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Collecting Comics: December 2017 Edition, by Ally Watkins

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Welcome to the December 2017 edition of Collecting Comics! Here are a few suggestions of things coming out this month that your teens and tweens will enjoy!

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Gotham Academy, Second Semester, Volume 2: The Ballad of Olive Silverlock by Brendan Fletcher, Becky Cloonan, and Karl Kerschl, illustrated by Adam Archer (DC Comics, December 5). In this final volume of the popular Gotham Academy series, we learn the fate of Olive, who has been possessed by her ancestor, Amity Arkham, who wants nothing more than to destroy Gotham City. Will the rest of the Detective Club be able to save her? Collects issues #9-#12 and #4 of the comic book series. This one features a lot of Gotham references, so give it to your Batman fans.

I Am Groot by Chris Hastings, illustrated by Flaviano (Marvel, December 5). When the Guardians of the Galaxy get stuck in a wormhole, a small Groot finds himself on his own in an alien world where no one can understand him. He must make a journey to the center of the world if he wants to find his family again! Collects issues #1-#5 of the comic book series.

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Star Wars: Rogue One Graphic Novel Adaptation by Allesandro Ferrari (IDW Publishing, December 12). This graphic adaptation of the popular Rogue One film features Jyn Erso, daughter of the Death Star’s creator, who is trying to save her father from Imperial control and steal the plans for the Death Star. Leads directly into the opening scene of Episode IV. All of your young Star Wars fans will be lining up for this one.

Lumberjanes Volume 7: A Bird’s-Eye View by Shannon Waters and Kat Leyh, illustrated by Carey Pietsch, Ayme Sotuyo, and Maarta Laiho (BOOM! Box, December 12). The High Council is coming to camp for inspection and everyone is trying to make everything perfect, even though there’s a storm brewing and kittens from the boy’s camp are manifesting magic powers. The multiple Eisner-award winning series is back with a new trade volume! Collects issues #25-#28 of the comic book series. Lumberjanes is perfect for fans of summer camp adventures and friendship stories.

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Brave Chef Brianna by Sam Sykes, illustrated by Selina Espiritu (BOOM! Studios, December 12). Brianna has big cooking dreams. She wants to open her own restaurant. But the only place she can afford to do it is in Monster City…where she’s the only human. Will her restaurant succeed?? Collects the entire limited series.

Misfit City Volume 1 by Kirsten “Kiwi” Smith and Kurt Lustgarten, illustrated by Naomi Franquiz (BOOM! Box, December 19).  Nothing fun has happened in Wilder’s hometown since they filmed a cult classic movie there in the 80s. But then she and her friends happen upon a centuries-old pirate map…and they discover their town might not be so boring after all! Collects issues #1-#4 of the comic book series. Give this one to your adventure readers.

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Ms. Marvel Volume 8: Mecca by G. Willow Wilson, illustrated by Adrian Alphona (Marvel, December 26). An old enemy resurfaces and begins to target those closest to intrepid teenage hero Kamala Khan. She begins to suspect that something even more sinister is at work. Collects issues #19-#24 of the comic book series. Your superhero fans will love Ms. Marvel, the Pakistani-American teen trying to balance family, friends, and superhero-ing in her hometown of Jersey City.

See you in 2018!

C2: Collecting Comics for September and October 2017 with Ally Watkins

Today, librarian extraordinaire Ally Watkins begins her new monthly feature where she talks to us about comics and graphic novels to help us all with our collection development. Thanks Ally!

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Do your young students and patrons love comics? Are you constantly on the hunt for more? Here are some suggestions for comics and graphic novels coming out in September and October that your tween and teen friendos will inhale!

September

Older Than Dirt by Don Brown and Michael Perfit (HMH Book for Young Readers, September 5) A one of a kind, wild, nonfiction history of the earth by Sibert Honor medalist Don Brown and scientist Dr. Michael Perfit. Booklist’s starred review says: “Brown and scientific consultant Perfit provide an astonishingly comprehensive overview and manage to humanize it with witty asides from the woodchuck and worm who serve as surrogate teacher and student.” Your middle school nonfiction readers will check this one out instantly.

