cover image Maybe an Artist

Maybe an Artist

Liz Montague. Random House Studio, $24.99 (176p) ISBN 978-0-593-30782-3

While struggling to “create something from nothing,” Montague wonders as an adult, “Why do I do this?” She answers that question in this sincere graphic memoir debut by doing what comes naturally: drawing it out, and examining the motivations she discovered in her childhood leading up to her publication as one of the first Black female cartoonists to be featured in the New Yorker. Growing up post-9/11 as one of the few Black girls in Marlton, N.J., Montague struggled to see herself in visiting career day professionals (when a classmate asks which one she’d grow up to be, Montague replies, “None of them—they don’t have the right hair”). She uses art to overcome obstacles such as dyslexia and her classmates’ casual racism, as well as to contextualize the world around her. Embracing a sense of entrepreneurial spirit after first being paid for her art, she determinedly pursues art as a career. Told with a classic comic strip flair and divided into chapters that recount each life stage, Montague’s illustrations, rendered in a flat pastel color palette and paired with deadpan humor and insightful social commentary, crafts an inspiring journey of self-discovery, self-expression, and self-love. Ages 12–up. Agent: Wendi Gu, GreenbergerKids. (Oct.)