Stamford Advocate


- By Meredith Guinness

Norwalk’s Nathan Li and his son, Ray Li, 2, blow bubbles at the first of three Fall Family Fest Sundays at the Stamford Museum & Nature Center. To celebrate the season, the museum and nature center held a mini festival with added attraction­s, enhanced programmin­g and fun offerings for the whole family. The event continues on Oct. 3 and Oct. 17. At right, Victor Mora, 3, of Norwalk, sits on a tractor. More photos,

GREENWICH — Maria Scrivan is a big believer in synchronic­ity — like the time the bestsellin­g author’s yoga instructor asked her to visualize herself in sixth grade.

Tucked into child’s pose, she could remember her classroom. Heck, she could remember her childhood phone number. But she couldn’t remember the name of her sixth-grade teacher no matter how much she tried.

After class, she headed to a favorite writing spot on Todd’s Point and — who should come walking down the beach.

“Mrs. Lomazzo!” said Scrivan, who hadn’t seen her former teacher in decades. “That was her name! And she was right there! It was unbelievab­le. It all came back to me.”

Young readers are the beneficiar­ies of such serendipit­y in Scrivan’s life. Her popular graphic novels — “Nat Enough,” “Forget Me

Nat” and her latest, “Absolutely Nat” — often hinge on the type of awkward exchanges and experience­s she remembers from her own years at Central Middle School.

“I really think there’s a large amount of healing we go through as writers,” said Scrivan, who has loved the craft since her days in Mrs. Lomazzo’s class. “It helps you process things to write. And I can’t help but add humor to everything.”

“Absolutely Nat” (Graphix, 2021) is the third book in the “Nat Enough” graphic novel series that follows the trials and triumphs of Natalie, a middle schooler learning to make friends and survive a crush and summer camp with equal aplomb. Written in a refreshing, honest tone paired with Scrivan’s comic strip-style drawings, the books have been a hit since the first was published at the beginning of the pandemic in 2020.

Named one of the “Most Anticipate­d Graphic Novel

for 2020” by The Washington Post, that book is now part of a boxed set, “Definitely Nat,” due for sale in October.

“Maria writes funny, Maria draws funny and Maria does it with a ton of heart,” said Jim Davis, the creator of Garfield, one of Scrivan’s all-time favorite comic strips.

Raised in Greenwich, Scrivan studied fine arts at

Clark University before starting a career as a graphic designer. She took a selfdescri­bed “windy path” to “Half Full,” her syndicated comic that has been appearing in newspapers daily for about eight years.

With her book career taking off, Scrivan said she is beginning to see writing seven comics a week as “almost sort of a rest day.”

Though drawn from her

adventures at Central Middle School — the front of her fictional Midway Middle School even looks a bit like Central — Scrivan said she hopes her books offer a universal and positive message for her young readers.

“They’re about self-worth and self-acceptance,” she said. “How you surround yourself with people who lift you up and don’t bring you down.”

Her plan seems to be working. Scrivan said she gets a steady stream of emails and letters from fans, some of whom proudly tell her that her graphic novels are the first they’ve read cover to cover.

One young girl’s letter has a place of honor in her writing space.

“Every time I’m scared or sad, I start reading your books,” the fan wrote.

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 ?? Tyler Sizemore / Hearst Connecticu­t Media ??
Tyler Sizemore / Hearst Connecticu­t Media
 ?? Christian Abraham / Hearst Connecticu­t Media ?? Author Maria Scrivan is photograph­ed ahead of the release of her third book: “Absolutely Nat” at her home in Greenwich on Sept. 17.
Christian Abraham / Hearst Connecticu­t Media Author Maria Scrivan is photograph­ed ahead of the release of her third book: “Absolutely Nat” at her home in Greenwich on Sept. 17.

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