Thalia Kids’ Book Club: Meeting author/cartoonist Lincoln Peirce
Author and cartoonist Lincoln Peirce (famous for the Big Nate comic strip and books) was a guest yesterday as part of Symphony Space’s Thalia Kids’ Book Club speaker series. As my daughter and I stood in line waiting until the theater opened, I got to observe the faces of all the young kids who were so anxious to be at this event. I spoke with a couple of mothers who were equally as ecstatic to see their kids so excited about being able to meet the man behind Big Nate.
Mr. Peirce spoke about his desire to tell a story as a child. He spoke about his inspirations. His childhood. Ideas for his characters. And his lack of ability to be a great artist, but that didn’t matter because through his cartoon work, he was still able to tell a story – and that is all he wanted to do. One of Mr. Peirce’s greatest inspirations is Charles Schultz (I KNEW there was a reason why I like this guy. I LOVE the Peanuts gang!) Mr. Peirce read in one of Schultz’s interviews where he advises, “You don’t have to be a great artist but a good one. You don’t have to be a great writer but a good one.” What? You don’t have to be great to be successful?
As Mr. Peirce was explaining how he got started as a cartoonist, he used the light bulb as an example. We all know that when we see a light bulb, it means that someone has a bright idea. When Mr. Peirce was younger and read Beetle Bailey, he came across the bubble with all those funny symbols (we know that means something that would equate to a potty mouth!) and asked his father what Sarge was trying to say. After some explanation, Lincoln Peirce realized that in cartoon-world, you are able to use symbols and simple drawings. And you really don’t have to draw perfectly to be able to tell your story.
In addition to learning about Lincoln Peirce and getting some insights on Big Nate, the standard Q&A session and a book signing, there was also a quick creative writing activity. A cartoon was put on screen where Big Nate was walking a dog and had said, “What could go wrong?” Mr. Peirce then asked the kids to draw or write about what they think will happen next. The kids took turns eagerly sharing their thoughts and one theme that seemed to repeat itself? Poop. Whatever was going to happen next, it would involve poop. Sigh…kids will be kids! But I must say, some of these kids do have great imaginations and it was quite entertaining listening to them.
Even though lots of great questions were asked at the end, I’ll just share with you one: “How do you get into the mind of an 11 yr-old boy?” His reply? “I never left.”
Lincoln Peirce is anticipating the release of his newest book (Big Nate On a Roll) in August, so be on the lookout! Until then, for more information about Big Nate and Lincoln Peirce, please visit his website.
By the way, as I took a photo of my daughter with Mr. Peirce, guess who popped in? That’s Big Nate! Ok – well…maybe not Big Nate, but this little boy really is Nate! Do you see any resemblance?
Disclosure: Even though I received tickets to attend this event, all opinions expressed are my own. No other compensation was received for this post.