so I have mentioned before that I write reviews for an professional magazine (LMC or Library Media Connection). Here are two titles that I have recently reviewed.
The Meaning of Maggie
Maggie Mayfield is a pre-teen who feels has her life pretty much figured out. She is the product of a two loving parents, has two increasingly annoying older sisters, she is a straight A student, owns a small percentage of Coke stock and is working on her bid to run for president one day. Every thing is planned accept for her father’s mysterious illness. You see he can not longer walk and soon Maggie must visit him in the hospital. And this is one event Maggie could not plan for. Told from Maggie’s perspective in the form of a journal that is chronicling the past year of her life, Maggie learns that her father suffers from MS. And it is her goal to help cure him. This is a beautifully written inventive take on a coming of age story. The author allows for the reader to discover along with Maggie what is causing her father’s illness. Peppered with typical family drama, the story flows well and offers very tender moments between daughter and parent.
Muddy Max and the Mystery if Marsh Creek
Getting dirty and muddy is part of being a kid right? So why does Max have to wear five layers of protective clothing when ever it rains? Because for Max the mud doesn’t just stain his shoes and dirty him up, the mud gives him super powers. Max discovers by accident that when ever he comes in contact with Mud he develops an array of super hero skills such as, super strength, speed, and invisibility. But why did Max’s parent wish to keep this a secret. It appears they knew about his condition all along and wanted to protect him. However as Max learns more and more about his abilities with mud he soon learns about the family he never knew about. This was a faced paced graphic novel and is perfect for 3rd to 6th grade readers.
I have stated before that I am a fan of the graphic novel. I do. I love them. They are so much fun. I discovered many amazing artists and writers when I worked in publishing but it was when I got to visit the Comic Con in San Diego a few years back that really made me a fan. They just have that element that novels don’t. Now I know people are probably saying, “That element is that they have pictures. Duh!” I know they have pictures, but it was those pictures represent to the narrative of the story that really helps drive my love of the medium. Don’t get me wrong I love standard novels as well. In fact I am usually at any given time reading three or more at a time. But how the standard novel relies on describing every detail in order for you to develop the image in your mind, the graphic novel is able to use in beautiful fashion drawings to help convey what they want to story to tell. And in many times, words just don’t do it justice. A picture can say so much more.
And let me tell you, I can’t keep graphic novels on my shelves. My students crowd around the shelves and fight over who gets to read what, and why one series is better than the other. As soon as one comes in, it is immediately finding its way into another student’s hands. I am thinking I have to order multiple copies of each graphic novel. Even the nonfiction ones. I highly recommend anyone to take a look graphic novels, they are an interesting way to experience a story. To help here are some of my favorites:
1) Blankets by Craig Thompson
2) Maus by Art Speigelman
3) Smile by Rania Telgemeir
4) Americus by MK Reed
5) Feynman by Jim Ottaviani
6) Bone series by Jeff Smith
7) Anya’s Ghost by Vera Brosgol
8) Amulet series by Kazu Kibuishi
9) The Storm in the Barn
10) Y: The Last Man series by Brian Vaughan
11) American Splendor series by Harvey Pekar
12) The Lives of Sacco & Vanzetti by Rick Geary
14) Laika by Nick Abadzis
15) The Imposters Daughter by Laurie Sandell
16) Are you my Mother? and Fun Home by Alison Bechdel
I took the summer off, as you could probably tell. But now that we are back in the swing of the school year, I am back to add my two cents to the world of education, technology, libraries.
But I think I should share something I learned over the summer. I am a huge fan of graphic novels. I always liked reading comic books, but graphic novels have taken a special place in my reading world recently and I a tore through them this summer. I must have read anywhere from 7 to 10 a week. Over the course of the summer that is a hefty amount. Where as last year I read several standard novels and nonfiction works, I was able to fill my brain with so much more content this summer. I truly cleaned my local library out of adult ones and then moved on to the YA section.
Friends kept saying to me how can you read those, they are just picture books? But there is a difference. Where picture books use the images to normally enhance the story, the graphic novels use their pictures to progress the story. Some panels will have no text, it relies on the picture to tell you how the character is feeling, or what is the current situation of the story. I am learning that graphic novels are the perfect gateway for reluctant readers as well, and I will be putting a great deal of emphasis on them in my own library.
So enough rambling. I am happy to be back and posting again. See you all later.