Comics Youth CIC is one of the amazing creative partners that help us to deliver our nationally recognised Arts for Health programme. With thanks to funding secured from the National Lottery Community Fund, Comics Youth provided fun, creative weekly sessions for children and young people at Alder Hey.
Comics Youth’s Graphic Medicine team spent a year visiting the wards with the aim of raising the confidence and voices of young people with lived experiences of acute, chronic, or terminal physical and mental ill health and help them to tell their stories through the medium of comics.
Vicky Charnock Alder Hey’s Art for Health Coordinator explains:
“Comics Youth’s patient led, and patient centred approach to working with the young people drew out the best in them, they developed skills and confidence to express themselves creatively through comics, illustrations and creative writing. Patients told their heartfelt stories of being in hospital and the results captured in this anthology are funny, moving, uplifting, sad and real. Their stories are a testimony to the resilience and creativity of these young people who face so many challenges in their lives.”
After their time on the wards the Comics Youth team of illustrators then lovingly crafted each young people’s stories into the variety of exciting styles and stunning full colour comics that appear in this book.
One of the fantastic young people Comics Youth worked with is Emma, 13, who is treated at Alder Hey for cerebral palsy, she said:
“We did drawing and making comics which was really fun. I thought I couldn’t draw at all but thanks to Comics Youth, I've become a lot more confident with my drawing and writing and having one of my stories featured in Hospi-Tales: A Year of Stories from Alder Hey feels really good, especially since my family found it funny.”
Image description: collage of 3 pictures of Emma. The first her showing off the book, the second reading it and in the third she is pointing at her comic inside the book.
Another amazing young person they had the pleasure of working with was Joey, 13, also known as ‘Joey the legend’. Joey had a stroke 3 years ago and was taken to Alder Hey, he said this about his time working with Comics Youth:
“Since it was my right hand that was affected by my stroke I couldn’t really draw because it was my dominant hand before, [Comics Youth] taught me to draw and did comics with me and stuff. It made me feel dead happy because I could draw again and bring out my creative side.”
Image description: Two images of Joey. The first is a photo collage of the book, next to a picture of Joey and a picture of Joey’s comic in the book. The second image is Joey holding his copy of the book.
As well as all the superb comics in this anthology, the book includes a wonderful foreword written by Dr. Ronx from CBBC’s Operation Ouch that centres around the importance of using art as self-care and a communication tool, here’s a short snippet from that foreword.
“Art is a very important outlet for people of all ages. Sometimes we don’t feel able to communicate our feelings or needs. Maybe we are scared or upset and do not want to talk. Sometimes for physical or mental health reasons people are unable to hear or communicate with words. Art can help bridge that communication gap. Doctors often need to describe body parts and procedures and I regularly draw pictures to help kids and young people understand what I am saying.”
Image description: A picture of Dr Ronx. They are wearing purple scrubs and standing in front of an ambulance.
Published by Marginal, the UK’s first youth-led publishing house, the book is 100% non-profit with proceeds supporting the continued delivery of Comics Youth’s work with young people at Alder Hey.
Beautiful hardback copies of the first edition of Hospi-Tales: A Year of Stories from Alder Hey are available in our online shop here. If you are on site at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital you can buy your copy from our charity shop behind Costa Coffee, or at one of our charity shops in the community, located in Old Swan and Huyton, Liverpool.
Thank you to Comics Youth CIC, the National Lottery Community Fund, Dr Ronx and the staff and families here at Alder Hey who all helped make this project possible.
Tag us on social media with your copy of Hospi-Tales!