In this semi-autobiographical YA graphic novel, Ava Song, a half Chinese, half white 18 year old girl leaves her family and home in Beijing to pursue her dream of studying illustration in America. However she quickly discovers her new peers, like her roommate Courtney Price, dismiss and doubt she’s Asian at all when she’s also half white and has tan skin. But she finds solace in her new friends Harlow Lim and Mengchun Hu. Together they create a new type of home and support Ava while she finds her artistic voice, and learns to embrace and stand up for her dual cultural identity.
Age Range:Young Adult
Genre:BIPOC, Own Voices, Realistic Fiction/Slice of Life, Retelling, Social Issues
Page Count Estimate:330-390
When I moved to the USA by myself at 18, I soon learned my mixed race heritage made it difficult for people to believe me when I said I grew up in China, was half Chinese and could speak Chinese. They would dismiss me and say one of my cultures was clearly more “real” than the other. At first it always seemed so much easier to give in to whatever someone thought I was supposed to be, but I have since found the courage to stand my ground. So with this story, I hope to create awareness and acceptance of marginalized identities that don’t fit a single label and help them find their courage like I did.
I’ve always had a fierce curiosity for all things related to art from a young age, and this obsession led me to pursue a bachelor’s degree in illustration at Ringling College of Art and Design. After graduation my path led me to mainly work with children’s book illustration, some graphic novels and apparel design. I’ve also collaborated on many freelance projects, have helped authors create character art for book proposals, and illustrated background art for animation.