Published: February 6, 2024
Original Article by: Jordan Kastner, The Atlantic
How the cartoonist Raina Telgemeier, the author of Smile, Sisters, and Guts, turned the anxious kid into a hero for the 21st century.
Last Spring, Raina Teglemeier held an exhibit of her art, inspirations and yes – anxieties. The Exhibit was entitled “Facing Feelings: The Art of Raina Teglemeier”. As the name of the event would suggest, on display were pieces of her art and mind that were inspired by real life events and emotions. Raina’s graphic novels approach the awkward, uncomfortable and sometimes outright embarrassing moments that come with being a young human with big emotions. Because of this honest and relatable story telling, Raina’s art has become a connective tissue for young readers.
In The Atlantic‘s brilliantly compelling article ‘The Magic of Raina Is Real’, Jordan Kisner interviews and examines the inner workings of the world that Raina has built surrounding the opening of her art exhibit at the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum in Columbus, Ohio. From discussing the allure of Raina’s art to young readers, to the real life anxiety that Raina battles on the day to day, Kisner composes a story of an artist who’s life is encapsulated by and synonymous with their art.
When asked about Raina’s impact on her audience, one parent explains that she is “like the Beatles for children”. The phenomena that is Raina has made her a New York Times bestselling author for 240 weeks straight. Children cling to her novels with reverence, finally feeling seen and understood in ways that we all wish we had as kids. Raina’s stories turn your everyday awkward preteen into a heroic figurehead for a generation of readers. In Kisner’s article, ‘The Magic of Raina Is Real’, she examines the value that art has on lessening the weight of childhood’s mortifying growing pains – and how this creates it’s own growing pains in Raina’s life.
To read the full article, click here.