A Smashingly Good Review!

The Yakima Herald has a wonderful review of both SMASH books. Some highlights:


Brothers Chris and Kyle Bolton, author and illustrator, respectively, of the “Smash” series of graphic novels, have created a wonderfully funny and action-packed new addition to the realm of middle-grade comics.

I absolutely love the wonderful combination of story and art in the “Smash” books....I particularly enjoy Kyle’s artwork; it combines the goofiness of cult classics like the Tick with the youthful vigor of Bill Watterson’s Calvin and Hobbes. Every panel is filled with the energy of a 10-year-old boy, with characters ready to bounce right off the page.


The text is challenging enough to engage a competent middle-grade reader but still accessible, hitting the perfect balance of being appealing and chortle-inducing while not raising too many parental eyebrows. And the warmth of the story, with its focus on familial relationships and the struggles that all kids face, gives it a universal appeal.

It’s a good time to be a young reader, with so many franchises aimed at the under-18 crowd. The “Smash” series is an exciting, compelling addition to the once-overlooked field of comics for kids, sure to appeal to everyone from fans of Iron Man to Wimpy Kid devotees.

Click here to read the full review! And if you're in the neighborhood, we'll be reading at the celebrated Inklings Bookshop in Yakima, Washington, on Saturday, July7th, at 2pm. Drop in and say hello!

SMASH Reading at Gatewood Elementary

We're pleased to present some pictures from SMASH artist Kyle Bolton's recent visit to Gatewood Elementary School in Seattle.

A gaggle of excited 4th and 5th graders watched a panel-by-panel slide show with Kyle performing voices and sound effects from SMASH, Book One: Trial by Fire. Then Kyle answered a LOT of fantastic questions from these eager readers. Huge thanks to Gatewood's super-librarian Jackie Snyder for arranging the event and taking pictures!

To find out how to book an event with Chris or Kyle at your school or library, visit our Events page.

Kyle (lurking in the shadows) finishes performing the opening scene of SMASH after the slide show.

Kyle poses with a happy young fan.

The students listen to Kyle talk about his art process.

Smashing Expectations: Kyle Bolton Reads at Broadview-Thomson K-8 School

Kyle Class 1 This week, SMASH artist Kyle Bolton paid a visit to the 4th and 5th grade classes at Broadview-Thomson K-8 School in Seattle as part of a terrific program called WITS (Writers In The Schools).

Kyle showed panels from our book, Smash: Trial by Fire, reading the dialogue and acting out the different characters, and then took a flurry of fantastic questions from the eager students.

Kyle Class 2

Erin Langner, the Program Associate for WITS, wrote about it in a blog post:

All eyes were on the author as he animated the story of a ten-year-old boy who finds himself bestowed with superhero powers using a thorough assortment of voices and sounds to match each action. Building up to a critical moment of realization, the entire library gasped when Kyle unveiled the final, "To be continued..." slide of his reading; the cliffhanger was severe, despite only hearing a small part of a story the Boltons have planned to fill five books.

Kyle Class 3

The kids sitting around the lingering "To be continued..." slide did not see this as an end but as an opportunity. Their imaginations ignited, when Kyle invited questions, every third hand raised brought ideas for the next four Smash books. Methods for defeating villains, suggestions for co-conspirators, new narrative twists and potential wardrobe ideas were floated for consideration. While it is hard to know which directions the authors might find best suited for the next iterations of Smash, it was clear that no outside distractions were too much for this room full of story tellers, who found new suggestions to share through the end of the hour—ideas that I hope to run into again someday, when these creative students put their pencils to the paper and let the inspiration flow.

Huge thanks to WITS and the teachers and students at Broadview-Thomson K-8 School for a great time!

If you would like to have the Bolton brothers speak to your classroom, please email us here. You can also find Kyle or Chris via the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators website.

SMASH Reading at Green Bean Books

We can't stop singing the praises of Green Bean Books in Portland, Oregon. It's a wonderful children's bookstore — and even though it occupies a relatively small space, it feels like you could be lost for days in there. Green Bean pose

Last Saturday, writer Chris A. Bolton read from SMASH: TRIAL BY FIRE for a bunch of excited kids and eager parents.

Green Bean window

Green Bean sign

Kyle couldn't be there to read with him, so Chris's friend (and longtime Smash fan) Craig Fitzpatrick stepped in to provide voices for the Magus, Gareth, and other characters.

Green Bean Craig Helps

Green Bean reading

Green Bean Craig

Ordinarily, Kyle and Chris use a laptop to project individual panels onto a screen for their live readings. But since Green Bean has a simple outdoor setup, the audience had their own books to read along with Chris and Craig. Well, not everyone got her own book...

Green Bean Audrey

But they all managed to find a way to share!

Green Bean Reading

Green Bean Share