From the very first page of Yehudi Mercado’s graphic novel Chunky, you will find yourself adoring its endearingly awkward main character Hudi and his imaginary monster cheerleader Chunky. Hudi’s parents think he should lose some weight and believe playing a sport is a great way to slim down while being part of a team. When Hudi’s super athletic father drives him to his first baseball game, Hudi makes a deal with his dad to get pizza after the game if Hudi can get on base. So when Hudi gets hit by a pitch, he’s the happiest kid on the field. Not exactly what dad meant by “get on base” but Hudi will take what he can get.
SPOILER ALERT As Hudi moves on from baseball to try soccer and swimming, Chunky is there every step of the way to cheer him up with optimistic comments and the encouragement to just be his best self whatever that is. Chunky is the positive inner voice we all need. He understands Hudi is different and loves him for it. But when Hudi starts playing football, which he’s sort of good at because of his size, and hanging out with the cool – but not so nice – kids, Chunky doesn’t want to support this false-self.
In the end, Hudi discovers what we all do – if you want to be happy, you have to be yourself no matter what anyone else thinks. This story is largely biographical for the author Yehudi Mercado who is a writer-artist-animator. We will be chatting with Yehudi on Tuesday, July 20 3-4pm EST to talk about Chunky, body positivity, and just being yourself! His novel is laugh-out-loud funny so we know it’s going to be a blast. Just follow us on Facebook to watch!