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Reading Matters

Doug Wilhelm is a full-time writer and an independent publisher in Weybridge, Vemont. His newest book is the novel STREET OF STORYTELLERS (Rootstock, 2019). His 15 previous novels for young adults include THE REVEALERS (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2003), which has been the focus of reading-and-discussion projects in well over 1,000 middle schools.

Should we include illustrations?

Here's an important question about the drawings on the top of this page:

Originally I asked the artist, Sarah-Lee Terrat (she's also my sister; we've worked together often) to do these illustrations of seven key characters in True Shoes just for the new website. But her drawings have such fine energy, and so beautifully captured the spirit of my characters, that I decided: Why shouldn't a YA novel have drawings inside the book? Like in those great books for young readers that I grew up with?

So we've been thinking that these drawings will be featured inside True Shoes, on the "section break" pages — those pages that give the title of Part One, Part Two, etc. But this week, some students that I had lunch with at Hackettstown (NJ) Middle School said they don't always like seeing illustrations of the characters in a novel, because that limits their imagination. They said they'd rather picture the characters in their own way.

Having seen these drawings, what do you think? Should we include them inside the book? Or not?

This is an important question! Please post a comment, saying briefly what you think.

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