Dark Horse Books, October 19, 2010 (hardcover and ebook)
The New York Times and the Chicago Tribune
each include Heart Transplant among their best picks for 2010 holiday gifts
Heart Transplant has been featured in
USAToday • Publishers Weekly • The Bay Citizen • Florida Weekly
San Francisco Weekly • Time Out • Chicago Tribune
and on NPR's "Eight Forty-Eight"
Listen to Andrew Vachss speak about Heart Transplant
"Heart Transplant, a first–of–its–kind graphic novel about bullying[, is] graphically rich and textured, gorgeous in every conceivable way and, oh by the way, important. If you care about the real stuff teenagers go through ... order it now." (Read full endorsement)
"Heart Transplant is one of those few books that reaches both child and adult. Its unique combination of graphic art and self-help text works to communicate the emotional toll of bullying." (Read full article)
"Somewhere between graphic novel and picture book, Heart Transplant is aimed at the victims of bullies with the intent of helping the victims and their parents, family and friends deal with the situation effectively." (Read full article)
"[T]his gripping story gives kids and grownups alike a road map to change, both for individual kids and more importantly, for the school as a community. ... This book should be required reading in every elementary school in America[.]" (Read full endorsement)
—Joel A. Dvoskin, Ph.D., ABPP
"Heart Transplant is a book that depicts how deeply hurt a child can be from neglectful and abusive relationships. However, it also shows the profound healing that can come from an empathetic and loving relationship. ... [It] makes it clear that defending what's important to us and protecting what we love begins at home." (Read full endorsement)
—Flora Colao, LCSW
"This is a story about someone showing you the door to your own personal strength and character, and learning to believe that all you have to do is step on through." (Read full endorsement)
—Professor Joe R. Lansdale
"In more than a decade working with kids who came from tough places, I've never found anything that so directly identifies the cause of human dysfunction — or the solution. Those who wish to understand the impact of bullying on a living being need to start here." (Read full endorsement)
"A timeless story about bullying and redemption that will stick with you long after you've turned the last page—a must for any library serving teens." (Read full article)
"Touching, poignant story that would grab any teens' attention from the first sentence and dark sketch-style drawings." (Read full article)
—Portland Book Review
"Teachers and parents will find that Heart Transplant can be the perfect lens to focus meaningful dialogue about the origins of bullying and the pervasive nature of the exploitation of power in our society. The scope of important, inter-related themes that this work highlights is broad—so this can be a tool for a classroom to be used for much more than merely addressing bullying." (Read full endorsement)
—Bruce D. Perry, M.D., Ph.D.
"Heart Transplant is a necessity in a country that sometimes seems to be run by bullies at every level, from kindergarten to Capitol Hill. It fits the bill perfectly, with a simple and simply terrific story, wise and scholarly commentary that lets nobody off the hook, and the incandescent Rorschach of Frank Caruso's illustrations. If you're wondering not just why bullying happens, but what to do to about it, read Heart Transplant. It ranks alongside Andrew Vachss' Another Chance to Get It Right as a signpost on the road to a more fully human society."
"Vachss, Caruso, and Mucha ... a triple threat hitting it home with Heart Transplant on the evolving and mutating bullying phenomenon. Whether a parent, educator, legislator, counselor, or child advocate, all will benefit from walking the streets with Pop and Sean." (Read full endorsement)
—John M. Seryak, M.Ed.
"It seems that every year one graphic novel stands out in my mind from all the rest. This year it's Heart Transplant. Highly recommended for all school and public library YA collections." (Read full endorsement)
—iKids/Ingram Library Services
"[Heart Transplant] unfolds through a narrative structure with related pictures, neither novel, picture book nor graphic novel, instead falling somewhere between. ... For schools, authorities, and parents there will be much value using [it] as a resource for children and victims of bullying." (Read full endorsement)
—Hand Drawn Awesome
"Vachss and Caruso are nothing if not ambitious. Their clear goal is the eradication of bullying. But they're too smart to preach. They know the power of a story that's eye-opening, touching and wise. They also understand that a fight like this one requires hand-to-hand combat, grappling with hard realities. Their book is the equivalent of boot camp." (Read full endorsement)
"As a Police Officer for 30 years, I am asking you to please read Heart Transplant. Read the words of Andrew Vachss; read the words of Zak Mucha; study the artwork of Frank Caruso ... and learn the Truth."
