Tag Archives: graphic novels

Some graphic novels

2 Oct

There is always an audible gasp when I tell my class that my least favorite genre is graphic novels.

I explain that I am not a visual learner; I am a verbal learner. We are rare. I learn from the words I see and hear. It is not that I don’t need or enjoy pictures – I just prefer the words.

Once, during independent reading time, I watched they eyes of a student as he read a graphic novel. He spent much longer on the page than I would have and his eyes roamed back and forth all over the page, taking in the details I would probably miss. It was enlightening and helped me understand what makes graphic novels so appealing to kids.

Recently, I came across two graphic novels my kids might enjoy.

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Publisher’s Summary: Every night, tiny lights appear out of the darkness in Sandy’s bedroom. She catches them and creates wonderful creatures to play with until she falls asleep, and in the morning she brings them back to life in her whimsical drawings. When a mysterious new girl appears at school, Sandy’s drawings are noticed for the first time… but Morfie’s fascination with Sandy’s talent soon turns into something far more sinister.

Blending the reality of a strict Catholic school with a young girl’s boundless imagination, Nightlights is a beautiful story about fear, insecurity, and creativity, from the enchanting mind of Lorena Alvarez.

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From the Series Website: Meet Rickety Stitch…a walking, talking, singing skeleton bard.

He’s the one skeleton in the dungeon who seems to have retained his soul, and he has no idea why.

Rickety’s only clue to his former identity, is a song he hears in his dreams, an epic bard’s tale about the Road to Epoli and the land of Eem.

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Madly reading through the last weeks of summer

14 Aug

I’ve had this pile of books sitting around. Maybe I have more than one pile.

Here are two truths about my book piles:

  1. They are not stagnant. Books come and books go.
  2. They are shrinking.

I’ve been blitzing through my piles, trying to get as many books read before I have to go back to school.

While at ALA, I got arcs of two graphic novels, aimed at two different demographics, but both are the first in a series.

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The Sand Warrior is geared to a middle school audience and my arc will end up in my classroom library,

Publisher’s Summary: The Five Worlds are on the brink of extinction unless five ancient and mysterious beacons are lit. When war erupts, three unlikely heroes will discover there’s more to themselves—and more to their worlds—than meets the eye. . . .

• The clumsiest student at the Sand Dancer Academy, Oona Lee is a fighter with a destiny bigger than she could ever imagine.

• A boy from the poorest slums, An Tzu has a surprising gift and a knack for getting out of sticky situations.

• Star athlete Jax Amboy is beloved by an entire galaxy, but what good is that when he has no real friends?

When these three kids are forced to team up on an epic quest, it will take not one, not two, but 5 WORLDS to contain all the magic and adventure!

 

As with most of his books, Scott Westerfeld’s The Spill Zone is geared to an older audience. There is some language and activity in the book that will keep me from putting it in my 6th grade classroom library, but I can imagine teens connecting with the main characters.

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Publisher’s Summary: Three years ago an event destroyed the small city of Poughkeepsie, forever changing reality within its borders. Uncanny manifestations and lethal dangers now await anyone who enters the Spill Zone.

The Spill claimed Addison’s parents and scarred her little sister, Lexa, who hasn’t spoken since. Addison provides for her sister by photographing the Zone’s twisted attractions on illicit midnight rides. Art collectors pay top dollar for these bizarre images, but getting close enough for the perfect shot can mean death—or worse.

When an eccentric collector makes a million-dollar offer, Addison breaks her own hard-learned rules of survival and ventures farther than she has ever dared. Within the Spill Zone, Hell awaits—and it seems to be calling Addison’s name.

No time like the present

8 May

I like the idea of time travel, but the practicalities are difficult: the money, the clothes, the language… So, I prefer my time travel in books and on screens. I am much braver that way.

Matthew Loux has published the first book in a new graphic series, The Time Museum.

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Publisher’s Summary: From dinosaurs to the burning of the Library of Alexandra—this thrilling, visually dazzling new series from Matthew Loux is posed to conquer the 21st century.

