Borders: Natasha Donovan's 2022 BGHB Fiction and Poetry Honor Speech

On behalf of Thomas and myself, I want to express our sincere gratitude at being included among this year’s Boston Globe–Horn Book Award recipients.

All of the recognized titles are so wonderful, and it’s an honor to be in such good company. When our editor, Suzanne Sutherland, approached me with the idea for this project, I was immediately very excited. I had been a fan of Thomas King’s brilliant writing for a long time, and in fact, I believe his short story “­Borders” was probably my introduction to his work when I read it for the first time in high school.

As an illustrator, I love the unique possibilities that the comic-book form brings to storytelling, and I was eager to see what illustration could bring out in this story that was already so colorful.

Thomas wrote a story that is both evocative and playful; one that asks the reader to consider established structures from new perspectives. In the comic-book adaptation, I hope that we will give young people the opportunity to begin considering big ideas such as borders or nationality or identity.

[Read Horn Book reviews of the 2022 BGHB Fiction and Poetry winners.]

In my opinion, Borders leads readers to think about the things that define them; the things that they really value; who they really value; and who they want to be. Even if that person may be different from who they’re told to be or who they’re expected to be.

Comic books are always a very collaborative process. So I also want to take a moment here to recognize all of the many people —­ editors, designers, art directors, publicists — who came together to make Borders a reality. Thank you to you all.

Books are an enormous part of my life, and finding just the right one is always a magical feeling. It is my hope that for ­someone, ­Borders can be exactly the book they were looking for. Thank you.

From the January/February 2023 issue of The Horn Book Magazine. For more on the 2022 Boston Globe–Horn Book Awards, click on the tag BGHB22. Read more from The Horn Book by and about Natasha Donovan.

Natasha Donovan

Natasha Donovan is the illustrator of the 2022 Boston Globe–Horn Book Fiction and Poetry Honor book Borders, written by Thomas King.

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