Almost American Girl: An Illustrated Memoir (Paperback)
Winter 2019 Kids Indie Next List
“Chuna lives with her mother in Korea; it’s just the two of them and always has been. Suddenly, her life is turned upside down when what she thinks is a vacation to Alabama turns out to be a permanent stay. Her mother is getting married, and her family of two has just quadrupled in size. Now, at 14, Chuna must learn how to navigate this new American life. Robin Ha shares her story with readers in this touching memoir told in graphic novel form, and I enjoyed every moment of it. You will laugh and cry!”
— Jen Steele, Boswell Book Company, Milwaukee, WI
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.
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.
— Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
"A poignant and unvarnished depiction of immigration—both the heartache and the rewards."
— 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)
“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.”
— Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“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.”
— Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
“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.”
— San Francisco Chronicle
“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.”
— Jerry Craft, author of New Kid
“Incredibly honest, poignant, and ultimately triumphant, Almost American Girl is a treasure.”
— Michael Cho, author of Shoplifter
“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.”
— Hazel Newlevant, author of No Ivy League