Great Graphic Novels (#GGN2021) Nominees Round Up, November 12 Edition

Click here to see all of the current Great Graphic Novels nominees along with more information about the list and past years’ selections.

Dragon Hoops by Gene Luen Yang Book Cover
Dragon Hoops by Gene Luen Yang

Dragon Hoops by Gene Luen Yang
First Second / Macmillan
Publication Date: March 17, 2020
ISBN: 9781626720794

Life can be more riveting than fiction, and Dragon Hoops proves that with a stellar biographical look at Gene Luen Yang’s true story of the phenomenal men’s varsity basketball team at Bishop O’Dowd High School in Oakland, CA, where he previously worked. Intermixed with his own life story as a comic book creator, father, and a teacher, Yang shares his love for storytelling and presents it under a new light in this gripping play-by-play of the 2015 season of the Bishop O’Dowd Dragons as they attempt to win it all in the California State Championship.

Continue reading Great Graphic Novels (#GGN2021) Nominees Round Up, November 12 Edition

Great Graphic Novels (#GGN2021) Nominees Round Up, October 22 Edition

Click here to see all of the current Great Graphic Novels nominees along with more information about the list and past years’ selections.

Superman Smashes the Klan by Gene Luen Yang and Gurihiru
DC Comics
Publication Date: May 12, 2020
ISBN: 9781779504210

In 1946, Lan-Shin (Roberta) Lee and her family move from Chinatown to central Metropolis and attempt to fit in with their neighbors. But when the Klan begins harassing the Lees, Roberta must team up with new friends to help Superman take down the Klan in this smart, action-packed adventure.

Continue reading Great Graphic Novels (#GGN2021) Nominees Round Up, October 22 Edition

Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers (#QP2021) Nominees Round Up, May 26 Edition

Click here to see all of the current Quick Picks nominees along with more information about the list and past years’ selections.

Dragon Hoops by Gene Luen Yang
First Second / Macmillan
Publication Date: March 17, 2020
ISBN: 978-1626720794

Award winning graphic novelist, Gene Luen Yang, tells the story of the varsity boys basketball team’s quest for a state championship at the high school he taught at before becoming a full-time author. Yang also grapples with his own literary future, as well as offers background about the history of basketball and how it relates to this team’s chances for victory.

Continue reading Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers (#QP2021) Nominees Round Up, May 26 Edition

Great Graphic Novels (#GGN2020) Nominees Round Up, November 28 Edition

Click here to see all of the current Great Graphic Novels nominees along with more information about the list and past years’ selections.

Making Friends: Back to the Drawing Board by Kristen Gudsnuk
Scholastic/Graphix
Publication Date: July 30, 2019
ISBN: 9781338139266

In 2018’s Making Friends, seventh-grader Dany discovers a magical notebook among her late aunt’s things that brings whatever is drawn in them to life, including friends, magical rings, and an evil (but good-looking) disembodied head. Making Friends: Back to the Drawing Board takes place soon after the events of the first one, with the gym at Melton Middle School, the location of the final showdown, still a hazard zone. And Dany still struggles with friendships, particularly with Cara, who she describes as “Madison and Aleesha’s friend (not mine).” When Cara tells Dany she’s annoying, Dany actually pays her to pretend to be her friend, but it doesn’t really help. Agonizing over going back to school, Dany decides to create a clone to do it for her. Cloney lives inside of a “pikkiball” (essentially a pokeball) in an amazing room that recalls I Dream of Jeannie, and Dany can stay inside the pikkiball, playing video games and watching Cloney live her life for her. Things become even more complicated when Cloney and Dany break a bottle in the basement while digging out her sister’s old math tests and unleash a magic dog on the town.

Continue reading Great Graphic Novels (#GGN2020) Nominees Round Up, November 28 Edition

Reading Without Walls Challenge

Graphic novelist, Gene Luen Yang, the National Ambassador of Young People’s Literature mission during his term has been to encourage readers to read more diversely with his Reading Without Walls Challenge.  It is a simple challenge that asks readers to do one of these three things:

For the month April, there is a nationwide push to have every reader participate.

The YALSA Hub has long supported creating a habit of reading diversely. Here is a roundup of recent booklists that supports each of Yang’s three areas. Continue reading Reading Without Walls Challenge

2015 Young Adult Services Symposium: Book Blitz!

On the Schedule at a Glance in the Symposium’s program, Saturday’s list of events included a “Book Blitz” from 5:00-7:00 p.m. The only information about this event were a few pages in the program dedicated to Book Blitz Author Bios and a small box that stated: Each attendee will receive 6 tickets to exchange with these authors for free signed books!

ya_symposium_2015

Symposium veterans knew what to expect from the Blitz, but newcomers could be heard Friday evening and Saturday afternoon pondering, “What is this Book Blitz all about?”

This tweet from attendee Lauren Regenhardt sums up the experience pretty well:

Continue reading 2015 Young Adult Services Symposium: Book Blitz!

2015 Young Adult Services Symposium Preconference: Panels & Pages

YALSA’s 2015 Young Adult Services Symposium included a pre-conference session on using graphic novels to inspire programming, recommended titles, a discussion with comics creators Terry Blas, Faith Erin Hicks, Mariko Tamaki, Gene Luen Yang, Leila del Duca, Joe Keatinge, and a discussion with teachers who use graphic novels in classroom instruction.

ya_symposium_2015

Robin Brennar, Teen Librarian and runs No Flying No Tights website, was our moderator.

First, librarians Cara and Emily talked about graphic novel readers advisory and using graphic novels in teen programming:

Who is your Batman?

