Wednesday, February 14, 2024

Raina Telgemeier Profile in The Atlantic

Photo of Raina Telgemeier by Cayce Clifford for The Atlantic.


Raina Telgemeier is profiled in the March 2024 issue of The Atlantic. The article is by Jordan Kisner. This is a revealing portrait of the change that she made in the YA graphic novel book industry. Books about anxious kids sell. And, much to the surprise of Scholastic, girls read comics.

"She got her break in her mid-20s, when Scholastic commissioned her to create graphic-novel adaptations of books from The Baby-Sitters Club series. Her editor took an interest in a web comic she was self-publishing at the time, which became her first graphic memoir, Smile. Scholastic published the book in 2010 as a kind of experiment. At the time, the market for middle-grade comics was dominated by superheroes and fantasy. Would kids want a nonfiction comic about a normal sixth-grade girl’s tricky journey with braces? Publishing executives had doubts about whether enough girls could be persuaded to read comics at all. (It was assumed that a comic with a girl protagonist would require an audience of girls.)

"Smile’s first print run sold out in four months, and the book spent 240 weeks on the New York Times best-seller list. In 2014, Telgemeier published Sisters, and in 2019, Guts. This trio of graphic memoirs has made her, like Roald Dahl and Judy Blume, the kind of author who defines a generation of children’s literature, and whose books, in turn, have helped define a generation’s experience of childhood."


This is a well deserved major piece and details her lasting impact on kids and parents. 

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