Day of Dialog continued on into the afternoon after time for lunch. Garth Nix, the Australian writer of Sabriel, Lirael, and Abhorsen, gave a wonderful talk and gave us some insight into the next book in that fantasy series, Clariel. If you like full blown high fantasy, check out this series.
The panel on The Unreliable YA Narrator was marvelous. Authors Jody Lynne Anderson, Alaya Dawn Johnson. E. Lockhart, Barry Lyga, and Meg Wolitzer discussed the usefulness and purpose of the unreliable narrator in their fiction. I love unreliable narrators because it adds some edginess to the story. When you begin suspecting the narrator is feeding you a story, you can’t help but interact with the book. Barry Lyga’s series about the son of a serial killer who is fearful of becoming just like dear old dad is awesome and the narrator is a little suspect. First came I Hunt Killers followed by Game. Soon they will be followed by Lucky Day and I can’t wait to read it.
E. Lockhart, author of a number of strong YA titles including The Boyfriend List, has a new book out called We Were Liars which follows a family as they begin to disintegrate. What happened? Our narrator isn’t sure herself so are we to surmise? She does eventually finish her story but it did not end how I thought it would.
The last panel featured Lois Ehlert, Chris Raschka, Peter Sis, and Raina Telgemeier whose books tell the story of (in order…) of her life, the life of jazz musician Sun Ra, Antoine de Saint-Exupery, and herself. Did you follow that? Lois Ehlert has done a magnificent autobiography called The Scraps Book: Notes from a Colorful Life. It is Lois’s life to a T. Her artwork throughout comes from many of her books and it tells her story of creating art from the time she was a child. It is a great introduction to autobiography for children and it’s just a great story of a great woman. Isn’t it gorgeous?
Chris Raschka has created a biography of Sun Ra – a kind of crazy, experimental jazz performer illustrated with his signature art. There is something about Raschka’s art that really draws me in. It has movement, the colors are bold, and the tone is as wild as Sun Ra himself. It’s called The Cosmobiography of Sun Ra and is one of a number of books he has done on jazz musicians.
Peter Sis is an amazing book creator. He has won so many awards including the prestigious MacArthur Fellowship. His latest book tackles the life of the author of The Little Prince. It is called The Pilot and the Little Prince: The Life of Antoine de Saint-Exupery. There was lots I didn’t know about his life, that’s for sure. Sis’s intricate and detailed art is mind-boggling. It is beyond gorgeous. As with other books he’s done, this one has layers of information. Think of his book, The Wall. You can read the story or you can pore over the art and read snippets of Saint-Exupery’s life. It really is fascinating.
Last but certainly not least is graphic novelist extraordinaire, Raina Telgemeier. The first book of hers I read was Smile which chronicled her own life as a middle school student with a mouth full of braces. It was by turns funny and kind of sad. You really felt the character’s pain. Next came Drama in which a character wants desperately to be part of the drama group in school but, sadly, she’s a little lean on talent. Again, ouch! Now comes her latest which I just loved, Sisters. She wished for a sister and she got one but not the one she had romanticized in her head. This autobiographical graphic novel explores the strange relationship that sisters sometimes have. It really was terrific and middle school kids will love this one. Treat yourself on this one!
The fabulous day concluded with a book signing with all of the authors that spoke earlier in the day. Did I mention that all the books were free? It really was a wonderful and insightful day. I’m going next year!