I received this book for free from Random House Children's Books and TBR & Beyond Book Tours in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
This post contains affiliate links you can use to purchase the book. If you buy the book using that link, I will receive a small commission from the sale.Maybe An Artist, A Graphic Memoir by Liz Montague
Published by Random House Children's Books on October 18, 2022
Genres: Young Adult Nonfiction / Art / Cartooning, Young Adult Nonfiction / Biography & Autobiography / Art, Young Adult Nonfiction / Comics & Graphic Novels / Social Topics
Source: Random House Children's Books and TBR & Beyond Book Tours
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A heartfelt and funny graphic novel memoir from one of the first Black female cartoonists to be published in the New Yorker, when she was just 22 years old.
When Liz Montague was a senior in college, she wrote to the New Yorker, asking them why they didn't publish more inclusive comics. The New Yorker wrote back asking if she could recommend any. She responded: yes, me.
Those initial cartoons in the New Yorker led to this memoir of Liz's youth, from the age of five through college--how she navigated life in her predominantly white New Jersey town, overcame severe dyslexia through art, and found the confidence to pursue her passion. Funny and poignant, Liz captures the age-old adolescent questions of “who am I?” and “what do I want to be?” with pitch-perfect clarity and insight.
This brilliant, laugh-out-loud graphic memoir offers a fresh perspective on life and social issues and proves that you don’t need to be a dead white man to find success in art.
Today is my stop on the TBR and Beyond Book Tour for Maybe an Artist by Liz Montague. Check out my review below and follow along with the other stops on the tour this week!
Who am I? and Why do I do what I do? Those are two questions that Maybe an Artist by Liz Montague delves into with her graphic memoir.
Maybe an Artist is written and illustrated by the Liz Montague who has also been a cartoonist for The New Yorker. First, let’s talk representation! Shoutout to Black cartoonists and illustrators in the graphic design and art world. My daughter actually has tried to snatch the book from me several times while I tried to write this review because she is really into art and drawing right now and seeing a Black girl on the cover drew her to the book like a magnet.
The exploration of identity with connections to both race and social development are dealt with throughout the book. If you are familiar with or grew up in suburbia as a kid, then you will recognize some of the issues she has to navigate.
I liked most how Montague explored her journey from elementary to college/adulthood and how she navigated her relationship with being an artist. For teens and preteens who read this book, it is important to recognize that while some people have a clear idea of what they want to be when they grow up, the majority of us do not. Montague’s journey to becoming an artist is not straight forward or clear cut, but it is always there. The way the focus on art rises at certain points –like when she is dealing with dyslexia or advocating for an issue — and fades to the back at other points –like when she is running track or thinking about her major. In many ways her journey with art mirrors her journey through life.
Part of Montague’s journey as she grows up is not just finding herself, but also becoming brave and developing her confidence. There are moments throughout the memoir that pop up that are examples of that – choosing her major, being brave and bold with The New Yorker.
Shoutout to the English Teacher!
I couldn’t end this review without giving a shoutout to Montague’s English teacher for giving her the space and freedom to demonstrate her learning using art and words together. Chef’s Kiss!
This is a great quick read and I love that it is in the author’s artistic medium. It touches on topics of growing up, identity and following your dreams. Love the representation and I hope to hear more artists of color tell their stories. I would definitely recommend to parents and teachers for their students and children. Montague’s story deals with many of the questions and issues that preteens and teens will face and I think this book will help them with their reflections as they proceed in their own life journeys.
About the Author:
Liz Montague is a cartoonist, writer, and illustrator whose work focuses on the intersection of self and social awareness. She began contributing to the New Yorker in 2019 as a cartoonist and has illustrated for the U.S. Open, Food Network, Google, and the Joe Biden presidential campaign. She’s been profiled by the Washington Post, ABC News, and Today, among other media outlets. Liz is the creator of the popular Liz at Large cartoon series, which previously ran in Washington City Paper, and is passionate about documenting social change and protest movements. This is her first book for children.
- Website: https://lizatlarge.org/
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/lizatlarge
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/lizatlarge/
- Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14395566.Elizabeth_Montague
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