Friday, March 18, 2011

Jillian and Mariko Tamaki have made a new book

I read about this on Jillian Tamaki's site and it's news that has me excited-- which is no small feat in these troubling days where I spend most of my time either doodling or watching the news unfold in Japan. Jillian and her cousin Mariko, creators of of the touchingly written and gorgeously illustrated 2008 Ignatz award-winning graphic novel Skim (whew... out of breath) have a new book coming out from Groundwood Books. It's called Awago Beach Babies and it's something to look forward to.

Skim is pure love in book form. When I was deciding what to discard and what to keep during my final months in Japan-- weight and shipping costs being major factors-- I gave away stacks of graphic novels to my students. I tried to choose ones I thought best fit each person's likes or matched his or her personality. Skim, however, proved problematic. For one thing, there were too many students I thought would enjoy it and giving it to one would have been unfair to the others. For another, the story speaks to me in ways we only speak to our closest friends and I really would have felt awkward giving it to someone with whom I had a more or less professional relationship. Isn't that kind of stupid? Anyway, that's how I felt.

Finally, I selfishly wanted to keep it for myself, dang the weight and expense. Looking back, it might have been cheaper to give it away to one of my closest friends there-- I'm sure she would have appreciated it and treasured it as much as I do-- and then re-purchase it once I got back to the United States. But this was the Skim I first read. When my eyes first saw Jillian Tamaki's art, it was while holding this particular copy. When I learned who Kimberly Keiko Cameron was, it was through Mariko Tamaki's writing on these particular pages.

I'm the kind of person who gets emotionally attached to books. The stories they tell, how they tell them, the emotions they draw forth when I read them, the secrets they reveal.

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