Saturday, September 29, 2012

Graphic Novelists Visited Willard

On the 11th of September, Raina Telgemeier and Doug TenNapel visited Willard to talk to a few classes and clubs.  The Metal Shop Theater was at full capacity as 90 students listened to Raina and Doug talk about their work as authors and artists.  They sketched, they chatted, they posed for photos, and signed books graciously and enthusiastically.  Then, second period started and they did it all again for another 90 kids.

Raina Telgemeier is best known for her graphic novel Smile which won the Eisner Award for best graphic novel for teens in 2011.  This memoir tells of her life in middle school with all its social challenges, made even worse when she loses her two front teeth.  Raina's lovely (if reconstructed) smile assured the middle schoolers that the troubles of this age will pass.

Doug TenNapel's long career in animation ensured that many of the audience members were familiar with his work.  From the Nickelodeon show, "Catscratch," to video games such as "Earthworm Jim", as well as his recent graphic novels Ghostopolis and Bad Island, kids knew his monsters.  He pointed out to the students that it is not his innate talent that makes him a great artist.  "If you do something 8 hours a day every day, you are going to get good at it.  For me, it was drawing monsters.  From when I was your age to now, I spent all my freetime sketching strange creatures.  Now I get paid to do it."  His newest graphic novel, Cardboard, came out in August.

Then Raina and Doug spent lunch with the Tuesday Comic Book Club.  The kids in the club had all read books by both of the authors and then had a chance to pose questions to them, then posed for a picture.

Raina was kind enough to stick around to speak to our Drama class.  They did a dramatic reading from her recently published book, Drama, complete with off-pitch singing.  Then they swapped backstage theater stories.

Thank you to Scholastic Publishing for sponsoring this author visit.  It was fun and inspiring.

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