Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Days 25,26,27

I looked at three different graphic novel styles last week and created a Nutshell video for a sneak peek. Unfortunately, it doesn't have an embed feature, but you can view it here.

The three distinct styles:

  • An Edgar Allen Poe Adaptation  - Pit and Pendulum -This is a good retelling if you'd like to use this book in conjunction with teaching the short story. It's dark, it's creepy, basically everything an Edgar Allen Poe book should be.

  • Manga- Prince of Tennis - This manga is not something I'd normally pick up, but I enjoyed the light hearted teen banter.  I read that it is actually quite popular with girls and it was published in Shonen Jump!  This should be a quite popular book among tennis players, but you'll probably have to promote it.

  • Super hero style - Battling Boy  - This is an interesting Superman style good alien guy fights bad monsters on earth type comic story.  It's violent, it has weird monsters, and the story line is entertaining if not a bit convoluted.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Day 19, 20

Every once in a while, I read a graphic novel with breathtaking art and lyrical wording that leaves me thinking. Other times I might read something that inspires me to create. This simple collection of 3 stories by Shaun Tan did both! I loved the first short story so much that I want to use it to teach poetry and visual metaphor for my middle schoolers and high school students.

Take a peek at "Lost and Found" by Shaun Tan

I also read a graphic adaptation of City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau.  Once again, this adaptation just wasn't made for readers like me, so it's hard to appreciate it.  If a book is going to be made into a graphic adaptation, I like to see more thought brought into the illustrations and more visual figurative language.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Day 17 Little White Duck

Sorry for missing a few days, but I was at TLA conference in Austin! Fun times!

Today, I read Little White Duck: A Childhood in China by Na Liu and Andres Vera Martinez (who interestingly enough met in Austin, TX! Weird coincidence!)

This graphic novel memoir is told as 8 short stories, but it felt fluid enough for me to be written as eight chapters in one book about growing up in China during the time of Mao.  I love reading snapshots of time periods and cultures like this although I felt this book ended too abruptly.  

While reading, I thought about how I'd love to gather a collection of graphic novels centered around childhood and use them as the basis of researching different cultures (Including the culture of grief, toothloss or teendom.)

Other great graphic memoirs could include: 

I'm going to keep thinking about this list and adding to it.  I feel a great research project coming on!

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Day 11 - Mouse Guard Winter 1152

Day 11- Mouse Guard by David Peterson

So, I attempted reading this a few years ago and I didn't like it, but yesterday when I picked it up for the shelf challenge and read it with my 6 year old-- she and I both were enraptured! The eloquent writing style hooked us and the detailed illustrations had us up past bedtime.  These brave Mice are met with a murderous owl, a den of mice bones, whispering bats, and a traitorous mouse who attempts poisoning the entire village.  

The imagery is quite gruesome and the action is very violent, but we still enjoyed the story nonetheless! I have to admit that reading this after ChocoMimi is mind boggling. The shelf challenge has really been amazing and showcasing the depth and vast differences in the writing styles and illustrations of graphic novels.  I thoroughly appreciate the world that Petersen has built for these little mice and I think this is a good starter for children who will grow up to be fans of Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones.

But my favorite thing? The bunnies that the mice ride like horses!

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Days 9-10 A Graphic Adaptation vs. Manga

Normally I don't read graphic adaptations, but I do love to buy them for my students! ESL, SPED, and reluctant readers are usually able to enjoy these if they can't fully comprehend the full length novel.

This Vladimir Tod adaptation though is pretty tame compared to the action in the actual novel.  The drawing style is okay, but so far it hasn't caught much attention from my students.  (Looks like it's only been checked out twice this year.)

Now Choco Mimi is a totally different type of Manga than I was expecting! This sugary sweet cover is not what it seems! First of all this book is totally not appropriate for elementary students. Please do not get it for them.

Choco and Mimi are two 8th grade girls that are obsessed with Lolita fashion.  Choco is pretty smart and sardonic, where Mimi is totally obsessed with her looks and quite ditzy.  It reminds me a lot of Veronica and Betty from Archie! I love Chiffon, Choco's "manly" puppy, who seems to get pranked by his owner a lot.  At first I didn't like this book, but the more I read, the more it transported me back to my 1990's anime obsession. I think teen me would've loved reading about the girls fighting over Andrew, but the adult me thinks their skirts are too short and they are too disrespectful of their teacher, Mr. Take.

Also note, this is not a full story, but written more in a comic book style like Archie, each page holds gag cartoons that will make you giggle.  Again, this would be more for Kawaii obsessed teenagers and is not appropriate for elementary.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Day 8 Silver Six by AJ Lieberman & Darren Rawlings

Another great graphic novel I wouldn't normally pick up!

I loved Silver Six! From the sarcastic robot to the orphan moon this was an all around great read, with entertaining illustrations, and intense action sequences.

A video posted by Lamar Library (@lamar_library) on

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Day 5,6,7

I cheated a bit over the weekend and pulled a few books for reading that were on the shelf below my dedicated shelf! BUT HOW COULD I NOT? All of our Big Nate graphic novels were in! Plus, Jedi Academy!?!  These things are never on the shelf!

So, this was my first time reading Big Nate.  I ordered them last year after they sold like hotcakes at the book fair.  I was.... not super impressed .... but they reminded me a lot of Calvin and Hobbes, but with no Hobbes.  Pretty much gag humor like Archie, but for contemporary kids.

As for Jedi Academy? Pretty much Diary of a Wimpy Kid but the Star Wars version.  I love the mix of diary, drawing, and comics.  Can't mess with that formula!

Then there was the hidden gem by Matt Phelan called Bluffton. I've been eyeing this book for awhile, but just never picked it up until the Shelf Challenge! (And that's why we do this people!)

I thought the elephant was intriguing, but didn't realize the story is about......(drum roll) ....
Buster Keaton as a teen vaudeville actor visiting the town of Bluffton during his summers! Okay, okay, so that doesn't sound that enticing for my students. BUT BUT BUT, I just loved the pacing, the autobiography feel, and the illustrations.  Great detailed pencil work combined with loose water colors made this a delight to read. 

One of my favorite aspects of the book is the way Phelan lets the visuals tell the story.  When Henry walks through town and sees a tight ropist on the phone line and a zebra grazing, well, it just made me smile. I love the lazy summer walk disturbed by these rare sightings.

I learned a bit about Buster Keaton too, and I think he would've made an excellent civil engineer, but he was a pretty fun chap and made the world laugh!


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