That Feline Hero with “Cat-itude” is Coming to GBF!

John Gallagher, creator of Max Meow, will be a featured author at the Gaithersburg Book Festival on May 21, 2022, at our new location: Bohrer Park in Gaithersburg.  John will be part of a graphic novel panel with John Patrick Green (Investigators: Braver & Boulder), Abby Denson (Kitty Sweet Tooth) and moderated by Dave Roman (Astronaut Academy series).  John will lead a meowsome workshop for elementary students as well.

Creating Super Cats and Vile Villains – A Kids Comics Workshop:  10:15-10:45 am

Author Presentation (followed by book signing):  12:15-1:05 pm in the Willa Cather Pavilion

What is your studio/creative space like?

I have a home studio with a diner booth! After college, I lived with multiple roommates. Needless to say, it was hard to concentrate with so many folks running around. So I would go to the local diner and draw. I became so used to the height of the diner table, that when I moved into my open studio, I got a diner booth for use as my work space.

How (or in what ways) do you hope librarians will promote your book?

My main goal is to show young readers that reading can be fun—and librarians have done a wonderful job of promoting Max Meow (and many other books) that way.

What do you hope your readers will learn from reading your book?

I often try to impart small bits of wisdom that have helped me through life, such as taking chances, it’s okay to mess up, and that being a good person (or cat) to others is an important part of being a hero or leader. But I also like to stick in little snippets of science via Max’s best buddy, Mindy.

Who is the reader you are writing for?  Describe them!

I write for the 7-10 year old I was: one part imagination, one part comedian, and maybe someone that thinks too much sometimes. But maybe also someone that might be reluctant to read, at first, but forgets that when they see a flying cat and alien wiener dog.

What is one (or more) thing(s) that you really want your readers to know about you?

I love cats AND dogs! Many kids want me to choose, or explain why Max is a cat, and I am a big fan of both. In fact, I have one cat, Millie, and a dog named Cody.

What do you love most about the cover art and illustrations in your book?   

Getting to do them! 😊 I was mesmerized by comics as a kid, they really took me to whole new worlds. So trying to do that for a new generation of readers is very exciting for me.

What has surprised you most about the characters in your book?

I often start out with certain ideas about where my characters are headed in the stories—but rarely do they stay on that path. For example, Agent M, a grumpy mouse (or is he a rat?), and the first book’s villain, has grown as a character so much over the series, that he actually reformed and became something of a hero in later books.

Which book review or award has been most meaningful to you?

Reviews by librarians have meant a lot, because they are so dedicated and discerning for their young readers. But it’s the reviews that kids share online about Max Meow that have helped me to appreciate the importance of storytelling in inspiring others.

What are you most looking forward to at our book festival?

Meeting and talking to the readers and their parents is such an invigorating experience, and really reminds me why this is the best job in the world.

Creating Super Cats and Vile Villains – A Kids Comics Workshop:  10:15-10:45 am

Author Presentation (followed by book signing):  12:15-1:05 pm in the Cather Tent

Visit the Gaithersburg Book Festival website for more information about this literary event.

Did you know?

John has a great website with interactive games for his readers, as well as coloring sheets and other activities.  Check out  Citizens of Kittyopolis and Videos, Fun & Games pages!

John Gallagher is the art director of the NWF’s “Ranger Rick” magazine, cofounder of “Kids Love Comics” (an organization that uses graphic novels to promote literacy), and leads workshops teaching kids how to create their own comics. John lives in Virginia with his wife and their three kids. 

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