Raina Telgemeier

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Raina Telgemeier
Telgemeier at the 2016 Texas Book Festival
Telgemeier at the 2016 Texas Book Festival
Born Raina Telgemeier
(1977-05-26) 26 May 1977 (age 41)
San Francisco, California
Nationality American
Notable works
Smile (2010)
Drama (2012)
Sisters (2014)
Ghosts (2016)
Awards Eisner: 2011 (Smile), 2015 (Sisters), 2017 (Ghosts)

Raina Telgemeier (born May 26, 1977) is an American cartoonist whose works include the autobiographic webcomic Smile (A Dental Drama), which was published by Scholastic Press's Graphix imprint as a full-color graphic novel in February 2010. Smile, as well as the follow-up Sisters and the fiction graphic novel Drama have all been on The New York Times Best Seller lists. Telgemeier has also created four The Baby-Sitters Club graphic novels.

Personal life[edit]

Telgemeier was born May 26, 1977, in San Francisco.[1] to parents Denis and Sue. She has two younger siblings, Amara and Will Telgemeier.[2]

In her pre-teen years, Telgemeier suffered a serious mouth injury that required several years of dental and orthodontic surgery (which is described in her 2010 graphic novel Smile).[3] She was viciously teased by her friends,[4] prompting her to partially withdraw into her love of drawing until she lost her patience when her friends publicly humiliated her. She eventually found new friends of better character in high school who appreciated her artistic talent, increasing her confidence.[5]

With that encouragement, she studied illustration at New York's School of Visual Arts (SVA),[6] and graduated in 2002.[4]

She currently lives in San Francisco, California.[3] Previously, she lived in Astoria, New York.[7]


She lists Jeff Smith, Lynn Johnston, Bill Watterson and Adrian Tomine among her influences.[4] Other influences include Judy Blume, Beverly Cleary, and Laura Ingalls Wilder.


After graduating from SVA, Telgemeier began attending small-press festivals such as the MoCCA Festival, selling self-published autobiographical stories and vignettes from her life. She produced seven mini-comics issues in the Take-Out series between 2002 and 2005. Each was a twelve-page black-and-white comic.[4] Other early works include a short story in Bizarro World for DC Comics, and a short story in Volume 4 of the Flight anthology.[8]

In 2004, Telgemeier met an editor from Scholastic at an art gallery party who mentioned that Scholastic was planning to set up a graphic novel imprint (which later became Graphix). At that year's San Diego Comic-Con, Telgemeier met that editor's boss, who invited her to pitch an idea for Scholastic. When Telgemeier mentioned she had been a fan of Ann M. Martin's The Baby-sitters Club series, they asked her to work up a graphic novel adaptation.[4] Scholastic/Graphix went on to publish four graphic novels in the series: Kristy's Great Idea, The Truth About Stacey, Mary Anne Saves the Day, and Claudia and Mean Janine.[8] The advances for the adaptations allowed Telgemeier to quit her full-time job and concentrate on her art, and she completed the fourth novel in 2008.[4]

At the same time, Telgemeier was invited to join Girlamatic, a subscription-based webcomics site with an emphasis on stories for young women. The disciplined structure and schedule of publishing a weekly webcomic encouraged Telgemeier to develop the autobiographical story that would later be published in 2010 as Smile. By the time she had completed work on the Babysitters Club adaptations in 2008, she had developed a substantial amount of Smile and received encouragement from Scholastic to continue work.[4]

In August 2009, Del Rey Manga released X-Men: Misfits, which Telgemeier co-authored with her then-husband, Dave Roman.[8]

In February 2010, Telgemeier released Smile, which reached The New York Times bestseller list in 2011 and remained on the list for over 220 weeks.[4]

In September 2012, her graphic novel Drama about a middle school stage crew and performers, was released. Although the novel was fictional, it drew on experiences from Telgemeier's experience in middle school and high school theater.[4]

In August 2014, her second autobiographical graphic novel, Sisters, about her life growing up with her younger sister, was released.[4]

Telgemeier has also published stories in Nursery Rhyme Comics (2011, First Second) and Fairy Tale Comics (2013, First Second); the Explorer graphic novel series (2012, 2013, Abrams/Amulet); and Comics Squad: Recess! (2014, Random House).[8]

In September 2016, Ghosts was released, which is about a girl and her family moving to a new town. The girl is able to see ghosts and some events in the novel are set in late October, when the town is celebrating the Day of the Dead. Telgemeier stated she had been developing Ghosts since 2002.[4]


Telgemeier was nominated for the 2005 Eisner Award for Talent Deserving of Wider Recognition, and the 2003 Ignatz Award in the categories of Promising New Talent and Outstanding Mini-comic.[9] She was awarded Friends of Lulu's Kimberly Yale Award for Best New Talent in 2003.[10] She has twice been nominated for the Web Cartoonists' Choice Award for Outstanding Slice-of-Life webcomic, for her webcomic Smile (A Dental Drama).[11] In 2015, she won the Eisner Award for Best Writer/Artist for her graphic novel Sisters.[12]

The Baby-Sitters Club Graphic Novel Kristy's Great Idea was picked by YALSA for their 2007 Great Graphic Novels for Teens list, as well as ALA ’s Booklist 2007 Top Ten Graphic Novels for Youth list.[13]

I'm more aware than ever of what I want to say to kids through my books[, which is that] it's going to be O.K. That everybody, with just a little bit of talking and a little bit of empathy, can find out that they have a lot in common.

