Silenced Voices is a new YA graphic novel by Eisner-nominated and Miles Morales: Shockwaves artist Pablo Leon, about two sisters who find their way back to each other after being separated during a military raid on their village during the civil war in Guatemala in 1982. It has been picked up by Andrew Arnold at HarperAlley as part of a two-book deal, with the first book being published in the winter of 2024. Pablo Leon tweeted out the news, saying "Can finally say my original YA graphic novel 'Silenced Voices' is going to be published! After I moved to the States, when anyone would ask how it was growing up in Guatemala, they'd give me blank stares when I mentioned the bloody 36-year-long civil war that "ended" in the 90s. This is an event that to this day has ripple effects in & out of the country, much of the migrant population making its way up North stems from the war crimes of the conflict and the state's failure to assist the most affected areas, which were the indigenous population. I mean, even the mention of genocide is a never-ending argument, but I feel as a Guatemalan is my responsibility to talk about this, to not forget. Half of the problems are things that were never addressed from the war, and we all grew up with the repercussions of it. Also finding a way to talk about how the disconnect that many 1st gen American Latinos experience, of knowing nothing of their parent's home country because of the awfulness they experienced there. I hope you give this one chance and read it with an open mind, thank you!"
Pablo Leon's agent Britt Siess at Britt Siess Creative Management brokered the deal for North American rights. Founded in 2020, Britt Siess Creative Management is a Seattle-based full-service literary agency with an emphasis on graphic novels and illustration. They turn up on Bleeding Cool a lot! HarperAlley is a graphic novel imprint launched from HarperCollins Children's Books under the direction of former art director and acquiring editor at First Second, Andrew Arnold in 2019 described as a "collaborative, creator-focused publisher" that will specialize in graphic novels for "readers of all ages." The new line is "looking to publish books that readers of all ages can enjoy, from the youngest readers to teens and adults. We believe that a good story is a story that any reader can relate to. That's what we mean when we say "readers of all ages." HarperAlley is looking to publish about ten books a season, or about thirty books a year and is one of a number of mainstream book publishers that has been rapidly increasing the number of graphic novels for younger readers.