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All’s Faire in Middle School by Victoria Jamieson (Dial Books, September 5) From the author/illustrator of the widely loved and Newbery Honor book Roller Girl comes a new graphic novel! Impy has grown up with two parents working at the Renaissance Faire and she’s excited that she’s old enough to train as a squire herself. But first comes a new adventure: she’s going to school for the first time after being homeschooled her whole life. Her new friends seem really nice…until they don’t. How will Impy handle her new life? TLT’s review can be found here.

Castle in the Stars: The Space Race of 1869 by Alex Alice (First Second, September 12) Check out the steampunk adventure that Booklist calls “a rollicking good time”! What if the world developed space exploration in 1869 instead of 1969? A son on the hunt for his missing mother, spies, royal drama, and more!

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Spinning by Tillie Walden (First Second, September 12) For years, figure skating was Tillie Walden’s entire life—practices for hours a day and on weekends, competitions, and more. But as she switched schools, got into art, and fell in love for the first time, she began to question—was this what she really wanted? A moving teen graphic memoir, TLT’s review can be found here.

Jonesy Volume 3 by Sam Humphries, illustrated by Caitlin Rose Boyle (BOOM! Box, September 19) Jonesy is back at it again in the third trade paperback of her comic adventures. Jonesy is a normal teen except for one thing: she has the power to make people fall in love! The catch is, it doesn’t work on herself. Collects issues #9-12 of the comic book series.

October

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Pashmina by Nidhi Chanani (First Second, October 3) Priyanka Das has a lot of unanswered questions, about her mother’s former life in India, about her father, and about her own identity. All Pri’s questions might be answered when she finds a magical pashmina scarf that transports her to the India of her dreams. But is it the real thing? And can it be as good as it seems? Check out the graphic novel that SLJ called a “dazzling blend of realistic fiction and fantasy.”

Cucumber Quest: The Donut Kingdom by Gigi D.G (First Second, October 10) A pun-filled MG graphic novel about, well, mostly bunnies. Cucumber the magician and his little sister Almond, a knight-in-training, set out to find the Dream Sword, the only thing powerful enough to defeat the Evil Queen Cordelia’s Nightmare Knight! Give this to your kids who love adventure, humor, and fantasy.

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I Am Alfonso Jones by Tony Medina, illustrated by Stacey Robinson and John Jennings (Tu Books, October 15) In this YA graphic novel, Alfonso Jones is killed by an off-duty police officer. This story is about his afterlife, where he meets other victims of shootings, and also his family, who are fighting for justice. Kirkus calls it “painfully important.”

Giant Days Volume 6 by John Allison, illustrated by Max Sarin, inked by Liz Fleming (BOOM! Box, October 24) Giant Days is an excellent crossover title that your older teens will love. Esther, Susan, and Daisy have started their second year of university and they’re now living in their own off-campus housing! But does that really make them grownups? Collects issues #21-24 of the comic book series.

Photographic: The Life of Graciela Iturbide by Isabel Quintero, illustrated by Zeke Peña (Getty Publications, October 24) A personal graphic memoir of the life of renowned Mexican photographer Graciela Iturbide, written by award winning YA author Isabel Quintero and illustrated by Zeke Peña. Gorgeous black and white illustrations help tell the story of Iturbide, whose career has taken her all over her native Mexico and the world. May be of special interest to the budding artists in your classrooms and libraries.

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The Tea Dragon Society by Katie O’Neill (Oni Press, October 31) The author/illustrator of the adorable Princess Princess Ever After is back with The Tea Dragon Society. After discovering a lost tea dragon, Greta learns about the old art of caring for tea dragons. As she meets the owners of the tea dragon shop and the people in their lives, she begins to understand how lives can be enriched by these creatures. Gorgeous art will make your kids want their own tea dragons and might even inspire some fanart.

The Witch Boy by Molly Knox Ostertag (Graphix, October 31)  A middle grade graphic novel about a world in which the boys become shapeshifters and the girls become witches. Period. Anyone who crosses these line is exiled. But Aster is 13 and still hasn’t shifted. And he’s fascinated by witchery. This story has already been optioned for feature film by Fox Animation.

Riverdale Volume 1 by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, illustrated by Alitha Martinez and Joe Eisma (Archie Comics, October 31) Not published specifically as YA, this comic will have a lot of crossover appeal for your young fans of the show. The first trade paperback collection of the comics that are set specifically in the universe of the popular CW show.