The internship program at the Time Museum is a little unusual. For one thing, kids as young as twelve get to apply for these prestigious summer jobs. And as for the applicant pool . . . well, these kids come from all over history.

When Delia finds herself working at the Time Museum, the last thing she expects is to be sent on time-traveling adventures with an unlikely gang of kids from across the eons. From a cave-boy to a girl from the distant future, Delia’s team represents nearly all of human history! They’re going to need all their skills for the challenge they’ve got in store . . . defending the Time Museum itself.

This was a fun, action-packed graphic novel. Though not my dream summer vacation, it would make a great summer read.  When I finally add it to my classroom library, I bet it won’t spend much time on the shelf.

 

Hamsters & Unicorns

7 Sep

Today is the hardest day: the day before school starts.

It is important to make it last, to suck the marrow out of every last bit of “freedom”.

It is a good thing I love my job.

I will help myself escape reality by immersing myself in three exciting graphic novels, all perfect for the elementary set.

Princess Hamster: Harriet the Invincible is the first volume of a new series by Ursula Vernon.

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Publisher’s Summary: Harriet Hamsterbone is not your typical princess. She may be quite stunning in the rodent realm (you’ll have to trust her on this one), but she is not so great at trailing around the palace looking ethereal or sighing a lot. She finds the royal life rather . . . dull. One day, though, Harriet’s parents tell her of the curse that a rat placed on her at birth, dooming her to prick her finger on a hamster wheel when she’s twelve and fall into a deep sleep. For Harriet, this is most wonderful news: It means she’s invincible until she’s twelve! After all, no good curse goes to waste. And so begins a grand life of adventure with her trusty riding quail, Mumfrey…until her twelfth birthday arrives and the curse manifests in a most unexpected way.

There is a second volume entitled Of mice and Magic due out in March 2016.

Equally as pink and purple are two books by Dana Simpson: Phoebe and her Unicorn and Unicorn on a Roll.

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Publisher’s Summary:A boy and his dog . . . a girl and her . . . unicorn?

It all started when Phoebe skipped a rock across a pond and accidentally hit a unicorn in the face. Improbably, this led to Phoebe being granted one wish, and she used it to make the unicorn, Marigold Heavenly Nostrils, her obligational best friend. But can a vain mythical beast and a nine-year-old daydreamer really forge a connection? Indeed they can, and that’s how Phoebe and Her Unicorn unfolds.

This beautifully drawn strip follows the unlikely friendship between a somewhat awkward girl and the unicorn who gradually shows her just how special she really is. Through hilarious adventures where Phoebe gets to bask in Marigold’s “awesomeness,” the friends also come to acknowledge that they had been lonely before they met and truly appreciate the bond they now share.

The fun continues in the second volume.

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Publisher’s summary: One year has passed since Phoebe skipped a rock across a pond, accidentally hit a unicorn in the face, and was granted a single wish—which she used to make the unicorn, Marigold Heavenly Nostrils, her obligational best friend. In some ways, not much has changed. At school Phoebe still clashes with her rival–and sometimes “frenemy”–he ever-taunting and imperious Dakota. Outside of school, she still fills her free time with extra-credit homework assignments, dramatic monologues about the injustices associated with school cliques, and imaginative conspiracy theories regarding global forces like the “powerful construction paper lobby.” But unlike before, Phoebe now has a best friend to share it with—someone to make her laugh and to listen to all her extravagant ideas.

In this second volume of Heavenly Nostrils, titled, Unicorn on a Roll, the reader is invited on a journey into the lives of Phoebe and Marigold as they navigate the difficulties of grade school, celebrate the winter holidays, and explore their super hero/super villain personas together. Join in the fun, as Phoebe competes against Dakota for the leading role of “Lisa Ladybug” in their fourth-grade play—or as she struggles to “manage” the PR debacle related to her nose-picking-scandal. (“I will neither confirm nor deny the events surrounding Boogergate.”) Witness a band of unicorns staging an “intervention” and learn all the details of Marigold’s secret crush on a mysterious creature she has never seen. Perhaps most important, watch as this surprising friendship between a charming, nine-year-old dreamer and a vain, mythical beast forever changes both of them for the better.