—Deputy Chief Mike McNamara
"The darkness is a terrifying place, especially for a child. When you are lost in it, it seems that there is no way out. All directions look equally untrustworthy and perilous to the person in the depths. In Heart Transplant, Vachss cuts through the BS and shows what it's like for those lost in that darkness. He also shows what 'caregivers' need to understand in order to develop the trust to help those who are lost. This book is a must-read for both those who are lost and those who wish to help them find their way out of the darkness."
—Marc "Animal" MacYoung
| For more than three decades, best-selling author Andrew Vachss has fought the worst kind of bully: child abusers. In his law practice, he's represented children and youth exclusively. As art director for King Features for two decades, Frank Caruso has developed a style that speaks to all ages, for all ages. Together, they invented the
"triptych haiku," which has proven unparalleled in its ability to communicate. It was their success in that collaboration that inspired them to develop Heart Transplant, a book that must succeed at the same kind of communication in order to achieve its goal: resetting the cultural software so that people change the way they think about bullying. The anchoring essay—by clinical social worker Zak Mucha—explains in detail what the reader has just experienced ... and why that experience could change our world.
School bullying is universally decried, bemoaned, and condemned. And on the rise. Whether it's a teenager committing suicide as a result of a Facebook posting or a group of schoolchildren taunting another child with autism and filming it for the "entertainment" of others, the longest-lasting, deepest-scarring impact of bullying is emotional, not physical. Failure to understand this has handicapped an already-insipid series of failed "solutions." How many more teens have to kill themselves before we do something about it, beyond making it a new talkshow topic?
Heart Transplant is aimed at actually changing the way we deal with perhaps the most critical issue for children and parents alike today. To accomplish this mission, an entirely new medium was created. Neither a graphic novel nor a self-help book, it uses elements of both to reach parents and children alike. The intermingling of word and art is achieved so smoothly that it is experienced as one does words-and-music: you may forget the lyrics and hum the tune, but that very act evokes the lyrics. And if it's the lyrics that stick with you, you'll find yourself humming the tune. The anchoring essay (by clinical social worker Zak Mucha) explains in prose detail what the reader has just experienced. You'll find this book in the "Parenting" and "Young Adult" sections of your bookstore. Why? Because there is no "Bullying" section. And if Heart Transplant hits either target, it will hit both. Nothing like this has ever been tried before. But if it works, the high risk will be rewarded by the greatest prize of all.
(Click on the sample pages to view larger versions)
"I don't regret much in my life, but my moments of greatest shame take me back to my childhood and adolescence. Never a victim or a perpetrator of bullying, I am ashamed to admit that there were times when I stood by silently and watched my friends terrify or humiliate a weaker kid. My silence—my cowardice—was no more complicated than complete relief that I was not the target, and abject terror that I could be the target in the future.
"In contrast, my proudest moments, not surprisingly, relate to the childhood of my kids, each of whom courageously risked social ostracism, and at least in one case, a black eye, to stand up for real friends who were being bullied.
"Sadly, however, standing up to bullies is still the exception and not the rule. Simply put, the bad guys have hijacked morality. We've stood by and watched them create a society where it is morally repugnant to ask a grownup for help, and morally acceptable to emotionally rape someone simply because they are weak.
"It is time for the good guys to fight back, not with fists but with rules of engagement that reboot our culture, so that kindness and decency and empathy are cool, and ruthless assault are not. 'Mean People Suck' needs to be more than a bumper sticker.
