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Period Politics

28 Feb

Checking my phone between conferences yesterday, my interest was piqued by this NPR headline:

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You can read the full article here, but the report opens with, ”

Scotland is now a big step closer to becoming the first country  in the world to make tampons and pads free to anyone who needs them.

ThePeriod Products (Free Provision) (Scotland) Bill Period Products (Free Provision) (Scotland) Bill passed through the first of three stages in the Scottish Parliament on Tuesday by a vote of 112-0, with one abstention.

How ironic that I had a graphic novel on a similar topic, Go With the Flow by Lily Williams and Karen Schneemamn.

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Publisher’s Summary: High school students embark on a crash course of friendship, female empowerment, and women’s health issues in Lily Williams and Karen Schneemann’s graphic novel Go With the Flow.

Good friends help you go with the flow.
Best friends help you start a revolution.

Sophomores Abby, Brit, Christine, and Sasha are fed up. Hazelton High never has enough tampons. Or pads. Or adults who will listen.

Sick of an administration that puts football before female health, the girls confront a world that shrugs—or worse, squirms—at the thought of a menstruation revolution. They band together to make a change. It’s no easy task, especially while grappling with everything from crushes to trig to JV track but they have each other’s backs. That is, until one of the girls goes rogue, testing the limits of their friendship and pushing the friends to question the power of their own voices.

Now they must learn to work together to raise each other up. But how to you stand your ground while raising bloody hell?

Guest blogging at The Hub today

15 Apr

I am guest blogging at The Hub today. You can read my article about graphic adaptations of classics by clicking HERE. While you are there, check out the other interesting things people are writing about books and libraries for teens.

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This week’s book talks 4/8-12

12 Apr

Monday

Be Prepared  by Vera Brosgol

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Tuesday

Wire and Nerves by Marissa Meyer

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Thursday

Legend: The Graphic Novel by Marie Lu

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Friday

Birdie  by Eileen Spinelli

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Halloween is in the air

22 Oct

My costume is ready and – spoiler alert –  I won’t be a ghost or a vampire. They are, however,  the topics of two fun (middle school aged) graphic novels I read this weekend.

In Sheets by Brenna Thummler, one of the main characters is a ghost. The other is a girl holding her grieving family together. This is a serious story of loneliness, grief and invisibility.

Marjorie Glatt feels like a ghost. A practical thirteen-year-old in charge of the family laundry business, her daily routine features unforgiving customers, unbearable P.E. classes and laundry…always, always laundry.

Wendell is a ghost. A boy who lost his life much too young, his daily routine features ineffective death therapy, a sheet-dependent identity, and a dangerous need to seek purpose in the forbidden human world.

Find out what happens when their worlds collide.

Fake Blood by Whitney Gardner, is sweet, funny, and chock full of Twilight  references.  It is about fandom and first crushes. All I have to say is, are you sure you teachers are what they say they are?

Publisher’s Summary: It’s the beginning of the new school year and AJ feels like everyone is changing but him. He hasn’t grown or had any exciting summer adventures like his best friends have. He even has the same crush he’s harbored for years. So AJ decides to take matters into his own hands. But how could a girl like Nia Winters ever like plain vanilla AJ when she only has eyes for vampires?

When AJ and Nia are paired up for a group project on Transylvania, it may be AJ’s chance to win over Nia’s affection by dressing up like the vamp of her dreams. And soon enough he’s got more of Nia’s attention than he bargained for when he learns she’s a slayer.

Now AJ has to worry about self-preservation while also trying to save everyone he cares about from a real-life threat lurking in the shadows of Spoons Middle School.

Carry on, Plumdog

11 Oct

Emma Chichester Clark has a new Plumdog book out. It was a delight to sit down and year how Plumdog’s year went. She has such a wonderful perspective on the world and the events around her.

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Publisher’s Summary: In 2014 Cape published Plumdog, a year’s worth of entries from Emma Chichester Clark’s blog of the same name which records the daily life of Plum, her dog, in Plum’s own words and Emma’s delightful illustrations. It was seized on by dog lovers everywhere and became the bestselling book written by a dog of that year … indeed quite possibly since records began.

