Page title "Andy Hirsch"


Each volume of sibling series Science Comics and History Comics offers a complete introduction to a particular topic in fun and informative comic form for middle-grade and older readers. I’ve been lucky enough to contribute several books to these excellent series.

These narrative nonfiction comics are works of synthesis, and I’m indebted to a host of researchers, writers, and educators for each project. Bibliographic information is listed for each volume. I encourage you to use this as a starting point for further reading — there’s always more to know.

Above, a herd of bison stampede through the snow beside a banner reading "History Comics." Below, a hunter on horseback rides past a bison skull on an arid plain. Between, title reads "The American Bison: The Buffalo's Survival Tale." Credit reads "Andy Hirsch."

First Second, 2021

The American BisonThe Buffalo’s Survival Tale transports you to the early 18th century, when the American prairies shook under the hooves of nearly 30 million bison. Fast as a horse, tall as a person, and heavier than both combined, they roamed from coast to coast. A century later, people struggled to find a single one left alive. How did the great herds disappear, and what will it take to bring them back?

 An American Library Association 2021 Best Graphic Novel for Children

★ Junior Library Guild Selection

Select sources and further reading

American Bison: A Natural History, Dale F. Lott.University of California Press, 2002.

Bison and People on the North American Great Plains, edited by Geoff Cunfer and Bill Waiser. Texas A&M University Press, 2016.

The Buffalo Book, David A. Dary. Avon Books, 1974.

The Buffalo Hunters, Mari Sandoz. Bison Books, 1978. Originally Hastings House, 1954.

Buffalo Nation, Ken Zontek. Bison Books, 2007.

The Destruction of the Bison, Andrew C. Isenberg. Cambridge University Press, 2000.

I Will Be Meat for My Salish, Robert Bigart, ed., Salish Kootenai College Press & Montana Historical Society Press, 2001.

Last Stand, Michael Punke. HarperCollins, 2009.

Mr. Hornaday’s War, Stefan Bechtel. Beacon Press, 2012.

Period publications available online

American Bison Society. Annual Report of the American Bison Society, 1905-1907. American Bison Society, 1908.

Hornaday, William T. Taxidermy and Zoological Collecting. Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1894.

Hornady, William T. Popular Official Guide to the New York Zoological Park. 10th ed.,New York Zoological Society, 1909.

Hough, Emerson. “The Account of Howell’s Capture”. Forest and Stream, vol. 42, no. 18, 5 May 1894, p. 3.

“Protection of Buffalo”. Congressional Record, House of Representatives, 43rd Congress, 1st Session, 10 Mar. 1874, p. 2105-2109. (deep link unavailable)

A smiling calico cat stands atop a multicolored ball of yarn. Behind, a variety of big cat species looks on from their respective habitats. Title reads "Science Comics: Cats: Nature and Nurture." Credit reads "Andy Hirsch."

First Second, 2019

In Cats: Nature and Nurture, we meet feline friends from the tiniest kodkod to the biggest tiger, and find out what makes your neighborhood domestic cats so special. Equipped with teeth, claws, and camouflage to survive everywhere from deserts to mountaintops, how did these ferocious felines make the leap from predators to playmates… and are they even done leaping?

★ Junior Library Guild Selection

Select sources and further reading


Bradshaw, John. Cat Sense. Basic Books, 2013.

Hart, Benjamin L. and Lynette A. Hart. Your Ideal Cat. Purdue University Press, 2013.

Francis, Richard C. Domesticated. W. W. Norton & Company, 2015.

McNamee, Thomas. The Inner Life of Cats. Hachette Books, 2017.

Sunquist, Mel and Fiona Sunquist. Wild Cats of the World. University of Chicago Press, 2002.

Tucker, Abigail. The Lion in the Living Room. Simon & Schuster, 2016.

Turner, Alan and Mauricio Antón. The Big Cats and Their Fossil Relatives. Columbia University Press, 1997.

Turner, Dennis C., and Patrick Bateson, editors. The Domestic Cat: The biology of its behaviour. 3rd ed., Cambridge University Press, 2014.


Allen, William L., et al. “Why the leopard got its spots: relating pattern development to ecology in felids.” Proceedings of the Royal Society B, vol. 278, 2011, pp. 1373-1380.

Banks, Martin S., et al. “Why do animal eyes have pupils of different shapes?” Science Advances, vol. 1, no. 7, 2017.

Kuo, Zing-Yang. “The genesis of the cat’s responses to the rat.” Comparative Psychology, vol. 11, no. 1, 1930.

Kuo, Zing-Yang. “Further study on the behavior of the cat toward the rat.” Comparative Psychology, vol. 25, no. 1, 1938.

Ottoni, Claudio, et al. “The palaeogenetics of cat dispersal in the ancient world.” Nature Ecology & Evolution, vol. 1, no. 139, 2017.