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BONUS NON COMIC: Lumberjanes: Unicorn Power! by Mariko Tamaki, illustrated by Brooklyn Allen (Amulet Books, October 10). The Lumberjanes are crossing over into middle grade novels! The five Scouts of Roanoke Cabin–Molly, Jo, Ripley, Mal, and April–are ready for a new adventure climbing the tallest mountain they’ve ever seen! Of course, it doesn’t exactly go as planned. Hijinks ensue; also unicorns. Your Lumberjanes-loving readers will be so thrilled to see their faves in a new format!

Book Review: Prison Island, a Graphic Memoir by Colleen Frakes

prisonislandThe other day a fellow librarian contacted me and said she needed some good YA nonfiction recommendations, to which I replied PRISON ISLAND!

Prison Island is a memoir told in graphic novel format about McNeil Island in the state of Washington. It was one of the last remaining prison islands. Colleen Frake’s family was one of the families that lived and worked on the island. It’s an interesting life and the book brings it vividly to life in both words and pictures. As I read I couldn’t help but think about what a great companion piece this would be to Al Capone Does My Shirts by Gennifer Choldenko.

Prison Island is published by Zest Books, one of my favorite publisher’s for quirky YA nonfiction, and you can find sample pages, like this one, on their website:

prisonisland2Full of heart, humor and an interesting look at a typical teen living a not so typical life, Prison Island is a fun entry point into the memoir category. It’s also a great book to put into the hands of reluctant readers. I enjoyed this and definitely recommend it.

Publisher’s Book Summary:

McNeil Island in Washington state was the home of the last prison island in the United States, accessible only by air or sea. It was also home to about fifty families, including Colleen Frake’s. Her parents—like nearly everyone else on the island—both worked in the prison, where her father was the prison’s captain and her mother worked in security. In this engaging graphic memoir, a Xeric and Ignatz Award-winning comics artist, Colleen Frakes, tells the story of a typical girl growing up in atypical circumstances.

Published by Zest Books in 2015. Book provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

For more nonfiction graphic novels for teens check out:

Persopolis by Marjane Satrapi

Smile and Sisters by Raina Telgemeier

March, Book 1 and March, Book 2 by John Lewis

Yummy : the Last Days of a Southside Shorty by Greg Neri

TPiB: Comic Book Creations

Today I am hosting my first Teen program for this year’s super hero themed program. This is hands down my favorite SRC theme to date. So many cool, easy and fun things to do. Today I’m just having a kind of informal comic themes Maker program where we will cut up discarded graphic novels/manga/comic books to make a wide variety of crafts.

1. Upcycled Bottle Cap Crafts

Bottle cap crafts are quick and easy. You can make magnets. You can hang a washer with a magnet on a string and make easily interchangeable necklaces. And since we’re using GNs and comics we can use pictures or catchy phrases.

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To make the bottle cap crafts you need:

  • Some type of pictures (here I used discarded GNs)
  • A 1 inch hole punch
  • Bottle caps
  • 1 inch circle epoxy stickers
  • Some type of glue to glue the picture into the bottle cap
  • Magnets

To make the necklace: tie a washer to a string long enough for a bracelet or necklace. Attach a magnet to the washer. You can then easily interchange bottle caps to change out your jewelry.

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I also bought a variety of comic book and super hero themed duct tape which will work really well for making button crafts as well. In addition, I bought photo mats and my goal is to have the teens use the duct tape to cover photo mats and frame their GNs pages with it.

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2. Upcycled Buttons

Buttons are actually really popular with my teens. Cutting up GNs and comics to make them is quick and easy.

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3. Turn an old GN into a new (and personalized) GN

I cut up a bunch of discarded GNs to make my own GN. You could glue it to a piece of paper. I happen to have a bunch of various size acrylics to decorate my teen area so I went ahead and made it into a mural/wall art.

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4. Make collages

The above wall art came about actually quite by accident. I started making a simple collage to frame because we have a ton of smaller acrylic frames that were donated and I knew they would make a fun craft for teens to take home. Then I just kind of got carried away and made it into a wall panel. But a basic collage works as well.

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5. Make your own comic strips & gn pages

I am going to be doing this portion of the program in two ways.

BY HAND

comiccrafts8On Amazon I was able to order a few different comic book creation tools that had long comic strip sheets for teens to fill in and graphic novel templates. You can find them here and here.

BY TECHNOLOGY

comicbk3I made the above comic page using an iPhone and the ComicBook app. I wrote previously about comic book creation tools here.

