Nan’s Notes: Stitches a memoir, by David Small

David Small is an author and illustrator of children’s books. Stitches tells the story of his childhood, which was not a very happy one. When he was a boy, he had many health problems. His father, thinking he was helping his son, repeatedly exposed him to radiation to try cure him. Unfortunately, this may have caused cancer which required a surgery that removed a vocal cord and caused David to lose his voice. He eventually was able to get some of his voice back. His actual silenced voice is a good reflection of the lack of communication within his childhood home.

David’s mother’s unhappiness in her life caused her to be extremely strict. All the family members lived together, but were isolated from each other because of the lack of meaningful communication.  There were secrets that were kept from each other and from themselves. The isolation that David felt comes through in the illustrations and the sparse use of language in the book. I read through some of the reading group guide questions and I found it so interesting that David tried to edit down to as few words as possible. This helps to highlight the power of language and words. I also was so impressed that even though the written language in the book was edited down, the story is powerful and moving.

This was a wonderful book. The graphic novel format was a great way for David to tell his story.

Some of the books by David Small (written and/or illustrated)

  • Imogene’s Antlers
  • When Dinosaurs Came with Everything
  • So You Want to be President
  • The Christmas Crocodile



4 Responses

  1. This sounds interesting. I think graphic novel memoir is a good thing. 🙂

  2. This just sounds beyond depressing. How did his father expose him to radiation? Did he somehow have access to it? That seems so strange. I guess I’ll have to read it to find out but it sounds just so sad.

  3. Being new to the world of graphic novels, this sounds like a good one … albeit a bit depressing. And thanks for the other recommendation you gave me too!

  4. Oh look at that .. I already visited this post! I’m such a dork! Sometimes all these reviews run together! : )

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