An excited small dog wearing a bandana around his neck leaps into the air to catch a tennis ball. A variety of dog breeds look on from the sides. Behind, a large strand of DNA. Title reads "Science Comics: Dogs: From Predator to Protector." Credit reads "Andy Hirsch."

First Second, 2017

Dogs: From Predator to Protector asks the important questions. How well do you know our favorite furry companion? Did they really descend from wolves? What’s the difference between a Chihuahua and a Saint Bernard? And just how smart are they? Join one friendly mutt on a journey to discover the secret origin of dogs, how genetics and evolution shape species, and where in the world his favorite ball bounced off to.

★ Junior Library Guild Selection

Select sources and further reading


Coppinger, Raymond, Lee Spector, and Lynn Miller. “What, if anything, is a Wolf?” The World of Wolves: New Perspectives on Ecology, Behaviour and Management, edited by M. Musiani, L. Boitani, and P. Paquet. University of Calgary Press, 2009.

Coppinger, Raymond and Lorna. Dogs: A Startling New Understanding of Canine Origin, Behavior & Evolution. Scribner, 2001

Francis, Richard C. Domesticated, Norton, 2015.

Hare, Brian and Vanessa Woods. The Genius of Dogs, Dutton, 2013.

Horowitz, Alexandra. Inside of a Dog. Scribner, 2009.

McConnell, Patricia B. The Other End of the Leash: Why We Do What We Do Around Dogs. Ballantine Books, 2002.

Miklósi, Ádám. Dog Behaviour, Evolution, and Cognition, Oxford University Press, 2009.

Morris, Desmond. Dogs. Trafalgar Square, 2001.

Serpell, James. A. and Deborah. L. Duffy. “Dogs Breeds and Their Behavior.” Domestic Dog Cognition and Behavior, edited by A. Horowitz. Springer, 2014.


Parker, Heidi G., “Genomic analyses of modern dog breeds.” Mammalian Genome 23 (2012): 19-27.

Svartberg, Kenth, and Björn Forkman. “Personality Traits in the Domestic Dog (Canis Familiaris).” Applied Animal Behaviour Science 79 (2002): 133-55. 

Svartberg, Kenth. “Breed-typical behaviour in dogs–Historical remnants or recent constructs?” Applied Animal Behaviour Science 96 (2006): 293-313.

Turscán, Borbála, et al. “Trainability and boldness traits differ between dog breed clusters based on conventional breed categories and genetic relatedness.” Applied Animal Behaviour Science 132 (2011): 61-70.

vonHoldt, Bridgett M., et al. “Genome-wide SNP and haplotype analyses reveal a rich history underlying dog domestication.” Nature 464 (2010): 898-902


Understanding Evolution. University of California Museum of Paleontology, 2016, Accessed 24 August 2016.

Liou, Stephanie. An Introduction to DNA and Chromosomes. Stanford University, 5 Feb. 2011, Accessed 24 August 2016.

A miniaturized young girl and a middle-aged man insert an electrical plug into an oversized circuit board. Behind, a mech wrestles a giant monster between power plants and a futuristic city. Title reads "Science Comics: Electricity: Energy in Action." Credit reads "Andy Hirsch."

First Second, 2023

Electricity: Energy in Action is the fact-packed kaiju-mech showdown you’ve been waiting for. Giant monsters are on the attack, and it’s Menlo the mech’s job to protect the city! But when this metal marvel is shut down by an unlucky lightning strike, a resourceful engineer and his high-energy niece will have to find navigate everything from simple circuits to giants grids and fossil fuel power plants to wind farms in order to power up to save everyone from certain doom!

★ Junior Library Guild Selection

Select sources and further reading


gitterbug23. “LED Popsicle Flashlight.” Instructables.

“Global share of total energy supply by source, 2018.” International Energy Agency.

“Understanding Lightning: Thunderstorm Electrification.” National Weather Service.


Thompson, William L. “Living on the Grid.” iUniverse, 2016.


Evans, Paul. “Electricity Basics.” The Engineering Mindset. 2017.

Hillhouse, Grady. “How do Substations Work?” Practical Engineering. 27 August 2019.

Somara, Shini. “Crash Course Physics.” PBS Digital Studios. 2016.

“AC Motors and Generators.” United States Department of Defense. 1961.

“DC Motors and Generators.” United States Department of Defense. 1961.

A woman adventurer holds onto the backpack suspending an excited boy above a sparkling gem within a crystaline cavern. Title reads "Science Comics: Rocks and Minerals: Geology from Caverns to the Cosmos." Credit reads "Andy Hirsch."

First Second, 2020

In Rocks & Minerals: Geology from Caverns to the Cosmos, we join a crystal-crazy fanboy and a famous rock hunter on a geological journey that will take them to the summit of a volcano, deep within the earth, and even into outer space! They’ll learn about the unstoppable forces that shape our planet, and they might even pick up a gemstone or meteorite along the way.

★ Junior Library Guild Selection

Select sources and further reading


Bjornerud, Marcia. Reading the Rocks. Westview Press, 2005.

