Comics in Thailand have enjoyed a long and rich history and have been enjoyed by people of all socio-economic classes, even though they’ve had a reputation as a form of “low culture”. In The Art of Thai Comics: A Century of Strips and Stripes, Nicolas Verstappen goes back even further than a hundred years to show just how long comics have been embedded in Thai culture.

Eleven-year-old Samira wants to show her family and the world what she can do: she can learn to read English, she can contribute to her family’s earnings and she can learn to surf. Forced to flee their village in Burma, Samira, her father, mother and older brother are Rohingya refugees living in Cox’s Bazar. Rukhsanna Guidroz’s Samira Surfs tells Samira’s story as the family rebuilds their lives in Bangladesh. 

In the mid-1950s, strange symptoms swept through Minamata in Kyushu, the southernmost island in Japan. Fish died, cats became manic, and children started developing neurological issues like trouble speaking and walking. It all originated with the Chissa chemical factory and its waste disposal into the surrounding waters. Sean Michael Wilson and Akiko Shimojima’s comic, The Minamata Story: An EcoTragedy, tells the story of this disease, the stigma surrounding it, and the survivors who are still alive today.

In children’s literature and in young adult fiction, food is often used to bridge cultures—“dumplings are the great social equaliser” says the protagonist in the YA novel The Surprising Power of a Good Dumpling as an example. And while food might be one of the easier entries into a culture, there are other ways too. Art, for example, which Singapore’s National Gallery does with success in its “Awesome Art” series.