This summer, I plan on adding some graphic novels to the reading list. Long story short, I’m looking for books that I can assign my ESL students to read and (God willing) get them interested in reading for enjoyment.
So I picked up David Small’s memoir Stitches, a beautifully illustrated text detailing a young boy in Detroit having to grow up without part of his vocal cord. You read it right. Because of a growth on Small’s neck, he underwent surgery. He didn’t know that the growth was more than just a cebatious cyst.
Small does a lovely job portraying his family and their modes of language. Smalls loses his voice and finds his language through art. As he grows up, he learns more about his family: how his father is partly to blame for his operation, how his mother has hidden part of her identity and how his growth was much more than benign.
The text looks long, but it’s more about the illustrations, which readers should take the time to gaze at and enjoy. Small uses his artistic talent to create some dream-like sequences through panels, which works so well. Honestly, it feels like this story couldn’t be told any other way than through the graphic novel form!