May 29, 2022

Amazing Ash & Superhero Ah Ma Returns: Southeast Asian Children’s Graphic Novel Introduces Young Readers to Topics of Ageing and Dementia

Difference Engine is proud to announce that Amazing Ash & Superhero Ah Ma is back for a second run. Book #2 of the series, Amazing Ash & Superhero Ah Ma: Coming of Age launches on 20 May.

Gripping and heartfelt, this full-colour graphic novel series introduces topics of ageing and dementia to young readers, while still being relatable and age-appropriate. Book #2 finds Ash dealing with changes in her life as she grapples with Ah Ma’s worsening dementia, along with her new superhero responsibilities and additional team members. Educators and parents may find the series useful to start conversations with young ones about the illness, andhow children can learn to connect with affected elderly family members and loved ones.

Digital resources are also available to help young readers understand dementia and age-related issues with a companion website, Amazing Ash & Superhero Ah Ma: The Unforgettable Adventures. Featuring a free series of bite-sized comics and interactive activities, the website teaches young ones more about dementia, tips on how to cope when a relative has the illness, and more. Visit this website to view these digital resources:

Written by Melanie Lee, a Crystal Kite Award recipient from Singapore, and illustrated by Arif Rafhan, a prominent comic artist, illustrator and pre-production artist from Malaysia, the comic book series is set in Southeast Asia, and first launched in 2020.

Writer Melanie Lee said that she wanted to create a story that featured an unusual granddaughter-grandmother duo, while keeping in mind that children might witness their grandparents decline in physical or mental health as they age. “I wanted to show how people of different ages can work together happily,
and portray Ah Ma as someone who is so much more than her dementia — she is still someone who enjoys fun and adventure, and is willing to adapt to unexpected circumstances.”

Illustrator Arif Rafhan agreed and explained he hoped that the story would encourage young readers to bridge the generation gap and show them that family is important. “Nothing is cooler than loving your family,” he said.

The series has received praise from notable writers and artists around the region, and earned kudos from those who work with people with dementia. Said Gavin Aung Than, NYT bestselling cartoonist and creator of Zen Pencils: “Amazing Ash & Superhero Ah Ma: Coming of Age is a fun and heartwarming superhero adventure that also introduces children to the important topics of ageing and dementia. Go team ASH!”

Social Workers from AWWA CREST, Nicodemus Ching and Lucian Toh, said that this issue was a powerful one that highlights the care and affection that persons living with dementia have for their loved ones. ”We thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. Action packed, bite-sized, and relatable for children, there is never a dull moment! At the same time, it is accurate to the experiences that persons living with dementia and their caregivers face.”

Felicia Low, Publisher and Co-Founder, at Difference Engine, said that keeping this accuracy was a deliberate choice. “Sometimes when we talk about the elderly, all we see is their age and their illness—we forget who they are as people. One of the best things about Amazing Ash & Superhero Ah Ma is that all the characters in the story are people we might encounter at the kopitiam, at the supermarket, or at our void deck. They are
recognisable because they are us.”

With this series and microsite, the Difference Engine team hopes that young readers will be able to learn about dementia in a format that is appealing and fun.

Amazing Ash & Superhero Ah Ma: Coming of Age (Book #2) is now available in bookstores in Singapore and Malaysia. The book retails at SGD17.90 (w/o GST). Purchase the print or ebook at

For enquiries about the book, contact:


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