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!

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Day 3: Chi's Sweet Home

I have to tell you that this year's #shelfchallenge is such a different experience for me than last year! I'm having so much fun!

Last year, I started from the beginning in fiction, and I kept pulling out bad 80's cover after bad 80's cover.

I ended up pulling so many "oldies" with bad covers, that my students started to notice.  We started laughing and poking fun at these old books.  Soon, we had a full "mean girl" circle and we tested each book by seeing how many checkouts it had in the last ten years.  Although it seemed mean spirited, we had a blast at the expense of our old books!  It even sent me on a weeding extravaganza for the rest of the year and prompted me to write a grant titled "We are not your grandma's library, but her books are still here!" (Thanks again to @valibrarian for this grant title!)

At the beginning of this school year, I decided to focus some of that grant money on my graphic novel collection.  My super awesome Mackin Rep, Tuan Nguyen, recommended some awesome manga and graphic novels for my middle school. So when it came time to choose a shelf for the #shelfchallenge, there was really only one way to go!

I'm loving reading all these graphic novels and today's collection almost shot me over the moon with

Chi's Sweet Home series is a sappy, sweet, serial about an adorable lost kitten that finds a new home with a super awesome family (although they aren't supposed to have pets in their apartment.) This manga took me back to my anime obsession circa 1996. It is over the top cute, expressive, and just plain adorable.

It's a great MG lit Manga for elementary or middle. Honestly, with as much as some people love cats, you could probably still carry it in your high school.

My daughters love it so much, we even found the tv series online and started watching it.  Tuan, you might've just made Chi our household favorite anime!

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Day 2: Brain Camp by Kim, Klavan, Hicks

One thing I love about the Shelf Challenge is being exposed to books I would normally not pick up.  I have to say that Brain Camp was a strange yet entertaining read!  At first I felt the story was disjointed, but then quickly realized that everything at "Brain Camp" was not what it seemed! This G.N. reads almost like a teenage version of the The Stepford Wives! This book took the camp catchphrase "Don't drink the Koolaid" to a whole new level.

This camp for wayward teens turns into a horror story. My curiosity was piqued on the second page and my gag reflex was tested a few times. This book is not for the faint of heart!  Great and disturbing read for middle grade and YA readers!

The art by Faith Erin Hicks is one of my favorite graphic novel drawing styles. Not too cartoony and not too realistic.  It reminded me a lot of my faves graphic novels like Scott Pilgrim and @GoRaina! I know there is a technical term for this style, but the word escapes me right now! When I tried to look it up, I found this excellent article by Raina Telgemeier about "How a Graphic Novel is Born (and Raised)" Plus, now that I looked up @FaithErinHicks on Twitter, I realized she wrote Adventures of Superhero Girl which is one of my favorite graphic novels of 2013!! Man, I'm loving the Shelf Challenge this year! I'm making so many great G.N. connections!

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Day 1: Explorer: The Hidden Doors , The Lost Islands, and The Mystery Boxes

So I cheated and started reading yesterday during my hall duty for STAAR testing and picked up three graphic novel collections edited by Kazu Kibuishi. (You know- the awesome author of the Amulet series?)

Each book contains seven different stories created by seven different authors/illustrators.  The interesting thing about each collection is that they are centered around the title.  For instance, each story in Hidden Doors, revolves around finding or utilizing a hidden door.  The thing that struck me with this first collection is that each story read like fable or a moralistic story.  This collection would be great for teaching students about theme! Plus, you could have them write their own comic about a hidden door!

The best thing about Explorers: The Lost Islands was finding a short by my favorite graphic novelist Raina Telgemeier!  Plus, if you only read one story out of this one, you should read Carapace by Jason Caffoe, I loved the camaraderie in that one!

My favorite collection, even though I haven't finished it yet, is Explorer: The Mystery Boxes. These tales are more on the dark side.

Great graphic novel set for those who aren't sure what to read- it might lead you to a full book by one of the authors inside! I just realized the first short in The Boxes is by Emily Carroll who has another creepy read called "Through the Woods" which I also recommend!

Hoorary for some interesting reads I wouldn't normally pick up! (Because I don't like short stories!) Can't wait to see what I'm reading tomorrow!

Sunday, March 22, 2015

It's almost time for Shelf Challenge 2015

2015 Shelf Challenge Logo (1)
It's almost time for the SLM Shelf Challenge of 2015!
Matthew Winner (aka The Busy Librarian) started the Shelf Challenge in 2012 as an opportunity to check out what is REALLY on your school library shelves during the month of April. 
This year he's passed the torch to me, and I can't wait to travel on this journey.
It's a simple quest really:
  • Find a shelf in your collection to read daily throughout the month of April. Your goal may be to read what you really have on those shelves, find some hidden gems, discover weeding material, or just have fun expanding your PLN on Twitter. (Some librarians choose a shelf in Easy Fiction to read cover to cover, some read a section of Fiction, just by actually looking at the cover, inside and reading a blurb from every book on one shelf in Fiction. The choice is yours!)
  • Sign up for the challenge on this Google Form. Attempt reading each book on that shelf for the month of April. Let me know what shelf you are reading and your other info so I can be your shelf challenge cheerleader!
  • Share your finds on social media (See links below.)
  • When you are done, please fill out this Google Form and let our PLN know how you did! 
All the links- join up with your favorite social media!
The blog: I'll be blogging about my shelf reads here and other library adventures on my blog Create Collaborate Innovate.  Last year, I read through a lonely shelf in my fiction section and found all sorts of amazingly bad 80s book covers. This year, I've chosen a shelf in graphic novels I'd love to get to know and I'm going to try and post about each read every day!
The Pinterest: Join our Pinterest board and add your favs and your "I can't believe I haven't weeded this..." books:  https://www.pinterest.com/busylibrarian/slm-shelf-challenge/
The Twitter: Tweet it out with our #shelfchallenge hashtag.
Embed the Canva: Edit the logo, make it your own, and put it on your blog: https://www.canva.com/design/DABKimc2U3o/47HipOa4cH4dcjwEn9hJ2w/edit

The Instagram: For all of the #librariesofinstagram, use the #shelfchallenge hashtag and I'll "re-gram" your post on my lamar_library Instagram account!

NEW! Bookmarks for Students (Made by my awesome student aide!)
Let's get reading!


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