Posts Tagged ‘graphic novels’
Stitches: A Memoir by David Small is quickly finding its way to the top of most booklists this year. Hmmm, David Small….David Small…where do I know that name?! SAY WHAT?! He is the author/illustrator of one of my favorite children’s books of all time, Imogene’s Antlers, and has illustrated like a million others including So You Want to Be President? by Judith St. George, The Library by Sarah Stewart and The Underneath by Kathi Appelt!!! But I could tell by the creepy cover drawing of Small’s family (and his Grandmother’s frequent use of the word durn), that Stitches was not a story about how he used his wonderful childhood experiences to inspire his art. Nope, I learned quickly that, for Small, drawing was an escape from his childhood of physical and emotional abuse, disease, and neglect. INTENSE. PAGE. TURNER. What I considered most powerful about Stitiches is that despite the important people in his life doing monstrous things to him, Smalls did not portray them as monsters. The work is honest and raw and moving and somehow hopeful.
American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang
Winner of the 2007 Printz Award—an American Library Association award given to the best young adult literature of the year— and a National Book Award Finalist, Yang’s graphic novel American Born Chinese is utterly stunning. His exploration of Asian American identity blends three wildly divergent plotlines: a Chinese legend of the Monkey King –
A realistic story of a young Asian American boy struggling to make friends and find acceptance in school –
And a third story about an American boy painfully ashamed of his Chinese cousin, a cousin who embodies all the worst stereotypes imaginable –
The stories are engrossing, and the way that they are deftly brought together is seamless and remarkable. The artwork is clean and deceptively simple, effectively drawing attention to the important issues Yang raises. This book is a must-read for anyone who enjoys thought-provoking graphic novels, such as Maus or Persepolis, and a great book for all of us struggling to find our places in the world.
Keiko Tobe’s With the Light, set in modern day Japan, is a truly gorgeous story that will fill you with joy and compassion. As you walk through the struggles, pain, laughter, triumphs, and unwavering love that a mother experiences while coming to grips with the realization that her first born child is autistic and see all that she has to go through raising him, you find yourself emotionally invested and always curious for more as the author manages to hook you into the world of Hikaru, the young autistic boy. It is unequivocally awe-inspiring to see how Sachiko, the amazing mother, is able to provide the best for her son even in the face of such adverse situations and with, at times, little to no emotional support from those closest to her.
I’d highly recommend this read to anyone in 7th grade or higher, even adults…especially adults! I say that because Tobe’s tale is a Japanese graphic novel (more commonly known as manga) and it is a perfect “gateway book” for those who are unfamiliar with graphic novels, yet still a bit curious about them. Manga is a wildly popular genre right now and yields a highly favorable response from reluctant readers. The novels are read from back to front and Tobe’s four volume set has great intros and tips on exactly how to best follow them, which is wonderful for those who are new to the genre. With the Light also has lots of extra factual tid-bits strewn throughout the story about autism in general, where you can find support, as well as how it fits into certain aspects of modern Japanese culture.
So, if you’re an adult and don’t understand why the teen you know ALWAYS has their nose buried in a book that they seem to be reading backwards, then you need to investigate for yourself. Check out a manga! Not only will you be able to connect to your teen in a whole new fashion but you might find that you really appreciate the art form, too. Or if you’re a manga-loving teen and find that your parents just don’t understand, give them a copy and see what happens. You can’t go wrong if you choose With the Light. Place your hold today!
Yeah, we’ll probably talk about cool anime films. Yeah, we’ll probably recap the Teen Anime Fest. Yeah, we’ll probably discuss your favorite graphic novels. Yeah, I’m probably going to make you participate in one of those dorky/superfun icebreaker games. Yeah, we’ll probably watch a couple of episodes of a popular anime series. Yeah, it’s probably gonna be the same old stuff and the same people.
We’re going to make awesome key chains with your favorite anime characters on them! That’s right! How could I forget? Just exactly how are we going to do that, you ask? Well, you’ll have to come and find out for yourself. The action begins around 5:30 at the Fairmount St. Library. Hope you can make it to Anime Club tomorrow night!