David Small's graphic memoir, "Stitches," may not have won the National Book Award in Young People's Literature this year. But it did break new ground in a rapidly evolving medium, tweaking the old "comic books aren't just for kids" formula by showing that comic books can be for the smartest, most sophisticated kids. More importantly, it served as a cathartic act of self-analysis for an artist whose painful childhood had already demanded one round of therapy long ago.

In his Big Think interview, Small explained how drawing his abusive parents in "Stitches" helped humanize them and how he first came to draw in the first place. Happily married and now at the top of his profession, he's in a far better place these days; but he took time to share what still keeps him up at night.