Joshua Margolis is a clay sculptor who loves to make monsters and robots out of clay. And recently he’s become a children’s book author featuring “Melvin” his sad(ish) robot. He wanted to think more deeply about one of his creations and what he was trying to convey with his work. That was when he started sculpting Melvin and trying to figure out what his bigger story was. Why was he sad? What would be some things that might make him happy?
Becca Lory and Antonio Hector were our Mighty League representatives at Denver Comic Con in 2018. Prior to their panel they roamed the exhibitor’s hall and discovered Joshua. Becca immediately connected with his work:
“I am always drawn to a cute droid so when I saw Melvin, I was in. The minute he got his buddy, I thought about all the other spectrumites I know who feel like Melvin but have trouble understanding their own emotions. No matter the age, Melvin will touch and teach you.”
We interviewed Joshua to find out more…
Tell us about Melvin the Sad…(ish) Robot.
Melvin the Sad…(ish) Robot is the story of a lonely robot looking for love and happiness.
I created everything in the book. I wrote, sculpted, and then photographed most of the book on my own. I worked with a friend on the photography, but during shooting he had a baby and could no longer work on the project. So, I took over that as well.
Who is the ideal reader and how do you see the book being used?
The ideal reader is anyone who has ever felt moments of sadness and never really understood why. I get feedback from kids as young as 4 and as old as I can count, who all can relate to these feelings.
What’s the message you want your readers to take away after reading the book?
That there is love and happiness out there for all of us. It might not be in front of you right now, and it might not always stay, but it’s worth seeking out.
Will there be another Melvin book?
This was my first attempt at being a storyteller. I had to write this story because it was my story. My next book is another I think it will resonate with readers. It currently titled, Melvin the Lost Robot. It’s about a fish out of water navigating a tough environment. But it’s really about kindness…and pizza.
Do you have any moving fan feedback you’d like to share?
The emails and letters I get are overwhelmingly positive, and from them I have learned that my book has had a huge impact on some of my readers. There is an entire 3rd grade class in England (who somehow got my book) and their teacher developed a six-week curriculum around my book and characters.
The students wrote their own Melvin stories, made up new stories, sculpted their own clay characters and then went outside and took photos to learn about forced perspective. It was so great to get emails from each of the students who all told me about their experience in learning around my book.
I also heard from a teacher in Australia who works with a child who is an elective mute. She told me that she chose to be vocal for the first time in wanting to write her own story about Melvin and his friends. That one had me in tears. There’s actually been quite a few letters that have left me in tears. Good tears though.
If our readers leave with only one message after reading this interview, what would you like it to be?
Be creative. You don’t have to be “good at it”, just enjoy the process.
For more information, go to:
- JoshuaMargolis.net website to purchase the book and find other goodies to download
- @Clayandwine on Instagram
If you liked this post, you may also like:
- Books by Autistic Authors
- Kindness is the answer in Wiggle Woshers
- Two Special Moms Create Something Special for Special Needs Kids
Listen to an audio version of this article