Graphic Novel Spotlight: from the April 2014 issues of VOYA

I am always scouring looking for Graphic Novels. They are super popular at my library and since I don’t really read them, I’m not always sure what to buy. Thankfully, Amanda Foust and Jack Baur wrote a piece on Graphic Novels for the April issue of 2014. Here they highlight their favorite titles published between November 2012 and 2013 (pages 28 and 29).

Some of the graphic novels they recommend include:

Adventure Time
I have actually had a couple of teens recommend these to me, so I have recently purchased a few. Adventure Time is very popular show on The Cartoon Network.

Boxers and Saints by Gene Luen Yang
This title was on all of the best of lists for 2013 and was nominated for the National Book Award. They are two separate titles that work together as a whole.

March by John Lewis
Nonfiction graphic novels are continuing to grow in popularity, particularly biography and autobiographies. This title is a history lesson in the life of Congressman John Lewis and the march to end segregation. It is the first in a planned trilogy. March was featured on NPR in August of 2013.

Princeless by Jeremy Whitley
Locked in a tower, Princess Adrienne decides to rescue herself and to rescue her sisters from a similar fate. In addition to being a GN with empowering females,the princess and a majority of the supporting cast are African American, which we don’t see enough of in graphic novels.

Rust by Royden Lepp
Rust is drawn and illustrated with sepia toned art and it is really quite beautiful. Plus, there is a robot. I support all things with robots.

Spotlight on Tuan Nguyen and the Maverick Graphic Novel Committee


In case you weren’t aware, the Texas Library Association and the Young Adult Round Table support the Texas Maverick List (no, not the basketball team that just embarrassed themselves in front of the Spurs), but a librarian created and recommended list of GRAPHIC NOVELS for youth in grades 6-12. I had the chance to crash their 5th anniversary party during TxLA Conference, and had the wonderful opportunity to meet up with Tuan Nguyen, one of the founders of the Maverick List. He was gracious enough to let me bug him with questions about himself and the Maverick List for Teen Librarian Toolbox, and share about himself and the list with everyone!


1. Tell us a little about yourself- your background, etc.
Well, I grew up as one of five children in a yellow house with a red roof… wait, let’s fast forward a bit.  I have a Master in Library Science from the University of North Texas and have been a library consultant for the past 11 years.  As a library consultant for Mackin Educational Resources, I have worked with many wonderful librarians and libraries across the state of Texas. One of my greatest passions, besides my wife and kids, are graphic novels.  I have paneled and presented on the topic of graphic novels on many different stages including at the American Library Association conference, Texas Library Association conference, and several times at the San Diego International Comic Convention.  I also provide workshops and professional development for teachers and librarians on graphic novels.  While in library school, my friends and I helped develop the Maverick Graphic Novel Committee for the Texas Library Association.  
2. How did you get into graphic novels and comics in the first place?
As an elementary student, I had a lackluster interest in reading, which led my teachers to believe that I had reading problems.  It wasn’t that I couldn’t read, but rather there wasn’t anything I wanted to read.  The combination of being a bilingual student and reluctant reader was the perfect storm for me being placed in an ESL program.  (Side note, my sister who was two years older than me was a phenomenal reader and would terrorize our school and public librarians with request for new books.)

Luckily for me, shortly after being placed in the ESL program, my aunt suggested to my mom to let me try my cousins’ comic books.  Not only was I getting two-sizes too big hand-me-downs from my cousins, but I was also getting their hand-me down comics.  But it was a life-changing experience.  I can’t remember exactly which issue, but my first comic was a Superman comic book and I instantly fell in love with the format.  From that moment, I did everything I could to get my hands on comic books.  When I couldn’t get to the local comic book store or the 7-11 convenience store (I grew up in a small Arkansas town and the closest comic book store was in the next town), my brother and I would make our very own. 
      
