February 2, 2016
Posted by: Gina Gagliano
Categories: Books


We’re huge fans of Sara Varon and her marvelous graphic novels!  So we’re so pleased to bring you this collection of her short work — all sorts of delightful tidbits from throughout her career.

The first graphic novel we ever published with Sara was the fantastic Robot Dreams, and this book takes you from the origin of that book to the current day — in a perfect collection to get cozy with in this winter season.

If you don’t know Sara’s work, this is the perfect book to get a sense of what her style is like!  And if you’re already a fan, you’ll love this too.

Happy reading!

February 1, 2016
Posted by: Gina Gagliano
Categories: Books

Lucy Knisley is super-awesome!  We were thrilled to publisher her bestselling, Alex Award-winning graphic novel Relish: My Life in the Kitchen, and now we have an all-new momentous life-event book from Lucy coming your way in May: Something New: Tales from a Makeshift Bride.

It is about weddings!

We just got books in the office, and they look marvelous — here are some pictures!

Oh look, it is the exceedingly attractive cover.


And here’s the inside front flap.


The inside has a few photo elements (from Lucy’s own wedding process — how cool is that) and then is full of comics (and insightful cultural commentary).


(If you can’t tell from this photo, Lucy’s self-portrait background art is a lot of small versions of her head.  So great!)


Back cover!  This cake-size is totally accurate to the actual real-life version.


Something New will be coming your way in May, and it will be wonderful!

January 27, 2016
Posted by: Gina Gagliano
Categories: Books

We’re delighted to share with you the books we just got in the office — copies of our all-new series Science Comics!  The goal of this series is to create graphic novels about science that are fun and accessible while explaining about how cool parts of our world around us work.  We can’t wait to share these books with you!

The first two volumes of the series are Coral Reefs, by Maris Wicks, and Dinosaurs, by MK Reed and Joe Flood.  And here are pictures!

Don’t those covers look amazing?  You want to learn about dinosaurs and coral reefs now, right?  Or rather — you already wanted to learn about dinosaurs and coral reefs and now you have a fun and exciting way to do it!


Here are our spines!


Complete with dinosaur and fish!


Each book will have an introduction by an expert in the book’s scientific topic.  (Octopus inclusion may vary.)  The books will also have a bibliography and additional reading recommendations at the end.


And then they’ll be full of brightly colored, information-filled artwork (like this spread from Maris Wicks’ Coral Reefs)!


Or this spread from MK Reed and Joe Flood’s Dinosaurs (complete with dinosaur digestion)!

FullSizeRender (11)

Also: skeletons!  Really, how can you resist?


Excited for more Science Comics?  We are too!


The end (with fun facts)!


These two books will be in stores in April!  And we’ll have a special Free Comic Book Day Science Comics pamphlet comic for you as well — we can’t wait!

January 26, 2016
Posted by: Gina Gagliano
Categories: Books

Apollo RGB

We’re delighted to with George O’Connor’s latest Olympians graphic novel, Apollo: The Brilliant One, a happy book birthday today!

This series is up to eight volumes, and all of them are delightful — George O’Connor is basically writing the soap opera of the Greek Gods, and it’s wonderful!

If you haven’t checked out these graphic novels yet, now’s your chance!

January 11, 2016
Posted by: Gina Gagliano
Categories: Books

We’re delighted to announce that First Second will be publishing Dan Santat’s upcoming graphic novel You Bad Son.


You Bad Son is a YA graphic novel based on Dan’s experience growing up as an only child in a Thai American family. The story centers on his decision to go to art school over pursuing a career in medicine, and what his family is faced with when his mother is diagnosed with cancer.​

“Writing You Bad Son has been an experience of personal healing by looking back at my life and reexamining the struggles I went through as a teenager going through the awkward years of high school. Throughout the writing process I’ve gained a better understanding of how certain people and events, be it positive or negative, has shaped me into the person I am today. This is not a story about being an Asian-American teen, but rather, it is a story about the moment as a child when you realize that your parents are not perfect people and the awkward transition of trusting yourself in making your own decisions and learning by making your own mistakes, which is a theme I feel many teens can relate to,” says Dan Santat

“Dan has often talked about his childhood and the challenges he faced when he decided against the plans his parents had set for him in order to follow his dream of going to art school. Given that teens are faced with similarly pivotal decisions, like college, major, and future career, Dan’s personal experiences seemed like a natural fit for a young adult graphic novel, particularly one for the First Second list,” says Connie Hsu, the project’s editor.


