash technique to create value, shading, form and depth within the artwork. The illustrator is Chinese-American artist sunshine gao. Cover illustrated by Khmer-American artist Kat Eng. 

Book Contents

  • 64 pages in full color
  • Discussion questions
  • Important concepts about Kim’s story
  • Words to know from the story
  • Written in English and Khmer
  • Reading comprehension for ages 8+

About the Contributors of Chasing Dreams, Becoming a Doctor


Storyteller of Chasing Dreams, Becoming a Doctor

From: Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Current: Minneapolis, Minnesota

Kim Uy lived a very busy life as a child in Cambodia, attending a Khmer school in the mornings and Chinese school in the afternoons. Kim’s aunt, a U.S. citizen, sponsored her father and his family to come to the United States beginning in 1991. They finally arrived 15 years later in 2006, when Kim was 15 years old. English proved to be a challenge in Kim’s life in the United States, so opportunities like her English as a Second Language (ESL) biology class were especially exciting for her. She joined the Army Reserve after high school and graduated from University of St. Thomas, majoring in Neuroscience. In 2020, Kim graduated with dual Doctor of Medicine and Master of Public Health degrees from the University of Minnesota. She is currently completing her residency training in general surgery and hopes to serve underserved inner city patients in her future career as a surgeon.

sunshine gao

Cover artist and illustrator of Belonging in America and Mexico

Born: China
Current: Minneapolis, Minnesota

sunshine gao was born in China and raised in Indiana and Kentucky. Once, they studied moral philosophy and ecology; cooked noodles; and sold produce. Now, they draw stories about home—in all its forms, with all its complications. In spite of everything, they believe the world can be made a beautiful place.



Current: Minneapolis, Minnesota

Kat Eng is a mixed 2nd-gen Khmer artist, organizer and visual storyteller. Their narrative and documentary projects explore the loss, belonging, and relationships with land. Past project partners have included the Minnesota Museum of American Art, zAmya Theater, the Land Stewardship Project, and the Asian Prisoner Support Committee.


About the Children’s Bilingual Graphic Novel Series, Our Stories Carried Us Here

Following the breakout success of the graphic novel anthology, Our Stories Carried Us Here, Green Card Voices presents the children’s graphic novel series of the same name. In this series, we explore the same challenging questions of identity, race, and discrimination, but written for an audience in grades 3-5. As our student population becomes increasingly BIPOC (52% of US school population in 2020), teachers and parents are searching for books that are reflective of who their students and children are, and which help them feel more at home in America. Through authentic narratives from immigrant storytellers and engaging full color visuals, developing and fluent readers access and explore a variety of distinctly American experiences. Each book features a single story presented in both English and the native language of the storyteller. Moreover, supporting pages provide background building content, thought provoking discussion questions, and a well curated list of additional resources for extension opportunities. 


Reading Level: 600L-1200L

Audience: All children, 3th -5th grade, 8-12 years old


  • Share cultures, stories of children immigrants, first and possibly second generation
  • Show how diverse each immigrant journey is
  • Focus on a diverse group of children immigrants coming from several different regions 
    • Vol 1.: Mexico (JUNE 2022)
    • Vol 2.: Yemen (April 2023)
    • Vol 3.: Cambodia (May 2024)
    • Vol 4: Hmong (November 2024)
  • Provide detailed and authentic resources for other children immigrant to reference about their culture
  • Focus on the change/transition from the immigrant’s previous life in their birth country to America
  • Show the integration of their culture and America’s culture and how they could still be themselves and follow their culture while living in America

Book Details:

  • Estimated total count of pages: 32 pages in English, translated; TOTAL: 64 pages
  • Type of book: Children’s hardcover book
  • Bilingual flip book: one language on one side (front), another on the other side (back)
  • Dimensions of book: 5.5 x 8.5 inches

Book Design:

  • Use illustration by immigrant illustrator (preferably from the same region)
  • Book cover will be a illustrated with a color portrait (all volumes will follow the same structure)
  • Color palette: each volume has its own color palette

Praise and Reviews

The novel chronicles an inspiring journey of a young Cambodian girl who, despite being a non-English speaker, overcomes immense challenges to pursue her dream of becoming a surgeon in the U.S. A testament to the limitless potential within us all, her immigrant success story reminds the readers of the power of determination, perseverance, resilience, and self-belief.

Sovicheth Boun, PhD, Associate Professor of TESOL at Salem State University
Author, Law Professor, Leadership Scholar, Founder of literacy organization Planting People Growing, and Justice Leadership Institute

Wow! What an incredible book. I like that it is written about a young woman transitioning into a new country and a new home! This book shows her triumph and her determination to become a doctor […] After reading this amazing story, I feel inspired to create arts to help address intergenerational trauma and promote and preserve the Khmer language and culture. I hope that all children around the world are inspired to become whoever they want to be and choose a career […], and work hard and study hard like Dr. Kim and achieve their goals in life.

Narate Keys, Poet & Playwright, Author of The Good Life, The Changes… Immigration Footprints of Our Journey and Planting SEADs
Poet, Librarian, Community Engager

In this poignant narrative, the author, a Cambodian immigrant, provides a deeply personal perspective on the untold story of a community often overlooked. As readers navigate the author’s life journey, the story becomes a beacon of inspiration, guiding them through the complexities of cultural displacement, language barriers, and the pursuit of education. The transformative story instills hope and empowerment, encouraging readers to embrace their unique paths. The narrative urges learning from the untold stories of those who have endured displacement, emphasizing the need for diverse perspectives and a deeper understanding of immigrant experiences.


Saengmany Ratsabout, Executive Director, East Side Freedom Library
EL, Social Studies & Ethnic Studies Teacher, South High School MSP, Anthology Editor of Immigrant Stories: Stories of Home and Dreams for our Future, 826MSP Teacher Partner for the book Words Unburden Me

What a beautiful gift the author bestows on us by sharing her heartfelt story.  The author begins her story in Cambodia, sharing the rich tapestry and challenges of her family life and cultural traditions. It then follows her immigration journey to the United States that sparked profound gratitude for her parents’ sacrifices in paving the way for a new future. Her inspiring journey in overcoming challenges driven by unwavering commitment, allows her to pursue and accomplish her aspirations as a doctor. This is a remarkable story of resilience, gratitude, and determination

Kha A. Yang, Chief Diversity Officer and Associate VP for Inclusive Excellence, University of St. Thomas
Principal of Highwood Hills Elementary School in the Saint Paul Public Schools, and Chair of the Board, Minnesota Africans United

Kim’s story highlights the power we have to use science to inspire learning and improve lives. Sharing stories like this celebrates the diversity of perspectives we need to re-imagine the scientific enterprise.

Robby Callahan Schreiber, Museum Access & Equity Director, Science Museum of Minnesota
Principal of Highwood Hills Elementary School in the Saint Paul Public Schools, and Chair of the Board, Minnesota Africans United

This book serves as a source of inspiration, particularly for individuals who do not speak English as their first language. Through the author’s personal journey of struggle and determination in Cambodia and the United States, readers gain a deeper understanding of the challenges faced by individuals in difficult circumstances. By witnessing the author’s resilience and unwavering determination, readers are inspired to overcome their own obstacles and pursue their dreams. The book enhances its readability and makes it accessible to a wider audience.

Kim Sin, Khmer Community Leader and System Administrator at University of Minnesota Rochester
Director of Teaching and Learning at the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction and Assistant Coordinator of Language and Literacy and Teaching Faculty at Edgewood College