3. What are your favorite graphic novels/comics/manga? 
The ones that have resonated with me are “Pedro and Me” by Judd Winick, the “X-Men” and “X-Factor” crossover during the Mutant Massacre storyline, “Ranma 1/2” by Rumiko Takahashi and “American Born Chinese” by Gene Yang.  
4. How did you get the idea to start the Maverick graphic novel list?
The thought about having graphic novels in school libraries would’ve been beyond my wildest dreams as a young reader. But having worked with many different school librarians over the years, I discovered there was always a collection development demand for graphic novels.  It was a serendipitous moment that allowed an end to meet the need.      
5. How hard was it to get the list approved/sponsored through TLA?
The process from beginning to end took a little over three years.  It was first an elevator pitch to the TLA president in 2006 and the idea gained momentum.  The concept was well-received, but there was still the question of who was going to put the effort into researching the idea.  It was a labor of love for WyLaina Hildreth-Polk, Alicia Holston and me to be responsible for such a task.  Over the next two years, we met regularly to discuss and share research data and write our proposal to the Young Adult Round Table (YART).  Along the way, we picked up help from Jennifer Smith, Renee Dyer, and Laura Jewell.  We received both YART’s Executive Board approval and then TLA’s Executive Board approval.  The final proposal for approval went in front of the YART general membership in 2009.         
6. What are the criteria that the committee goes through when looking at graphic novels for the list?
There are a lot of different factors that we use to determine whether a graphic novel makes the list (i.e. storyline, artwork, lettering, etc).  Before a title is considered, it must be recommended by a committee member or the general public.  We accept suggestions through our website athttp://www.txla.org/groups/maverick.  Every fall we gather at TLA headquarters and deliberate on the titles.  Ultimately, it takes a majority vote from the committee for a title to make the list.  A bit of noteworthy news, this past year we instituted the Maverick Starred Review, which represents a title receiving a unanimous vote from the committee members.    


7. If someone wanted to get involved with the Maverick committee, how would they apply?
We are always looking for volunteers to join the Maverick Committee.  We have 1-, 2-, and 3-year commitments. One of the many perks of being a Maverick is all the awesome graphic novels and manga we get :)  To apply, you’ll need to be a member of TLA and the Young Adult Round Table.  Applications are available online at http://www.txla.org/groups/yartvolunteers
8. What advice do you have for teen specialists/librarians who don’t know anything about comics/graphic novels? 
If you aren’t a traditional graphic novel reader, start with a story that you have an interest in.  There are plenty of graphic novels and manga that cover a wide spectrum of storylines, but don’t be afraid to abandon a graphic novel if it doesn’t sustain your interest.  Two graphic novels that I highly recommend for first-time GN readers would be “Understanding Comics” by Scott McCloud and “Maus” by Art Spiegelman.  Additionally, attend your local school or public library anime/manga group.  They are kindred spirits and will help show you the way.
9. What are some of the comics/graphic novels/manga that your teens/patrons adore more than anything? 
Manga is wildly popular, and oftentimes, I see students prefer manga over traditional western comics.  The storylines cover a wide range of topics, including futurist postal service, fracture fairy tales, cooking shows, etc.  If you search for an interest, I’m sure there is something to fulfill your need.         
10. What events are coming up next year at TLA that teen specialists can look forward to from the Maverick committee? 
There are several Maverick programs that I am working on that involves mangaka(s), but I can’t share too much until we get their publisher’s commitment. If everything works out according to plan, it will be a first for TLA’s and Maverick’s history.
11. Are there any plans for expanding the list downwards to younger ages?
Yes, coincidentally there are plans within TLA to look into a younger graphic novel review committee.  See question #5     
12. Anything else you want to share? 
Yes, I always like sharing this story.  A few TLA conferences ago, a school librarian from a small rural town came up to me after one of our Maverick programs and thanked us for our reading list.  Because our list was a TLA-recommended reading list, she was able to purchase her first graphic novel for her collection.  That young boy in me was so pleased, and I feel what we’re doing is truly making a difference.

MG Book Review: Star Wars: Jedi Academy by Jeffrey Brown

So much fun! As a casual enthusiast of Star Wars, I was fully engaged by this story of Roan, a young boy from Tatooine (sound familiar?) Roan comes from a family with a long history of serving as Star Pilots. His Father and Grandfather are Star Pilots, and his older brother is attending Pilot Academy. At the beginning of the novel, Roan is understandably disappointed to receive a rejection letter from Pilot Academy Middle School. It’s all he’s ever dreamt of – becoming a Star Pilot in the family tradition. What will he do now? His only alternative is Tatooine Agriculture Academy. He will be stuck on Tatooine forever, as a farmer.

More Star Wars fun here and here.


