Graphic Novels · Middle Grade · Sunday Comics · Uncategorized

Sunday Morning Comics: Guts by Raina Telgemeier

This middle grade graphic novels features the author’s own memories and experiences dealing with the physical manifestation of anxiety. The accessible message paired with the bravery and kindness of the characters makes this an ideal read for the stressors of today’s world.


SYNOPSIS

A true story from Raina Telgemeier, the #1 New York Times bestselling, multiple Eisner Award-winning author of Smile, Sisters, Drama, and Ghosts!

Raina wakes up one night with a terrible upset stomach. Her mom has one, too, so it’s probably just a bug. Raina eventually returns to school, where she’s dealing with the usual highs and lows: friends, not-friends, and classmates who think the school year is just one long gross-out session. It soon becomes clear that Raina’s tummy trouble isn’t going away… and it coincides with her worries about food, school, and changing friendships. What’s going on?

Raina Telgemeier once again brings us a thoughtful, charming, and funny true story about growing up and gathering the courage to face — and conquer — her fears. from Amazon.


guts


REVIEW

I don’t know if I have anxiety or if I would have been diagnosed with anxiety as a child. But, I do know that I worry a lot. Growing up with a sister with disabilities and all of the complicated health problems that accompanied her day to day life made me acutely aware that the world was not a safe place. And, when I mentioned it to friends they acted like I was insane.

Today, so many children deal with school shootings, suicide, and now a pandemic. Guts is an easy way for children and caregivers to open up a conversation both about how stress and worry can get out of control and how to act with kindness to others dealing with unknown issues.

Raina has established herself as an author that speaks the truth to children. Through her previous books, Smile, Sisters, Drama, and Ghost, Raina has proven a reliable source for a variety of social issues that many children are confronted with on a daily basis. Obviously I’ve been a fan for a long time but Guts had me just sitting there, reading, and nodding my head.

Whether it is because of COVID19, the general state of the world, or because you feel like a child in your life is struggling with feelings they don’t understand, I highly recommend this book. Actually, you know what? I recommend this book to everyone because even if you aren’t worried, someone near you is and this book is a great insight into what that feels like.


Tell me, please!

Do you have any books on anxiety you would recommend?


 

Graphic Novels · Middle Grade · Sunday Morning Comics · Uncategorized

The Okay Witch by Emma Steinkellner

A middle grade graphic novel that speaks to the power of communication in families. I couldn’t love Moth Hush more if she used her magic to make a million copies of herself.


SYNOPSIS

A School Library Journal Best Graphic Novel of 2019!

Sabrina the Teenage Witch meets Roller Girl in this hilarious, one-of-a-kind graphic novel about a half-witch who has just discovered the truth about herself, her family, and her town and is doing her best to survive middle school now that she knows everything!

Magic is harder than it looks.

Thirteen-year-old Moth Hush loves all things witchy. But she’s about to discover that witches aren’t just the stuff of movies, books, and spooky stories. When some eighth-grade bullies try to ruin her Halloween, something really strange happens. It turns out that Founder’s Bluff, Massachusetts, has a centuries-old history of witch drama. And, surprise: Moth’s family is at the center of it all! When Moth’s new powers show up, things get totally out-of-control. She meets a talking cat, falls into an enchanted diary, and unlocks a hidden witch world. Secrets surface from generations past as Moth unravels the complicated legacy at the heart of her town, her family, and herself.

In this spellbinding graphic novel debut, Emma Steinkellner spins a story packed with humor and heart about the weird and wonderful adventures of a witch-in-progress. from Amazon.


theokaywitch
A young teenage girl with huge eyes and flowing hair is standing suspended on a flying broom with a black cat clinging to her leg.

REVIEW

Graphic Novels are powerful. This book will take approximately thirty minutes to read and two and a half hours to read again and again. The Okay Witch is quite simply a gorgeous story ripe for opening a conversation about family, fitting in, bigotry, and second chances and bravo to Emma Steinkellner for layering all of it so beautifully in such an accessible story.

Moth Hush is such a likable character. On Halloween she meets the new student, Charlie, who is just as easy to root for as Moth. Together, the two of them are navigating how to fit in with their peers and their families. But both kids’ parents have been keeping their histories from them and it is hard to move forward when you don’t understand the past.

Children and adults alike will find this book a delightful, but occasionally serious, read. Together this book has the power to do more than entertain. It has the ability to start a conversation about how each person’s history and choices affect our future. More importantly, it showcases the vital role communication has in families. And, it is just pure fun to read.


Tell me, please!

Have you read a graphic novel that you couldn’t stop talking about?


 

Graphic Novels · Middle Grade · Sunday Morning Comics · Uncategorized

Sunday Morning Comics May 27, 2018

Good Morning! In the United States we are enjoying a long three-day weekend which means that Sunday morning is extra relaxing. I had the time to quietly enjoy both of these graphic novels which feature characters grappling with typical adolescent issues in additional to the impact of their culture background.

American Born Chinese by Gene Lien Yang showcases the stories of Jin Wang, the Monkey King, and Wei-Chen Sun. Jin Wang’s parents are Chinese immigrants and when Wei-Chen Sun arrives at school directly from Taiwan, Jin Wang wants nothing to do with him. Jin Wang wants to be an all-American boy and date the all-American girl. And the Monkey King has lived for thousands of years mastering skills to join the ranks of the immortal gods. But there is no place in heaven for a monkey!

The author and illustrator employs a fairly unique storytelling trick and does not use a traditional narrative structure. This allows three different perspectives regarding cultural assimilation and race-shaming to combine into one poignant message: “It’s easy to become anything you wish so long as you are willing to forfeit your soul.”

