Exclusive Video: Neil Gaiman & Art Spiegelman Discuss Terrifying Children

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A pack of wolves lurking in the walls. Evil parents with buttons sewn into their eyes. A family stabbed to death by a man named Jack.

Neil Gaiman  has a penchant for inserting terrifying elements into his award-winning children’s books, so it’s no surprise the author has chosen to explore a fairy tale rife with horror and cannibalism in his latest graphic novel, Hansel & Gretel. In anticipation of the book’s release next week, Gaiman sat down with Art Spiegelman, writer and artist of Maus, and Françoise Mouly, Publisher and Editorial Director of TOON Books, to discuss exposing children to fear.

“I think if you are protected from dark things, then you have no protection of, knowledge of or understanding of dark things when they show up,” Gaiman says in the exclusive video below. “I think it is really important to show dark things to kids—and in the showing, to also show that dark things can be beaten, that you have power. Tell them you can fight back. Tell them you can win. Because you can, but you have to know that. And for me, the thing that is so big and so important about the darkness is it’s like in an inoculation. You know you are giving somebody darkness in a form that is not overwhelming—it’s understandable. They can envelop it, they can take it into themselves, they can cope with it. And, it’s okay. It’s safe to tell you that story, as long as you tell them that you can be smart and you can be brave and you can be tricky and you can be plucky and you can keep going.”

Hansel & Gretel by Neil Gaiman and Lorenzo Mattotti will be released on October 28th by publisher TOON Books. Learn more about the book here.

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