Whether you are in or out of denial, have a great Labo(u)r Day!

Ares: Bringer of War

30 Apr

You’ve probably heard Gustav Holst’s Mars: Bringer of War,  from The Planets. This recording is seven minutes long, so keep reading while you listen.

Well, I just read Ares: Bringer of War a graphic retelling of the Greek god’s story, by George O’Connor.

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Ares: God of War is the seventh book in the Olympians series. This book tells the exciting story of the Trojan War, and the Gods’ interference in this epic battle. War-lover Ares butts heads with Athena, goddess of military victory–and their conflict will have repercussions for generations to come.

This is a new series to me, and  Ares: God of War  is the first book I have read in it. Now I am anxious to read the rest. There are seven books in the series so far, all of which have received excellent reviews. They have a website that you can check out here.

This is a set of books that should be in any class that studies Greek Mythology, or that has kids with an interest in it. If you have kids reading the Percy Jackson series, these would be the perfect companion books for them.

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Is this the real life?

14 Jan

Is this the real life?
Is this just fantasy?
Caught in a landslide,
No escape from reality.

Open your eyes,
Look up to the skies and see,
I’m just a poor boy, I need no sympathy,
Because I’m easy come, easy go,
Little high, little low,
Anyway the wind blows doesn’t really matter to me, to me.

I’ve had the opening lyrics to Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody in my head since I serendipitously  found these two books almost side by side on the “”New books for teens” shelf at the library.

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Crazy, no?

Both published in Fall 2014.

I am only going to talk about Cory Doctorow’s In Real Life  because Lawrence Tabak’s seems to be a debut novel published within the date ranges of the 2016 Morris award. And, I haven’t read Tabak’s novel yet.

I his In Real Life, Cory Doctorow teams up with graphic artist Jen Wang to create a graphic novel about girl gamers. Besides being a good story, there are lots here about economics and girl gamers. I am not a big graphic novel reader and I am not a gamer, but I found this graphic novel quite interesting and enjoyable.

Goodreads Summary:Anda loves Coarsegold Online, the massively-multiplayer role-playing game where she spends most of her free time. It’s a place where she can be a leader, a fighter, a hero. It’s a place where she can meet people from all over the world, and make friends.

But things become a lot more complicated when Anda befriends a gold farmer–a poor Chinese kid whose avatar in the game illegally collects valuable objects and then sells them to players from developed countries with money to burn. This behavior is strictly against the rules in Coarsegold, but Anda soon comes to realize that questions of right and wrong are a lot less straightforward when a real person’s real livelihood is at stake.

Some graphic traffic

9 Jan

I finally feel as though I have my rhythm at school…just in time for the weekend. Here are a couple of fun graphic novels for the younger set that might be perfect for a wintery weekend.

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Goodreads summary:After Bird and Squirrel crash land in the South Pole during a raging blizzard, a penguin named Sakari thinks Bird has come to rid her village of a hungry Killer Whale. But when Squirrel finds out that Bird will actually be fed to the Killer Whale as a sacrifice, they hatch a crazy plan to escape. With a good timing, a little luck, and help from Sakari, they just might make it out alive. Or they might end up as whale food!

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Goodreads summary: When a young Cleopatra (yes, THAT Cleopatra) finds a mysterious tablet that zaps her to the far, REALLY far future, she learns of an ancient prophecy that says she is destined to save the galaxy from the tyrannical rule of the evil Xaius Octavian. She enrolls in Yasiro Academy, a high-tech school with classes like algebra, biology, and alien languages (which Cleo could do without), and combat training (which is more Cleo’s style). With help from her teacher Khensu, Cleo learns what it takes to be a great leader, while trying to figure out how she’s going to get her homework done, make friends, and avoid detention!

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Goodreads summary: The Stratford Zoo looks like a normal zoo… until the gates shut at night. That’s when the animals come out of their cages to stage elaborate performances of Shakespeare’s greatest works. They might not be the most accomplished thespians, but they’ve got what counts: heart. Also fangs, feathers, scales, and tails, in The Stratford Zoo Midnight Revue Presents Macbeth.

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