4 February 2022

#AntarcticLog: The Melting Continent

Posted by Shane Hanlon

#AntarcticLog is a series of comics by Karen Romano Young. You can find the originals here.

Here are a few questions I get asked:  

  • Who are you writing for? 
  • Why do you draw as much as write? 
  • Who is the audience for these comics? 

The underlying assumption, at times, is that comics are for kids.  After all, the other arm of my work is creating books for audiences ages 8 to 14. And I grew up having comics read to me, by my dad and my uncles. For me, this was magical: not only was I getting words and images, but I was getting the stories through sound.  Multiple entry points have become key to me as a science storyteller: telling stories in a way that opens doors to more people is my goal.  And it started with writing articles and books.  

Here’s my newest, coming out in early April.

Antarctica: The Melting Continent came out of the same National Science Foundation Antarctic Artists and Writers grant trip that led to my #AntarcticLog comic series. It’s the same in some senses — but completely different in others.  For one, it’s illustrated by Angela Hsieh, not me. For books, separating the art and writing can deepen the telling of a story. 

I’d like to share more about the process of making science books — and other nonfiction books for kids — and here’s a perfect opportunity:  the NonFiction Chicks NonFiction Festival is going on for the whole month of February.  Every day, a different nonfiction author posts about how she does what she does.(Included: Melissa Stewart, Paula Yoo, Anita Sanchez, Sarah Albee, and many more!  Find me on February 22.)  For scientists, science teachers, science communicators and others with great stories to tell, it’s an indispensable extravaganza. 

My piece is about telling stories about scientists while working in the field with scientists, and it draws on two separate expeditions to Antarctica, as well as ones like the International Thwaites Glacier Collaboration, which I follow obsessively, and the stories of researchers and explorers.  See, comics and books allow me multiple entry points to stories, which in turn helps me to see how science stories can. be for everyone. 

Karen Romano Young is a writer, artist, deep-sea diver, and polar explorer. Follow her on Twitter & Instagram