Thursday, June 14, 2012



A high school teacher remarked to Todd about a young man in her class who hadn’t gotten into any of reading assignments all year, and in all probability hadn’t read a book in years. When Todd's book THE SECRET TO LYING was assigned, the boy devoured it, relating to the story and the conflicts encountered by the main character. After finishing the book, he told this teacher, “The only thing I didn’t like about this book is that it’s a book.”

This is precisely the problem, especially as boys get older. The idea of a traditional book is so unappealing. Todd is one who explores alternative storytelling mechanisms whether it be with graphic elements like in his FLIGHT OF ANGELS or his non-linear book BACKWARDS scheduled to come out with Candlewick in 2012.

"Three? Just three. Okay, I'm guessing people already know about books for younger audiences like the DIARY OF A WIMPY KID series, BIG NATE, CAPTAIN UNDERPANTS, THE STRANGE CASE OF ORAGAMI YODA, and THE INVENTION OF HUGO CABRET —all books for younger teen audiences that use art as part of the narrative in novel ways. What I'm interested, though, is how art can be used with text for older audiences in ways that haven't been done before. "

1. "Sherman Alexi's THE ABSOLUTELY TRUE DIARY OF A PART-TIME INDIAN is one book with art that I'd highly recommend for 9th grade and up.

2. AMERICAN BORN CHINESE, by Gene Yang is a great, quick graphic novel with a lot to discuss for 6th grade and up.

3. And for older teen boys, I recommend checking out Craig Thompson's graphic memoir, BLANKETS."

"But as far as art/text hybrids (books that use art in different ways from comic books, or illustrated novels) I think writers are still trying to figure out what's possible. Hopefully, publishers will begin to take more risks on new projects (hint, hint --if any editor wants to see my latest hybrid project, THE HIDDEN, it's completely different). I think there's a lot of new possibilities for narrative art/text hybrids that haven't been explored yet."

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