Marguerite Higgins clashed with armed Nazi soldiers at Dachau Concentration Camp, watched General Douglas MacArthur, and went behind enemy lines to get a story.
Higgins might not be a household name, but she was a pioneering war correspondent before women were on the battlefield. Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Higgins died long before the Internet age, but her story is told in Nathan Hale’s new graphic novel, “Cold War Correspondent.”
“I was looking for an interesting journalist character during the Korean War and it immediately led me to Marguerite Higgins,” Hale said in a recent interview on the book.
The author, who shares his name with the Continental Army soldier and US Revolutionary War spy, has made a name for himself writing and illustrating historical children’s stories in a series called Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales.
“Cold War Correspondent” is the 11th book in the Hazardous Tales series, which takes readers to interesting points from the past – usually with an added dose of humor. Other Hazardous Tales books include the ill-fated Donner Party Expedition, WWI Trench Warfare, and the Underground Railroad.
For the Korean War, however, Hale wanted to turn his attention to the war reporters. It was the dramatic photos of Marguerite Higgins on the battlefield that sold Hale to history.
“She had a lot of energy which also felt like a lot of cartoon energy,” he said.
Bold and dangerous with a healthy dose of arrogance, Higgins dragged a large typewriter through war-torn landscapes during the conflict, and in the book she looks pretty cool doing it with her sunglasses on. aviator sun.
“When I found out that she was there at the start of the Korean War, that she saw the first three months unfold and that she was trapped behind enemy lines, the book kind of went downhill. writes on its own, ”Hale said.
But by placing Higgins at the center of the “Cold War Correspondent,” Hale secured a unique entry into the Korean War and ensured that his story was not lost to history.
“When I thought about the Korean War, I was like, ‘How do I frame this? ” “, did he declare. “With each book I try to find a new path in history.”
Her books often delve into smaller moments within big events, and that’s one of her strengths according to one reader.
“It’s so important to highlight lesser-known and minority characters in history, people and places that aren’t always taught in school,” said Loren Spector, a young adult librarian at Memorial Branch. from the Los Angeles Public Library, whose specialty is graphic novels.
Spector said that, in fact, it is often the side stories in textbooks that children are most interested in.
This feeling of illuminating the lesser-known parts of the story and telling them in an engaging way with his detailed drawings is what a local bookseller considers the strength of the series.
“They are so endearing and some of the stories he (Hale) talks about are overlooked,” said Carrie Custer, director of the children’s department at Vroman’s Bookstore in Pasadena.
While the Book Googger is a perfect choice for directing an action-packed graphic novel, nothing about Marguerite Higgins is embellished. Hale researched the book by reviewing Higgins’ writings, biography, and reporting.
“I had a pretty good idea of how she would speak and how she would speak,” he said.
For the year it takes to write and illustrate the book, Hale sticks to the facts. When the book is finished, it is rigorously checked.
“I don’t want to take these historical figures and make them into characters, or say they did crazy things just to make a good story,” Hale said. “In some ways I feel like a journalist except I bring it back to you in cartoons. “