Posted by: Kathy Temean | May 30, 2019

BOOK GIVEAWAY: HECTOR: A Boy, A Protest, and the Photograph that Changed Apartheid

Adrienne Wright has written and Illustrated a new picture book titled, HECTOR: A Boy,  Protest, and the Photograph that Changed Apartheid. Published by Page Street Kids. This is Adrienne’s debut book and she has agreed to share a copy with one lucky winner. All you have to do to get in the running is to leave a comment. Reblog, tweet, or talk about it on Facebook with a link and you will get additional chances to win. Just let me know the other things you do to share the good news, so I can put in the right amount of tickets in my basket for you.

Sharing on Facebook, Twitter, reblogging really helps spread the word for a new book. Thanks for helping Adrienne!

BOOK DESCRIPTION:

HECTOR: A Boy, A Protest, and the Photograph that Changed Apartheid
Pub Date: June 04, 2019 | Page Street Kids | ISBN: 9781624146916

On June 16, 1976, Hector Pieterson, an ordinary boy, lost his life after getting caught up in what was supposed to be a peaceful protest. Black South African students were marching against a new law requiring that they be taught half of their subjects in Afrikaans, the language of the White government. The story’s events unfold from the perspectives of Hector, his sister, and the photographer who captured their photo in the chaos. This book can serve as a pertinent tool for adults discussing global history and race relations with children. Its graphic novel style and mixed media art portray the vibrancy and grit of Hector’s daily life and untimely death.


BOOK’S JOURNEY: 

It’s been about seven years since I came across the photograph by Sam Nzima again after not having seen it for a long time. Looking at it then, I wondered why no one had told the story of Hector Pieterson, the 12 year old boy being carried by an older teenager, with his distraught sister Antoinette running alongside them. The photograph had been banned from being published in South Africa after it was first splashed across the pages of all newspapers when the student protests occurred. After refreshing my memory with details of the Soweto school protest in 1976, I started working on a few concept illustrations to see where they would take me.

Looking at the photograph more closely, I noticed something I had never noticed before. One of Hector’s shoes was missing. That really struck me. I did one of the initial illustrations focusing on the shoe, and I’m happy that it made it into the final art, combined with the car-as-ambulance image, which is also one of the first visual ideas I had.

I also learned that the Hector Pieterson Memorial and Museum had opened in Soweto in 2002. It is built close to the spot where Hector was shot, and is dedicated not only to Hector but all the students who protested the use of Afrikaans as a medium of study and apartheid oppression. As I researched more, I wanted to see if I could find Antoinette, Hector’s sister. I contacted the director of the museum who told me that Antoinette worked there as a guide. I couldn’t believe how easy that was! I spoke with her several times, set up phone interviews with her and also with her and Hector’s mother, Dorothy Molefi. I had the opportunity to go to South Africa to meet them both, visit the museum, and the cemetery where Hector is buried, and Hector’s home where Mrs. Molefi still lives. They were both so gracious in giving me their time and recounted so many details about Hector and life in Soweto in the ’70s.

I also interviewed Sam Nzima, the photographer, who offered so much insight into what he witnessed, and of his life after that fateful day. I was immensely grateful to get his permission to use the photograph in the book, even though at that point, it was still a couple of years before I had even been offered a contract with my publisher, Page Street Kids.

The first version I wrote was a telling of parallel stories of Hector, a black boy, and a white girl, and their very different lives in apartheid South Africa. I got some positive feedback from industry professionals, who gave advice for certain changes. The next version was somewhat more focused on the characters’ stories, but still too broad, and some critics (many, actually!) suggested that I drop the white girl character and concentrate on Hector. That was difficult because I was convinced that my idea was so good! But the girl’s story didn’t help to communicate Hector’s story, so I finally let her go.

I was still interested in telling alternate stories or points of view, because there were important witnesses to the fateful event on June 16; Hector’s sister Antoinette and photographer Sam. More drafts and dummies made the rounds at conference critiques… and more industry professionals said they loved the idea and the story needed to be told…

At the SCBWI (Society of Children’s Books Writers & Illustrators) winter conference in New York in early 2017 I participated in the portfolio showcase, as I had done for some years. I also attended art director Kristen Nobles’ breakout session for illustrators and learned that she had just left Candlewick Press to start her own publishing house, Page Street Kids. A few weeks later, I received an email from Kristen—she had seen my portfolio and picked up a promo card—asking if I had any work-in-progress, and she mentioned a few images that she liked. Especially the non-fiction: did I have a story to go with them? I was thrilled, of course!

