High Voltage Tattoo by Kat Von D ISBN: 9780061684388
Plot Summary: Teens interested in tattoos and tattoo culture will love this book, written by renowned tattoo artist and star of L.A. Ink, Kat Von D. This was written as an adult title, but will appeal to a lot of teens because of its engaging design and high interest subject. First the book details Kat’s life, from her childhood to how she got her start in tattoos, to pictures of her many tattoos. Then she describes the tools of the trade and showcases a collection of tattoos she’s done on celebrities and ordinary people. The last section shows her inspiration, whether they be other tattoo artists or painters.
Critical Evaluation: There are really two categories to look at in this book: the text and the pictures. The photography is quite good, and seems very thoughtfully arranged in the book to make pages visually interesting. I like the way the book varies the types of illustrations and how they are displayed, with sketches and pictures in gilded frames, as well as full page photographs. One page I particularly liked featured several people’s arms in neat rows with a little text in between each.
As for the text of the book, Kat writes in a fairly conversational tone, which makes it more relatable. In her autobiography, some areas are more sparsely described, while she does have a tendency to sometimes ramble in other areas. Her passion is evident as she writes and sort of gushes about different tattoo artists, or friends, or particular tattoos. She brings a new understanding for me to tattoos and to the people so dedicated to that lifestyle. And it provides helpful information for people looking to get tattoos on what tattoo artists prefer to work with. I could say that the book is very centered on Kat and on her tattoos, but I find that that helps focus the book and topic. Tattooing is such a broad field that you couldn’t possibly hope to go into detail like this that wasn’t mostly focused on one tattoo artist. I do see this as a book that some people would read and pore over, while others would simply flip through the pictures. And either way, it is an interaction with a book that teen might not have had before.
Reader’s Annotation: The star of LA Ink lets you into her sanctuary; learn about Kat Von D’s childhood, her tattoos, the tattoos she has created, and her best tips and techniques for getting or giving tattoos.
Information about the author (taken from this book): Kat Von D was born in 1982 in Nuevo Leon, Mexico. She started tattooing when she was 14, but had been interested in art and sketching for much longer. She started working in a tattoo parlor at 16, and has done so ever since.
She has worked on the TV show Miami Ink and now has her own tattoo parlor, High Voltage Tattoo, and a TV show, LA Ink. In 2007, she set the Guinness World Record or doing the most tattoos in a twenty four hour period. She has too many tattoos to count!
Genre: Adult Crossover, Nonfiction
Curriculum ties, if any: An unconventional art teacher might incorporate some of this information, especially the sections about particular styles of tattoos.
Booktalking Ideas: The obvious people to sell this book to be would be those interested in tattoos. I also think some teens that like art could also appreciate it, and those who had heard of the TV show might be intrigued enough to pick it up. Those are the things I would mention in a book talk, as well as how easy it is to read.
Reading Level/Interest Age: Interest in tattoos probably starts earlier in the teen years for some, but I believe that older teens will still be just as interested in this book.
- Alternative lifestyle
- Some language
- Some mention of sex and near nudity
- First, I would want to be familiar with book. As I’ve read this book, I’d be aware of potential issues that could be challenged. In the case of a book I had not read, I would want to have access to reviews.
- Then I would put together a rationale for why this book is included in the collection. This rationale would include:
- Bibliographic Citation of the book.
- A description of who the book is best suited for.
- A summary of the book and applicable other information, such as biographical information about the author.
- My justification for including the book. This would include how it fits in with the selection policy and library mission statement, and include its educational significance if applicable or the impact it could have on readers.
- Copy of selection policy and library mission statement at my library.
- ALA Library Bill of Rights
- Good and bad reviews of the book
- Alternative works a student could read
- Reconsideration form if patron is not satisfied with rationale
- When talking to patron, I would listen to their concerns without getting on the defensive and attempt to sympathize with their concerns. In some cases, all an upset patron needs is to be able to vent and know that someone is listening to them.
- If needed, I would send the challenge up the chain of command.
This book meets the recreational needs of teens. It also contains advice about getting tattoos and repeatedly talks about them as a lifelong decision, so I don’t think teens will think more lightly about tattoos after reading this title. In addition, if teens are interested in tattoos, they will find information about them whether it is in a book, on the internet, or at a party with a guy who claims he can give you a tattoo.
Why did you include this book? : I think this book has great interest for teens interested in tattoos or art or simply a lifestyle that their parents might not approve of. It also represents areas that I wanted to cover in this project, being nonfiction and adult crossover titles. I first read about it in a VOYA article on appealing to teen boys, so I thought it would be good to include.