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A Year Without Mom

Written by Dasha Tolstikova

  • 176 Pages
  • 9781554986934
  • 8.5" x 6.5"
  • from grade 5 to grade 9
  • JUVENILE FICTION / Comics & Graphic Novels
  • JUVENILE FICTION / Family / Parents



Publication Date September 24, 2015

A Year Without Mom follows twelve-year-old Dasha through a year full of turmoil after her mother leaves for America.

It is the early 1990s in Moscow, and political change is in the air. But Dasha is more worried about her own challenges as she negotiates family, friendships and school without her mother. Just as she begins to find her own feet, she gets word that she is to join her mother in America — a place that seems impossibly far from everything and everyone she loves.

This gorgeous and subtly illustrated graphic novel signals the emergence of Dasha Tolstikova as a major new talent.

Selected for the Kirkus Best Middle-Grade Books of the Year 2015

Selected for the Kirkus Best Middle-Grade Graphic Novels of the Year 2015

Selected for the A Bank Street College of Education Best Children's Book of the Year 2016

Selected for the USBBY Outstanding International Books 2016


Dasha Tolstikova

Dasha Tolstikova’s illustrations have appeared in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and the New Yorker. Her graphic-novel memoir, A Year Without Mom, has received three starred reviews and has been translated into Korean and Swedish. She has also illustrated The Jacket, written by Kirsten Hall, a New York Times Notable Book.


Star Review

"Deceptively simple, but with great narrative sophistication . . . Fascinating and heartfelt." Kirkus, STARRED REVIEW

Star Review

""An] absorbing graphic memoir. . . . Readers will wish the sequel were available instantly." Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW

Star Review

"A lovely portrayal in words and art of a year in the life of an engaging tween girl from the other side of the world." School Library Journal, STARRED REVIEW

Star Review

"The author includes authentic details . . . and, with personality and sincerity, creates an accessible, truthful, and relatable record for readers of a different generation." Horn Book Magazine, STARRED REVIEW

"Needs to be attentively appreciated and engagingly savored. Just as [Tolstikova's] text is candid and direct, so, too, her black-and-white-with-splashes-of-color line drawings exude simple charm and whimsy." BookDragon

"A perceptive story about change, aloneness, ambition and, ultimately, resilience." New York Times

"A quiet, moving, and contemplative story of growth." Booklist

"Told in quiet fragments, sewn together with ribbons of girlhood." National Post

"Moving and beautifully illustrated . . . in sparingly coloured and expressive drawings that invite readers to linger." Winnipeg Free Press

"The excitement of meeting a teen actor, the agony of a crush, the pain of changed friendships — all this resonates cross-culturally." The Toronto Star