Meanwhile, in Be Prepared by Vera Brosgol, Vera is the odd-duck out in her social circle of all-white affluent kids. Vera immigrated from Russia with her Mom, little brother and sister when she was five. After a disastrous attempt to host a sleep over she turns to her Russian Orthodox Church to find friends. There she hears about a camp which is only for Russian Orthodox kids and convinces her Mom to send her to camp. She figures that it will be easy to make friends with kids with her own cultural identity and background.

Once at camp though things don’t go quite as planned. They speak in Russian as much as possible, sing Russian songs and while Vera’s accent is perfect, it seems she isn’t Russian enough. She is also placed in a tent with much older girls and finds out that there is a big difference between almost ten and fourteen.

I really enjoyed how both of these authors used their personal knowledge to highlight the additional struggle foreign culture can add to growing up in America. While I have always been fascinated by other cultures I am well aware that there are many obnoxious Americans insist on cultural homogenization which is a tragedy. I hope every child (really, adults as well) read these books and work to feel comfortable with their own culture, or, embrace the child whose culture is different from your own. The world is just a more interesting place with diversity and acceptance.


Tell me, please!

Have you come across any other culturally interesting Graphic Novels?


 

Graphic Novels · Sunday Morning Comics

Sunday Morning Cartoons 1/21/18

Happy Sunday Morning! This morning my cup of coffee and I were joined by some powerful ladies.

Nimona by Noella Stevenson was my first graphic novel. Immediately I was drawn into the whole twist on the superhero / villian story featuring Nimona, the shapeshifting young wanna-be-villan, trying to find her mentor. Before Nimona I struggled to embrace the graphic novel platform. I had trouble with the set up. I blame adulthood. I had grown unaccustomed to the art. But Nimona worked for me and it was like a magic key into the wonderful world of graphic novels. I received a copy for Christmas this year and I just had to give it a re-read. It is my go-to recommendation for anyone interested in getting into graphic novels and it was even better the second (or fourth) time.

Ms. Marvel Volume 1, No Normal by Wilson and Alphona came highly recommended and did not disappoint! After reading Awkward I have become hyper-aware of the fact that Superheroes are just big ‘ol awkward people flying through the world. Also, I am a sucker for origin stories. I think its because I just assume I’m in the middle of mine right now and when I get my superpowers this party is really going to start. I enjoyed a peek at Kamala Kahn’s regular pre-powers life with all her awkward feels but the highlight for me was the awesome depiction of Captain America. Kamala figuring our her powers and place in the world is a ride I cannot wait to continue.

El Deafo by Cece Bell is a elementary level grade book about Cece’s experiences with hearing loss at a young age. While some of the technology and terminology is clearly from Cece’s youth in the 70’s, her story is timeless. Kids struggle through so many things but having an accessible graphic novel that really illuminates this point is priceless. And, of course, I love how Cece turns her difference into her superpower.

Happy Sunday Comics!


FrighteninglyGoodRead · Graphic Novels · Halloween2017

Frighteningly Good Read #11

Today’s FGR is the fabulous and award-winning Graphic Novel Anya’s Ghost by Vera Brosgol. After reading the super creepy Into the Woods I had to give myself a couple of days before going back into the Graphic Novel genre. Somehow, the illustrations with these stories have a way of creeping me out.

anyasghostAnya’s Ghost is more than a spooky tale. This Graphic Novel covers a myriad of other teen-related topics superbly. From being self-conscious about your body to discovering that maybe other people’s perfect lives are no-so ideal, this is a phenomenal book for teens.

Additionally, Anya has a ghost. For three-quarters of the book I thought the ghost was a literary device for her conscience. Then the ghost took a dramatic turn in behavior and I found myself flipping pages faster and faster with my heart racing. It is remarkable how the authors of Graphic Novels can build so much tension with their illustrations and a few choice words!

Anya’s Ghost is also set to become a new Supernatural comedy directed by Dan Mazer. Now, I have been guilty of thumbing my nose at Graphic Novels in the past (no more, I swear!). But, for a slender illustrated book to pack enough life lessons and interest to be made into a movie is impressive indeed. I can only hope the live telling of Anya is as good as the Graphic version.


Tell me, please!

Have you ever looked down on a subject or genre or anything only to later convert?


 

FrighteninglyGoodRead · Graphic Novels · Halloween2017 · Uncategorized

Frighteningly Good Reads #4

For day four of my adventures through Frighteningly Good Reads I tried a graphic novel. I have only recently been introduced to the wonder of graphic novels and finding a scary one that was also excellent was surprisingly easy.

throughthewoodsThrough the Woods by award winning comic-creator Emily Carroll is a book of five short horror stories. In addition to the art, which I found very creepy (I’d say that this as a good thing, after all it is a horror book), the stories are told in sort of the manner one would any scary tale. Just, imagine that you and your friends are sitting around a campfire. One leans into the glow to speak in a whisper, “There was a girl…and there was a man…” This is how I heard the stories in Through the Woods.

And the creep factor in these drawings is high but doesn’t pass my gross-out limit. The author was able to build anticipation and tension with her art and words and leave me baffled on one story, transfixing in horror on another and actually shuddering on a third. Each story stayed in my mind but if I were being honest, the fifth one really scared me the most. I mean, really scared me. I almost tossed the book across the room.

This book really puts the Frightening into my growing collection of Frightening Good Reads. If you want to try a truly scary graphic novel I highly recommend sitting down and taking a trip Through the Woods.


Tell me, please!

Do you enjoy graphic novels? What about scary short stories?