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The Reading Culture

Family Ties: Dan Santat on Childhood, Parenthood, and Finding Himself

The Reading Culture
The Reading Culture

On Today's Show

  • "It (TV) was my junk food, but also it was my in with the kids to be able to talk about pop culture, to know all the little nuances and jokes about the cultural zeitgeist things.” - Dan Santat

Media and stories around us around us are more than just entertainment. They provide a common space, a piece of the world around us that connects us to others. We learn from these stories, shape our own views and ideas, and listen to and share these ideas with others.

Dan Santat, 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 1980s 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.


Connect with Jordan and The Reading Culture @thereadingculturepod and subscribe to our newsletter at thereadingculturepod.com/newsletter.


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

You can find his list and all past reading challenges at thereadingculturepod.com.

This episode’s Beanstack Featured Librarian is Connie Sharpe from Metro Nashville Public Schools. She told us about the importance of the connection between administrators and librarians.


Chapter 1 - Thai in SoCal (2:25)

Chapter 2 - Crime Fighting (vehicle here) (6:55)

Chapter 3 - The Trial and Death of Socrates (12:59)

Chapter 4 - A Book About Dan (21:04)

Chapter 5 - Passing on Heritage (and advice) (24:09)

Chapter 6 - A Storyteller’s Legacy (31:03)

Chapter 7 - Profound Panels (34:17)

Chapter 8 - Beanstack Featured Librarian (35:40)


Host: Jordan Lloyd Bookey

Jackie Lamport and Lower Street Media

Script Editors: Josia Lamberto-Egan, Jackie Lamport, Jordan Lloyd Bookey

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