Joseph Osei Bonsu
For decades, millions of children around the world have grown up reading comics and watching cartoons, fuelling fantasies about other worlds and opportunities. Visual artist Joseph Osei Bonsu was one of those kids, drawing inspiration from comics and animated shows he watched as an African Canadian child growing up in a multicultural Toronto. Years later, he collaborated with long-time friend, Mark Williams, on Heroes of the World, a comic-inspired brand whose first superhero, Captain Ghana, paid homage to Mr. Bonsu’s Ghanaian background. The two illustrators have since designed more than 1,200 characters representing different countries and the brand now includes a comic book series and associated merchandising for a worldwide audience. Mr. Bonsu’s work also caught the attention Scholastic Canada, one of the country’s leading publishers of children’s books. During the pandemic, he was asked by Scholastic to collaborate on an illustrated children’s book with sprinter Andre DeGrasse, a six-time Olympic medallist and the reigning 200-metre Olympic champion. The result was Race With Me! in which Mr. De Grasse describes his love of running, being an underdog and what it takes to be a world-class competitor. Released in July 2021, it was commended as one of the Best Books for Kids & Teens by the Canadian Children’s Book Centre.