Harvey Award Nominee, Best Children or Young Adult Book
A powerful and moving teen graphic novel memoir about immigration, belonging, and how arts can save a life—perfect for fans of American Born Chinese and Hey, Kiddo.
For as long as she can remember, it’s been Robin and her mom against the world. Growing up as the only child of a single mother in Seoul, Korea, wasn’t always easy, but it has bonded them fiercely together.
So when a vacation to visit friends in Huntsville, Alabama, unexpectedly becomes a permanent relocation—following her mother’s announcement that she’s getting married—Robin is devastated.
Overnight, her life changes. She is dropped into a new school where she doesn’t understand the language and struggles to keep up. She is completely cut off from her friends in Seoul and has no access to her beloved comics. At home, she doesn’t fit in with her new stepfamily, and worst of all, she is furious with the one person she is closest to—her mother.
Then one day Robin’s mother enrolls her in a local comic drawing class, which opens the window to a future Robin could never have imagined.
This nonfiction graphic novel with four starred reviews is an excellent choice for teens and also accelerated tween readers, both for independent reading and units on immigration, memoirs, and the search for identity.
In her YA debut, adult author Ha (Cook Korean!: A Comic Book with Recipes) creates a graphic novel memoir about a girl's transition from Korea to America. Tomboyish Chuna, 14, and her single mother have always been each other's closest relationship. But when her mother decides to remarry, Chuna is uprooted from her comfortable life in South Korea to the completely foreign environs of Huntsville, Ala. Faced with bullying from her classmates and stepfamily, Chuna's only solace is in drawing comics. It is only when Chuna is once more uprooted to the far more ethnically diverse McLean, Va., that she begins to build relationships and an identity that blends her Korean and American identities. Ha's vivid recollections impart a clear sense of place, whether they describe the Korea of her mother's generation or 21st-century Korea, Alabama, and Virginia, depicting each location with distinctive details. The colors are muted, allowing the vibrancy of the storytelling to shine. Touching and subtly humorous, this emotive memoir is as much about the steadfast bond between a mother and daughter as it is about the challenges of being an immigrant in America. Ages 13 up.