Comics Gift Guide

‘Tis the season for winter holidays! Does the tween in your life or your library love comics? Here are a few that need to be on your radar and will make your kids go absolutely nuts. Peppi Torres is just trying to survive her first days middle school. Suddenly she finds herself being both the teased and the teaser, and in the middle of a club war! Can she figure out how to make middle school bearable for both herself and those around her? Do your kids love PrinceLess? Well, let’s not forget about Angoisse, the oft-forgotten middle Ashe sister. What’s she been up to lately? Wellllll, it seems that the swamp surrounding her tower is inhabited by monsters and goblins and vampires! Not to worry, though, because her sister Adrienne and friend Bedelia don’t think twice about helping Angoisse rescue herself! The PrinceLess books are all fantastic and volume 4…

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 Lisa Nowlain

A comic about creativity in the library

Here is a summary (in comic form) of the Center for Childhood Creativity’s Report: Inspiring a Generation to Create: Critical Components of Creativity in Children. I highly recommend giving it a read. It’s got a lot of information that apply to our work as children’s librarians, and lots of interesting frameworks for thinking about creativity! 11/3/15 Update: Looks like there was a Library Resource version of the report, put out by the Center for Childhood Creativity with lots of ALSC members consulting!

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,…


Comics for back to school!

I know, I KNOW. It’s July 29th. It doesn’t feel like it’s time to go back to school. And for lots of districts, it’s not. But for huge swatches of the South and the Midwest, it’s happening this week or next week. It’s so early, it’s so hot. The kids are so cranky (I would be, too, if I had to go back to school so soon!) What’s the solution? COMICS. Here’s some great, recent comics/graphic novels to give to your kids. Throw these up on a display, handsell them, or stealthily slide them across your circ counter. Your tweens will thank you. Gotham Academy Volume 1. Do your kids love Batman? This comic is set in a prestigious prep school right in the heart of Gotham. With great supporting characters, secrets, and possibly a ghost, this hits all the superhero buttons. The mysterious Wayne family might even make an…


Unconventional heroes

Summer Reading is underway for most everyone at this point.  And everyone using CSLP is knee-deep in superheroes!  Here are a few comics for your kids that involve heroes that might be a bit…unusual. Nimona might be the epitome of a nontraditional hero. She’s actually…a villain. I know! But this medievalish epic has it all–science, symbolism, monsters? And hilarity. Originally a webcomic, this one will appeal to everyone. You might remember energetic and fun Claudette and her pals from Giants Beware, which came out a few years ago. But now she’s determined to get the dragon who ate her brave and beloved father’s legs years ago. Volume 1 of Gotham Academy collects issues 1-6 of the DC comic, and it’s a delight. Set at Gotham’s most prestigious prep school, the secrets are everywhere! Why is Olive acting so weird? What’s her beef with Batman? Bonus: an EXCELLENT character named Maps,…

Collection Development

Comics, Comics, Comics!

It’s a great time to be a comics fan. There are loads of amazing ones coming out right now. The Newbery, Caldecott, and Printz committees all recognized graphic novels as honor books this year. People are starting to sit up and pay attention to the world of comics and graphic novels, so I am here with a list for your kids (AND YOU!). Happy reading! And welcome to the comics life. Lumberjanes is by  Noelle Stevenson, Grace Ellis, and Brooke Allen. It’s published by Boom studies in single-issue format, but the first trade paperback (collecting issues 1-4) is out on April 7th. Y’all, this one is so incredible. Feminist, funny, and constantly focused on friendship, this series is set at a summer camp and shouldn’t be missed.   PrinceLess by Jeremy Whitley has been a relatively new find for me and I’m obsessed. Princess Adrienne is tired of sitting around in her tower…

ALA Midwinter 2015

ERT/Booklist Author Forum #alamw15 #comics

A fabulous way to kick off the conference: seeing 4 of my favorite comic creators and champions. My favorite bit so far is learning about their favorites from childhood. Cece Bell loved Archie and her big brother’s National Lampoon, Jeff Smith read the Sunday strips and Mad magazine, Francoise Mouly read books like Asterix, and Gene Luen Yang loved superhero comics. Francoise Mouly and Jeff Smith are discussing the power of comics because they are hand drawn. The reader can see the hand of the artist and that personal touch allows comics creators to tackle very personal topics in a way that is different from prose authors. Comics creators are also different from painters because they are in the business of communication. Comics should not be open to interpretation, their message should be understood if the creator did their job.