Discussion Guide: Urban Legendz

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Book Summary Urban Legendz:

Dwayne has to adjust to moving from Indiana to Brooklyn, NY, to live with his grandmother in the same apartment where his mother grew up. His older brother and dad get started with their new life right away, but D is unsure how to begin again. Luckily he meets Cashew, Mya, and Worm. They are a “neighborhood watch” group devoted to solving a series of Urban Legends cases surrounding mysterious monsters wreaking havoc throughout the city. So do you enjoy gargoyles of stone coming alive or alligators coming out of the toilet? Then this is the graphic novel for you!

For children ages 8 - 12 years old who love The Last Kids of Earth and Jerry Craft’s New Kid.

  • Check out the link to free graphic novel sheets below. You can use these sheets to begin your comic strips with your friends and work together like author Paul Downs, and illustrator Michael Yates did to create Urban Legendz.

  • Do you want to learn about writing and developing your ideas and characters for your stories? Check out Michael Yates and Paul Downs during Los Angeles Public Library’s Will Eisner Week - Dream, Write, Draw: Connecting Children with Graphic Novels virtual program. They appear at the one-hour and two-minute mark.

  • The creators based some of their characters on real-life people in their lives. Invent a character based on someone you know.

  • Urban Legends are similar to folk tales. They are stories that get passed around through oral storytelling. Can you think of an Urban legend that you have heard about from someone else? What was your favorite urban legend in the story?

  • If you are interested in reading more urban legends check out, Spine-Tingling Urban Legends by Karen Latchana Kenney.

  • What does the word perseverance mean? Paul Downs and Michael Yates persevered and worked on their book for four or five years before they even knew if the book would be published or their publisher would like their graphic novel. Can you think of a time when you persevered? Can you think of a person in history who persevered and didn’t give up?

Graphic Novel Sheet 1

Graphic Novel Sheet 2

—Thank you to author Paul Downs and illustrator Michael Yates.

If you love something, you're going to live with it when things are good and when things are bad, and you're going to see it all the way through until it is a hardcover book in your hand. There were several times where we had no idea, maybe the deal could fall through and it never becomes a book. Maybe they decide that they don't like it in the end. There's just so many factors that go into it. And all you have to do is put your head down and say, we love this project. We love the characters, we love the world, and we're just going to see it through, and we're going to hope that it becomes something.

—Paul Downs
Book cover for Urban Legendz
Urban Legendz
Paul Downs, Nick Bruno, & Michael Yates