Thank you so much to Mac Teen for organizing!! And to our sponsors for this blog tour: Children’s Book Week, Every Child A Reader and Comic Book Legal Defense Fund!
Today we have a wonderful treat!
Jorge Aguirre and Rafael Rosad, co-authors of “Dragons Beware!”
RAFAEL: Jorge, I met you at The Ohio State University many years ago. We were both in the Photography and Cinema Department and we became friends. It took about twenty years, but we’re finally working together. And now, I’m going to ask you some questions:
JORGE: Fire away!
RAFAEL: You’ve always addressed your Latino heritage in your work, yet here we are working on fantasy stories set in medieval France. Do you still have a need or feel an obligation to tell stories about the Latino experience?
JORGE: For awhile many of my stories were kind of Midwestern Latino-centric, which mirrors my own experience. While I never felt an obligation to tell Latino stories, those kind of stories are really important to me, and I hope I get to tell more of those in the future. At the same time, I hope I get to tell a lot more Claudette’s adventures too. If I’m lucky, I will get to write all kinds of things.
RAFAEL: You’re one of my oldest friends…..besides working on the student films we made in college, did you ever think we’d be doing something like this together?
JORGE: There was a period after I dropped out of Georgetown Law school, and you were living in Los Angeles, when I was convinced we would collaborate on a feature film. I figured I would write it and you would direct it. But then I moved to New York instead of Los Angeles, and by the time I finally moved to LA, you had already moved back to Columbus. At some point around then, it didn’t see likely anymore that we would collaborate on a film. And then Claudette came along. Collaborating on Claudette with you is sort of what I thought making a films together would be like. Only way better. Waaaaaay better!!!
RAFAEL: Do stories come easy to you, or is it a constant struggle?
JORGE: It’s a constant struggle for me. I’m not a guy with a million ideas in a notebook. I’ll take an idea and I’ll twist and turn it around like crazy and try all sorts of things before it starts to feel like a real story to me. At the same time, I try not be to precious about my ideas. If it’s not working, I try to toss it and move on. Nothing comes easy to me when it comes to writing. I rewrite stories like crazy (as you’ve seen).
RAFAEL: What was your favorite comic growing up? What about Latino comics like Quino’s Mafalda? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mafalda
JORGE: I loved Superman. He was an immigrant like my parents :-) I loved all the DC super heroes: Flash, Green Lantern, Batman, Legion of Super Heroes, Infinity Inc, Teen Titans, etc. On the Marvel side, Spiderman, Daredevil, and Iron Man were my favorites. We’re talking mid-80s here, I think. I also really liked the Battlestar Galactica comic (which I don’t think lasted very long), and for some reason I still think about Captain Carrot and his Amazing Zoo Crew.
As for Mafalda! I can’t say enough about how much I love her. I always knew about Mafalda growing up, but I didn’t read her until I was older and my Spanish was improved enough to understand Quino’s humor. The way Claudette speaks is sort of modeled on Mafalda. At least they are similar in my brain. And before I write each book, I re-read some Mafalda to get into the right mind frame.
RAFAEL: I directed a film you wrote when we were in film school together and I forced you to act in it-have you ever forgiven me for this?
JORGE: I’ve forgiven, but I have not forgotten! Boy, was that embarrassing! But the reality is I think all writers should take plenty of acting classes or act in films or take public speaking classes. I wish I had done more of that. When I started writing, I liked the idea of being alone with my thoughts and a keyboard, but the reality is to be a working writer you have to be able to explain your ideas to others. You have to be able to pitch your ideas. And if I had been better actor or public speaker many of things that were very difficult for me would probably have been easier.
Thank you Rafael and Jorge for stopping by!
- Free Comic Book Day to kick off Children’s Book Week: The CBC and ECAR have partnered with Diamond Comic Distributors and Comic Book Legal Defense Fund (CBLDF) to designate Free Comic Book Day (May 2) as the official kick-off event to Children’s Book Week 2015. Over two million comics will be given away to younger readers at over 2,000 comic book specialty stores. Press release here.
Throughout CBW, comic shops, bookstores, and libraries will host official events in all 50 states. See what celebrations are happening near you at www.bookweekonline.com/official!
- The third annual Children’s Book Week display contest for booksellers
The CBC is partnering with the ABC Children’s Group at ABA on a Children’s Book Week display contest again this year, and we encourage comic book specialty stores to participate. Details online here. Images of last year’s entries are here.
- Winners of the 8th annual Children’s Choice Book Awards (CCBA), the only national book awards program where the winning titles are selected by children and teens, will be announced live at the Children’s Choice Book Awards Ceremony on Monday, May 4. This year, 6 of the 35 finalists are graphic novels! Voting for the CCBA is open until May 3 at ccbookawards.com. Last year, over 1.2 million kids and teens made their voices heard.
- With Book Week less than a month away, we’ve just launched our #storylines campaign on Twitter, where will be sharing inspiring and uplifting quotations from children’s literature new and old every day from now through Book Week! Each quote will also be posted to our Kid Lit News page. We’ve love for folks to share their fave quotes from comics books and graphic novels using the hashtag #storylines. A quote this week was from Cece Bell’s El Deafo: https://twitter.com/CBCBook/status/585801594400284674!
- Celebration ideas: Visit our brand-new children’s book activities page at bookweekonline.com, which has a dedicated graphic novels section for the 7-12 and 13+ age groups containing party ideas, activity sheets, and more.
- Graphic novel showcase on the CBC site: We’re featuring exciting, eye-catching graphic novels all month in honor of our official Children’s Book Week kick-off event, Free Comic Book Day!
- Top 25 All-Time Favorite Children’s Graphic Novels: To help celebrate Children’s Book Week, Diamond Comics has compiled a list of the Top 25 All-Time Favorite Children’s Graphic Novels. Pick up a good book to read now!
- Top 25 Notable New Releases: Children’s Graphic Novels: To help celebrate Children’s Book Week, here’s a list of the Top 25 Notable New Releases: new kids’ graphic novels that have come out in the past year. Find a great kid’s graphic novel right now!
Children’s Book Week, (May 4-10, 2015) – 96th annual celebration!
Children’s Book Week is the annual celebration of books for young people and the joy of reading. It is the longest-running national literacy initiative in the country.
In 2015, official Children’s Book Week events – including appearances by beloved children’s book authors & illustrators, children’s open mic nights, read-alouds, book-themed costume parties, and much more – will be held in all 50 states. Photos from last year here. Event attendees receive complimentary Children’s Book Week posters and tote bags. You can see how the celebrations for 2015 are shaping up here.