Underwood redo June 09

Writing Process Blog Tour

I’ve been tagged! Writers across the blogosphere have been tossing a particular Q&A around the writing community. It’s the Writing Process blog tour. Chantel Acevedo published her responses last week and tossed it over to me. Let me first give a shout-out to my tagger. I met Chantel at the Alabama Writers Symposium in 2013. […]

photo May 16

Painting of a Road View

In March, I traveled to Walla Walla, Washington, for an author visit to Whitman College. My fabulous host and the organizer of the events surrounding my visit was Dr. Janis Breckenridge, professor of Spanish and a great supporter of graphic novels, including mine. In addition to arranging classroom visits and other forms of student interaction, […]

photo May 03

Digital Art Apps: A Brave New World

Illustrating Darkroom started in the familiar territory of tangible art materials: pencil, ink, paper and gouache. After that, things got technical. I scanned the drawings–more than 500—on my home scanner, at high resolution. Next, I designed my page layouts, using Adobe Creative Suite InDesign. What did I know about digital graphics before launching this project? […]

Autosave-File vom d-lab2/3 der AgfaPhoto GmbH April 09

Vintage Argentina through A Photographer’s Lens

  Last year I published a small collection of color slides taken by my father in 1983 or ’84 during a trip to the Andes region of Argentina. These slides turned up in a plastic box I’d squared away among my mother’s things following her death. It never occurred to me that a mundane storage […]

IMG_0376 March 12

Dear Eleanor Estes: An Homage to a Children’s Classic

Dear Eleanor Estes: Your book, The Hundred Dresses, came out in 1944, eleven years before I first saw the light of day. This leads me to wonder: how did you presage my heart so well? Gosh, even now your characters are like honest-to-goodness girls in my third-grade class. Some of them are practically me.  I […]

Ch8JLJobitWeb February 16

Jimmie Lee Jackson, A Civil Rights Martyr

February 18th is the anniversary of a milepost event in the history of the Civil Rights Movement. It occurred in my hometown of Marion, Alabama, in 1965. On that night, a 26-year-old protestor named Jimmie Lee Jackson was shot by an Alabama state trooper. He died eight days later. His death and the official exoneration […]

What’s Going On in Multi Culti Lit: The librarians speak

Originally posted on Meg Medina's Blog:
What’s going on in multicultural lit?  This month, the Cooperative Children’s Book Center (CCBC) at the University of Wisconsin is opening a discussion by posting its latest data on diverse literature – and by reading two novels involving Native American culture:  How I Became a Ghost (Tingle) and If…

Reel January 31

Civil Rights March Home Movie

This is the footage that my father took of Civil Rights marchers in my hometown of Marion, Alabama, during February 1965. The exact date of this home movie is uncertain. All the scenes take place around the town square, with Perry County Courthouse at the center and  Zion United Methodist Church across the street. You […]

Darkroom counter December 07

My Father’s Photography

My father’s cameras took him to all sorts of places: weddings, school events, and a darkened street corner where a dangerous mob ensured no photographs would survive the night.  Throughout Darkroom, you can find images of my father with camera in hand and a sampling of his photos replicated in pencil and ink. In this […]

Lila bed reading October 20

How One Latino Family Raised Readers

How can anyone become a writer if she is not first a reader? I owe my love of books to my mom and dad, who put us kids on the road to literacy through conscious and not-so-conscious means. The fact that we were Latinos was beside the point. My parents believed that literacy was the […]

IMG_0022 September 18

Retrieving Memories, A Challenge for the Memoirist

You are probably wondering what the heck this bird, a brown thrasher, has to do with memoir. Good! The writer and teacher Marion Roach Smith, author of four books, including The Memoir Project: A Thoroughly Non-Standard Text for Writing and Life, invited me to contribute a guest post to her blog on writing lessons, a […]

IMG_0032 September 04

Of Books and Soundtracks

My book comes with a soundtrack of sorts—not the kind you can pop into a CD player, but one evoked by musical references. “We Shall Overcome” enters in Chapter Four, excerpted below, as a cut on my sister’s Joan Baez album. Later in the book, it reappears as the song that marchers used to fortify […]

Club and truck June 28

Night of Racial Violence Happened Here

In Darkroom, I relate racial events that occurred in my hometown of Marion, Alabama, during February 1965. First, came a series of peaceful marches protesting treatment of black citizens attempting to register for the vote. On February 18, a night march resulted in mob violence. Details can be found in Chapter 8. Here’s a graphic […]

Daddy 1950s June 08

Coming to America

In 1948, my father arrived in New Orleans to study at the Baptist seminary there. Chapter Six in Darkroom tells more about what he encountered  in the Deep South that both confirmed and contradicted the American Dream. An artistic note: This was a challenging drawing to plan and execute. I had a dickens of a […]

IMG_0231 December 06

Darkroom in French Translation

The Paris-based publisher STEINKIS released Darkroom in French translation on March 20, 2013. Here is their redesign of the cover, including front, back and flaps. Very exciting. It was wonderful to receive the following e-mail from a Belgian reader, reproduced here with permission. Dear Madam, I am a (Belgian) French-speaker and I had the opportunity to read […]

IMG_0034 May 08

My Graphic Novel Bookshelf

Considering the scores of classic and recently released graphic novels begging to be read, my collection of graphic novels is tiny. Each one here contributed at least a morsel of inspiration to my work or guided me through my apprenticeship. Before I proceed, I’d like to invite readers to tell me about their graphic novel […]

tuscaloosa-tornado-from-33-40 April 02

The Tuscaloosa Tornado

Blue skies and mild temperatures—it was perfect weather for an outdoor festival. The University of Alabama Press invited me to hang out in their book-sales tent at the recently held Druid City Arts Festival. But there was more than book browsing going on. For the people of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, the date April 27 is indelibly […]


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