DETROIT -- Joshua Weinberg of Farmington Hills, Mich., is pretty much like every other 11-year-old. He's a Nintendo fanatic, he eats junk food, watches television, draws political cartoons.
"I want to do political cartoons for a living," says the seventh-grader.
Joshua has won cartooning contests all over the country, including first place in the eighth-grade-and-under category in the American Scholar Political Cartoon contest. He also was the winner of the 1989 Detroit Free Press editorial cartoon contest. His award-winner appeared in the Free Press and was reprinted in the newsletter of the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists.
He has gone far and fast. But what does an 11-year-old know about politics?
"Nothing except what I hear on the news," says Joshua. "I just do a cartoon off the top of my head and do all types of research behind it."
Joshua acknowledges that it is unusual for someone so young to be interested in political cartooning. He says he didn't originally go off into that direction.
Like most people, his drawing began with a blank sheet of paper and a box of Crayolas.
"I probably starting drawing when I was 3," Joshua says. " I would ask my parents to draw something, and I'd take it and draw a whole theme around it, and mine would always be better than theirs."
It wasn't until 1 1/2 years ago that his drawings entered the political arena.
Joshua began drawing with a political slant after he and his father met Bill Day, editorial cartoonist for the Detroit Free Press, at a bookstore where Day was promoting his books.
"I kept in touch with Bill," Joshua says, "and then I started trying political cartoons on my own."
Joshua began writing to editorial cartoonists all around the country and sending them copies of his work. But corresponding with his heroes wasn't enough. Joshua wanted to meet them face to face.
He and his father traveled to the cartoonists' annual convention in Newport, R.I., where he met most of his favorites.
From there, he went on to win more contests, including, in July, third place in a national competition sponsored by the Museum of Cartoon Art in New York. His winning cartoon was exhibited in the museum.
Joshua draws on topics ranging from the environment to missile control and foreign leaders. His favorite target is George Bush.
"He is just a good person to make fun of," Joshua says.