The creators of ‘Tiny Dancer’ their approach to the memoir, the ways that comics can capture dance and working together in a difficult time.
Siena Cherson Siegel and Mark Siegel are the authors of the new graphic memoir Tiny Dancer, which is a companion of sorts to their earlier collaboration, the picture book To Dance, which was released in 2006. In the years since, Mark has become known for books like Sailor Twain, or the Mermaid in the Hudson, and for his work as the editorial director of First Second Books.
In Tiny Dancer, Siena talks about her youth as a dancer and her elite education before being injured as a teenager. It is a beautiful and moving story that offers insight into an art form and life that few people know. It’s a complicated and at times heartbreaking story that ends in a beautiful and emotional way, featuring some of the best work of Mark Siegel’s career to date. I spoke with the couple over Zoom from their home in New York’s Hudson Valley about passion and time, the ways that comics can capture dance and working together in a difficult time.
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The editorial and creative director of First Second Books discusses the origins of the new line of nonfiction graphic novels.
Mark Siegel is the artist and author of books like Sailor Twain and Moving House and the co-writer of the 5 Worlds series. He is also the editorial and creative director of First Second Books, where one of his major recent projects has been the release of World Citizen Comics. The series released its first two books this year, Unrig: How To Fix Our Broken Democracy by Daniel G. Newman and George O’Connor, and Fault Lines in The Constitution by Cynthia Levinson, Sanford Levinson,and Ally Shwed.
The books attempt to provide civics education, media literacy and historical context to current events, which are all too lacking today, but that damns the books with faint praise. They are also inventive, entertaining and informative, and artistically dynamic. Each stands in the very best tradition of nonfiction comics.
Today is Election Day in the United States, but that’s far from the only notable thing happening around the world. The people of Chile overwhelmingly voted to draft a new constitution to replace the one written when the country was ruled by a military junta. Poland has been rocked by days of mass protests, the largest since the fall of communism in 1989. Tanzania’s presidential elections were held last week, featuring an incumbent using government power to undermine the press and his political opposition. Protests continue in Belarus, Nigeria, Thailand and elsewhere.
We live in a moment of a great change and possibility, and Siegel was kind enough to mark the occasion with us by answering a few questions about why he launched the series, being global citizens and his ambitions for the project.
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