Using Humor and Heart in a Graphic Novel to Appeal to Middle-Grade Readers

Cartoonist, author, and illustrator Rob Harrell is known not only for his popular comic strip Big Top, but also for his critically acclaimed graphic novels and novels for children. His work includes Monster on the Hill, Life of Zarf, Batpig, and Wink.

Humor has always been a big part of his stories and while it's not a necessary element when writing for children, it can definitely help connect readers to your content. Harrell writes for the middle-grade audience with his books, which targets ages 8 to 12. He's found that if you hook readers in this age group with humor, you can then more easily sneak in life lessons and messages from the heart. He's also found that honesty is important when writing for this age group. This means being truthful and real about life and relationships without being too preachy.

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