Bay Area author tells story of sixth grade incident that shaped her life

The Bay Area is home to Raina Telgemeier: a best-selling author and illustrator behind the books "Smile," "Drama," "Sisters" and "Ghosts." In "Smile," she tells the story of an incident that happened in sixth grade, and shaped the rest of her life. 

           Listen to our podcast

Bay Area children's book author tells story of a sixth grade incident that shaped the rest of her life

Telgemeier fell and knocked out her front two teeth, resulting in years of surgeries and orthodontist appointments. She also suffered through teasing from her classmates, even some who she'd considered friends. Telgemeier said she drew on those experiences and emotions for her first book, the graphic memoir titled "Smile." That book spent more than four years on the New York Times bestseller list.

"It turned out that lots of kids have an accident or something that feels traumatic and the story became something universal, which was a huge surprise to me," said Telgemeier.  

Her new project is an interactive  journal, called Share Your Smile: in it, Telgemeier encourages children to share their sketches with their friends and family.

"I kept a lot of my feelings inside, i wrote them down, when i was young and hid those journals away for years," said Telgemeier, "I think if I had shown them to people they would have been able to relate to me, and that would have been really nice."

Telgemeier said she is so grateful for all the support she gets from her young readers. Many recognize her scenes of San Francisco and write her to say, they're from the Bay Area too. Others, around the world write to say her books help them feel like they're not alone.

Telgemeier has another graphic memoir due out in September, titled "Guts."

She will have a book signing event in Pleasanton on May 4.