Brigitta Blair Auctions Debut Graphic Novel Cramming, to Little Brown

Cramming, a semi-autobiographical debut middle-grade graphic novel that has been auctioned by its creator Brigitta Blair to Little Brown.

Cramming, a semi-autobiographical debut middle-grade graphic novel that has been auctioned by its creator Brigitta Blair, “about the pressures Ari Sharpe and her friends face in eighth grade, including scoliosis bracing, school, sports, gender exploration, and the gift of learning to be at peace in your body” and is pitched for readers of Swim Team and The Tryout.


Back in December, she posted on Instagram to tell us “I won 2nd place (out of 88 entries) for my graphic novel, Cramming, in the Kids Comics Unite (@KidsComicsUnite) pitch fest! 🎉 This story is dear to my heart and it means the world that others think it has a place on the bookshelf.Some of you who have been with me for a while know that I’ve been working on this graphic novel for the past year. What you might not know is that the story revolves around my family’s experience with scoliosis. I don’t talk about it much, but scoliosis has had a huge impact on my family. Growing up, I was an athlete; I played soccer and ran track. Nowadays, I can’t run for a long time without my back hurting because of my scoliosis. My mother, aunt, and sister have their own stories about scoliosis and there’s a good chance that when I’m older, I will have to have a spinal fusion if I’m not mindful about the activities I do now. That being said, life is wonderful! Even though I’m not supposed to do the sports I grew up loving, I can still cycle, walk, do yoga, swim, etc. without pain. Restrictions can open opportunities to explore new things…like this book. If I never experienced this, I probably wouldn’t have written this book that I’m hoping could help others.”


And it looks like it got her a publisher. You can read the pitch in full here. “Raina Telgemeier’s SMILE meets Judy Blume’s DEENIE in this semi-autobiographical graphic novel about an overachieving girl whose life is thrown off-center when she has to wear a scoliosis back brace. When Ari discovers she has to wear a scoliosis back brace for nine months, her eighth-grade plans start to crack. Concentrating in school, kicking a soccer ball, and “fitting in” feel like a distant memory. After she meets Sky, her nonbinary soccer teammate struggling with identity pressures of their own, Ari starts to notice the ways she’s been trying to cram into the ideal student, athlete, and daughter mold…the same mold Sky’s been trying to break out of. With a little help from Sky, Ari must learn how to embrace her true authentic self.”


Jessica Anderson at Little, Brown/Ottaviano won the auction and Cramming will now be published in the winter of 2027. Which is what we are talking about now. There are people not born yet who will be at school by then. Chelsea Eberly at Greenhouse Literary did the deal for North American rights.Cramming

Brigitta Blair studied interactive design at American University in Washington DC and Niigata College in Japan. After graduating with a Bachelor of Arts, Brigitta worked as a designer for Toyota, Ubisoft, and the Red Cross. She also created the official Scrivener Standard Comic Script template and has been featured in the Smithsonian and The Washington Post. Brigitta has worked across the technology, design, and education fields. She led the design system iniative at FINRA which included designing/developing over 50 accessible UI components, taught interactive storytelling workshops for gaming at Writopia, and managed designs at agencies for Red CrossToyota, and McDonald’s. Her experiences with chronic pain, being queer, and mental health inspire her books. Currently, Brigitta works at Ubisoft as a UI Technical Artist while working on Cramming. Which maybe while it will take some time.

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