The Thud (Paperback)

The Thud By Mikael Ross Cover Image

The Thud (Paperback)

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In this YA graphic novel, a boy with developmental disabilities finds his world turned upside down after his mother has a stroke and he realizes for the first time he's on his own. 


A Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selection 


When Noel’s mother has a stroke, his world is turned upside down. Especially when a man comes, who tells Noel that he can’t stay in the only home he’s ever known. He has to move from his apartment and his city to some kind of care facility, in a town he’s never heard of. For the first time, Noel is on his own. Who can he trust? Who can he love? 


There is a village in Germany called Neuerkerode that is largely populated and run by people with developmental disabilities — the local restaurant, the local bar, the local supermarket. It’s a beautiful, even incredible place — and it’s where The Thud takes place. In 2016, cartoonist Mikael Ross began visiting Neuerkerode. Over the course of two years, Ross learned about the people who live there and listened to their stories. As Neuerkerode Protestant Foundation Director Rüdiger Becker has stated, Out of this has arisen a powerful piece of literature that depicts, with a rarely seen intensity and authenticity, the lives of people with intellectual disabilities.


Told from Noel’s perspective with humor and empathy, The Thud offers a rare window into the life of a boy living with developmental disabilities. In doing so, Ross has crafted an enchanting story that helps us understand the often misunderstood.



Mikael Ross is a Berlin-based cartoonist and tailor. Ross was the recipient of the very first graphic novel scholarship from Berlin’s Senate Department for Culture and Europe.
Product Details ISBN: 9781683964063
ISBN-10: 1683964063
Publisher: Fantagraphics
Publication Date: March 9th, 2021
Pages: 128
Language: English
The Thud is insinuating, artfully complex, and lovingly rendered—an eminently re-readable story of a person and a place.

— Solrad

An amazing and empathetic graphic novel based on a real-life town designed for people with developmental disabilities.
— The Stranger

A masterpiece. 
— Der Spiegel

The characters and antics in The Thud are charming and engaging. ... Neurodiverse readers may recognize aspects of themselves in the characters and neurotypical readers may experience some empathic breaking down of expectations of people they perceive as different.

— No Flying No Tights

This empathetic account is a truly touching and very different coming-of-age story.
— Andy Oliver - Broken Frontier