KidsLIVE!: An Author Talk with Kat Leyh

By NYPL Staff
March 11, 2021

This blog post was authored by Hal Shrieve (Grand Central Library), Daniella Pagan (Hunt's Point Library), and Jo Henning (Webster Library)

Have you ever wondered what inspires your favorite author or wanted to hear their experiences writing books? NYPL KidsLIVE! are special programs that feature thought-provoking conversations between authors and librarians.

About the Program: 

Kat Leyh, author and illustrator of Snapdragon which is featured on our Best Books for Kids 2020 List, joined us on March 9, 2021 to  present on writing and drawing, show us her art process, and answer questions from NYPL librarians!

View the program here!

KidsLIVE! with Kat Leyh from The New York Public Library on Vimeo.

You can read the transcript of this event here.

Witches, Dogs and Roadkill

Snapdragon by Kat Leyh

Book / E-book 

Kat Leyh’s first solo graphic novel was a School Library Journal, Publishers Weekly, and Parents Magazine Best Book of 2020. Snapdragon follows Snap, a tomboy who loves animals, as she makes friends with Jacks, a mysterious old woman who everyone says is a witch—and who collects roadkill in order to sell the animal skeletons online.

Other books about magic, gender, and found family for kids:

The Witch Boy by Molly Knox Ostertag 

Book / E-book

Girls perform magic, and boys shapeshift—at least, that’s always the way it’s been in Aster’s family. But shapeshifting  just doesn’t work for Aster, and he longs to practice spells. Can he find his own way into witchcraft?

The Deep And Dark Blue by Niki Smith

Book

After their royal family is the victim of a horrible attack, twin princes flee and hide with the all-women order, the Communion of Blue. Learning thread-making magic may help them prepare to face off with an evil military leader and prove their rightful place on the throne—and claim their true identities. 

Tracking a Comics Champ

Besides Snapdragon, Kat Leyh is most well-known for her work on the Eisner-Award-winning series Lumberjanes as a writer and cover artist, alongside Noelle Stevenson, Mariko Tamaki, and Shannon Watters, among others. 

If you haven’t read Lumberjanes before, you can start with volume one: 

Lumberjanes Vol 1: Beware the Kitty Holy written by Noelle Stevenson and Grace Ellis; illustrated by Brooke Allen; colors by Maarta Laiho; letters by Aubrey Aiese

Book / E-book 

The Lumberjanes, new to camp, are attacked by three-eyed wolves, a river monster, and hipster Yetis.

Latest Lumberjanes Volumes:

Lumberjanes Volume 16: Mind Over Mettle written by Shannon Watters and Kat Leyh; illustrated by AnneMarie Rogers; colors by Maarta Laiho; letters by Aubrey Aiese

Book

Mal wants to learn to be braver, but when she recruits Ripley to help her face her fears, she ends up somewhere she really should be afraid of—the Land of Lost Things, a pocket universe where dinosaurs still roam the earth, and time doesn’t work the way it should.

Lumberjanes: Campfire Songs created by Shannon Watters, Grace Ellis, Noelle Stevenson, and Brooklyn Allen

Book / E-book

Jo, April, Molly, Mal, and Ripley are helping throw a huge, mid-summer costume bash with the rest of the Lumberjane scouts, but the decorations, snacks, and supplies keep going missing, thanks to some pesky faeries!

Lumberjanes: Volume 17: Smitten In The Stars (released Feb 16, 2021), by Kat Leyh, Shannon Watters, and Kanesha C. Bryant

Book / E-Book        

Jen and Rosie plan to take the Lumberjane scouts to see an amazing astronomical event, but with a gatecrashing goddess, a kitten-napping, and secret crushes coming to light this is a night no one ever expected!

If you’re seeking titles for Women’s History Month

Leyh’s dynamic, offbeat girl characters are a trademark of her fiction works. She’s also worked with other comics artists to document historical women. Leyh contributed a chapter on Annie Londonderry, a 19th-century woman cyclist, to the anthology Noisemakers: 25 Women Who Raised Their Voices and Changed The World. Explore the whole anthology to read about twenty-five extraordinary women who made a racket, a bang, and uproar! You'll get to know some familiar heroes better, and you'll meet some new ones, too, like a daredevil pilot! A shark whisperer! An undercover spy! All noisemakers, through and through.

 

More Women’s History Graphic Novels

For Grown-up Readers

Leyh doesn’t only write for kids and teens. Her brand-new graphic novel Thirsty Mermaids (released Feb 9, 2021) features three scrappy mermaids who are stuck in human bodies after a temporary spell goes wrong and have to make it in the real world. You can place Thirsty Mermaids on hold here or request the e-book here. Readers seeking more of Leyh’s work can read her free webcomic Supercakes

Snapdragon-Inspired Activities

Snap, the central character in Snapdragon, loves animals and nature. Jacks, the older woman who rescues Snap’s dog after he gets lost, teaches Snap how to pay attention to animals and nature in the world around her. Follow Snap’s and Jacks’ lead by making a Nature Journal to observe changes in the plants and seasons near you. 

Nature Journal from The New York Public Library on Vimeo.

Kat Leyh also encourages kids to make their own comics! Use Leyh’s guide to making a mini-zine here to fold your own small comics at home. You can also use NYPL After School’s guides on Creating Your Own Superhero (video) and Drawing with One-Point Perspective to use as you’re drawing graphic novels of your own. 

Kids, check out these awesome online resources!

TumbleBooks and TumbleBookCloud Junior are collections of videos and chapter books in categories which include: Ebooks, Read-Alongs, Graphic Novels, Videos and Audio Books suitable for elementary grades.

Learn more about Kat Leyh at her website here. 

KidsLIVE events at The New York Public Library feature thought-provoking conversations, real debates, and exciting spectacular performances with your favorite authors, artists, filmmakers, musicians, fashionistas, and more.

KidsLIVE  takes children and their families on an enriching cultural and educational journey—including musical performances, live theatre, opportunities to meet authors and illustrators, and much more. KidsLIVE programs feature presenters who reflect the rich diversity of New York City and help young audiences develop their creativity, talents, and love for learning.

KidsLIVE programs are sponsored by the Andreas C. Dracopoulos Family Endowment for Young Audiences.