Monthly Archives: December 2015

Françoise Mouly of TOON Books is a Comic Book Hero

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Credit: Eleanor Davis

 

Françoise Mouly is one brilliant woman. She’s been on a roll since founding TOON Books in 2008, and now she’s received the Smithsonian’s “Ingenuity Award” for her work in education! On November 12, Jeff MacGregor for Smithsonian online interviewed Mouly about her “comic book hero” image, and she shared her inspiration for the press and her brilliant understanding of children.

The idea for TOON Books sprung out of Mouly’s experiences learning English (she’s a native French speaker) and when she became a mother, she realized how beneficial comics are when you are learning a language: “it’s almost like sketching out language for you. . . . Reading is making meaning out of squiggles, but the thing with comics is that no one has ever had to teach a child how to find Waldo.” Though the big houses rejected her queries to create high-quality and smart comics, Mouly persevered and eventually TOON Books was created. Now, Mouly is glad that she’s not attached to a large press, because she has the freedom to “make books happen without having to explain and justify.”

The key to Mouly’s success as a publisher is her keen insight into the minds of children and her respect for their learning styles and interests. Specifically, their natural penchant for re-reading books: “Kids naturally want you to read them the same book every single night. . . . they get something different every time. . . .The ambition is not to make something that will want to be read, but to make something that can be reread.”

The Smithsonian interview calls Mouly a “transformative figure in the history of comics,” partTOONBooksLogoly because she has made it okay for teachers to use comics in the classroom, and because she has melted away the stigma against comics. TOON Books is simply a work of love for Mouly, especially because she gets to work with her husband, artist Art Spiegelman: “most people are asked to separate their private lives from their work lives. I am so privileged that my work life is what I love and I love what I do in my work.” Even though Mouly modestly refuses to call herself a hero, she certainly is one in the eyes of many.

 

 

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Deep Vellum Publishing is Opening a Bookstore!

When you think of Ddeep-vellum-logoallas, do you think of it as the art and literary hub of Texas? If not, look to Will Evans and his press Deep Vellum Publishing (founded in 2013), because he’s opening a bookstore which he hopes will be that hub. The Dallas Morning News (November 19) and Central Track (November 10) took a look at Evans’ hopes for this latest venture.

Under the name Deep Vellum Books, Evans plans to only stock titles from indie presses and literary magazines, according to Central Track. The 900 square foot space will house 2,000 to 3,000 titles, and it focus mainly on translations. The goal of the store itself is to “be the kind of place for things you can’t get anywhere else in the city,” Evans told the Dallas Morning News.

Evans wants the store to “be a catalyst for the entire neighborhood. . . Dallas is going to become a world-class city, beginning with this space.” In the Central Track article, Evans shared his hopes for the store to become a space for the “intermingling of all the arts,” awill_evans2 cultural hub that’s open every night of the week, with different non-profit programming each night. There will be a stage for readings or music shows, and a small bar will also serve coffee and wine.

Evans told Central Track: “it will be a place to come and buy books, to have a cup of coffee or beer, to chill for a minute, to have a meeting with a friend, to see a show or what have you.” However, don’t plan on setting up your home office at Deep Vellum Books, because Evans might kick you off the wi-fi.

Deep Vellum Books is officially launching on December 9th, with a housewarming party/bookstore launch happening from 6pm-8pm at their new digs at 3000 Commerce Street. Thanks to the energetic and innovative Will Evans, Deep Vellum Books is an exciting and innovative venture. Welcome to Dallas’ literary hub.

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