Interview: Ben Hatke
On Sunday, June 26th, while attending the American Library Association’s Annual Conference in New Orleans, I ran around to as many of my favorite kids comics creators as I could and asked them all the exact same questions. Keep in mind, exhibit halls are crazy loud and crazy busy, so there is a lot of background noise. Let me know in the comments if you have trouble hearing anything and I’ll translate for you.
This was the first year there was a full-on Artist’s Alley at ALA and several of my favorite comic book creators had made the trip to New Orleans to participate. My intent was to scurry over to the graphic novel pavillion to squeeze in as many interviews as I could during breaks between meetings, but I kept getting stopped by people asking if I’d met Ben Hatke yet. And it was never a simple question, either. There was always a follow-up:
“Have you met Ben Hatke yet? You know he juggles, right?”
“Have you met Ben Hatke yet? You know he’s been doing back flips down the aisle all day, right?”
“Have you met Ben Hatke yet? You know he swallows fire, right?”
“Have you met Ben Hatke yet? You know he lives on a farm in the middle of nowhere where he and his wife homeschool four daughters AND he raises chickens, right?”
Needless to say, I was ready to use any excuse to talk with Ben, and not just because everyone in New Orleans was gaga for the guy. I’d read the Zita the Spacegirl story that appeared in Flight Explorer and an ARC of the full-length Zita book back in November, and had fallen easily for the spunky space traveler. Even knowing Scott had already interviewed him, I seized my moment and asked Ben my five questions.
Books mentioned in this video:
- ElfQuest series, by Wendy and Richard Pini (see their interview here)
- Amulet series, by Kazu Kibuishi
- Anya’s Ghost, by Vera Brosgol
- Smile, by Raina Telgemeier
- Astronaut Academy, by Dave Roman (see Dave and Raina’s interview here)
- Everlasting Man, by G.K. Chesterton
Filed under: Interviews
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.
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