Mysteriously, just before he leaves to attend TAA, Roan receives a letter inviting him to attend Jedi Academy, on the strength of Master Yoda’s recommendation. What follows is Roan’s immersion into an almost foreign world. All of the other Jedi Academy students have been there since toddler-hood, why has Roan only now been accepted? We see the world of Star Wards through Roan’s eyes, visiting familiar places like Kashyyyk (home world of the Wookies), and learning more about what early training of the Jedi involved. Roan is a typical, slightly confused, moderately sarcastic, very funny and engaging middle schooler. This title is an excellent introduction to both the world of the Jedi and the world of Middle School. I would highly recommend its purchase for 3rd through 8th grades.

On a side note, this is an ‘alternative format’ novel, written as a mixture of journal entries, cartoons, letters, and other ephemera. Anywhere that this type of novel is popular (almost everywhere) would be best served by purchasing multiple copies.  Check out more great alternate format reads for Middle Grade readers here.

Kicky Says:  So, the tween got a copy of the book and read it 3 times in 2 days.  That’s right, I sat there and watched her finish the book just to open the front cover and start it all over again.  She says it is “really good” and “very funny”.

Star Wars: Jedi Academy (ISBN 9780545505178) from publisher Scholastic will be available on August 27, 2013

TPiB: Free Comic Book Day

This Saturday marks the 11th year of Free Comic Book Day, and I LOVE this day. Started in 2002, and coordinated by Diamond Comics, participating comic shops AND libraries across the country give comics AWAY FREE to those who come by. These comics are free to customers (not the stores), and the day has three purposes:

1. to introduce people everywhere to the joy of reading comics (we love reading, right?)

2. to gain future comic readers (and gaining future readers is always good)

3. to thank current comic book buyers and customers for their support (generates excellent good will within the community)

However, if you do not HAVE free comics to give away to your patrons, DO NOT PANIC. You can still put together an awesome Free Comic Book Day event with a minimum of effort.

First, check the Free Comic Book Day website for retailers that are participating in your area. Give them a call and explain who you are and that you want to put flyers up in the library pointing patrons to their locations for Free Comic Book Day, and that *NEXT* year you’d love to partner with them. By this time, it’s way too late to expect shops to free up some of their inventory for you, but this way you can start generating the good will with the shops for next year.

Second, think about what type of programming you can reasonably handle on Saturday without stretching your staff too thin.  If you have a wonderful manager, or are in charge of your own schedule, then full speed ahead; if you’re not, take a look at when you’re on the desk and how the rest of the library is staffed. Always keep an eye on what you can REASONABLY handle, and what the rest of the library staff can handle as well. The best types of programs will not stress ANYONE out needlessly.

Think about whether you want to do self directed or staff directed programming. Then take a look at the ideas below that can fit into either.

STAFF DIRECTED PROGRAMS

Movie Marathons: Do you have a public performance license? Do you have the equipment to show movies? Do you have the space (teen room, program room, various areas)? If so, pull movies to show throughout the day, and combine them with some of the self directed ideas below. Iron Man 3 will be released in theaters this Friday; show Iron Man, Iron Man 2, and The Avengers. Need to show movies that are more family friendly as you are in an open space?  Go with Adventures of Shark Boy and Lava Girl, Despicable Me, Scooby Doo, or Speed Racer. Or if you have the additional anime license, show anime from the Movie Licensing USA Collection.


http://blogs.strose.edu/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/boardgames.jpgLow Tech Gaming: Have a space or some empty tables? Put up flyers advertising a Low Tech Gaming day. Let your teens know to bring their Yu-Gi-Oh cards and your tweens to bring their Pokemon decks. See if any of your staffers would be willing to lend their comic based versions of Monopoly (I know I am not the only one out there that has Star Wars The Clone Wars Monopoly or Marvel Monopoly). Maybe someone has Simpsons Operation. Find a copy of Apples to Apples Disney Version. Or maybe someone has Scooby Doo Clue.

Console Gaming: If you have the space and the equipment, set up your console gaming equipment for some free style gaming. Titles like Marvel vs Capcom, Mortal Kombat vs DC Universe, DragonBall Z and Naruto completely fit the bill for a comic based program. An entire page in Wikipedia is devoted to titles (note: not all titles will be appropriate for teen programs in all libraries- you know your library so choose what would work for you).

