"Outside a dog a book is man's best friend, inside a dog it is too dark to read!" -Groucho Marx========="The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid." -Jane Austen========="I don’t believe in the kind of magic in my books. But I do believe something very magical can happen when you read a good book."-JK Rowling========"I spend a lot of time reading." -Bill Gates=========“Ahhh. Bed, book, kitten, sandwich. All one needed in life, really.” -Jacqueline Kelly=========

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Two graphic novels worthy of praise

I've been checking the starred reviews for YA books this year. These two graphic novels have received lots of starred reviews and are worthy of the high praise they have received.

March, Book Two by John Lewis, illustrated by Nate Powell

This is the second book of a trilogy about the life of an American hero, John Lewis and his work for civil rights. After the success of the sit-in movements, John and others were more committed than ever to continue their non-violent campaign for civil rights through actions such as the Freedom Riders. At the age of 23 he became known as one of the "Big 6" in the civil rights movement for his work with SNCC (Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee.) He helped lead the March on Washington in 1963 for jobs and freedom where he delivered an impassioned speech alongside Martin Luther King, Jr.

I read March, Book One last year. It illustrated John Lewis's early years and his initial work with SNCC. Now in this volume, March, Book Two we learn how quickly he rose to power in that organization and how fearless he was in supporting efforts to gain rights for minorities. Nate Powell's illustration are excellent and bring the story forward in a readily accessible format. Students today have no idea the kinds of sacrifices these brave men and women made for freedom, voting, and rights for African-Americans. John Lewis's story told here in a wonderfully rendered graphic biography can help them appreciate the magnitude of his (and other individual's) efforts and sacrifices. I learned a ton. I was alive during the Civil Rights Movement and my parents were very interested and involved in what was going on yet I still learned a lot form this small but mighty graphic biography. I recommend it for all secondary school libraries.

Rating: 4 of 5 stars

Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson

Twelve-year-old Astrid has always done everything with her best friend Nicole. When she signs up for Roller Derby camp she assumes Nicole will sign up, too. Instead Nicole signs up for dance camp with another girl. Astrid is left on her own to navigate the intricacies of friendship and of roller derby.

This coming-of-age graphic novel is cute, cute, cute. Astrid is a strong-willed yet insecure girl who is trying to make her way through life without understanding all the rules. She wants to be a roller girl like Rainbow Bite even though she doesn't know how to skate. She wants to have friends but she doesn't really know how to be a friend in return. She lies to her mother and feels miserable and guilty. She eventually learns her lessons the hard way (is there any other way?) and the summer isn't a total disaster.

Victoria Jamieson is not only a fantastic illustrator she also enjoys a "not-so-secret identity as Winnie-the-Pow, skater with the Rose City Rollers" in Portland, Oregon. The book is considered a junior book in my public library and I would agree it will be attractive to middle grade readers. I suspect high school students wouldn't relate to issues of twelve-year-old girls even though they themselves recently passed through that stage of life.

Rating: 5 of 5 stars.

30 books Summer Reading Challenge

18 / 30 books. 60% done!

1 comment:

  1. I have both of these graphic novels on my tbr pile. The sign that a nonfiction graphic novel is good is whether or not I learn something from it. Great reviews!


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