About Me

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A 40-ish publisher (editor, project manager, etc.), husband, and father of an even number of offspring, I grew up, or failed to, reading fantasy and sci-fi. I still enjoy reading, and now am trying to write. My favorite books include YA fantasy, manga, biography, and advice to authors. I'm also a former history major/grad student/high school teacher and assessment writer. Now I work for a school supplement publisher, specializing in high-low chapter books. I spend a lot of my time controlling reading levels. At night, I cut loose and use long words. W00t!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Where, indeed: Barry Deutsch's HEREVILLE: How Mirka Got Her Sword

Years ago now, I read a hefty online sample of Barry Deutsch's more-than-charming graphic novel Hereville: How Mirka Got Her Sword. I call it "more than charming" because it was both a fairy-tale-ish story told in drawings that, despite the muppetlike heads, seemed so obviously perfect for it, and at the same time a rich treatment of humanity.

Find out more from Deutch's website, Hereville. 

I don't put it that way to make it seem grandiose, but the universality of the story, told from the perspective of a little slip of a girl in a tiny town that was part of an often-overlooked corner of a small minority in a big, pushy world, is hard to deny. Deutsch has created such a perfect character in Mirka that, although she is culturally atypical, and kind of an odd kid within her culture, a reader as unlike her as myself has no trouble sympathizing.

Mirka has a strict stepmother, a distant father, a nosy little brother, bullies and monsters to avoid, and a few things that she loves without restraint, an immediate kind of nostalgia that I think only children can feel. Certain things, often small or outwardly insignificant, are indispensable to kids, around the time that they become aware of the potential for change. Having lost her mother, Mirka treasures the familiar, and even though her lodestones are different from mine, they feel as true and real in the story as my own did (at least in nostalgic perspective).

Recently, I stumbled across the full book at the library, and snapped it up. My kids (11 and just-turned-8) tore through it and declared it was good. I snuck in two reads, with mounting satisfaction.

And what do I learn today? Happily, that there will soon be a second Hereville. Perfect.

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