Tales as old as time

book of greek myths

It should hardly come as a surprise to anyone that when it comes to the Disney princesses, I find myself identifying most with Belle, the brunette bookworm from Beauty and the Beast. The notion of a girl longing to escape her world through the pages of a story presented a strong parallel to my own […]

Picturing fantasy


Funny, action-packed, thought-provoking (and sometimes all of the above), these three graphic novels and one…well, what do you call Brian Selznick’s books? take readers on fantastic adventures. Brian Selznick defined his own format with The Invention of Hugo Cabret and Wonderstruck. He pushes the envelope even further in The Marvels. Black-and-white drawings (over four hundred […]

The value of the graphic novel


This year, I’ve really pushed my students to embrace graphic novels. It’s helped my low readers to access the same information as their peers, and although some students read it because it’s “easier,” they’re reading. What I find myself conflicted with now is that my school is part of the Accelerated Reader (AR) program, where […]

Review of Nimona


Nimona by Noelle Stevenson; illus. by the author Middle School, High School   HarperTeen   266 pp. 5/15   978-0-06-227823-4   $17.99 Paper ed. 978-0-06-227822-7   $12.99 Ballister Blackheart — ex-knight and current 
supervillain — is focused on the destruction of the Institute of Law Enforcement and Heroics. He also wouldn’t mind getting even with Sir Ambrosius Goldenloin, a knight-school […]

Review of March: Book Two

lewis_march bk 2

March: Book Two by John Lewis and Andrew Aydin; illus. by Nate Powell Middle School, High School   Top Shelf Productions   192 pp. 1/15   978-1-60309-400-9   $19.95   g Lewis and Aydin begin this second volume of the graphic memoir trilogy in Washington, DC, on January 20, 2009 (President Obama’s first inauguration), then they move back in time […]

Review of Macbeth


Macbeth by William Shakespeare; adapted and illustrated by Gareth Hinds Middle School, High School   Candlewick   146 pp. 2/15   978-0-7636-6943-0   $21.99 Paper ed. 978-0-7636-7802-9   $12.99 Whereas Romeo and Juliet received a striking makeover with a new setting and an ethnically diverse cast in Hinds’s graphic-novel version (rev. 11/13), he has chosen to remain faithful to the […]

Review of BirdCatDog


BirdCatDog [Three-Story Books] by Lee Nordling; illus. by Meritxell Bosch Primary    Graphic Universe/Lerner    32 pp. 11/14    Library ed.  978-1-4677-4522-2    $25.26 Paper ed.  978-1-4677-4523-9    $6.95 e-book ed.  978-1-4677-4524-6    $25.32 In this innovative wordless picture book told entirely through cartoon panels, three pets escape the ennui of domestication for brief, interconnected adventures in the wild. An introduction […]

Review of Tomboy


Tomboy: A Graphic Memoir by Liz Prince; illus. by the author Middle School, High School   Zest Books   256 pp. 9/14   Paper ed. 978-1-936976-55-3   $15.99 e-book ed. 978-1-936976-56-0   $15.99 “When you don’t look or act like what everyone has been told is the norm, you get proverbially barfed on a lot.” In an often funny, sometimes […]

World War II graphic novels


This quarter in fifth grade, we’ve been reading Lois Lowry’s Number the Stars, and my students were ready and curious to learn about World War II. I’m a big fan of Number the Stars, but I noticed that during my lectures, students kept saying that the supplemental books I had given them had already taught […]

Graphic-novel memoirs


The creators of these graphic-novel memoirs use words and pictures to revisit experiences from their youth. Their work relates sometimes-difficult, sometimes-comical stories with poignancy, bittersweet humor, and expressive art. At the age of four, in 1975, Cece Bell contracted meningitis, leaving her severely to profoundly deaf. In her characterful, often amusing graphic-novel memoir El Deafo, […]