Asian-Pacific Heritage Month Graphic Novel Spotlight

In honor of Asian-Pacific Heritage Month we are putting the spotlight on a few Asian American graphic novelists who create write and draw for kids and teens.

Gene Luen Yang

Gene Luen Yang is one of the more prolific graphic novelists working today to create books for kids and teens. He often takes on both writing and illustrating duties for his books, such as the Printz Award winning American Born Chinese, a unique take on cultural identity and self acceptance.

In The Shadow Hero, Yang collaborated with artist Sonny Liew to write a superhero story inspired by the Green Turtle, a character who is believed to be the first ever Asian American Superhero.

Prime Baby, one of Yang's books written for kids, is about a boy who believes his new baby sister is an alien and touches upon themes from his other career as a math teacher.

Readers may also know Yang as the writer of the Avatar, the Last Airbender series of comics which tell the continuing story of the popular television series.

Before he became an author, Yang taught computer science, a topic which he incorporates into his upcoming graphic novel Secret Coders. He's also begun writing the Superman comic book for DC Comics. Whew—what a busy guy!

Dan Santat

Dan Santat was recently awarded the Caldecott award for his picture book, The Adventures of Beekle, the touching tale of an imaginary creature in search of a friend.

Additionally, Santat is a graphic novelist who has dabbled in super hero themes as seen in Sidekicks. This is a twist on Captain Amazing, the hero of Metro City, but he is not the protagonist of this tale — his faithful, super powered pets are the stars of this story!

Both Santat and Yang have made contributions to Comics Squad a fun collection of comics that features works from the creators of Captain Underpants and Babymouse.

Kazu Kabuishi

A popular graphic novel series is the Amulet series by Kazu Kabuishi. Now in its sixth volume, the series started in Amulet: Book One, the Stone Keeper. This epic fantasy series follows the adventures of a pair of siblings as they travel through a portal in their new home to a mysterious and dangerous world of giant robots, talking animals and villainous characters.

Another graphic novel Kabuishi is known for is, Copper, a fantastical adventure about a boy named Copper and his talking dog, Fred. Reader's with a keen eye may recognize Kabuishi's art on the covers of recent editions of the Harry Potter series.

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