Graphic novels for middle schoolers

faulkner_gaijin

From poignant historical fiction to introspective coming-of-age tale, hilarious space caper to action-packed superhero story, four new graphic novels for middle schoolers showcase the range of the graphic novel format. In Gaijin: American Prisoner of War, thirteen-year-old Koji Miyamoto is living in San Francisco with his (white) mother when Japan attacks Pearl Harbor. Despite being […]

‘Til death do we part? The Undertaking of Lily Chen

novgorodoff_undertaking of lily chen

The Undertaking of Lily Chen (First Second, March 2014), Danica Novgorodoff’s latest graphic novel, begins with an excerpt from an article published by The Economist in 2007: Parts of rural China are seeing a burgeoning market for female corpses, the result of the reappearance of a strange custom called “ghost marriages.” Chinese tradition demands that […]

Graphic novels

Wonderstruck

I am a college professor working with students who are aspiring teachers of deaf and hard of hearing students at the University of Tulsa, and this year I have launched, with the support of my colleagues and students, a free reading clinic for deaf and hard of hearing students in the Tulsa area. The clinic […]

Gene Luen Yang on Boxers & Saints

boxers & saints

In the September/October 2013 Horn Book Magazine, reviewer Sam Bloom asked Gene Luen Yang about the process of creating the two volumes of Boxers & Saints. Read the starred review here. Sam Bloom: Did you write both volumes at the same time, or did one come before the other? How did you decide to split […]

Review of Boxers & Saints

boxers & saints

Boxers & Saints Boxers by Gene Luen Yang; illus. by the author; color by Lark Pien Middle School, High School     First Second/Roaring Brook     328 pp. 10/13     978-1-59643-359-5     $18.99 Saints by Gene Luen Yang; illus. by the author; color by Lark Pien Middle School, High School     First Second/Roaring Brook     172 pp. 10/13     978-1-59643-689-3     $15.99 Boxed set […]

Evaluating nonfiction: At War with the Empire

at war with the empire

To better understand the criteria for judging children’s books, I started reading frequent Horn Book Magazine contributor Kathleen T. Horning‘s From Cover to Cover: Evaluating and Reviewing Children’s Books. In the second chapter, Horning considers “books of information.” Around the same time, author Gerry Hunt and illustrator Matthew Griffin’s graphic novel At War With the […]

A whole bunch of questions for Lucy Knisley

relish

In her adult graphic-novel memoir Relish: My Life in the Kitchen (First Second, April 2013), Lucy Knisley portrays specific periods of her life and their associated “taste-memories” in a series of witty, touching vignettes. Relish begins with Lucy’s early childhood in New York City, growing up in a family of foodies with great faith in […]

Middle School Confidential app reviews

msc 1

The Middle School Confidential apps written by Annie Fox are graphic novel “so-real-you’ll-squeal teen adventures” from Free Spirit Publishing and developer Electric Eggplant aimed at 11-14 year olds. Each offers helpful social advice through a cast of relatable teens “just trying to figure out what middle school is all about” while coping with issues that […]

Sumo

sumo

I’ve never witnessed an actual sumo wrestling match, so this graphic novel about sumo caught my curiosity. Thien Pham’s Sumo (First Second, December 2012) follows Scott, an American college graduate who thought he was heading toward the NFL but didn’t make the cut and subsequently lost the love of his life, Gwen. A new opportunity […]

Not your father’s comic books

Cardboard

Graphic novels have been steadily expanding their scope — and their readership. No longer focused squarely on reluctant-reader boys, today’s graphic novels run the gamut from action to drama, comedy, and even some romance. In Doug TenNapel’s Cardboard, Cam Howerton’s out-of-work father is so broke, the best he can do for Cam’s birthday is an […]