Another Year of Plumdog is exactly what it says: another year of leaping, catching balls, diving into rivers, puddles, the North Sea, and hanging out with friends.

Yes, it is a dog diary but there is social commentary to. Each entry is a delight to read for dog lovers of all ages. The borders edging every page add to this wonderful book, making it a delight to spend time with.

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I read it snuggled next to Lucy, who has never had as many exciting adventures as Plumdog. Fortunately, she didn’t seem to mind.

 

3 Oct

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I first saw the cover on Twitter and, even then, not knowing much about Check Please, I knew I wanted to read it. I waited a few months for it to appear in my local public library’s catalogue. As soon as it did, I placed a hold.

It finally came and I brought it to school because I was hoping to talk about it with my kids. I did, but not for the reasons I thought.

You remember that old adage, don’t judge a book by its cover. Well, despite the cute cover – and cute illustrations throughout – this book is really not for 6th graders. The main character is a college freshman. There is some drinking and cussing and some mature themes. I held the book up for them to see and they all agreed it looked really appealing. I told them why I wouldn’t add it to our classroom library. And I told them that I bet some parent or grandparent somewhere will pick this book up for a middle or upper elementary school-age reader and someone will end up shocked. There isn’t anything really graphic, most of the mature stuff is implied. I told them I hoped they’d read it when they were a little older.

It was a very enjoyable graphic novel. It has an online presence and you can read some of it at this link: CHECK PLEASE!

PUBLISHER’S SUMMARY: Eric Bittle may be a former junior figure skating champion, vlogger extraordinaire, and very talented amateur pâtissier, but being a freshman on the Samwell University hockey team is a whole new challenge. It is nothing like co-ed club hockey back in Georgia! First of all? There’s checking (anything that hinders the player with posession of the puck, ranging from a stick check all the way to a physical sweep). And then, there is Jackhis very attractive but moody captain.

A collection of the first half, freshmen and sophmore year, of the megapopular webcomic series of the same name, Check, Please!: #Hockey is the first book of a hilarious and stirring two-volume coming-of-age story about hockey, bros, and trying to find yourself during the best four years of your life. This book includes updated art and a hilarious, curated selection of Bitty’s beloved tweets.

A sequel, Check Please! Sticks and Scones is expected next year. I look forward to reading it…at home.

Hey, Reader

6 Aug

I cry over books all the time. In fact, when I give a book talk, I tell the kids f it made me cry. It’s like a thumbs up signal. Very rarely do I cry over the back matter in a book, but I did for Jarrett J.  Krosoczka’s upcoming graphic memoir Hey, Kiddo.

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Publisher’s Summary: In kindergarten, Jarrett Krosoczka’s teacher asks him to draw his family, with a mommy and a daddy. But Jarrett’s family is much more complicated than that. His mom is an addict, in and out of rehab, and in and out of Jarrett’s life. His father is a mystery — Jarrett doesn’t know where to find him, or even what his name is. Jarrett lives with his grandparents — two very loud, very loving, very opinionated people who had thought they were through with raising children until Jarrett came along.
Jarrett goes through his childhood trying to make his non-normal life as normal as possible, finding a way to express himself through drawing even as so little is being said to him about what’s going on. Only as a teenager can Jarrett begin to piece together the truth of his family, reckoning with his mother and tracking down his father.
Hey, Kiddo is a profoundly important memoir about growing up in a family grappling with addiction, and finding the art that helps you survive.

The book is honest and powerful and made even more so by the images of real drawings and letters from the author and several family members that are integrated effectively into the book. The palette choice is muted earth tones, and the back matter explains the colors were chosen.  Let’s just say I wasn’t the only one with a hanky. And I shouldn’t be the only one who reads – and cries over – the back matter.

There is some strong language and issues around addiction, but I feel very confident about putting this in my classroom library.

The book doesn’t come out until October, but you hear Jarrett tell his story in this TED Talk from a few years ago.

 

 

Randy Ribay

YA author, teacher, nerd

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