Logo: Tales of the Urban Wild: A Puma‘s Journey Tales of the Urban Wild: A Puma's Journey

For two young mountain lion brothers born in central California, where cityscape meets the wilderness, life isn’t easy. Soon after their mother leaves them to fend for themselves, a dominant male puma attacks, sending them running. The brother who dashes across a treacherous highway is hit by a truck and killed. The brother who hides up a tree survives. And so the journey begins.

Cover Art: Illustration of a young mountain lion, forest and highway in the background

“Rich, wide-ranging reading for budding naturalists.”

Kirkus Reviews

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Illustration: C-8, the mountain lion, hiding within vegetation

Tales of the Urban Wild: A Puma’s Journey follows the lone brother, who local scientists tag as C-8, as he navigates what humans have done to the landscape.

Drawing from meticulous research, conservation scientist Tiffany Yap weaves together many diverse animal and human stories, celebrating the beauty and wonder of ecology, interconnectivity, and representation. With artist Meital Smith’s spectacular illustrations in the rich golds and earth tones of central California, this debut graphic novel inspires and teaches us what it means to share and protect this earth together.

Sample Pages

A must-read for young scientists, those who love to nerd out about biodiversity, like me, and simply anyone who cares about living in a flourishing world. Tales of the Urban Wild: A Puma’s Journey sheds light on how humans and our natural world interact in both seen and unseen ways, and compassionately and inclusively teaches us how to be better stewards of wildlife and the natural environment and better caretakers for our beloved pets, livestock, and children. Together Yap and Smith remind us of two inextricable messages: When biodiversity thrives, we all thrive, and when human diversity thrives, we all thrive.
Tales of the Urban Wild: A Puma's Journey will speak to all Californians for its beautiful yet haunting look into the nature that surrounds us. At the very least, it will check ‘crying because of a mountain lion’ off the literary bucket list.
A book about animals and plants? WITH PICTURES?! Yes, please! Tales of the Urban Wild: A Puma's Journey is a beautifully illustrated novel with an urgent message about the survival of pumas and wildlife. Yap and Smith illuminate the important connections between human expansion and ecosystems. Easy to understand and packed with interesting facts, this book is a must-read for anyone who loves nature.
Tales of the Urban Wild: A Puma's Journey is a deep dive into the lives of North America's most elusive cat. Yap and Smith bring to life the recent scientific literature about pumas in an easily accessible yet thorough novel that takes the reader through new discoveries about puma natural history, behavior, and conflict with people. I would gladly recommend this book to both newcomers to the mysterious world of the puma and to my graduate students studying puma ecology alike!
Tales of the Urban Wild: A Puma's Journey combines everything that I love: animals, science, beautiful illustrations and a compelling narrative. This book is so rich in detail about the puma and its ecosystem, and I enjoyed getting a behind-the-scenes look at how scientists study them. I especially admired how Yap and Smith portray the puma's interactions with humans, showing, for example, non-violent solutions to prevent conflict with landowners, which to me demonstrates a compassion for animals and people that I rarely see in conservation stories.

About the Authors

Tiffany Yap is a conservation scientist based in the San Francisco Bay Area. She holds a doctorate in environmental science and engineering and has published studies in Science, EcoHealth, and other scientific journals. Her work has been featured in major news outlets, including the New York Times, LA Times, San Francisco Chronicle, and NPR.

Meital Smith is an illustrator and artist from Seattle, Washington. She graduated from Cornish College of the Arts with a BFA in Design in 2021 and is currently pursuing an MAT at the Rhode Island School of Design. Meital's work has appeared in The Lily, and in 2021, she self-published her graphic novella Yesh Lanu Machaneh, which documents her community's experiences at her beloved summer camp, Camp Miriam.


  1. NightLife: The Art of Nature

    In Conversation with Christine Wilkinson

    7:30PM PST
    California Academy of Sciences
    Golden Gate Park, 55 Music Concourse Drive, San Francisco, CA 94118
  2. P-22 Day Festival Tabling & Signing

    11:00AM PST
    Griffith Park
    4730 Crystal Springs Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90027
  3. Book Launch Party

    6:00PM PST
    Cape & Cowl Comics
    1601 Clay St, Oakland, CA 94612
  4. Reading & Signing (with Pepperwood Preserve Tour)

    Time TBD
    Pepperwood Preserve
    2130 Pepperwood Preserve Road, Santa Rosa, CA 95404

Past Events

  1. Comix Remix Open Mic

    Silver Sprocket
    1018 Valencia St, San Francisco, CA 94110

Ships – Available for Pre-order!

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