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The Children's Bookshelf: K Is In Trouble - April 21, 2024

 K IS IN TROUBLE written, designed, and illustrated by Gary Clement is a fascinating graphic novel wherein most everything goes wrong for a middle grader by the name of K. He is treated badly by most every adult in his life including his parents, teachers and those who run his school.

When he gets up very late his mother orders him to eat alone and then get to school. However, school is not a happy place for him either. When he arrives late at school Frau Headmistress ushers him into a large, empty, and cold room and abandons him there for a very long time. Hungry and cold it becomes clear that there are not many people in K’s life who are kind to him.

In this empty room, however, he meets an interesting small brown beetle. They get on well and talk for many hours about loneliness and their futures. K says, “I hope that one day I will be a writer.” The friendly beetle says, “If you ever do become a writer---write a story about me.”

The illustrations are clever, speak perfectly to the storyline and set up K’s difficulty with ever so many self-serving adults.

The illustrations are compelling and full of terrific facial expressions of the many characters who think only of themselves. Readers will be fascinated by the people in K’s life as they read through the over 200 pages of this terrific graphic novel.

K IS IN TROUBLE (A Graphic Novel) written, designed, and illustrated by the talented Gary Clement is perfect for readers 8-12 years of age and up.

The Children’s Bookshelf is a production of WCMU. Links to the podcast and the Activity Questions can be found at Children’s Bookshelf dot org

Activity Questions for K is in Trouble

1. Take a careful look at the cover of this graphic novel. How does it represent K’s situation? Two people are each holding on to one of K’s arms with their arm. Study the picture. Who do you think they each are?

2. If you were to give this graphic novel a new title, what would it be? Be sure to think about the possibilities first. Then, be creative!

3. How does K’s conversation with the brown beetle differ from his other attempts to have a conversation throughout this graphic novel? What does K reveal about himself to the brown beetle? Did it surprise you? How did it impact the beetle?

Sue Ann Martin is professor emerita of Communication and Dramatic Arts and the founding and past Dean of the College of Communication and Fine Arts at Central Michigan University, Mt. Pleasant, Michigan. She first became interested in children’s literature when she wrote her PhD thesis on the oral characteristics of the Caldecott Award-winning children’s books. Her PhD is in Speech and Interpretation with a cognate in Early Childhood Education. She went on to review children’s books for the Detroit Free Press, write three popular resource books for teachers regarding children’s books and the creative process. She also reviewed newly-published books for Arts Almanac specials on WCMU Public Radio. Her 2002 children’s books special for WCMU won a Merit Award in Special Interest Programming from the Michigan Association of Broadcasters.