Graphic novelist Kazu Kibuishi is really popular with kids, especially for someone who talks a lot about homework.
On visits to schools and libraries, the creator of the best-selling Amulet series of graphic novels is a bona fide celebrity.
“It’s pretty crazy,” he told The Olympian. “Every year, it seems to be more and more popular. It feels like The Beatles have arrived on campus when authors like me and Raina Telgemeier (another graphic novelist published by Scholastic) show up.”
Kibuishi of Mill Creek will speak Feb. 21 in Lacey as part of the 16th annual Lacey Loves to Read, a joint effort of the North Thurston Public Schools, the Lacey Timberland Library, the City of Lacey and the Lacey South Sound Chamber.
The sci-fi/fantasy Amulet books follow the wild adventures of two children who find themselves in an underground world populated by human-eating demons and a robot rabbit. And that’s just in book 1, “The Stonekeeper.” There are eight books and Kibuishi is at work on the ninth and final installment. There are movies in the works, too.
Kibuishi also wrote and illustrated the award-winning graphic novel “Daisy Kutter: The Last Train” and drew the covers for the 15th anniversary editions of the “Harry Potter” books, published in 2012.
Lacey Loves to Read celebrates authors whose work has cross-generational appeal, something that was important to Kibuishi when he started work on “The Stonekeeper.”
“I wanted parents and grandparents and kids to have something to discuss together,” he said. “I wanted to bring the generations together. That was one of my big goals.
“I think the parents are just as much fans as the kids,” he said.
In a 2011 review for National Public Radio’s “My Guilty Pleasure” series, Darin Strauss described the irresistible pull of the series, which includes elements that remind him of “Star Wars,” “Star Trek,” “The Lord of the Rings” and more.
“Amulet is a derivative schmaltz-fest: obvious, goofy, and a breath-quickening thrill read,” he wrote. “The action goes well over the legal speed limit.”
Kibuishi has a lot more than fun in mind for his work.
“I had to figure out how to make making comics something that my parents could be proud of,” he said. “Now I see that a graphic novel can be a highly effective teaching tool. It adds a lot of value to the world.”
At his talk in Lacey, he will talk about his books and his process, yet his main focus is how young people can find their own ways to contribute by sticking with what interests them.
That’s where his devotion to homework comes in.
“If you’re fascinated by a subject, if you feel like there’s a reason to study it, you won’t be able to help studying,” he said. “I hope that kids see that a lot of things that they learn in school are applicable to their interests and their future.”
Meet Kazu Kibuishi
- What: Kibuishi of Mill Creek, the creator of the best-selling Amulet graphic novels for young readers, will talk about his work and about how young people can find their place in the world. His appearance is part of Lacey Loves to Read.
- When: 7-8:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 21
- Where: River Ridge High School, 350 River Ridge Drive SE, Lacey
- Admission: Free
- More information: nthurston.k12.wa.us/laceylovestoread
- What: Cathy Camper, author of the Lowriders in Space series of graphic novels, will offer tips and templates and lead kids and teens, ages 9-18, in drawing comics the “Lowriders” way — with ballpoint pen.
- When: 2-4 p.m. Saturday, March 23 (This was initially planned for Feb. 9, then rescheduled)
- Where: Lacey Timberland Library, 500 College St. SE, Lacey
- Admission: Free
- More information: trl.org/events/create-comics-low-riders-space-way