The Talk (Hardcover)

The Talk By Darrin Bell Cover Image
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Winner of the NAACP Image Award in Outstanding Graphic Novels
Winner of the Libby Award for Best Comic/Graphic Novel of the Year
Named The Year's Best Graphic Novel by Publishers Weekly

Named one of Publishers Weekly's Top Ten Best Books of 2023
Named one of NPR's Books We Love
Named one of Kirkus' Best 2023 Books
Named one of the Washington Post's 10 best graphic novels of 2023
One of TIME Magazine's Must-Read Books of the Year
Shortlisted for the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Nonfiction 2024
Booklist Editors' Choice: Graphic Novels, 2023
New York Public Library's Best New Comics of 2023 Top Ten Pick

Chicago Public Library's Best Books of 2023 Top Ten Pick
Named one of School Library Journal's Best Graphic Novels of 2023
Named one of The Guardian's Best Graphic Novels of 2023

Darrin Bell was six years old when his mother told him he couldn’t have a realistic water gun. She said she feared for his safety, that police tend to think of little Black boys as older and less innocent than they really are.

Through evocative illustrations and sharp humor, Bell examines how The Talk shaped intimate and public moments from childhood to adulthood. While coming of age in Los Angeles—and finding a voice through cartooning—Bell becomes painfully aware of being regarded as dangerous by white teachers, neighbors, and police officers and thus of his mortality. Drawing attention to the brutal murders of African Americans and showcasing revealing insights and cartoons along the way, he brings us up to the moment of reckoning when people took to the streets protesting the murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor. And now Bell must decide whether he and his own six-year-old son are ready to have The Talk.

About the Author

Darrin Bell, recipient of the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Cartooning, the 2016 Berryman Award for Editorial Cartooning, the 2015 RFK Award for Editorial Cartooning, and UC Berkeley’s 2015 Daily Californian Alumni of the Year Award, began his career in 1995 at the age of twenty. While serving as the Daily Californian’s staff cartoonist, he began freelancing for the Opinion pages of the Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle, and Oakland Tribune. In 1997, he cocreated the comic strip Rudy Park and self-syndicated it to technology magazines. United Media launched it into newspapers in 2001. In 2003, Darrin launched his other comic strip, Candorville, in newspapers via the Washington Post Writers Group (WPWG), which also began syndicating his editorial cartoons in 2013. While WPWG still syndicates Candorville and Rudy Park, Darrin moved his editorial cartoons to King Features Syndicate in late 2018. He’s also a contributing cartoonist for the New Yorker. Darrin lives with his wife and four children in California.

Praise For…

Winner of the Black Caucus of the American Library Association Outstanding Contribution to Publishing Citation Award
ALA Alex Award Winner (2024)
New York Times, “14 Nonfiction Books to Read This Summer“
Los Angeles Times, “10 June books for your reading list“
The Root, “A Supersized List of June 2023 Books By Black Authors We Can't Wait to Read“
St. Louis Post Dispatch, “40 New Titles to Make Summer Vacation More Fun“
In Between Drafts, “Best New Books of June“
The Messenger, “Here Are the Best Books to Read This June“

Shelf Awareness, “10 Best Nonfiction Adult Titles“
Publishers Lunch, The Best of the Best Books of 2023
Minneapolis Star Tribune, “40 Great Books to Get You or Someone on Your Gift List Through the Winter“

“A moving portrait . . . funny and touching, intellectually and emotionally stimulating. There’s pride and prejudice, family drama, and a love story. I loved this book. You will too.”
―Victor LaValle, author of The Changeling

A Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist draws on his childhood in Los Angeles to explore racism on a deeply personal level. There’s a poignancy, too, in the cyclical nature of the story: Bell, now a father, is wrestling with the same questions his own parents face.
New York Times

“Propulsive reading, drawn with urgency and verve. Once you pick up The Talk, you won’t be able to put it down.”
Alison Bechdel, author of Fun Home and The Secret to Superhuman Strength

"In The Talk, Bell combines the overtly personal and the sociopolitical in a textured autobiography that blends raw honestly, moving memories and powerful insights on race and police relations.”
Washington Post

"The book is visually stunning, and propulsive, with an absorbing narrative voice. Divided into almost two dozen chapters, its drawings fluctuate from the whimsically cartoonish to the delightfully painterly. . . . Reminiscent of longform comics memoirs such as Alison Bechdel's Fun Home and Marjane Satrapi's Persepolis, stories about young writers and artists finding their ways through both personal and structural hardships and strife, this epic portrait of an artist is a masterpiece. Like the effects of an unduly perceptive editorial cartoon, The Talk makes a penetrative, and lasting, impression.”

—The New Yorker

“A thought-provoking memoir beautifully rendered in expressive artwork for a powerful piece that’s easy to devour but harder to digest. . . . Bell’s mastery of the medium shines throughout The Talk with stunning artwork that heightens the story to 11”
Associated Press

“Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist Darrin Bell’s new graphic memoir The Talk is an absorbing, creative examination of his life, richly illustrated with his drawings and told with great honesty, emotional candor, and humor.“
The Fanatic

“Darrin Bell’s first foray into graphic novels is a triumph. A cinematically comic, coming-of-age blend of race, culture, and gratuitous nerdity. Wonderful.”
Keith Knight, creator of The K Chronicles and Woke

“It’s nearly impossible to appreciate another person’s truth, but if a brilliant storyteller offers to light the way, take him up on it. Bell is the Ta-Nehisi Coates of comics, an indispensable explainer of how it feels to grow up in a world that repeatedly treats you as other. The talk with my white sons boiled down to 'Be kind.' It’s hard to overstate the distance between that admonition and 'Stay alive.'”
Garry Trudeau, creator of Doonesbury

“A deeply personal, brutally honest, and achingly funny graphic novel that captures the fear, trauma, and complexity of growing up as a biracial man in the USA. The Talk is a strikingly illustrated vision.”
Lalo Alcaraz, award-winning visual media artist and creator of the syndicated daily comic strip La Cucaracha

“This emotionally striking work is sure to leave a lasting mark.“
Publishers Weekly, starred review

“A beautifully drawn book, rich with insight, humor, and hard-won knowledge.“
Kirkus Reviews, starred review

“Bell has honed his skills of cultural observation over many years as a social commentator in comic strips and editorial cartoons. He’s refined his skills up to the breaking point and back. This graphic novel is a testament to his efforts.”
Comics Grinder

“Bell’s striking debut graphic memoir, utilizes wit and emotional openness to chronicle the ways in which racism has shaped his life, from a police officer terrorizing a young Bell over his green water gun to protests in 2020 over the murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor.”
BookPage, starred review

Product Details
ISBN: 9781250805140
ISBN-10: 1250805147
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
Publication Date: June 6th, 2023
Pages: 352
Language: English