Lessons in Friendship:James Marshall’s George and Martha Series(ft. Raúl the Third & Breanna Carzoo)
Play • 35 min
Picture books, while they may be sparse in language, can pack in big and complex lessons about friendship, or difficult feelings. Their lessons often follow us into our adulthood. And, as for lessons, here is one for teachers — maybe hold off on telling students they can't draw. They may just grow up and turn you into an iconic mean character. If you’re really lucky though and kind and honest you just might become a superhero wrestler in training or a green light or a hippo with an incredible knack for friendship.

In this episode, we pay homage to illustrator and author, James Marshall. His George and Martha books integrate the tension sometimes felt between friends with valuable lessons of non-judgmental communication. Author of the World of Vamos! Books, Raúl the Third discusses the value of illustrations in books to help the story. And, Breanna Carzoo, author of Lou and Greenlight, explores how characters, even inanimate ones, respond to conflict and self-doubt.

To learn more about James Marshall, Raúl the Third, or Breanna Carzoo’s books, visit harpercollins.com/blogs/authors/james-marshall

Do you have a story about how a classic book changed your life? Tweet @readingpod or email us at readingpod@harpercollins.com. Learn more at rememberreading.com. And, leave us a review on Apple Podcasts.

[:25] In a recorded interview from 1987, Jim reflects on his birthplace, San Antonio, Texas, and how he weaves some memory of it into all of his stories.

[1:15] Raúl the Third, author of the World of Vamos! books shares an unforgettable moment from The Box from George and Martha Back in Town.

[3:45] Breanna Carzoo, author of Lou, appreciates the George and Martha books because of the beautiful and honest depiction of friendship they depict.

[5:10] In his own words, Jim shares the origin of the idea that George has had it with Martha’s split pea soup.

[6:20] Breanna shares the unlikely inspiration behind her book, Lou, and offers a glimpse into how she uses negative space to create movement in a scene.

[8:48] Raúl’s love of larger-than-life characters inspired him to use Luchadores as characters in his soon-to-be-released book, Tacos Today.

[10:49] Raúl reveals his passion for the various approaches cartoonists take to tell a story through drawings, even if his art teachers weren’t impressed.

[15:43] The teachers in James Marshall’s books, Viola Swamp, and Miss Nelson, are polar opposites of each other.

[19:20] Reflecting on her childhood, Breanna uses humor to offset Lou’s otherwise shameful and deeply depressing existence.

[22:55] Both Jim and Raúl share the significance of the never-changing, summertime landscape of Texas as the backdrop of many of their books.

[25:54] In her new book, Greenlight, Breanna explores our need for the approval of others and the big feelings that expose themselves when we feel rejected.

[27:24] The friendship between George and Martha in Jim’s books is realistic, sometimes tense, and always truthful.

Continue Your Journey:
James Marshall
Raúl the Third
Breanna Carzoo
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