Blogger Nicole Martin

Fresh Graphic Novel Picks

Hurrah! Spring has officially arrived- at least for the most part.  Although it seems to be a daily surprise here in my part of the country whether or not we will have spring or winter temperatures, I thought it was a great time for sharing some fresh, new graphic novels with you! Below are a few of my favorite titles that have been published so far this year. I’m sure you and your patrons will enjoy them! Complete Chi’s Sweet Home: Part 2 by Konami Kanata. Vertical Comics; 2016. Cat lovers of all ages will adore this manga series! This recently released title collects volumes four through six from Kanata’s original series. Follow Chi in her adorable adventures as she learns how to live with her adoptive family, the Yamadas, and searches for her mother. Unicorn Vs. Goblins: Another Phoebe and Her Unicorn Adventure by Dana Simpson. Andrews McMeel Publishing; 2016.  The third volume in…

Blogger Nicole Martin

Fingerprints and Forensics with First-graders

Did you know with a few simple, inexpensive materials and some creativity you can create your own forensics lab for early elementary kiddos? You can! I lead a STEAM focused program at my library for first, second and third graders entitled Imagination Lab. The idea is that for four weeks in the fall, and again in the winter, we meet up after school to explore a variety of concepts that fit under the broad umbrella of STEAM. We experiment, sometimes I demonstrate, and we always create something to take home. In the past few weeks we have explored the science behind sound, polymers, and color, but my favorite topic may just have been forensics! Inspired by the awesome Mad Scientists Club CSI program, I crafted my own 45-minute program for first through third grade patrons. I think this is a great program that can be easily modified for older children and held without breaking the…

Blogger Nicole Martin

Past the Cape: Quirky Graphic Novels

I began reading comic books in elementary school, checking out issues of Spider-Man along with my stacks of Goosebumps books. I eventually broadened my horizons past the amazing web slinger and onto the X-men, Batman and the rest of the Marvel and DC Universes. I mostly read this way until my late high school and early college years, during which I discovered Neil Gaiman’s Sandman comics and all the interesting stories Vertigo was publishing that didn’t involve characters in spandex. Now I will occasionally pick up a superhero book but typically gravitate towards stories outside of the caped universe. The amount of interesting, quality graphic novels and comic books that are published for young readers today is impressive and exciting to see. I often think of how young readers can be exposed to the world of comics without feeling their only choice is a caped crusader. Of course, there is…

Blogger Nicole Martin

Child Soldier and the Refugee Experience

I just finished the great graphic novel Child Soldier: When Boys and Girls Are Used in War by Michel Chikwanine and Jessica Dee Humphreys and would encourage everyone reading this to pick it up. The story recounts how 5 year old Michel was kidnapped near his school by rebel militiamen in the Democratic Republic of Congo. He eventually escapes, but not after being forced to commit violent acts which haunt him. The book does cover very difficult territory, but does a good job of explaining the history of the conflict and not exhibiting images too disturbing or violent for it’s intended audience. This is an important story to tell and equally important to get into the hands of tween and teen readers. The book begins with Michel arriving in North America, and ends with more details about his journey to safety. He was first a refugee in Uganda, then years later in Canada, and…

Blogger Nicole Martin

Roller Girl Rocks

I just got around to reading Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson (Penguin/Dial Books for Young Readers, 2015) and boy, was it awesome! This great graphic novel for middle-grade readers follows twelve-year old Astrid, who is inspired to join a summer youth roller derby camp after her mother takes her to a Rose City Rollers derby match. Astrid immediately falls in love with the sport and aspires to be like the rad roller ladies, whose colored hair, witty names, and rainbow socks absolutely scream cool. Unfortunately, Astrid’s best friend Nicole doesn’t seem quite so impressed by the roller derby. Soon after Astrid discovers that her bestie will be spending her summer at ballet camp with one of her not-so-favorite people, Rachel. So begins Astrid’s summer of growth as she learns that sometimes friendships change and that skating is not quite as easy as it looks. The story felt very authentic to me, capturing the sort of girl drama that can blossom between friends, especially…

Blogger Nicole Martin

Eerie Graphic Novels for October

October is one of my most favorite times of year for a variety of reasons. Crisp weather makes for perfect hiking, my scarf collection makes a triumphant return from the closet, and all things pumpkin can be found. The real reason October stands out for me though is the mysterious mood cast thanks to Halloween. As a fan of spooky stories of all sorts, this month provides the perfect opportunity to share some of my top picks for eerie and ghostly reads. The graphic novels highlighted below are not holiday specific, and would be great recommendations for readers year-round, but are especially fun during this season. Cat Burglar Black by Richard Sala. First Second; 2009. This quirky title by the talented Sala has it all-  dangerous mysteries, weird characters, hidden treasure, and creepy settings. K was raised in an orphanage where the children were trained to be professional thieves and now finds herself at Bellsong Academy,…