Follow This Blog: RSS feed
Good Comics For Kids
Inside Good Comics For Kids

Interview: Jeff Smith, Gene Luen Yang, Francoise Mouly, and Cece Bell

A few months ago, the folks over at Booklist asked if I’d like to moderate a panel at ALA Midwinter. “Sure,” I said, “that sounds like fun.”

And it did. Moderating panels is fun. It’s a lot of work, what with having to research the people you’ll be talking to, read their books, and come up with questions, but it’s still pretty fun. And how big a deal could it be, right? This is Midwinter we’re talking about. Everyone would be in meetings. If I messed up,  only a handful of people would ever know. So I agreed to do the panel, turned off my computer, and went on my merry way to celebrate the holidays, figuring I’d worry about panel stuff in January.

January comes along and I get a ping from the folks at Booklist.

“Silly Eva,” they snickered, “this is the Author Forum. It’s what kicks off the whole conference. You’re going to be interviewing Jeff Smith, Gene Luen Yang, Francoise Mouly, and Cece Bell. Oh, and the room seats 800 people.”

To which I replied, “Holy crap!”

Many thanks to the Good Comics for Kids team and my colleagues over at No Flying No Tights. With their help I put together a list of questions that kept the panelists talking for the entire 75 minute program. And what a wide-ranging discussion it was! The conversation touched on many topics, from using comics in the classroom to the courage it takes to make good, truthful comics in an age of violent protest. Excerpts from the panel have been posted to YouTube and can be found below. Please take a look. Feel free to continue the conversation in the comments section below.

Early influences:

Cece Bell on “El Deafo”:

Courage in Comics:

Books recommended by the panelists:

Gene Yang:
Usagi Yojimbo series, by Stan Sakai
Meanwhile, by Jason Shiga

Francoise Mouly:
This One Summer, by Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki
Cast Away on the Letter A: a Philemon adventure, by Fred

Jeff Smith:
Hark! A Vagrant, by Kate Beaton
Goliath and You’re All Just Jealous of My Jetpack, by Tom Gauld

Cece Bell:
the how-to-draw books by Ed Emberly
Moomin: the deluxe anniversary edition, by Tove Jansson

Eva Volin About Eva Volin

Eva Volin is the Supervising Children's Librarian for the Alameda Free Library in California. She has written about graphic novels for such publications as Booklist, Library Journal, ICv2, Graphic Novel Reporter, and Children & Libraries. She has served on several awards committees including the Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards, the Michael L. Printz Award, and the Isotope Award for Excellence in Mini-Comics. She served on YALSA's Great Graphic Novels for Teens committee for three years and is currently serving on ALSC's Notable Books for Children committee.


  1. Thanks so much for moderating that panel, Eva. And thanks for posting these video excerpts for those of us who could not attend.

Speak Your Mind