I gave Stitches: A Memoir by David Small to a friend for Christmas. She loved it and gave it back to me to read. David Small is an award-winning author and illustrator of more than 40 children’s books. He won the Caldecott Medal in 2001 for So You Want To Be President? My favorite book by Mr. Small is Imogene’s Antlers about a girl who wakes up one day and has antlers. It was a PBS Reading Rainbow selection for 10 years.
Back to Stitches which by the way was a National Book Award finalist. This memoir is also a graphic novel. The graphic novel genre expanded to nonfiction since the publication of Maus, a Holocaust story, by Art Spiegelman. Mr. Small tells a heartbreaking and moving story of a difficult childhood. His father was a doctor who repeatedly subjected him to x-rays to monitor a sinus problem. Mr. Small develops cancer as a result. He goes through surgery and loses his ability to speak as a result of vocal chord damage. Through all of this he is never told about the cancer. Mr. Small’s ability to draw is a constant in his life as well as a gift. The beautifully detailed illustrations in Stitches really do enhance the story. They are strong enough to elicit emotional responses from the reader. For more information about Mr. Small check out Powell’s Books for an interview with him.