Lauren Wohl, who is one of First Second’s publishers as well as the marketing goddess, just sent the following lovely Sardine moment:

Sitting in the Orlando airport, waiting to meet a colleague, surrounded by families carrying oversized stuffed Plutos, sporting Mickey backpacks, and wearing Minnie tee-shirts… I have half an hour, a cup of Starbucks, and two copies of SARDINE IN OUTER SPACE in my bag. A French family sits down on the well-worn (okay, fraying) chairs near me. Dad (who speaks English), Mom, 12-year-old son, and 9-year-old son. The younger boy is reading a Garfield comic book.

I take out a copy of SARDINE and start reading. Dad’s eyes light up. “Joann Sfar?” he asks me.

“Oui.” I nod. And then, to be sure he doesn’t think I can actually speak any more French than that, ” Yes. I work for the publisher of these books in the United States.”

“Sfar is brilliant,” Dad tells me. “Very famous.’

I nod.

The yougest son is listening intently, and hasn’t taken his eyes off the book in my hands. I close it and give it to him. He does not wait even a moment before he opens it.

“It’s in English,” I tell him

His turn to nod.

“Do you read English?”

He is already reading. But slowly. It’s maybe ten minutes before he turns the page. It’s another ten minutes before he looks up.

He offers me his Garfield comic. A trade. I tell him no. “Keep Sardine. A gift. No need to give me Garfield.”

But he insists. I accept his terms. And leave one happy young fellow to enjoy meeting Sardine and adventuring with her as he flies home, and she keeps the world safe.


(Sardine 3 comes out Spring 07)