There are tons of published authors on the Upper West Side, but most have already completed middle school. Ten-year-old Sasha Matthews is starting early, though — she’s just 10 years old, and she’s already got a book for sale.
Sasha’s comic book about Sitting Bull is on the shelves and in the window of Book Culture, a bookstore with locations at 536 West 112th street, 2915 Broadway (114th) and 450 Columbus Avenue (81st). The book is available at the 114th street and 81st street locations.
Sasha got into comic books as a kid after her dad (photographer Scott Matthews) gave her a copy of X-Men. She perfected her technique in an after-school program on 96th street, and made the book about Sitting Bull as part of an extra-credit project at her UWS public school. Her father helped convince her to sell it in the lobby of their building and then mentioned it to Annie Hedrick, one of the owners of Book Culture, who agreed to sell it through the stores.
Sasha was excited when the book got celebrity treatment: “I liked looking at it in the window,” she told us in an interview. “Making it took a long time. It was hard to do. It was kind of a reward when I sold it to the bookstore for all the work I did.”
Sasha explained her process more in an interview with Maxine at Book Culture.
Sasha’s got talent to spare, said Mark Fraunfelder, editor of culture blog Boing Boing, which also published the comic digitally. “Incredible! I’ve seen sample childhood comic book art from great artists (like R. Crumb) and she is better at age 10 than they were.”
Scott tells us he’s impressed that Book Culture is really walking the walk when it comes to engaging the community: “It’s totally what you wish a local bookstore would be.” The book, selling for $4.95, already sold out at the two locations, though they have since replenished their stocks. It’s also available online.
Photo courtesy of Scott Mathews.