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Linda Mah
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"Babymouse" Team Visits King-Westwood

Jennifer and Matthew Holm Are Sibling Team Behind Hit Books

Author Jennifer Holm and her illustrator brother Matthew Holm grew up in a house filled with comic books — their dad was a fan of strips such as Prince Valiant and Calvin and Hobbes.

And, of course, they loved all of the superheroes like Batman, Superman and Spiderman.

“But when we were growing up in the olden days of the 1970s there were not a lot of ladies in the comics,” Jennifer Holm told students at King-Westwood Elementary School. “I didn’t really identify with Wonder Woman. I was always hoping there was a girl character I could really relate to. Someone who was like me when I was a kid, someone like … Babymouse.”

Jennifer and Matthew Holm, the creative team behind the bestselling Babymouse graphic novels spoke to students at King-Westwood in November. Their presentation was courtesy of the Kalamazoo Public Library, which brought the Holms to Kalamazoo for the 2018 Mary Calletto Rife Youth Literature Seminar. Every child at the lecture received a book.

Jennifer Holm is the Newbery Honor Award-winning author behind the novels “Our Only May Amelia,” “Penny from Heaven,” and “Turtle in Paradise.” When creating Babymouse, she didn’t have to look any further than her own life for inspiration; Babymouse shares everything from Holm's chronic bad hair days to her annoying little brother.

And, when she was looking for someone to illustrate the “Babymouse” series, she didn’t have to look any further than that annoying little brother for an illustrator.

Matthew Holm, the youngest of her four brothers, has been doodling since he was a child, he told the children.

“Doodling is drawing randomly, usually when you’re supposed to be doing something else,” he said.

He drew his first comic strip in middle school, about a boy who was a space alien, and after college he started another comic strip about aliens. When he got to Babymouse, she even looked a little alien, he said.

The Holms have been collaborating since 2003 and have written 40 books together, including stories about “Babymouse,” and “Squish,” the super amoeba.

Their presentation took place in the school library, which Jennifer Holm declared the best room in the school.

“When I was your age, I loved to read. I loved the library, and I wanted to grow up to make some of the books I loved reading.”

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