Liz Montague, New Yorker cartoonist and creator of the Liz at Large cartoon series, debuts with a humorous and touching graphic memoir about self-doubt and finding her calling.
After Montague's husband asks her a seemingly simple question--"Why do you do it?"--she becomes fixated on the answer: "Why do I do this?" She looks at her art from "back when it was all just for fun" and reminisces about childhood. Third-grade Liz "didn't really notice the direction letters faced" and often wrote backwards but found comfort in drawing. When she started to look at letters like "little pictures," she was able to correctly "make the different shapes." By the end of fifth grade, she mostly had her letters mastered and, while in middle school, "realized doodling really helped [her] think." She began illustrating her homework and succeeding both academically and athletically. However, her passion for art is shrouded by the overwhelming pressure to "get an athletic scholarship like [her] sister." Liz ultimately learns how to make sense of the world through her artwork, curiosity and creativity and uses her voice to land a job as a cartoonist for the New Yorker.
Montague balances humor and relatable topics for young people with candid thoughts and feelings about the world and how people should treat each other. The author uses her cartoon style to create colorful, expressive illustrations with tons of white space. Her art combined with the welcoming, simple text make Maybe an Artist an amusing, accessible read. --Kharissa Kenner, children's librarian, Bank Street School for Children