Stitches: A Memoir is written and illustrated by David Small. This graphic novel begins when David was six years old growing up in Detroit, Michigan. After a couple of pages in, I could immediately sense the world that this boy lived in. It was dark, dramatic, unpredictable, and lonely. From the beginning of this story, I felt empathy for this boy, who did not know anything different since this was the only childhood he knew and had experienced. As the memoir continues and reveals more trauma, I immediately felt compassion for when he became voiceless because of extensive surgery. How do you have a voice one day and function the next day without your voice? How did this affect him and his life? Read this book to find out!
As a speech-language pathologist who specializes in working with individuals that have communication disorders and limited speech, this novel hit home for me. The story continues and David begins to find hope and closure in all of the events in his life as he gets older.
There are no words to describe how well David portrays his life and the characters in it. The nonverbal communication he draws and expresses throughout this book is profound and explains the dramatic childhood he experienced and how he began to heal. Stitches: A Memoir is for a more mature audience and younger children (middle grade) may find the material too difficult to read. However, this should be a decision made on an individual basis. From my perspective, a high school student and older would be an ideal audience.
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About David Small
David Small was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan. He received his Bachelor of Fine Arts at Wayne State and his MFA from Yale. To date, he has illustrated more than 50 picture books for children and two graphic novels for adults. His picture books have earned him a Caldecott Medal, two Caldecott Honors, two Christopher Medals, and a Gold Medal from the Society of Illustrators. His graphic memoir Stitches, a NY Times Best Seller and National Book Award Finalist, has been translated into 12 foreign languages. Both Stitches and his graphic novel Home After Dark received the American Library Association’s Alex Award for best novels published for adults that are also suitable for young adult readers.
To learn more about Stitches and David Small, visit his website here.
Watch the video below to see some of the scenes in the book.