"In a study of the Columbine shooters, my colleagues and I were told by lots of good kids, 'I don't approve of what they did, but I sure understood it. The people on their hit list were the same people that terrorized me and my friends.' But none of them had a clue as to how to reclaim their school from the bad guys.
"So how do we reclaim the right to define what is good? The old ways of communicating values don't seem to be working, so Andrew Vachss, Frank Caruso, and Zak Mucha created a whole new genre. The one consistent truth throughout time is that values are communicated by stories, and in Heart Transplant, we have a story for the ages. Simple, powerful, and crystal clear, this gripping story gives kids and grownups alike a road map to change, both for individual kids and more importantly, for the school as a community.
"This book should be required reading in every elementary school in America, accompanied by a class discussion. Who is cooler, the gifted child who finds ways to help share his or her gifts by lifting up weaker classmates, or the bully who cruelly feeds his narcissistic need for dominance at the expense of anyone too frightened to pose a threat? Which is cooler, dominance or empathy?
"More importantly, however, this book must be read by every teacher in America. Every person who considers themselves a leader of the PTA, a member of the school board, or in any way fit to control the education of young people needs to read this book. Most adults don't want bullying to be a sad but immutable fact of life; they just don't know what to do about it.
"In medicine, when a heart transplant is required, lesser interventions will never suffice. Read this book and make everyone you know read this book. When bullies rule, everything we hold sacred is at risk. When bullies are the Outsiders, the problem will extinguish itself."
"We defend what is important to us and we protect what we love. These are the essential building blocks of living in a healthy society. The adults in the family are supposed to make sure the children know that they are valued and loved. This is done through being attuned to children's feelings and providing for their needs. When children know they are loved and accepted, that their feeling and perceptions matter, they develop an inner strength that is an asset to them their entire lives. This inner strength is the first and most important "self-defense" we can give our children. It provides them with the ability to trust themselves and their instincts. It makes it possible for them to judge the behavior of others accurately. It helps them value themselves and be able to stand up for themselves and those they love. It provides them with the ability to face whatever challenges come their way with confidence.
"Heart Transplant is a book that depicts how deeply hurt a child can be from neglectful and abusive relationships. However, it also shows the profound healing that can come from an empathetic and loving relationship. Both the child and his adopted father are healed by their relationship. Heart Transplant makes it clear that defending what's important to us and protecting what we love begins at home. This is the key to begin to address the problem of bullying. The family is the heart of society. Heart Transplant shows us how to make sure it is a strong heart."
"It's not about looks and strength. It's about the thing that's most important: Heart. And heart is what this book is all about, in more ways that one. It's not about toughness of hide so much as it's about toughness of spirit. That's what being a true success is about. And this wonderful story strikes me deep as an instructor of Martial Arts and a father of two fine children. It's about someone who takes a concern in your well-being and shows you the worth that's already there. It's about being a father figure, a mentor, about putting the hopes and dreams and needs of someone else before your own. I had a father like Pop, so I know. This is a story about someone showing you the door to your own personal strength and character, and learning to believe that all you have to do is step on through."
"School libraries and counseling offices all across this country are filled with brochures, anti-bullying posters, articles, DVDs, multi-media curricula, all attempting to decrease bullying by creating awareness, providing insight and suggesting personal and program changes. Most of these materials are, justifiably, collecting dust. If any of these well-intended efforts worked—really communicated with children, teachers and parents, really caused changes in behavior—we wouldn't need to keep coming up with new and 'improved' anti-bullying programs. The sad reality is that most of these efforts misunderstand the central issues that underlie bullying behavior in children. And the few programs and products that have good insights rarely have the capacity to communicate effectively and engage the children who need help the most.
