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, […]

Using comics in your classroom

Marek Bennet panel from Multiple Intelligences

Last month, I was fortunate to be able to attend several sessions at the Comics and the Classroom symposium offered as part of the Massachusetts Independent Comics Expo (MICE) on October 5th. The symposium, which was the first of what they hope will become an annual event as part of MICE, brought together a number […]

Pictures (adolescent lit class #5)

Pictures week

This week’s class (Nov. 24, 2014) focuses on visual literacy: pictures in young adult literature, in works of both fiction and nonfiction. I offer some questions in the individual posts about the role of these books in the classroom; as always, feel free to respond in other ways with your thoughts on any of this […]

Three graphic novels


          Boxers and Saints by Gene Luen Yang (First Second, 2013) Yummy: The Last Days of a Southside Shorty by G. Neri, illustrated by Randy DuBurke (Lee & Low, 2010) Graphic novels are enjoying a surge of interest and critical attention. Gene Luen Yang’s American Born Chinese was the first graphic novel nominated for […]

Cece Bell on El Deafo


In the November/December 2014 Horn Book Magazine, reviewer Deirdre Baker asked Cece Bell about her graphic novel memoir El Deafo — which is told entirely with anthropomorphic bunnies. Read the starred review here; see more grrl-power graphic novels here. Deirdre F. Baker: Why did you choose to tell your autobiography with bunny characters? Cece Bell: […]

Review of El Deafo


El Deafo by Cece Bell; illus. by the author; 
color by David Lasky Intermediate, Middle School    Amulet/Abrams    242 pp. 9/14    978-1-4197-1020-9    $21.95 Paper ed.  978-1-4197-1217-3    $10.95 At the age of four, in 1975, Bell contracted meningitis, leaving her severely to profoundly deaf. In this characterful, vivid, often amusing graphic-novel memoir she recaptures the experiences of […]

Review of Through the Woods

carroll_through the woods

Through the Woods by Emily Carroll; illus. by the author High School   McElderry   208 pp. 7/14   978-1-4424-6595-4   $21.99 Paper ed. 978-1-4424-6596-1   $14.99 e-book ed. 978-1-4424-6597-8   $10.92 Carroll crafts five unsettling tales in graphic-novel format inspired by common folkloric themes — from wolves in the woods to peculiar visitors to dark possessions. In “Our Neighbor’s House,” […]

Mini-trend: Grrrl power grrraphic novels


We’ve noticed a welcome trend lately: excellent graphic novel memoirs (or fiction that feels an awful lot like) written by women about their adolescence. Here are a few to enjoy. (Thanks, Marjane Satrapi, for breaking ground with Persepolis, and to the Tamaki cousins for Skim and This One Summer! Also Katie’s girl-crush Lucy Knisley, who […]

Raina Telgemeier: An illustrated life

raina telgemeier

Raina Telgemeier took home a 2010 Boston Globe–Horn Book Nonfiction Honor for her graphic novel memoir Smile. The just-released follow-up Sisters is receiving a starred review in the November/December 2014 Horn Book Magazine. On October 3rd, the Brookline Booksmith hosted Raina at the Brookline Public Library. She talked about Sisters and answered audience questions (“Do […]

El Deafo


This week, I was lucky enough to have a thirty-minute window when I could pop into my favorite independent bookstore in Los Angeles. They have a large children’s section on the second floor that I love perusing because they do an excellent job at getting new books. On one of their displays sat El Deafo […]