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On the outside, Freddie may look like "a dumpy little kid in a hoodie, shorts, and sneakers," as her creator describes her. Inside, she teems with ideas and imagination: Observing the world around her—grownups fighting, schoolmates playing, city streets, museums—she blends it with fantastical animals and forms—mammoths, dinosaurs, manta rays, surrealistic creatures—into her own unique internal reality.
Hampshire College alum Melissa Mendes, who graduated May 20, brought Freddie to life in her Division III (senior project), a graphic novel titled Adventures of a Kid. Through the character Mendes explores her own ideas about childhood. Without ever uttering a word, Freddie gives the "reader" a child's eye view of such overwhelming topics as divorce, isolation, and wonder.
Hancock, Massachusetts, native Mendes understands Freddie as her "embodied childhood, the kid inside of me who never grew up and is still exploring and living in a fantasy world. I keep in touch with that child by drawing." But Freddie is also every child: "She's me, in a way, but she's also anyone else who's ever been a kid," said Mendes.
Education and linguistics were Mendes's areas of concentration in Division II. After spending a semester of field study last year at Massachusetts