Seattle Reads recently celebrated Vietnamese American cartoonist Thi Bui’s comics memoir The Best We Could Do. Bui is one of many, many great Asian American and Pacific Islander American cartoonists. In honor of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, librarians at The Seattle Public list created a list of work from some of these brilliant cartoonists. Below are a few selections.
In celebration of Seattle Reads 2019, Jess Boyd spoke to Thi Bui about her award- winning graphic novel,The Best We Could Do(TBWCD), the 2019 Seattle Reads selection.
An Interview with Thi Bui
by Jess Boyd
Thi Bui’s The Best We Could Do is a story that moved me, my family and my community. It gave voice to feelings and frustrations that I had yet to articulate and acted as a medium to bridge generations and countries.
The story is a multigenerational saga told through Bui’s past and present selves. Bui generously shares herself at different moments throughout her life, as a child, as a sibling, as a new mother, allowing us to see the far reaching ripples of war, and the way that those ripples can become waves that carry people across oceans.
Jess Boyd: Where was the birthplace of your creativity?
Thi Bui: I have to take a moment to allow myself to accept the compliment embedded in this question. “Ya not creative!” shouts my inner Viet.
Okay, it’s good now. I remember making things and daydreaming when I was a kid as a form of escape. Whether I was escaping my drab physical environment or tense emotional environment, I’m not sure … maybe both? It’s not like that anymore but that was how being creative started — first as an escape and then as a rebellion.
The Seattle Public Library has physical comics for children, teens, and adults available for checkout in all of our 27 locations, as well as through our mobile services. We also have comics available through our Hoopla Digital service. But did you know, amongst all of the mysteries, memoirs, and literary fiction e-books, that we also have approximately 1,700 “comic and graphic works” in our OverDrive collection?! This collection includes popular kids comics like the Narwhal and Jelly series, relatable webcomics such as “Sarah’s Scribbles,” award winners like Kindred… and even the 2019 Seattle Reads selection The Best We Could Do by Thi Bui!
I’ve been reading a lot of food-focused manga and comics recently. Maybe I’m just a hungry person? I do like food, but really, while these manga and comics share the culinary theme they span some wildly different story-telling territory; from D&D-esque dungeon crawlers, to queer slice-of-life stories, to cooking competitions. Some of these stories even include actual recipes (though a few use fictional ingredients).
Delicious in Dungeon by Ryoko Kui
Follow a band of adventurers as they attempt to rescue a party-member from the dungeon’s infamous red dragon, but not before killing and cooking up other monsters along the way. You can try to make these recipes at home, but you’ll have a difficult time finding all of the ingredients…