After sending my very lengthy WIP with a few images along with the famous photo, I received an email response from editor Charlotte Wenger. Happily for me, Charlotte had spent time in South Africa for a college semester, had stayed with a family in Soweto, and knew all about the famous photograph, the museum and the anthem that played an enormous part in the protest. How did I get so lucky!

Kristen positioned my book as a biography of a photograph, which was such a helpful way to proceed. It started out as a 40 page book, but we soon realized the information was too cramped, including five pages of back matter, so Kristen took it to 48 pages. This allowed some breathing room, more white space, and Kristen’s idea to have a spread with a portrait to begin each of the three sections transformed the pace of the book and really helped to clearly mark the three viewpoints. Kristen and Charlotte worked with me for months with revisions and brilliant ideas for breaking the story into logical sections and page breaks, cutting the parts “that don’t move the story forward”, of which there were many, until in September 2017, when they offered me a contract to publish HECTOR!

Revisions continued, with a new dummy, and more revisions. I finished tight sketches in February 2018, and those were extremely helpful to all of us, I think. I knew how to move forward and the publisher knew what to expect for final art. I started final art samples in March and finished all art, including the jacket and back matter spot art in October 2018.

Rough Sketch

The limited neutral palette hasn’t changed too much from the first few illustrations, but I did add some collage after the initial concept images which are pastel only. I am pleased that some of my favorite illustration ideas have remained essentially the same since early rough dummy sketches. Apart from the car and shoe images mentioned earlier, the crowd protest scene is another.

Tight Sketch

I owe great thanks to SCBWI for all they do for children’s book authors and illustrators. They helped me get my work in front of Kristen. I am enjoying every moment of this project, especially working with everyone at Page Street Kids, those already mentioned and also wonderful designer Melia Parsloe. Thank you for helping me bring HECTOR’s story to the world.

Finished Page

ADRIENNE’S BIO:

Adrienne Wright is a debut author-illustrator, grew up in South Africa and graduated from the College of Art and Design in Johannesburg. She has experience in illustration, art direction, and graphic design with various ad agencies. She lives with her family in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania.

Jaska & Esme January 2019

I grew up in Benoni, South Africa, near a bird sanctuary which was home to ostriches, amongst other species. After concentrating in graphic design and illustration at art college, I worked as a designer, layout artist and art director in ad agencies in Jo’burg before finding myself in Washington D.C., where I did the same. Well, almost the same, except in inches instead of millimeters! Now Gulph Mills near Philadelphia PA is home.

My goal as an illustrator is to capture the essence of childhood—uninhibited. Childhood is fleeting, I aim to help make it as inspiring as possible.

As a long-time member of The Society of Children’s Books Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI), I strongly encourage anyone new to the world of children’s book writing and illustration to join this organization. While serving as the Illustrator Coordinator for the Eastern PA region, I was lucky enough to win the SCBWI WOOP (Work of Outstanding Progress) Award in 2015, and was runner-up in the SCBWI Tomie dePaola Illustration Award in 2014 and 2015.

At last, I am thrilled to announce that my debut picture book, HECTOR: A BOY, A PROTEST, AND THE PHOTOGRAPH THAT CHANGED APARTHEID, will be published by Page Street Kids on June 4, 2019.

Thank you Adrienne for sharing your book, art, and journey with us. You really set the bar high with your debut book. Best of luck!

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy


Responses

  1. Congrats, Adrienne! Can’t wait to read Hector’s story.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks a lot Susan, I hope you like it!

      Like

  2. A photo tells a thousand words and now you’ve put words to the photo! Thank you.

    Liked by 2 people

    • That’s a lovely comment, thank you Natasha!

      Like

  3. This is a beautiful book! I can’t wait to see it!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks so much!

      Like

  4. Thanks for highlighting this book–it looks amazing. I shared on Pinterest, FB, and twitter.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you so much and for sharing in so many places!

