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by Lat & illustrated by Lat

Age Range: 14 & up

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2006
ISBN: 1-59643-121-0
Publisher: First Second/Roaring Brook

In a charming story of a young boy’s life, Lat recounts his childhood living in a small village (or kampung) in Malaysia. Beginning in his infancy, the reader experiences Lat’s life up to his later boyhood, when he leaves his family and familiarity to attend boarding school. In addition to sharing his memories, Lat pays close attention to the social mores and nuances of his culture, offering the reader a glimpse into a foreign life. A sweetly naturalistic memoir, this non-traditional graphic novel breaks free of the conventional boxy panel layout to richly extend the black and white illustrations over the pages, with most pages containing a single scene. The art is highly detailed, letting the reader linger over each page, enjoying the feel of experiencing life in another country. Besides offering up a smart cohesion of careful text with meticulous illustration, Lat offers his readers a unique perspective in his scenes; when drawing himself as a young boy, his settings are oversized and exaggerated, showing the reader that even in a small kampung, life can still loom large for a child. Intriguing and edifying, Lat’s memoir is an endearing look at a foreign adolescence. (Graphic novel. YA)