A deeply emotional graphic memoir of a young woman’s struggles with self-esteem and body image issues.
All Marie-Noëlle wants is to be thin and beautiful. She wishes that her thighs were slimmer, that her stomach lay flatter. Maybe then her parents wouldn’t make fun of her eating habits at family dinners, the girls at school wouldn’t call her ugly, and the boy she likes would ask her out. This all-too-relatable memoir follows Marie-Noëlle from childhood to her twenties, as she navigates what it means to be born into a body that doesn’t fall within society’s beauty standards.
When, as a young teen, Marie-Noëlle begins a fitness regime in an effort to change her body, her obsession with her weight and size only grows and she begins having suicidal thoughts. Fortunately for Marie-Noëlle, a friend points her in the direction of therapy, and slowly, she begins to realize that she doesn’t need the approval of others to feel whole.
Marie-Noëlle Hébert’s debut graphic memoir is visually stunning and drawn entirely in graphite pencil, depicting a deeply personal and emotional journey that encourages us to all be ourselves without apology.
Key Text Features
Marie-Noëlle Hébert lives in Montreal. Largely self-taught, she studied advertising illustration at Collège Salette. She did a series of illustrations for the documentary Carricks, dans le sillage des Irlandais by Viveka Melki (Tortuga Films, 2017) and illustrated the children’s book Le voyage de Kalak (Cuento de luz, 2018). The French edition of My Body in Pieces, her first graphic novel, was awarded the Prix des libraires du Québec in 2020.
Shelley Tanaka is an award-winning author, translator and editor who has written and translated more than thirty books for children and young adults. She teaches at Vermont College of Fine Arts, in the MFA Program in Writing for Children and Young Adults. Shelley lives in Kingston, Ontario.
Praise for Marie-Noëlle Hébert and My Body in Pieces:
“The strongest element of the book is the gripping and gorgeous illustrations, which capture Marie-Noëlle’s emotions and magnify the spare dialogue and descriptions. … A touching story about love, forgiveness, and self-acceptance.” — Kirkus Reviews
"Hébert’s illustrations in graphite pencil … are not only breathtaking but also searing. …My Body in Pieces reminds young readers of all genders that perfection doesn’t exist and encourages them to both accept and love them-selves without apology." — Quill & Quire
"[H]eartbreakingly honest." — Montreal Review of Books
"This dreamy, visually acute remembrance of reclaiming one’s body in its complex beauty is powerfully personal." — School Library Journal
“I was touched by this story that refuses to be decorous or falsely resolve the questions it poses about inherited shame and self acceptance. Marie-Noëlle Hébert takes the violence of fatphobia and creates something truly vulnerable and unapologetic: a book that takes up space and that confronts the beauty dogma and body hatred bequeathed to girls from a very young age.” — Kyo Maclear, award-winning author of Operatic
“This book is absolutely beautiful. Not only are Marie-Noëlle’s honesty and realizations important to convey, but her illustrations are absolutely phenomenal.” — Being Fictional Blog
Praise for Marie-Noëlle Hébert and La grosse laide:
Winner Prix des Libraires du Québec — Graphic Novel, 2020
“A powerful, thrilling read!” — Jimmy Beaulieu, author and illustrator
“Created entirely in graphite pencil, this work, if only for the skill of its artist to realistically portray the intense emotions within, is a thousand times worth the detour.” — Isabelle Beaulieu, revue Les libraires
Praise for author María Quintana Silva and illustrator Marie-Noëlle Hébert for Kalak’s Journey:
“Hébert’s textured, mostly black-and-white illustrations, done in what looks like graphite and with touches of colored pencil, lend themselves to the tenuousness of the storks’ journey.” — Kirkus Reviews
“[G]rayscale illustrations, done in pencil, fill each page or spread and reinforce the tone of the story by echoing Kalak’s apprehension and outright fear.” — School Library Journal