Victoria Jamieson was always an introverted child, but a move across states in middle school pushed her further inward and made her grasp for familiarity. She quickly found comfort in the local library, where her mother facilitated their summer reading program. While Vicki was an avid reader, burning through Ramona Quimby stories, she also found herself deeply interested in the Sunday comics in newspapers, and comics like Calvin and Hobbes.
This lifelong interest in artwork and storytelling would inspire Vicki’s own early career as an illustrator. After creating her own picture books (have you read “Olympig!”? Adorable!), Vicki came across graphic novels, an emerging format at the time. She was hooked and decided to take a shot at creating her own. Her subsequent books, including Newbery honor winner, “Roller Girl,” and National Book Award finalist, “When Stars are Scattered,” are beloved by children and educators alike.
In this episode, Vicki talks with me about why she loves graphic novels so deeply, authors that inspired her, and how a dream job rejection opened the door to her first book. She also shares about being a mom to a young reader and addresses the “concerns” many parents voice about their own kids exclusively reading graphic novels.
For her reading challenge, Little Windows, Victoria shared a shortlist of some of her favorite graphic novels that give readers “little windows” into learning about other kids' families, their homes, and how they live their lives. I invite you to check it out, and for Beanstack clients, use the challenge on your site!
This episode's Beanstack featured librarian is John Henry Evans, a school librarian at Walter T. Helms Middle School at West Contra Costa Unified School District in California. John Henry shares a moving story about a student, a book, and an unexpected post-it note. Vicki made me cry, and then John Henry did with this story (I mean, I actually kind of ugly cried when we hung up), so this show certainly has a few emotional moments.
Listen to the full episode, “Little Windows: Victoria Jamieson on the Underrated Power of Graphic Novels,” on Apple, Google, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts. If you like what you hear, please leave a review, subscribe, and share with someone who will enjoy it.