— Raina Telgemeier, 2016 profile in The New Yorker[14]

Smile, her graphic novel based on her webcomic, is a 2010 Boston Globe-Horn Book Award Honor title.[15] This is the first time a graphic novel has been nominated for or won this award.[16] Smile was a 2010 New York Times Book Review Editor's Choice, a Kirkus Reviews Best Book of 2010,[17] a 2011 ALA Notable Children's Book,[18] a 2011 YALSA Top 10 Great Graphic Novels for Teens pick,[19] and a Children's Choice Book Award Finalist. In 2011, the book won the Eisner Award for Best Publication for Teens.[20]

Drama won the 2013 Stonewall Book Award Honor, which is an award from the American Library Association that recognizes authors who discuss homosexual, bi-sexual, and transgender-related topics in their works.[21]

Sisters was a 2014 New York Times Book Review Editor's Choice.[22]

On May 10, 2015, four of Telgemeier's books (Drama, Smile, Sisters, and Kristy's Great Idea) were the top four on The New York Times Best Seller list for paperback graphic books.[23]


Author and illustrator[edit]


Babysitter's Club graphic novels[edit]

  • Kristy's Great Idea (2006)
  • The Truth About Stacey (2006)
  • Mary Anne Saves the Day (2007)
  • Claudia and Mean Janine (2008)


  1. ^ "Raina Telgemeier | Scholastic". www.scholastic.com. Retrieved 2017-03-11.
  2. ^ Raina Telgemeier (16 October 2014). "Raina Telgemeier: An illustrated life" (Interview). Interviewed by Jennifer M. Brabander. The Horn Book. Retrieved 2017-03-11.
  3. ^ a b "About Raina". goraina.com. Retrieved 2017-03-11.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Raina Telgemeier (12 September 2016). "Get That Life: How I Became a Best-Selling Graphic Novelist" (Interview). Interviewed by Heather Wood Rudulph. Cosmopolitan. Retrieved 24 January 2018.
  5. ^ Telgemeier, Raina. "Writing From Life (The Good and the Bad)". GoRaina. Retrieved 24 January 2018.
  6. ^ Mallozzi, Vincent M. (14 October 2010). "Drawn Together by a Love of Cartooning". City Room [blog]. The New York Times. Retrieved 24 January 2018.
  7. ^ Brenner, Robin E. "A GUIDE TO RAINA TELGEMEIER'S Sisters" (PDF). Scholastic. Retrieved March 11, 2017.
  8. ^ a b c d "Books by Raina". goraina.com. Retrieved 2017-03-11.
  9. ^ "2003 Ignatz Award Recipients | SPX: The Small Press Expo". www.spxpo.com. Retrieved 2016-04-08.
  10. ^ "Lulu Awards". Friends Of Lulu. Retrieved 2016-04-08.
  11. ^ "A Graphic Novel Smiles! | News For Kids, By Kids | Scholastic.com". www.scholastic.com. Retrieved 2017-03-11.
  12. ^ "2015 Eisner Award Nominations". Comic-Con International: San Diego. Archived from the original on 2015-06-13. Retrieved 2016-04-08.
  13. ^ "2007 Great Graphic Novels for Teens | Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA)". www.ala.org. Retrieved 2016-04-08.
  14. ^ Larson, Sarah (13 September 2016). ""Ghosts": Raina Telgemeier returns". The New Yorker. Retrieved 24 January 2018.
  15. ^ "Past Boston Globe -- Horn Book Award Winners — The Horn Book". www.hbook.com. Retrieved 2016-04-08.
  16. ^ "Comments:". raina. 2010-10-04. Retrieved 2017-03-11.
  17. ^ "2010 Best for Teens: Smile, by Raina Telgemeier | Kirkus Reviews". Kirkus Reviews. Retrieved 2016-04-08.
  18. ^ "2011 Notable Children's Books | Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC)". www.ala.org. Retrieved 2016-04-08.
  19. ^ "2011 Top Ten Great Graphic Novels for Teens | Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA)". www.ala.org. Retrieved 2016-04-08.
  20. ^ "2010-Present". Comic-Con International: San Diego. Retrieved 2016-04-08.
  21. ^ "Stonewall Book Award". American Book Association. Retrieved 2013-03-15.
  22. ^ "Editors' Choice". The New York Times. 2014-08-29. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2016-04-08.
  23. ^ "Paperback Graphic Books - Best Sellers - May 17, 2015 - The New York Times". nytimes.com.

External links[edit]