Comic books always change. Your Batman may be different from your teens’ Batman. Lego Batman may be the Batman that resonates most with your teens! Keep this in mind when you do readers advisory and programming, your ideas and tastes may not match theirs. Continue reading 2015 Young Adult Services Symposium Preconference: Panels & Pages

What Would They Read?: Eddie from Fresh Off the Boat

freshofftheboatOne of the newer comedies this year is Fresh Off the Boat, a show that follows the Huang family as they move from Washington, D.C., to Florida. The oldest son, Eddie, is a typical middle school student.  He likes hip-hop and basketball and is not that interested in school, much to the chagrin of his parents. This show is set in the 1990s, but if Eddie were a middle school student in 2015, these are the books he might enjoy:

The Crossover by Kwame Alexander

This book is written in free verse, so it might take some convincing to get Eddie to read it, but I believe he would enjoy both the basketball theme and the rhythm and beat of the words in this story. Eddie would also identify with Josh and his struggle to live up to his family’s expectations.

shadow heroThe Shadow Hero by Gene Luen Yang

I haven’t seen many episodes where Eddie reads, but I’m convinced he’s a comic book fan, or would be if he tried them. The Shadow Hero is a great match for Eddie since the main character also struggles with his Asian identity. Even though Eddie sounds like an average American tween, people often make judgments about him based on his race, so an Asian superhero may get him interested in reading.

The Slam Dunk series by Takehiko Inoue

Manga series are very popular with tweens and teens, and I enjoy recommending a series that already has a great lineup of books so that readers don’t have to wait for the next book to be published. The basketball theme of this series would resonate with Eddie.  Continue reading What Would They Read?: Eddie from Fresh Off the Boat

Study Break Books: Books for when you really don’t have time to be reading.

study_break_booksIt’s AP Exams season where I work, and finals time for many a college and high school. Which means legions of bleary-eyed students trying to summon up the discipline for a last surge of studying, even though they just want to be done. The sunshine is calling. I hear it too, and even though I’m well past the exam-taking phase of life, I’m still in crunch mode, trying to power through to many deadlines.

For the dedicated bookworms among us, studying for exams generally requires two sets of reading; the materials we’re actually supposed to be reviewing, and the reading we sneak for “study breaks.” This is a calculated strategy (no, really!) designed to achieve the perfect balance of discipline and release, allowing us to get all the necessary reviewing in while also getting enough of a break to feel revived and ready for…still more reviewing. Because the internet and everything that lives there can rapidly turn into a vast time-suck, all responsible students (and worker-bees) know: if you’re serious about getting something done, you have to stay (temporarily) signed out of all the stuff, especially this close to the finish line. And the pitfalls of streaming-binges are obvious, so the TV’s got to stay off too (as do the game consoles).

But a book…a book feels studious, even if what we’re reading isn’t likely to show up on any exams, or help cross anything off a task list.

So. What to read when you don’t really have time to be reading at all, but you absolutely must get a little escape in if you have any hope of staying motivated long enough to cover everything you’ve still got to do?

Unless you are a reader with very good self-discipline, novels are probably out. Novels are what we get to read when everything on the task list is actually done, when grades are in, school is out, and your to-do list is all inked-out lines.

Page count matters when you’re on a deadline. Short-ish graphic novels and short story collections are what we need when time is at a premium; pieces vivid enough to truly escape into, and short enough that we emerge from our work-respite refreshed and ready to dive back into the task at hand.

Here, then, are some suggestions for quick escapes, to tide you over until the freedom of summer is a reality, and not just a highly-anticipated future fantasy.

lips touchLips Touch, Three Times by Laini Taylor. Are you a fan of sweeping fantasy shot through with romance, like Taylor’s epic Daughter of Smoke and Bone series? Well, here are three short stories about three different girls who’ve never been kissed, told in Taylor’s distinct, dramatic style, with brief page counts (but high pulse rates). A 2010 Top Ten Best Books for Young Adults book.

Through the Woods by Emily CarrollThrough the Woods by Emily Carroll. This is an I’m-too-busy-to-read jackpot of a book; short chapters in graphic format, thematically connected to make one creepy wave of foreboding descend over the reader. Gorgeous colors, stick-with-you-after-dark frames, and spare, haunting prose combine to make this 2015 Top Ten Great Graphic Novels for Teens pick a fast – but memorable – escape into the murky depths of the woods. Continue reading Study Break Books: Books for when you really don’t have time to be reading.

Take a Closer Look at Comics

Magnifying Glass
Magnifying Glass by Auntie P. CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

This fall I have had an opportunity to delve into comic books and graphic novels in the course of writing my Women in Comics posts here, while taking a Coursera MOOC entitled “Comic Books and Graphic Novels,” and as an attendee at a symposium entitled Comics and the Classroom. Though I have long been a fan of comics and graphic novels, these activities have given me a new appreciation for the depth of comics and the artistry that is on view in some of the best examples of the genre. I have also learned some great strategies for analyzing comics similar to the way that one would analyze other types of literature or art. While some might feel that this takes the fun out of reading them and makes the process too academic, for me, it has opened up meanings that I might have missed, and subtleties that demonstrate the way that comics allow authors and artists to come together to create a complete work that is greater than the sum of its parts.

If this sounds interesting, here are some thoughts and suggestions on getting started doing close readings of comics.

Layout & Design: When analyzing comic books it is important to take the time to consider all of the elements both separately and together. This means looking at the overall layout of the page, whether it is broken into separate “panels” (the term for each box of a comic), the size and shape of each panel, the color and shading choices of the images, the layout and type of text, and the text, to name just a few potential elements. Ask yourself why each decision was made: What does each panel’s size convey? If the style of the lettering changes, what is this meant to say about the tone? All comics exist in the historical framework of those that have come before in the genre, so also consider what the style of art evokes in terms of genre, tone, and period?  Continue reading Take a Closer Look at Comics