Wednesday, March 16, 2011

I think I'm turning Japanese, I really think so...

The other day I received a package I've been waiting for ever since I first heard my Pirate School series was being translated in Japanese and being re-illustrated. I'm a huge anime fan, so naturally I couldn't wait to see my characters done in that style. After nearly a year or more of waiting, I finally got to see them...and they're awesome.

One of the best moments (or potentially worst) of being a writer of children's books is getting to see the illustrations that accompany your story. I've been lucky enough to experience that three different times with these books. First the originals, then the German editions, and now the Japanese. It's amazing how each gives the story a different feel.

As expected, the Japanese versions of my characters are hyper expressive and everything they do is exaggerated. In many ways they fit the story perfectly. Plus the layout of the language allows for bigger illustrations and more interaction between text and picture, as did the Taiwanese versions, which kept the original illustrations.

The covers of the first four books are below. I'm not even sure which characters are my name and I kind of like it that way.

Pirate School #1: The Curse of Snake Island

Pirate School #2: Ghost Ship, Ahead!

Pirate School #3: Attack on the High Seas

Pirate School #4: Port of Spies

I feel very fortunate these stories that I've created have been able to reach so many children in so many different cultures. I'm especially proud to have them reach Japan, a culture that has greatly influenced my own imagination. I only wish it were under better circumstances. The situation there has upset me a great deal this past week. If just one child in that country can read these books and momentarily forget the horrible events taking place, then I will have done my job. Saving the world one story at a time isn't just a name for this blog, it's something that I believe in and will continue doing for as long as I can.


  1. What a good post Brian. I've always felt drawn to Japan and their culture so feel as you do about their tremendous difficulties. And love the illustrations, just terrific. And that is so right - if just a few kids ...

  2. Once again, the Japanese know how to make something appeal to kids. I think those illustrations ought to be in all future editions of your books.

  3. Thanks. I love them too. But it's interesting that a lot of kids in different cultures don't respond to manga style are.