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7:20 AM EDT, September 26, 2013
Ben started bringing home "Big Nate" books from the library...literally reading them for hours...enamored with this funny boy who racks-up detentions and gets himself into silly scrapes.
We read together...and then I asked Ben: "Where is Nate's mom?" He lives with his dad and his sister.
He didn't know.
In the third or fourth book, we came upon a quick mention of the mother. Nate explained to a friend: my parents divorced, my mom moved away and I don't see her very much. Huh, interesting.
With my interest piqued, I googled around and found this interview with author Lincoln Peirce, who lives in Maine and is a native of New Hampshire.
In the Washington City Paper, he says: Well, the question I'm asked most frequently is "Where is Nate's mother?" He's never had one in the strip. I made reference to the mother a couple of times in the early days of the strip, that this was a divorce family and that Nate lives with his dad. I thought maybe down the road I would bring the mother in somehow, but I realized I didn't want to.
And, from Wikipedia:
Answering questions from fans in the Washington Post, Peirce revealed the following about the creation of the strip:
Big Nate started out as more of a "domestic humor" strip than it is now. It was my intention to feature a lot of stories about Nate's single dad, and all the comic possibilities inherent in that. But before too long, I realized that the part of the strip that I enjoyed most was the school humor. I'd been a teacher myself, and schools can be very funny places
I think it's an interesting choice...and one that's beneficial to kids. Life is complicated...not all families look the same...not all kids have the rosy pair of parents that are often portrayed on TV. If there is an "absentee parent", it is most often the father. So, I believe this very subtle storyline will open some eyes, in an important way.
On a side note, this series is often compared with the "Wimpy Kid" books. It's a lot of fun...we recommend it to kids, ages 8 and up.