Transform real life into a cartoon with Gene Luen Yang

If you've ever tried to draw things you see in the world, you know it can be harder, in some ways, than drawing completely made-up scenes from your imagination. Still, you also know that some of the best stories happen in real life.

Cartoonist Gene Luen Yang shares why he decided to tell the incredible, real-life story of a high school basketball team from Oakland, California, in his nonfiction graphic novel, Dragon Hoops. You'll see actual scenes from their games—including some amazing shots—and then Gene will show you how he went about trying to tell the team’s story in his book.

The funny thing is, Gene used to hate basketball. As a kid, he was always getting hurt when he’d try to play. But he thought the story of this basketball team, the Bishop O'Dowd Dragons, was so interesting that he spent half a decade turning it into Dragon Hoops. (Fun fact: Gene was a teacher at Bishop O'Dowd High School for 17 years.)

By writing and drawing this book, Gene realized basketball is about courage, and that it can inspire you to think about where to be brave in your own life, even if you don't play the game yourself.

In this video, he introduces two of the book's main characters, explains how he draws them, and reveals how he goes about telling a story. You'll also learn a secret about creating shadows in your drawings (hint: gray isn't the best color).

Virtual Kids Week activities are intended for children with involvement from a parent or guardian.