In April 2020, Eisner-nominated cartoonist Emei Burell will introduce readers to her mother, Yuan Ye Ping, who was one of the only truck-driving women in communist China in the 1960s. In the graphic novel We Served the People: My Mother’s Stories, published by BOOM! Studios imprint Archaia, Burell recounts her mother’s stories about growing up in this era, as well as her discoveries about her family history and heritage.
Before this historical and personal graphic novel hits shelves, The Beat has an exclusive first look at just one of the stories contained in the book.
Through the eyes of her mother and Burell’s own memories of her mother’s stories, We Served the People details a time in which Chinese Communist Party leader Mao Zedong‘s mandatory Great Leap Forward sent city kids to the countryside to become rusticated youth. Yuan Ye Ping became a truck-driver during the Up to the Mountains and Down to the Countryside Movement, which sought to increase agricultural outreach and spur social and ideological change amongst youth.
A collection of moving stories passed from mother to daughter recounting life during China’s Cultural Revolution. … Burell’s stunning illustrations honor her mother’s courage, strength, and determination during a decade of tremendous political upheaval, where millions of lives were lost, and introduces us to a young Burell in a new era of self-discovery.