Why We Love Graphic Novels, a guest post by Paige Braddock
I devoured newspaper comics as a kid. I read them all. What could be better than captivating drawings and witty storylines? At the age of 7, I knew nothing could be better, or funnier, and I vowed then and there to become a cartoonist. And I did!
Lucky for me, I found great mentors along the way, and eventually got to work with the creator of my all-time favorite comic strip, Peanuts. It was while working alongside Charles Schulz that I gained the confidence I needed to make my own comics. That’s because at his studio, comics were treated like an art form, and they were taken seriously, as they should be.
Fast forward to the present, comics in book form are now called graphic novels, and they are taken very seriously. So much so that they are winning awards, even Pulitzers. I think Charles Schulz would be very happy about this. I know I am. There are so many good graphic novels out there, I can’t get enough of them. It’s a very inspiring time in comics.
In addition to creating my own comic strip, Jane’s World, I have created a series of graphic novels for kids. Whether I am drawing about life at a small pond or fictionalizing real-life stories with my puppy, I have one goal in mind: Writing and illustrating a story for kids that’s fun and appealing, while at the same time teaching them a little bit about the world around us.
It’s no easy task. For starters, making each page of a graphic novel visually interesting on its own, while also making sure each page fits well into the larger story, is challenging and time intensive. But that’s the magic of graphic novels, and it is very rewarding. My advice to anyone who wants to create graphic novels, pay attention to the little things. The fun is in the details.
For example, who knew that the little pup we brought home and named, Charlie, would inspire not one, but three books all about what it means to be a family; sharing, acceptance, and friendship. Or that I would name this funny series after my favorite snack which is peanut butter and crackers. Or that all three of the main characters would be based on my fur babies who live with me and my wife in northern California.
That’s why we love graphic novels. It’s because you can literally read and enjoy a graphic novel about almost anything. From adolescence to aging, to hiking the Pacific Crest Trail and surviving a war zone, graphic novels transport us to subjects we may never have delved into if it weren’t for the captivating drawings and the often deeply personal storylines.
Over the years, I’ve realized that my work makes people feel better. I’ve received lots of mail, and now emails and social media posts, and they all seem to point to the same sentiment. Whether it’s kids recreating their favorite Stinky Cecil or Peanut, Butter, & Crackers characters, or adults who keep a copy of Jane’s World at their nightstand for comfort when things get scary or when they’re just not feeling well, my graphic novels, like many graphic novels, make them feel better. And for me, that’s really all an artist or writer can hope for. That kind of feedback makes me feel like what I’m doing matters.
Meet the author
Paige Braddock is an Eisner-nominated artist and writer and the Chief Creative Officer at Charles M. Schulz Creative Associates. She has illustrated several Peanuts children’s books. Her other graphic novels for children include the Stinky Cecil series and Peanut, Butter, & Crackers. The third installment of Peanut, Butter, & Crackers, ON THE TRAIL, is out now. The gang goes camping. Getting lost just wasn’t part of the plan. ON THE TRAIL is about home and all the places we find it.
Paige lives with her wife Evelyn and their two dogs and a cat in Sebastopol, California. You can follow Paige on Twitter, Instagram, and Tumbler via @PaigeBraddock, or at the following websites:
About On The Trail
Peanut, Butter, and Crackers return in the third graphic novel in the series. This time, they’re off camping. Getting lost just wasn’t part of the plan.
Peanut, Butter, and Crackers set off on a camping trip. But when Butter and Peanut leave the safety of the camper to explore the forest, they end up more lost than they ever planned and Crackers has no choice but to go look for them. Can Crackers find his family before it’s too late?
Kids will love Paige Braddock’s newest addition to the Peanut, Butter, and Crackers series. This story of home and all the places we find it is sure to be a favorite.
Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date: 07/12/2022
Series: Peanut, Butter, and Crackers #3
Age Range: 6 – 9 Years
Filed under: Guest Post
About Amanda MacGregor
Amanda MacGregor works in an elementary library, loves dogs, and can be found on Twitter @CiteSomething.
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