Looking at Fall 2012: Little White Duck: A Childhood in China (Lerner/Graphic Universe)

Little White Duck: A Childhood in China
story by Na Liu & Andrés Vera Martínez
illustrated by Andrés Vera Martínez
Lerner / Graphic Universe | 9780761381150 | $9.95 | Oct 2012

It seems like every season there's a book on the Lerner list that sneaks up on me and is either utterly charming (see the Monkey With A Tool Belt series) or is completely, mind-blowingly revelatory (see No Crystal Stair).  In the case of this fall's Little White Duck, we seem to be in the middle ground, right in the sweet spot between charming storytelling and pretty remarkable personal memoir. This graphic memoir is based directly on the memories of author Na Liu, one of two sisters growing up in China in the mid to late 1970s.

In later life, she immigrated to the United States and married cartoonist Andres Very Martinez, who encouraged her to tell her life's story, which he has illustrated with real verve.

It's already received a starred review from Kirkus, and I expect we'll see more. Kirkus calls Little White Duck, “a striking glimpse into Chinese girlhood during the 1970s and ’80s.”  Click through to the Lerner / Graphic Universe blog post about the starred review, and you can see some interior pages.  Here's a bit more from the Lerner blog post:

Based on the early life of the book’s author Na Liu—now a doctor of hematology and oncology—and illustrated by her husband–Andrés Vera Marténez—an award winning artist and graduate from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and the School of Visual Arts—this page-turner is described by Kirkus as “beautifully drawn and quietly evocative”. The book explores, in eight stories, author Na Liu’s—nicknamed Da Qin (Big Piano) and her younger sister Xiao Qin’s (little piano) childhood in Wuhan, one of the nation’s largest cities, right along the Yangtze. Different aspects of China’s history are weaved into the book—from the “Four Pest Campaign”, a time in the late 1950s and early 1960s when the country fought back against the ravages of rats, flies, mosquitoes, and cockroaches—to the observance of the Chinese New Year—Na’s favorite holiday—a time of national pride and great celebration.

This is already one of my favorite books for the fall.