Stitches by David Small

If you think your parents are awful, they are probably peaches compared to the folks that raised Caldecott award winner artist David Small. This gut wrenching graphic memoir of selected events from Small’s Detroit-based childhood and adolescence chronicle his survival of his parents’ loveless marriage, a botched surgery on his throat that left him scarred and voiceless, and the burning of all his favorite books by his vindictive mother. Through it all, Small maintained hope through his artwork. His sketchbook became a welcome escape from his chilly home life and silent school days, a portal to another world–just like Alice’s rabbit hole. Small was very influenced by Alice in Wonderland, and even portrays the therapist who ended up saving his life when he was a teen as the benevolent White Rabbit. In spare prose and stark panels, employing images that are startling, dream-like and reminiscent of classic cinema, Small takes you on an insightful and poignant journey through his own personal hell and eventual redemption. In the end Small perseveres, becoming an artist against all odds and with no support from his family. While this book is for everybody, it is especially for the somebody whose family has made them feel insignificant. Because as the inspiring author and illustrator demonstrates in this terrible, wonderful GN, even if you’re Small, you can still walk TALL. If you end up loving this gripping graphic memoir as much as I do, try the equally engrossing Blankets by Craig Thompson.  Until then, enjoy this awesome book trailer narrated by the author himself.

12 thoughts on “Stitches by David Small

  1. I’ve also heard good things about this one — and the small vs. tall thing reminds me of Roald Dahl’s Matilda… but I like that David doesn’t have to drive everyone off to live as he wants to, you know?

  2. Wow, just finished this searing, haunting graphic biography and was so happy that Smalls triumphs! I was an elementary librarian for 6 years before I came up to the high school and I loved all of his books, whether he wrote or illustrated them–why, because you could see that he was a happy author/illustrator. Now that I have read Stitches, I really love Small’s redemption through his art.

  3. Hi BJ,

    Yep, it’s a winner. Won’t be surprised if the National Book Award nod is just the first of many. Thanks for stopping by and posting your thoughts. Happy reading!

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