Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Graphic Novels II

Another Graphic Novel I would like to talk about is also a very emotional one. Miguel Gallardo is one of the most prestigious comic and graphic novel writers in Spain. In María y yo he tells us a very personal holiday story, with Maria, his daughter with autism.

The author found that his drawings were a very good way of communicating with Maria. He always drew to get closer to her but also because Maria needs everything very clearly organized. Her dad's drawings and schemes are a great tool to have things under control. Gallardo also kept a journal of the days theyspent together. The graphic novel came from the journal he wrote during a holiday with María in the Canary Islands. This is an honest portrayal full of humanity and paternal love.

We get a deep understanding of what life is like for many families in the same situation. The story is told in a tender, sensitive and humorous way but without forgetting the difficulties that children with autism and their families still encounter in our society. However, the feeling the reader gets is optimistic, we end up with a smile on our faces. Moreover, our perception of autism will be changed in a positive way.

The graphic novel became a great success and soon a short film was produced.


Félix Fernández de Castro is a Spanish film director. He learnt about María y yo, read the story and suggested that he and the writer worked together to produce a film based on the novel. The film was a challenging project but after its release in 2010 it became a great success.


Versión Española is a TV program that shows films from Spain. There are always guests who speak before and after the film is played. Normally the director and other people directly involved in the film. In this case, the writer and the director speak about the diary that was turned into a graphic novel and how they decided to create a film out of it and the challenges they faced. A very interesting dialogue that can give us plenty of ideas on some topics to use the novel in our class.

As one can see, María y yo is a tender and humorous graphic novel that our students will enjoy but would also allow students to explore and reflect on how books become movies. By using a story with other primary sources, students can get a more three-dimensional look, feel, and appreciation of real-life stories.