Author and illustrator Scott Magoon is excited about his first graphic novel, “The Extincts,” and the message it contains about animal extinction and environmental issues including climate change. While the New England native has illustrated or written and illustrated more than 30 children’s books, this is his first foray into graphic novels that target a pre-teen and teenage audience. “I love the irony of extinct animals telling us, humans, about climate change, about extinction, about global warming, and about the environment,” said Magoon, 49. “I love that sort of itch; it’s no mistake that my main character is called Scratch, because I want that conflict to be in the back of our minds that there’s something very wrong, and I hope that comes across.” He added: “I wanted to come up with something that kids can pick up, that parents can share with kids, and that teachers can share with students that says that sort of lurking threat is there, but presented in a way that says, ‘Here are some effects of climate change, and here are some ways to combat it.’” Magoon, who grew up in Andover, Haverhill, Hudson, N.H., and Cornville, Maine, before moving to Boston in 1990 to attend Northeastern University, said he is looking forward to a cross-country book signing/presentation tour that kicks off at Whitelam Books in Reading on March 27 and includes stops at An Unlikely Story in Plainville on March 28 and The Silver Unicorn Bookstore in Acton on March 29. We caught up with Magoon, who lives in Reading with his wife, Christy, a school librarian, their two sons, Owen, 17, and Danny, 15, and their dog, Lucy, to talk about all things travel.
Favorite vacation destination? Norway — but more than just the fjords, which are “unfjorgettable.” My family and I took a trip on a cross-country train from Flåm to Myrdal and on to Oslo. We rolled along across the rugged countryside, past waterfalls, glaciers, plunging ravines, and charming cottages. If the occasional cyclist or sheep happened to look at us passing by, surely they would have laughed at our comically agog faces, stunned at Norway’s unrelenting splendor. It was one of those elusive-but-coveted travel moments — not quite expecting what we saw, but then delighted to discover it. Norwegians are friendly and in their cities – in Oslo and Bergen – I found museums, architecture, food, and famous Scandinavian design speaking to me. I can’t wait to return; I’ll have to check it out in winter next time. How bad could it be?
Favorite food or drink while vacationing? Local craft beers — and been meaning to try the absinthe. Cheese [and] off-the-boat seafood.
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Where would you like to travel to but haven’t? Greece. [Its] people, food, ocean, art and history. Speaking of, I went to Pompeii and that sparked a dream to do an ancient sites tour: Machu Picchu in Peru, Angkor Wat in Cambodia, [and] pyramids in Egypt. I heard there’s a Great Wall in China. I’d like to check that out. So much to see. How can we ever see it all?
One item you can’t leave home without when traveling? iPad. Insanely great utility and portability. Most valuable to me is to draw directly onscreen. With it I can create anywhere, anytime. My bantamweight triumvirate: iPad, Apple Pencil, and Procreate software.
Aisle or window? I confess I like the views out the window. But either. It truly doesn’t matter to me. I’m happy to be going.
Favorite childhood travel memory? I often think back to an epic Maine-to-Florida road trip my family took when I was a boy. My two brothers and I folded up in the small back seat to see south-of-the-border sombreros, Disney World’s 15th anniversary, Cypress Gardens’ water ski show, visit with our grandparents. We saw pelicans, alligators and [came back] through an epic snowstorm along the Saw Mill Parkway — a crazy enough route as it is … my dad getting us through it. The world seemed impossibly huge then. Good times.
Guilty pleasure when traveling? Taking out a loan just to buy overpriced magazines from the airport newsstand.
Best travel tip? Set up a photo share with your travel companions to collect the pics each of you takes on your journey. At the end of the day, go through them and everyone picks a favorite. It’s a great way to see what you’ve seen together — but through someone else’s eyes. Also, pick up and use as much of the local language and lingo that you can. It may be a word or a phrase and helps you to be relatable and connect you to the culture. I’ve found people tend to appreciate the effort.