Trauma comes in all shapes and sizes. For some, it stems from displacement and violence; for others, it grows out of mistreatment or abandonment. But the real story is how we learn to live with our scars. Below is a list of books where the characters heal their wounds through art, where they learn to channel their anger and hurt into something creative, finding catharsis along the way. And, perhaps through reading, some of our own wounds — no matter how big or small — can start to heal too. (Reading, after all, is its own kind of art!)
What does it mean to be a survivor? That’s what Kindra Neely is forced to find out after a mass shooting takes the lives of eight students and a professor on Kindra’s college campus. This heartbreaking and hopeful memoir tells a story that is all too close to too many people’s lives. In this graphic novel Kindra depicts the pervasive toll of gun violence and discovers how art can start to set her free.
After a terrorist attack in Metro City uproots Jane Beckles's life, she must forge a new existence in the dreaded suburbs. At her new school, Jane finds friends who are similarly united in their frustration with adults—they also share the same name. Together, the Janes form a guerrilla art group, taking to the streets to make their art and their voices heard. But for the Main Jane, art is more than a creative outlet: it is a form of resistance.
Aarón Medrano and Mia Villanueva share a few things in common. The first is heartbreak: Aarón’s mother passed away, and Mia is essentially orphaned. The second is a love of music. And, it’s through music, and each other, that the two heartbroken teenagers learn to move forward.
Ballet is about perfection: clean lines and picturesque bodies. But, when Alina Keeler breaks her leg, her dream of being one of those perfect ballerinas shatters. While learning to heal from the heartbreak of a life she can no longer live, Alina dabbles in new artistic pursuits, like musical theater, and even finds time for a crush!
Growing up is hard and painful. For Danny Cheng, getting older comes with the reality of his family's past and the possibilities for his future. The deeper he digs into his parents, the more disturbing the secrets become. But Danny has one thing on his side, his lifelong passion for art. It’s his escape route, if it comes to that.