Join us for an evening with bestselling graphic novelist (and former BK local!) Robin Ha, in conversation with journalist Hannah Bae as they Ha's latest work, Almost American Girl!
About the Book:
A powerful and timely teen graphic novel memoir—perfect for fans of American Born Chinese and Hey, Kiddo—about a Korean-born, non-English-speaking girl who is abruptly transplanted from Seoul to Huntsville, Alabama, and struggles with extreme culture shock and isolation, until she discovers her passion for comic arts.
For as long as she can remember, it’s been Robin and her mom against the world. Growing up in the 1990s 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 at home 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.
Almost American Girl is a deeply moving memoir about immigration, belonging, and how art can save a life, from bestselling comic artist Robin Ha.
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 comics 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 bestselling comic recipe book Cook Korean!
Visit Robin online at banchancomic.tumblr.com.
About Hannah Bae:
Hannah Bae is a freelance journalist and nonfiction writer who is at work on a memoir about family estrangement and mental illness.
Her work has been published in books including “(Don’t) Call Me Crazy: 33 Voices Start the Conversation on Mental Health” (Algonquin Young Readers, 2018) and “The Monocle Travel Guide, Seoul” (food and drinks chapter co-editor/writer, 2018).
She is focused on stories about Korean American culture and identity, and in 2019, several of her essays received nominations for The Pushcart Prize. She was a 2019 Open City fellow in narrative nonfiction at Asian American Writers’ Workshop. Through 2018 and 2019, Hannah served as president of Asian American Journalists Association’s New York chapter, for which she was named AAJA National’s Chapter President of the Year in 2019.
Hannah has worked full-time for organizations such as CNN Business, Newsday and the U.S. State Department. She started her journalism career in Seoul on a Princeton-in-Asia fellowship that led to full-time editor positions at some of South Korea’s largest news organizations and freelance work with CNN, Monocle, Eater, The Associated Press and other clients.
She serves as a reader for the literary journal Pigeon Pages, as a co-director of AAJA’s national mentoring program and as a volunteer with Womankind, a nonprofit that serves survivors of gender-based violence.
Hannah is also an illustrator whose work can be found on Goldthread, Tricycle.org, SupChina and EatDrinkDraw.com, the website she runs with her husband, Adam Oelsner. She and Adam live in Brooklyn with their dog, Ramona.
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. This nonfiction graphic novel is an excellent choice for accelerated tween readers in grades 7 to 8, especially during homeschooling.