Where We Come From

In this dreamy mosaic of stories, four authors share their family histories, spirituality and cultures from ancient times to the present, lyrically capturing the moving and endless variety of American experiences.

The far-reaching and poetic Where We Come From explores the multitudes of identity that make up every individual. Diane Wilson (The Seedkeeper), Sun Yung Shin (The Wet Hex), Shannon Gibney (See No Color) and John Coy (Hoop Genius) begin their individual stories as one: "We come from single cells evolving over billions of years as did all life on Earth--bacteria, trees, animals!" Over subsequent engagingly illustrated pages, the authors move through time, still as a united "we." The voices then divide into four and work toward present days, taking turns (in first-person singular now) chronicling their origins as Dakota, Black and Irish American, Korean American, and Irish and Scottish American.

The digital art of Indonesian illustrator Dion MBD (Every Day: The Graphic Novel) provides a warm and layered foundation for the developing stories. He uses light and shadow to lovely effect, and weaves almost mystical elements into the imagery. Rather than creating one tightening thread that brings the narratives together into a single American story, the overall feel of Where We Come From is that of a glorious hodgepodge. Back matter elaborates on the specific nonfiction details of the stories and illustrations, providing context and a fuller background to the poetic, mystical-sounding text.

This beautifully illustrated paean to the endless variety of American experiences is a terrific response to the insensitive query: "No, but where do you really come from?" --Emilie Coulter, freelance writer and editor

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