      Like

  5. I am so excited to see Adrienne’s work here and learn more of the story behind the book! She has been a huge supporter of the PA SCBWI chapter. Happily sharing the post on twitter. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks so much Wendy! I hope you like it. All the best with your lovely book too!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Oh Adrienne this is such an important story. I hope it gains traction and opens up hearts and minds of children (and their parents) around the world. I’m eager to see the ways in which you tell–beyond illustrations–this powerful story. Retweeted and shared on FB ❤

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you Joyce, I hope I reach hearts of children and adults alike. I hope you like the book.

      Like

  7. I am glad you’re telling Hector’s story, Adrienne. Thank you.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you Melanie, I hope you like it.

      Like

  8. Adrienne, thank you for drawing attention to such an important time and place. You’ve honored and given meaning to Hector’s short life. Bravo! I’m looking forward to adding this to my library.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you Donna, that’s very kind of you. Thanks for adding HECTOR to your library collection, I couldn’t ask for any better compliment!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Adrienne I’m so excited for you and can’t wait to read and see Hector’s story. Thanks for sharing your path to publication it was inspirational. I’ll post to both FB and Twitter. Best of luck!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks so much Chrissa! How kind of you. I hope you do like it. See at an SCBWI event soon, I hope!

      Like

  10. I have just completed a young adult novel about this. Well done. Veels geluk.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Baie dankie! A YA book sounds like a great idea, all the best with it. I’d be interested in seeing it.

      Like

  11. Wow! This looks like it is so full of history that it will really impact our understanding of what happened. Thank you for writing this! Congratulations!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you very much for your enthusiastic comments! I hope the book lives up to expectations!

      Liked by 1 person

  12. I am SO looking forward to holding, seeing, reading and sharing this amazing book. Adrienne is going to touch so many lives through her thought-provoking writing and illustrations!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks so much Rebecca, you are amazingly supportive! I hope you do like it! 🙂

      Like

  13. Adrienne what a powerful story. So glad you brought it to life and are sharing. Will post on my facebook page.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks so much for taking the time to share. I hope you like the book! 🙂

      Like

  14. Adrienne, Your book looks wonderful! What serendipity, connecting to all the people that you found and the editors and publishers. My eyes teared up just thinking of all the sorrows of so many people. After thousands of years, why are humans so filled with hate to the point that we still kill each other? May many readers find your book. THANK YOU!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you Richard, for your heartfelt words, they mean so much. I’m with you! I hope you like the book!

      Like

  15. Adrienne, this looks amazing and important. Congrats!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Adrienne, this book is absolutely stunning, and hearing about the journey (everything in South Africa!) and your experiences with Page Street Kids (Kristen is attending our conference this weekend!), is just wonderful and so inspiring. “Sister” blogs I follow are based in South Africa. You would definitely enjoy them! ANYone would! 😀 Tina’s photos are aMAZing 😀 http://abooksandmore.blogspot.com/ and http://1camera1mom.blogspot.com/

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi, and thank you so much! I had a look at the “sister” blogs and they are wonderful, thanks for sharing!

      Like

  17. Beautiful book and story! Congrats!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you so much!

      Like

  18. I love the fact that Adrienne’s book will bring this wonderful act of historical note to life for children everywhere. Can’t wait to read it cover-to-cover! Thanks. Will post on facebook and Twitter.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you for this, it’s most thoughtful. I hope you like the book.

      Like

  19. Wow! Besides being blown away by the creativity, I’m also impressed by the effort put into this very important project. I’m a volunteer reader at the Blind Institute, called Pioneer Printers, in South Africa and every year I’m reading history exams that include case studies about racism and the struggle in the US and SA along with a few novels/biographies on the subject in a sound room (besides a ton of other stuff that I read). Even when the info gets repetitive, I never get desensitized. Thank you for doing such a fabulous job of sharing Hector’s story with children and educators!
    I just noticed that Donna at Writers Side Up gave my blogs a shout out here in the comments. Aw! Thank you, Donna!
    P.S. I’m an American expat living in South Africa

    Liked by 2 people

    • And Wow! back to you! Thank you for this interesting and detailed comment, and for the gracious compliments! Your volunteerism sounds extraordinary. Thank you.

      Like

  20. Wonderful job, Adrienne!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks so much!

      Like

  21. Happy book birthday & thank you for persevering to tell such an important story. I look forward to reading it.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you! I’d love to know what you think of it.

      Like


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