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Comics & Graphic Novels Literary

Okay, Universe

Chronicles of a Woman in Politics

by (author) Valerie Plante & Delphie Cote-Lacroix

translated by Helge Dascher

Drawn & Quarterly
Initial publish date
Dec 2020
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Dec 2020
    List Price

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Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 14 to 18
  • Grade: 9 to 12


A story about political organizing and the power of community
Valérie Plante stood up to the patriarchal power system of her city, took down an incumbent, and became the first woman elected Mayor of Montreal. Her origin story comes alive in Okay, Universe. This captivating graphic novel—created in a true collaboration with Governor-General Award-winner Delphie Côté-Lacroix—follows her journey from community organizer and volunteer to municipal candidate, and the phone call from the local social justice political party that changed her life forever.
Okay, Universe is the first time Plante has told her story, and she has chosen an art form that is not just emblematic of the city of Montreal and its love of the arts and bande dessinée, it’s an art form that is accessible to all readers and perfectly suited to her message. With patience, determination, and the strength of will to remain true to her core beliefs, Okay, Universe details the inspiring political campaign where slowly but surely she gained the trust of a neighbourhood fighting for affordable housing, environmental protections, and equal opportunities. Okay, Universe demystifies the path to success, simultaneously showing the Mayor’s inextinguishable commitment to creating positive change in the world and educating about the vitality of political engagement.

About the authors

Valerie Plante's profile page

C’est pendant ses études en graphisme au Cégep de Sherbrooke que Delphie Côté-Lacroix tombe en amour avec l’illustration. Depuis, elle s’est lancé dans l’aventure avec succès, remportant notamment un Prix littéraire du Gouverneur général, et en co-signant avec Valérie Plante sa première bande dessinée: Simone Simoneau: Chronique d’une femme en politique. En publiant des histoires illustrées, Delphie souhaite contribuer à la représentation d’idées qui lui sont chères, notamment la contemplation, la résilience et l’engagement citoyen.

Delphie Cote-Lacroix's profile page

Helge Dascher has for 25 years translated texts with a dynamic relationship to images. A background in art history and literature has grounded her translation of over sixty graphic novels, many by artists who have broadened the medium's storytelling range. Her translations included acclaimed titles such as Julie Delporte's This Woman's Work (co-translated with Aleshia Jensen, Drawn and Quarterly, 2019), Sophie Bédard's Lonely Boys (co-translated with Robin Lang, Pow Pow Press, 2020) and Michel Rabagliati's "Paul" books (Drawn and Quarterly, Conundrum). She also translates exhibitions, digital stories, and films, most recently Theodor Ushev's The Physics of Sorrow (with Karen Houle, NFB, 2019). A Montrealer, she works from French and German to English.

Helge Dascher's profile page

Editorial Reviews

Ideal for an aspiring young politico, this graphic memoir anatomizes the grit and idealism that helped Plante become Montreal's first female mayor. C¶te-Lacroix's illustrations detail both Plante's ground game in her first election and the moments she looks to the universe for guidance - hence the book's title."
- Globe and Mail, Best Books of 2020

"C¶te-Lacroix's bright painted art, blocking out Montreal and its people in bold shapes and colors, complements Plante's optimism. This inviting and accessible blueprint will appeal to anyone, but will particularly resonate with women who are keen to get involved in politics." - Publishers Weekly
"Anyone new to the world of politics will face a myriad of challenges, but women face issues that men do not. . . this story is a reminder that the race can be worth running." - Canadian Review of Materials
"An earnest and inspirational title with elegant illustrations for all who might wish to get involved in local politics (or read about getting involved in local politics)." - Shelf Awareness
"Okay, universe, I'm ready for a new challenge!' is what [Valerie Plante] says to the sky on the night she makes her commitment. It's hard to imagine that many who read Okay, Universe, especially the girls and young women who are the book's truest spiritual constituency, won't come away feeling just as determined."
- Montreal Gazette
"[ Okay, Universe ] follows the challenges faced by the fictional Simone Simoneau in her run for city council, both as a first-time politician and a female enduring the kind of systemic gender biases that discourage women from entering the political arena at all. . . Plante hopes that her story - or, Simone Simoneau's story - inspires others to follow in her footsteps." - Quill & Quire
" Okay, Universe is the story of one woman's sojourn into the male-centric world of politics [as well as] an uplifting, inspiring story that doesn't hit the reader over the head with any over-the-top ideological ranting."
- London Free Press
" Okay, Universe provides understanding of the behind-the-scenes work in politics. Often people will picture candidates giving speeches to big crowds waving posters. This may be part of it, but the real work is talking one-on-one with people and finding funds." - BlogCritics
"A friendly, helpful, realistic portrayal of an actual first-time political campaign . . . The world could use more constructive books that encourage participation in local politics rather than scare people away and that's what happens here." - Comics Beat
" This is a quiet story, and the color palette - secondary colors of light violet, light green, light orange and gray - complement the calm tone. Unframed panels show many views of Montreal and Simone's family life. Many of these passages show street views as Simone commutes to work on her bicycle, as well as. . . personal moments in her day." - Youth Services Book Review

"Inspiring and empowering." - School Library Journal

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