May 5, 2023 — A new children’s graphic novel from Adirondack author Maxwell Eaton III is out this week. Eaton’s graphic novel called Survival Scout: Lost in the Mountains is the first in a series of books about a girl and her wilderness skills.
Eaton will be reading at the Cascade Welcome Center at the Adirondack Mountain Club this Saturday from 1-2pm.
Maxwell Eaton III: The main character, Scout, is a girl, perhaps 10 years old, capable and capable, but constantly harmed by adults and forces of nature. In the book, she’s on a backpacking trip with her brother, and when he reveals they’ve been missing for three days, he has no idea where they are, even on a map. It may not be listed.
When he was frightened by a bear, she started trying to figure things out and out of nowhere left her in the wilderness for three days. You have to figure out if you should stay or if you should go out. She also has half of her camping gear, so she needs to come up with things like shelter and how to keep the water safe.
Emily Russell: I know this is a graphic novel for kids, but I suspect it’s also for adults. So what is the purpose of educating parents on the skills they need to be safe in the woods?
Eaton: Yeah, hope it seeps in there and they absorb some of this. Because they’re all skills that anyone heading to the Adirondacks, mountains, or out of town should know how to deal with. For example, how to read a map or use a compass, not everyone knows. It’s easy to say you have a compass, but you can tell north, south, east, and west without a compass.
Russell: One of your daughters’ names is Scout, and many of the characters in your book are girls. why is that?
Eaton: First of all, why? I think the default was a little boy, especially for the book “Survival Scouts.” I think that’s what comes to some people’s minds when they hear the title. My partner and I are doing our best to raise her two little humans who are tough, strong and confident.
Russell: What does it take to make a book like this? Can you summarize? For those who don’t know who wrote or illustrated the book, what does it take to release something like this is it?
Eaton: Well, from the beginning until now — first of all, it’s one of my favorite things to do in the world and I love every moment of it — but it’s probably like a backpacking trip. In process. But when it’s all over, you just want to start over and forget all your misery.
I was thinking about this book this morning, and I think it was 2019, before the pandemic, when I was brainstorming this series with my editor. If I get this signed before the world collapses, at least I can make money on this book. Then, a year and a half ago, I completed this book and illustrations. And the illustrations can take 16-18 hours a day, 2-3 months, when you’re working on the final artwork, and it’s a labor of love because you’re obsessed with drawing illustrations.
Russell: How does it feel to arrive at this moment?
Eaton: It’s so satisfying and in every book. This book in particular was the first graphic novel I wrote in a long time. A 32 or 40 page picture book can be very complicated depending on what style of illustration you are doing. On top of that, the book feels very personal because it encompasses all of my interests. When I was shopping for camping gear, I thought about how great this book and this series are. It’s really cool when your world and your favorite things suddenly all mesh and lock together. I’m proud of all my books, but I’m really proud of this one. So I love it and can’t wait for people to read it.