"But that is not the case with Heart Transplant. This is a remarkably powerful fusion of compelling narrative, evocative visual imagery and brilliant social analysis that creates a simple, effective and important tool for change. Andrew Vachss tells the story of a marginalized boy growing up in a chaotic, traumatic and violent world adopted by a wise and patient man. It is a moving narrative that rings harsh and rings true; Vachss knows these children. Frank Caruso's art surrounds the words and reinforces, elaborates and enriches the narrative. The combination is captivating synchrony. It pulls you in, around and through this boy's heartbreaking, hopeful life to a final powerful insight. It is the magic of storytelling at its very, very best. The book is anchored by Zak Mucha's incredible essay on the core issues of bullying. It is a thoughtful and stark analysis of truths that must be acknowledged if school bullying will ever truly be effectively addressed.
"Combining these three different but complementing 'voices' in a single work to capture attention and communicate is, as far as I know, a completely new approach. It is a courageous innovation and an effective collaboration that I would love to see used more often. In part because I can guarantee that children will want to read this. They will be moved by the images and words—and more important—they will think about being marginalized, degraded, humiliated and bullying in a different way. When they read Heart Transplant they will not forget it.
"Teachers and parents will find that Heart Transplant can be the perfect lens to focus meaningful dialogue about the origins of bullying and the pervasive nature of the exploitation of power in our society. The scope of important, inter-related themes that this work highlights is broad—so this can be a tool for a classroom to be used for much more than merely addressing bullying. These themes include belonging, finding your niche, negotiating the challenging social maze of middle and high school, seeing beyond the pervasive materialism that permeates our culture, the toxic effects of trauma in childhood, the power of relationships in healing and so much more.
"In brief, Heart Transplant should be in every classroom, library and home. If you are truly serious about understanding and stopping bullying read Heart Transplant. This is one book that will not collect dust."
Endorsed by David Hechler
"Reality TV wouldn’t be such a joke if they simply called it low-overhead TV and dropped the pretense that there's anything real about it. At the same time, it's put to shame by an emerging art form that could be called Reality Comics.
Endorsed by Trey Bundy
"Readers need to brace themselves for Heart Transplant. Because even a strong familiarity with the work of its creators won't prepare them for what Vachss, Caruso, and Mucha have accomplished here: a guided tour of the human heart. In more than a decade working with kids who came from tough places, I've never found anything that so directly identifies the cause of human dysfunction — or the solution. Those who wish to understand the impact of bullying on a living being need to start here.
Endorsed by John M. Seryak, M.Ed.
"Vachss, Caruso, and Mucha ... a triple threat hitting it home with Heart Transplant on the evolving and mutating bullying phenomenon. Whether a parent, educator, legislator, counselor, or child advocate, all will benefit from walking the streets with Pop and Sean.
Heart Transplant is a 100-page hardcover printed in four-color process on a 100# matte paper stock. The dust jacket is printed on the same stock, wrapped around Duralin-encased 3.mm boards imprinted with black, flood-gloss varnished artwork. The book features a Smythsewn square binding with hand and tail bands fully cased and jacketed. Published by Dark Horse Books on October 19, 2010. The ISBN-13 is 978-1595825759.
Tell the world what you stand for by using this Heart Transplant avatar on your Facebook profile. Download it to your hard drive by clicking-and-dragging to your desktop, then upload as you would any other photo.
Andrew Vachss, Frank Caruso, and Zak Mucha send their great and humble thanks to all of those readers who have helped get Heart Transplant into libraries.
The goal of this book is—always has been, since Andrew, Frank and Zak conceptualized it—to recode the cultural software as it pertains to bullying. It's an effective tool for doing that, and the timing couldn't be better. But any tool left in a drawer can't get the job done.
We're not asking anyone to buy a copy. What we are asking you to do is make a bigger commitment than that. We want you to go to your local public library and ask to speak to the person in charge of purchasing books for the library. Ask that person if they were offered Heart Transplant; give them a copy of this brochure; then check in with us to let us know who you contacted and what they said.
Here is a list of those who have checked back in to let us know they got their local library to carry Heart Transplant—a list of people we respectfully call Heart Donors:
If you belong on this honor roll and we've inadvertently left you off, please let us know!