Dan Santat is the author and illustrator of the 2015 Randolph Caldecott Medal recipient, The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend. His other books include the graphic novel Sidekicks and the picture books Guild of Geniuses and Are We There Yet? Dan is also the illustrator of more than 30 books, including the Ricky Ricotta series with Dav Pilkey, Ninja Red Riding Hood by Corey Rosen Schwartz, and Carnivores by Aaron Reynolds. He graduated from Art Center College of Design in Pasadena and lives in Southern California with his wife, two sons, and a menagerie of pets.

You Bad Son will be in stores in 2018.  It’s going to be amazing!

January 5, 2016
Posted by: Gina Gagliano
Categories: Books


In January, we’re delighted to be celebrating FRIENDSHIP — and the work of the amazing Sara Varon.

January 4, 2016
Posted by: Gina Gagliano
Categories: News

Yang Champions Diversity in All Forms and Reading for Non-Readers with his Platform, “Reading Without Walls”


New York, NY, January 4, 2016—The Children’s Book Council (CBC), Every Child a Reader (ECAR), and the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress (CFB) have announced the appointment of Gene Luen Yang, Printz Award winner and two-time National Book Award finalist, as National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature. The program was established by the three organizations in 2008 to highlight the importance of young people’s literature as it relates to lifelong literacy, education, and the development and betterment of the lives of young people. Yang will travel nationwide over the course of his two-year term promoting his platform, “Reading Without Walls,” showing kids and teens that reading is a vital part of their lives, and speaking to parents, teachers, librarians—everyone invested in young people’s literacy—about how better to connect with kids and teens and help them love reading. Yang succeeds beloved and esteemed authors Jon Scieszka (2008–2009), Katherine Paterson (2010–2011), Walter Dean Myers (2012–2013), and Kate DiCamillo (2014–2015) in the position. Gene Luen Yang is the first-ever graphic novelist to be named National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature.

The inauguration ceremony, presided by acting Librarian of Congress David S. Mao and featuring both Yang and DiCamillo, will take place on Thursday, January 7 at 11 a.m. in room LJ-119 of the Library of Congress Thomas Jefferson Building, 10 First St. S.E., Washington D.C. The event is open to the public; no tickets are required.

“I’m thrilled and humbled to be appointed National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature. Reading breaks down the walls that divide us. By reading, we get to know people outside of our own communities. We gain knowledge others don’t expect us to have. We discover new and surprising passions. Reading is critical to our growth, both as individuals and as a society. The Children’s Book Council, Every Child a Reader, and Library of Congress all empower people by getting them to read. I’m honored to take up that mission myself and to carry on the amazing work of the ambassadors before me,” said Gene Luen Yang.

“Gene Yang is a talented writer. He is a brilliant artist. His stories are thought-provoking, genre-bending, utterly original examinations of the human heart. In short, Gene Yang is a Renaissance man. I am so honored to pass the torch of this sacred task to Gene. No one is better suited for bringing us all together,” said Kate DiCamillo, two-time Newbery Award winner and National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature Emeritus.

“What an inspired choice the selection committee has made in Gene. He is a brilliant storyteller who makes meaningful and profound connections with readers of all ages. And he has been a de facto ambassador for reading, inclusion, and graphic novels for years. I can’t think of anyone better than Gene to break down the walls stopping people from becoming lifelong lovers of reading,” said Jon Yaged, President & Publisher of Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group.

Jon Colman, Executive Director of the CBC added, “We couldn’t be more pleased with the selection of Gene Luen Yang as the next ambassador. He embodies everything that we look for in this position and we can’t think of a more fitting person to be representing young people’s literature over the next two years.”

“We are thrilled that Gene Luen Yang has agreed to be the new National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature,” said John Y. Cole, director of the Center for the Book, which administers the ambassador program with the Children’s Book Council. “Gene’s message of inclusion and acceptance of all people is especially relevant today. The Library of Congress looks forward to the next two years of Gene’s promotion of reading and literacy among young people.”

The National Ambassador is selected for: his or her contributions to young people’s literature, the ability to relate to kids and teens, and a dedication to fostering children’s literacy as a whole. The selection is based on recommendations from a CBC-ECAR-CFB-appointed committee comprising educators, librarians, booksellers, and children’s literature experts.

The members of the selection committee for the 2016–2017 ambassadorship were:

  • Betsy Bird, Collection Development Manager of Evanston Public Library
  • Shelley M. Diaz, Senior Editor, Reviews at School Library Journal
  • Kate DiCamillo, Newbery Medal–winning author, National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, 2014-15
  • Jonathan Hunt, Coordinator of Library Media Services at the San Diego County Office of Education
  • Kimberly L. Jones, Store Manager at Little Shop of Stories, Decatur, GA
  • Deborah Taylor, Coordinator of School and Student Services at Enoch Pratt Free Library
  • Lisa Von Drasek, Curator of the Children’s Literature Research Collections at University of Minnesota Libraries

The National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature program is administered by Every Child a Reader. Financial support for the National Ambassador Program in 2016 is provided by HarperCollins Children’s Books, Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group, Penguin Young Readers Group, Random House Children’s Books, Scholastic, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, and the Lois Lenski Covey Foundation.

