My students LOVE graphic novels. Strong readers, reluctant readers, those with attention issues – nearly all my students read graphic novels. They also love dogs and cats, so you can imagine that Dav Pilkey’s Dog Man series, John Gallagher’s Max Meow series, John Green’s InvestiGATOR series (yes, I know gators aren’t dogs or cats) books don’t stay on my library shelves for long – if at all. I am excited to add Kitty Sweet Tooth to my ever-growing graphic novel collection!
Abby Denson will be part of an “animals and their antics” graphic novel panel, along with John Gallagher (Max Meow), John Patrick Green (InvestiGATORS), Dave Roman (Astronaut Academy series) at the Gaithersburg Book Festival on May 21 at our new location, Gaithersburg’s Bohrer Park, 506 S. Frederick Avenue, Gaithersburg, Maryland.
Abby’s Graphic Novel Author Presentation: 12:15-1:05 pm in the Willa Cather Pavilion. It will be immediately followed by a book signing.
I hope you enjoy my interview with the delightful Abby Denson!
What is your creative space/studio like?
It’s a large room with a couch and a lot of natural light that has two computer workstations and a drawing space. I have multicolor fairy lights hanging around the room and wall art that includes a black cat hanging rug and various Japanese furoshiki cloth hangings with patterns I like. I also have book shelves with lots of comics and graphic novels on them as well as my small collection of dolls and action figures. This includes a Kitty Sweet Tooth plush doll that my editor Robyn Chapman commissioned as a (very thoughtful) gift when the book launched! It was made by the talented Claire Sanders.
How (or in what ways) do you hope librarians will promote your book?
Mainly, I just want my books to be available to readers, but I love it when my books are part of a nice display, or if they get featured as a recommended read. That’s great! I also hope for my books to be included on ALA recommended reading lists and considered for awards. I love to do library events, and luckily have been able to do several virtual library talks over the past year.
What do you hope your readers will learn from reading your book?
Kitty Sweet Tooth is about friends creating something great for their community together, and it can teach kids about overcoming obstacles and unexpected mishaps through cooperation. It centers on a character who has an enthusiastic love for movies, and she is inspired to share that with her town at the movie theater. I hope it will encourage readers to share their enthusiasm and appreciation for the arts and encourage their own feelings of creativity.
Uniquely Japan is a non-fiction book covering different Japanese cultural topics. I hope that readers will learn a lot about Japan from it, or at least enjoy looking at my comics, photos, and drawings!
Who is the reader you are writing for?
Anyone who wants to have a fun and enjoyable read, but is also interested in learning something new.
What is one (or more) thing(s) that you really want your readers to know about you?
I’m hoping that my books will make people smile, and I want readers to know that if they are inspired to do so, they can also create their own books and comics. Please go for it!
What do you love most about your cover art and illustrations in your book?
For Kitty Sweet Tooth, the entire book was illustrated by Utomaru, who is a brilliant artist! I’m so glad I get to work with her. Frankly, I love everything about her cover art! Though if I had to pick out details, I do especially love the cake that Kitty is holding and also the way the film reel wraps around to the back of the book. Also, there is a totally different (equally gorgeous) cover design under the dust jacket, so please look inside and check it out. Molly Johanson did the amazing design work!
For Uniquely Japan, the cover includes my own illustrations, and I am really happy with the compact hard cover design of the book – the Tuttle team did a great job! I especially like the way the sushi and bento illustrations came out.
[Melissa: If you would like to read more about Uniquely Japan, here’s the link to an article in Stars and Stripes.]
What has surprised you most about the characters in your book?
In Kitty Sweet Tooth, it can be surprising how resilient and tough Kitty is (you’ll see more of this in her next book Kitty Sweet Tooth Makes a Movie). Even when different mishaps occur, she and her friends can figure things out together.
Which book review or award has been most meaningful to you?
Receiving an International Manga Award for my book Dolltopia was really special. Having my work recognized by a board of established manga creators was very meaningful to me.
I also recently got a very insightful review for Uniquely Japan from UK Anime Network. I felt that they really understood what I was aiming for with the book. Read the UK Anime Network review here.
What are you most looking forward to at our book festival?
Meeting the readers and my fellow authors!
Please join Abby Denson at Gaithersburg Book Festival on May 21st!
Abby Denson is the author of “Uniquely Japan,” the “Kitty Sweet Tooth” series (illustrated by Utomaru), “Cool Tokyo Guide,” “Cool Japan Guide,” “Dolltopia” and “Tough Love: High School Confidential.” She has scripted comics for Amazing Spider-Man Family, Powerpuff Girls Comics, Simpsons Comics, Sabrina The Teenage Witch, Josie and the Pussycats, Disney Adventures, and many others. Her work has garnered the International Manga Award, Moonbeam Children’s Book Award, and IPPY Award. She has taught and lectured at various venues including the Eugene Lang College at The New School and Sophia University in Tokyo.