Posts Tagged ‘graphic novels’

I’m hearing so much about ‘young reader’ graphic novels from librarians and teachers – it’s like it’s 2001 again.

Back in 2001 and 2002 there was a lot of interest in graphic novels at schools and from bookstores. But that first wave of interest from the large publishers resulted in older reader GN’s and now the interest seems to be in projects for 1st grade and up, or even K and Pre K.

My GN, Earthling! reads too old for where the interest is now. But no one is quite sure what they want. It seems they are looking for a book with slightly more plot than a typical picture book and some of the graphic sensibilities of a GN, but with smaller page counts. I see some books out there that seem to fit into this new description but they are exceptionally slap-stick in tone and that gets old fast. I’d like a little more story.

I’d love to do a hybrid GN project like this and honestly I’ve been working on a few – not ready for unveiling yet – but there is a ton of potential in a format that is picture book like, but an easier sell to older readers. It’s interesting how far we’ve come since graphic novels and comic book style art were considered a poor cousin to the High Art of illustration.


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I enjoyed an awesome visit to schools in the Santa Fe Springs School District in Southern California. Earthling! was the Author Month book so many kids got a copy of Earthling! and did projects based on the book. The events were made possible in part by the City of Santa Fe Springs. Everyone I met from city employees, to school librarians, principals and teachers were  generous with their time and were doing their best to create great learning opportunities and environments. It was inspiring for me and I hope it was inspiring for all the great kids I met and signed books for.

I visited Lakeview, Jersey Avenue and Rancho Santa Gertrudes Elementary schools.

I was overwhelmed with great questions about the book. For example: What exactly was the liquid in the tanks that Bud was put into? Do I think there really are aliens? Do I think Bud did the right things once he was at Cosmos Academy? How long did it take to draw Earthling? Do I think most school buses could fly into outer space? And did this happen to me when I was a kid and — might I be an ALIEN!?  I’m still looking through all the great drawings and letters. Thanks to all the students for their enthusiasm!

I’ll be hearing some pictures from the visit and my presentation.


Rancho Santa Gertrudes Elementary School. Mrs. Snow’s Fourth Grade class made dioramas of their favorite part of the book!


It was a full house at Lakeview Elementary!


I got to meet the kids who did the wonderful art on this poster!


And Jersey School had even more great questions for me!


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Every January first for the past 14 years, from 12:00-12:00, Comicraft offers a sale on all their fonts at the dollar conversion of the year. So this being 2014, that means any font set sells for $20.14.

It’s a GREAT deal from the makers of some of the best digital fonts for comics and such.

The Comicraft sale starts tonight at midnight.

Go see what great stuff they have!

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And speaking of Earthing! It is in the running for awards in the Texas Library Association Maverick awards (click here to see all the great graphic novels nominated in Texas) and in the Maine Student Book Awards (click here to see the Maine books. This list seems to be general middle grade, not just graphic novels).

Lot’s of great books to read on those lists.

And here’s another review of Earthling! from the Czech Republic.


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I recieved a few copies of Earthling! in Czech. They are beautiful books. They did an excellent job on the production. Love the built in bookmark and spot varnish cover. And there’s plenty of accent marks everywhere.

And I promise to stop writing about Earthling!. I’ll go back to complaining about the weather or picture books that aren’t good any day now.


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No. I don’t see this blog as being mainly about self promotion, yet here I am self promoting. But, if I don’t who will!?


The Horn Book recently recommended Earthling! in an article on graphic novels for kids. Here’s what they had to say:

Gr. 4-6 In this sic-fi graphic novel, Bud gets on the wrong bus and ends up at Cosmos Academy, an intergalactic school whose students fear Earthlings. With the help of new friends Gort, Bud devises a plan to return home before the aliens figure out who he is. Action and humor (especially in the characters facial expressions) are successfully captured in bright cartoon panels.

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As I mentioned before, I have a habit of talking about my books. Sales calls are an especially good time to launch into a long discussion of my books. “So you’d like to talk to me about buying Comcast’s digital package, let me tell you about my books…” And I can talk about them on this blog.

Earthling! is the all ages graphic novel I completed last year. You can check it out by clicking here.

Earthling! went through a lot of changes before it was finally released. Below are two drawings from that process. One is an early piece of development art for the two main characters. This is a scene when they are trying to pick out which star might be the Sun that Earth orbits. It’s just hitting Bud that he’s a gazillion miles from home, and doesn’t even know where to start looking. Click on the image to see it bigger.


This is a quick sketch from my drawing book of an early spaceship school bus.


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