Hazen, Robert M. The Story of Earth. Penguin Group, 2012.

Fortney, Richard. Earth: An Intimate History. Alfred A. Knopf, 2004.

McPhee, John. Annals of the Former World. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1998.

Prothero, Donald R. The Story of Earth in 25 Rocks. Columbia University Press, 2018.


Rock Cycle Processes. The Geological Society of London, Accessed 1 June 2018.

Above, Chinese and Irish railroad workers run along train tracks ahead of a cargo load of rails to be laid. A group of ethnically diverse laborers follows behind. A banner reads "History Comics." Below, a 19th century locomotive emerges from a tunnel through a snow-covered mountain range. Between, title reads "The Transcontinental Railroad: Crossing the Divide." Credit reads "Andy Hirsch."

First Second, 2022

The Transcontintental Railroad: Crossing the Divide begins in 1863, in an America divided not just by the Civil War but by months of travel over thousands of miles. Two railroad companies, one each from East and West, are given the task of connecting the nation by rail. Building this railroad will be a monumental undertaking, difficult and dangerous. The work falls to immigrant laborers from the lowest economic classes. They accomplish astounding feats of engineering while waiting for an answer: Will those who connect the country be accepted into it?

★ Junior Library Guild Selection

Select sources and further reading


Bain, David Haward. Empire Express. Penguin Books, 1999.

Brown, Dee. Hear That Lonesome Whistle Blow. Holt, Rhinehart and Winston, 1977.

Chang, Gordon H. Ghosts of Gold Mountain. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2019.

Chang, Gordon H., Shelley Fisher Fishkin, et al. The Chinese and the Iron Road. Stanford University Press, 2019.

Clarke, Thomas Curtis, et al. American Railways. Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1889.

Dearinger, Ryan. The Filth of Progress. University of California Press, 2016.White, Richard. Railroaded. W.W. Norton & Company, 2011.


Ernest Haycox, Jr. “A Very Exclusive Party: A Firsthand Account of Building the Union Pacific Railroad.” Montana, The Magazine of Western History. Vol. 51, No. 1, Spring 2001, pp. 20-35.

Heath, Earl. “A Railroad Record That Defies Defeat: How Central Pacific laid ten miles of track in one day back in 1869.” Southern Pacific Bulletin, Vol. 16, No. 5, May, 1928, pp. 3-5.

“Pacific Railroad: Further Particulars of the Ceremonies at Promontory, Utah — Sentiments and Speeches — The Future Policy of the Road — Enthusiasm at the Conclusion of the Work.” The New York Times, May 12, 1869.


Reeder, Clarence A. Jr. The History of Utah’s Railroads, 1869-1883. University of Utah, 1970.

A grinning acorn poses atop a seedling, the roots of which extend into the soil. Behind, a sapling and a mature tree stand out within a verdant forest scene. Title reads "Science Comics: Trees: Kings of the Forest." Credit reads "Andy Hirsch."

First Second, 2018

In Trees: Kings of the Forest, we follow an acorn as it learns about its future as Earth’s largest, longest-living plant. Starting with the seed’s germination, we learn about each stage until the tree’s maturation, different types of trees, and the roles trees take on in our ecosystem.

★ Junior Library Guild Selection

Select sources and further reading


Chamovitz, Daniel. What a Plant Knows. Scientific American / Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2012.

Raven, Peter H., et al. Biology of Plants. 6th-8th ed., W.H. Freeman and Company, 1999-2013.

Tudge, Collin. The Tree. Crown Publishers / Random House, 2005, 2006.

Wohlleben, Peter. The Hidden Life of Trees. Translated by Jane Billinghurst, Greystone Books / David Suzuki Institute, 2015.

Journals & Other Publications

Gorzelak, Monika A., et al. “Inter-plant communication through mycorrhizal networks mediates complex adaptive behaviour in plant communities.” AoB Plants 7 (2015).

Gumtow-Farrior, Daniel, and Catherine Gumtow-Farrior. “Wildlife On White Oaks Woodlands.” Portland, OR: Woodland Fish and Wildlife Project, 1997.

Karban, Richard. “Plant behaviour and communication.” Ecology Letters 11 (2008): 727-739.

Marosvӧlgyi, Marcell A. and Hans J. van Gorkom. “Cost and Color of Photosynthesis.” Photosynthetic Research 103 (2010): 105-109.

Trewavas, Anthony. “Intelligence, Cognition, and Language of Green Plants.” Frontiers in Psychology 7:588 (2016).


Feldman, Lewis J. “Plants and Fungi.” Biology 1B. University of California, Berkeley. Berkeley, CA. Spring 2015.

Moen, Gary. “Tree Biology: Their Structures and Their Functions.”  Boise Public Library, Boise, ID. Lecture. 5 March 2014.

Simmard, Suzanne. “How trees talk to each other.” TEDSummit. Banff, AB, Canada. June 2016.