For more information about the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, visit read.gov/cfb/ambassador/.

About Gene Luen Yang

Gene Luen Yang began drawing comic books in the fifth grade; he began making comics professionally over fifteen years ago. In 2006, his graphic novel American Born Chinese (Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group/First Second Books) became the first graphic novel to be a finalist for a National Book Award and the first to win the American Library Association’s Printz Award. It also won an Eisner Award for Best Graphic Album. In 2013, Boxers & Saints (Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group/First Second Books), his two-volume graphic novel about the Boxer Rebellion, was a National Book Award finalist and won the L.A. Times Book Prize. Gene has also won an Eisner for The Eternal Smile, a collaboration with Derek Kirk Kim. He is the author of the Secret Coders series (with artist Mike Holmes) and has written for the hit comics Avatar: The Last Airbender and Superman. Yang lives in the San Francisco Bay area. Learn more at geneyang.com.

About the Children’s Book Council (CBC)

The Children’s Book Council, established in 1945, is the nonprofit trade association of children’s book publishers in North America, dedicated to supporting the industry and promoting children’s books and reading. The CBC offers children’s publishers the opportunity to work together on issues of importance to the industry at large, including educational programming, literacy advocacy, and collaborations with other national organizations. Please visit cbcbooks.org for more information.

About Every Child a Reader (ECAR)

Every Child a Reader is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit dedicated to instilling a lifelong love of reading in children. ECAR administers programs including Children’s Book Week, the annual celebration of books and reading, and the longest-running national literacy initiative in the country; the Children’s Choice Book Awards, the only national book awards program where the winning titles are selected by kids and teens of all ages; and the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature Program. Please visit cbcbooks.org/about/every-child-a-reader/ for more information.

About the Library of Congress and the Center for the Book (CFB)

Since its creation by Congress in 1977 to “stimulate public interest in books and reading,” the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress has become a major national force for reading and literacy promotion. A public-private partnership, it sponsors educational programs that reach readers of all ages, nationally and internationally. The Center provides leadership for affiliated state centers for the book (including the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands) and nonprofit reading promotion partners and plays a key role in the Library’s annual National Book Festival. It also oversees the Library’s Read.gov website and administers the Library’s Young Readers Center and its Poetry and Literature Center. Visit Read.gov/cfb to learn more.

January 2, 2016
Posted by: Gina Gagliano
Categories: Books

For our 10th anniversary, :01 has a monthly author feature.  This month — January — we’re celebrating the amazing Sara Varon!

January_AuthorGraphic (5)

If you haven’t checked out her books yet, now’s your chance.  She writes fantastic, heartwarming graphic novels that you read and absolutely fall in love with.

January 1, 2016
Posted by: Gina Gagliano
Categories: Events


There’s a whole new year of great reading ahead of us!

Here at First Second, there are a lot of reasons that we’re excited about 2016 — and most of them are embodied by the great books that we’ll be publishing.  We’re thrilled to be bringing you twenty-four amazing graphic novels this year — for kids, teenagers, adults, and everyone in-between.  It’s going to be a good year!

The last reason that we’re excited about 2016 is that it’s First Second’s 10th anniversary!  We’re excited to be celebrating ten years of publishing great graphic novels this year.

Most of the celebrations will begin in February!  But you’ll be seeing some exciting announcements from us in January, as well as a monthly author feature on our blog.

Thank you for supporting our books and our authors — you’re the reason we’ve made it this far!


December 28, 2015
Posted by: Gina Gagliano
Categories: Behind the Scenes


(some books on our office bookshelf currently)

As a publisher, we’re here to tell you that publishers are big fans of books.  Everyone who works in publishing loves books — and loves reading.

To aspiring authors, there are a lot of times when ‘publishing’ can seem like some sort of crazy black-box monolith with no entryway.  But I’m here today to tell you that all the people who work in publishing work in publishing specifically because they have a great love of books in their lives.  We are all people, and we are all people who love and care about books.

So that’s an initial point of commonality — to build on in query letters, over twitter or tumblr or facebook, etc.

We share books that we’re reading on Twitter and on Goodreads; sometimes we get tweets or e-mails in response saying, ‘Wow, you guys read so much!’

Indeed we do — besides publishing books, reading books is one of the main activities of publishers.  We read because we want to know what the market looks like, because we want to check out colleagues’ work, and most of all, because we think books are marvelous, amazing things and we love them.

And we hope you love books, too.