Messy Roots: A Graphic Memoir of a Wuhanese American by Laura Gao releases on Tuesday, March 8. Gao graduated from Coppell High School in 2014. Cozby Library patrons can place a hold request on a print copy of Messy Roots through the online catalog or an eBook copy through the cloudLibrary app. The library will give away a limited number of free copies at select teen programs in March and April.
On Sunday, May 1 at 2 pm, the library will host An Afternoon with Laura Gao, a facilitated conversation with Gao about her graphic memoir and time in Coppell. The event is free and open to the public. It is best suited for teens and adults. This event is made possible with by the generous support of the Friends of the Coppell Library.
Messy Roots is of special importance to the Coppell community because it features depictions of the Coppell Independent School District and the Cozby Library itself. Author-illustrator Gao attended Coppell Middle School North and graduated from Coppell High School in 2014. Born in Wuhan, China, Gao immigrated to America with her family at the age of four.
Messy Roots is a nuanced, heartfelt, and humorous exploration of Gao’s Chinese American and queer identities. It has received positive praise from Kirkus Reviews, Publishers Weekly, and Booklist. Booklist labeled the book as targeted for grades 9-12 with crossover appeal for adult readers.
In 2020, as news broke about COVID-19’s origins, Gao saw her birthplace vilified and mischaracterized in the media. This, compounded by microaggressions and racist rhetoric about the virus, lead her to reflect on the Wuhan she knows and her experiences growing up.
In 2020, Gao published a short comic called “The Wuhan I Know” on her website and shared it on Twitter. After this tweet went viral, Gao received a two-book publishing deal with Balzer & Bray, a publishing imprint of HarperCollins.
For more information about An Afternoon with Laura Gao, call 972-304-3658 or email the library.