Zodiac: A Graphic Memoir

Ten Speed Graphic. Jan. 2024. 176p. Tr $28.99. ISBN 9781984862990.
Gr 9 Up–This graphic memoir is beautifully crafted. Structurally, it details the main characteristics of the 12 animal signs in the Chinese zodiac, and then presents ancient Chinese folktales that depict the theme of each animal. These Chinese folktales interweave with artist Ai Weiwei’s life, including his family, imprisonment, and career during the Chinese Cultural Revolution era. Poets, teachers, and artists who were commonly accused and condemned during Mao’s Hundred Flowers Movement are also illustrated in great detail. The narrative shifts back and forth through years of events, charting Weiwei’s memory. Living in exile since he was a young child, with no formal education, and being restricted only to Chinese Communist Party–approved comic books all act to cultivate Weiwei’s ability to express his thoughts and create art.
VERDICT Readers will enjoy learning about the extraordinary life journey of artist Ai Weiwei. Recommended.

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