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Almost American Girl
Cover of Almost American Girl
Almost American Girl
An Illustrated Memoir
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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...
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...
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Description-

  • 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.

About the Author-

  • Robin Ha grew up reading and drawing comics. At fourteen she moved to the United States from Seoul, Korea. After graduating from the Rhode Island School of Design with a BFA in illustration, she moved to New York City and started a career in the fashion industry. Her work has been published in independent comic anthologies including Secret Identities and The Strumpet, as well as in the pages of Marvel Comics and Heavy Metal Magazine. She is also the author of the New York Times bestselling comic recipe book Cook Korean!: A Comic Book with Recipes. Visit Robin online at banchancomic.tumblr.com.

Reviews-

  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from November 4, 2019
    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.

  • School Library Journal

    Starred review from November 1, 2019

    Gr 7 Up-Ha's touching graphic memoir depicts her lonely first year as a teenage immigrant to America. When her single mother brought her from Seoul, South Korea, to Huntsville, AL, in 1995, 14-year-old Chuna (the author's Korean name) thought it was just another vacation, but she quickly discovered that her mother intended to marry a fellow Korean immigrant, Mr. Kim. Chuna and her mother moved in with Mr. Kim's extended family, and Chuna joined her new stepcousins at school. Stranded in a sea of indecipherable English and racist bullies, she realized that the glossy America she saw on television was far from reality. But Chuna began to take a clear-eyed look at her home country, particularly the prejudice she faced because her mother was unmarried, and came to understand her mother's choice to leave Seoul. Eventually, Chuna joined a comic book course and bonded with her classmates. Illustrations include dynamic sound effects and convey overwrought emotion. The sepia-toned flashbacks to life in Seoul at first seem nostalgic, but as the teen reflects on how conservative Korean culture was, the monochromatic scenes feel far more bleak. Ha's all too infrequent fantasy sequences are gloriously colorful, especially the scene when Chuna takes solace in her favorite fantasy universe. VERDICT A poignant and unvarnished depiction of immigration-both the heartache and the rewards.-Anna Murphy, Berkeley Carroll School, Brooklyn

    Copyright 2019 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Kirkus Reviews (starred review) "This heartfelt memoir from an author who shares her honest, personal experiences. An insightful, moving coming-of-age tale."
  • School Library Journal (starred review) "With unblinking honesty and raw vulnerability [and] presented in full-color splendor, her energetic style mirrors the constant motion of her adolescent self, navigating the peripatetic turbulence toward adulthood."
  • ALA Booklist (starred review) "Ha effectively uses the comic book format to recall her own memories of dislocation, explore a testy mother-daughter relationship and ultimately chronicle a poignant search for identity."
  • Publishers Weekly (starred review) "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."
  • Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books "Ha successfully brings to life the wide range of emotions that both tell the story and provide evidence that the comic medium has been a healing force for her and perhaps could be for readers who have walked similar paths."
  • San Francisco Chronicle "A poignant and unvarnished depiction of immigration—both the heartache and the rewards."
  • Jerry Craft, author of New Kid "Robin's story is both utterly her own and deeply resonant for anyone who's felt lost in the world and fought to carve out a place for themselves."
  • Michael Cho, author of Shoplifter "A powerful memoir that not only shows what it's like to be in a new town or a new school, but what it's like to move to an entirely new country! It's an amazing journey that is sure to promote empathy with readers."
  • Hazel Newlevant, author of No Ivy League "Incredibly honest, poignant, and ultimately triumphant, Almost American Girl is a treasure."

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    Balzer + Bray
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An Illustrated Memoir
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