Costume Party: Get buy-in from your library management, and have a costume party- everyone come dressed as their favorite hero (or villain). If you can’t go all out in dress, see if you can get a waiver for everyone to wear jeans and their favorite comic based T-shirt (within workplace rules- no graphic language, etc.). Then have a costume contest with your teens! Have their secret identity be their normal identity, and then they have a certain amount of time to change into their superhero (or villain) identity (without having to strip).  The changing room could be a closet off the program room or a storage area (if needed), and everyone would vote for their favorite costume. Music could be queued up from various comic based movie scores, and the winner announced at the end. Stations could be made from various self directed ideas, and it could be an entire celebration.

SELF DIRECTED PROGRAMS
 
Often times we just can’t do everything we want to do (money, time, staff, energy) and we need to remember that IT’S OK. Teen and youth service specialists are some of the most self-sacrificing people I know, and we want to give our “kids” everything- and we can’t do it sometimes. An easy way to have ‘something’ without driving ourselves over the bring is to do self directed programs- things that can be left out at a table with directions that tweens and teens can do on their own. It’s still a program, it counts for your stats, but it involves minimal effort.
PAPERKRAFT: I love paperkraft (cubees in other words). I can print a set off, run off copies on the black and white printer, set them out with the kiddie scissors, crayons and tape and let my tweens and teens loose.  I really like these super hero ones.
 

SUPER HERO CUFFS:  Over at Sewing In No Man’s Land they have a quick tutorial for Super Hero Cuffs…  Perfect for all those toilet paper rolls you didn’t know what to do with….

JOURNAL PROMPT: Sometimes all teens want is a chance to draw and doodle, so why not make May a month of self exploration with a Saturday of journal prompts? Comic Book Saturday could start with what type of superhero would I be…  Lay out scissors, blank copy paper, leftover magazines, colored copy paper, construction paper, markers, and other craft supplies, and let them loose.  

INNER SUPER HERO: Or if art journaling is too much, have them create their Inner Super Hero with the printable forms from KOMBOH.


You can also put together a GN page template in Publisher and invite teens to create their own GN page.  Once they are done, use them to decorate your endcaps.  PS – you can also do a simple comic strip panel template as well.  There are some downloadable PDFs here.

In the past, I have also hired a Caricature artist to come for a few hours into the teen area and just had an informal program where teens hung out, read comics, and had their caricatures made.  You can do online searches to find caricature artists in your area.
 
What plans do you have for Free Comic Book Day? Or are you celebrating it as Star Wars Day (May the 4th Be With You)…?

Graphically Speaking: From Page to Screen, summer movies based on graphic novels

I am in *love* with movies that are based off of comics and graphic novels. Nothing makes me happier than an excellent adaptation of them, and nothing ticks my inner geek off more than a crappy one. And it’s such an excellent way to tie those readers who swear they aren’t readers (or don’t think they are) into reading and browsing your collection!  We have such a wonderful line-up of movies coming through, you should definitely see what you have and tie it into your display! (And, superheros and mystery and secret identities and plots all work for the Collaborative Summer Reading Program themes….)
IRON MAN 3
 [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kEIVPiTuYkQ?rel=0] 
Based on the Iron Man Extremis storyline
 http://www.teenlibrariantoolbox.com/files/2013/04/d4ece-extremis1.jpg
MAN OF STEEL
[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-DaPBBOHfsA?rel=0]
Man of Steel isn’t going to be based off of *any* of the previous histories, but uses the same characters we’re all familiar with, according to this article.   Random House and DC is also doing a Superman Day for libraries on June 15.
RED 2 
 [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hTcWTf-pfyU?rel=0] 
The comics may not be suitable for a teen collection, but I know my older teens (older ya) and new adults (college age and up) love the movie based on Ellis and Hamner’s works.
http://www.teenlibrariantoolbox.com/files/2013/04/03b77-2010-10-20-red-2.jpg
RIPD
One that *just* released a trailer is Rest In Peace Department, all undead officers working to uphold the law on the other side.   It’s to star Ryan Reynolds, Kevin Bacon, Mary-Louise Parker and Jeff Bridges, and is set for a July 2013 release.
[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X07xNrVd7DU?rel=0&w=560&h=315]
http://images.darkhorse.com/covers/300/12/12391.jpg 
 The Wolverine 

 [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m-TdhnFW0As?rel=0] 

 is based off of Chris Claremont’s acclaimed 1982 Wolverine story arc, set after X-Men: last Stand (2006); there have also been animation versions of what could be some of the storyline airing on television’s G4 channel in the last few years.
http://assets3.indiemoviesonline.com/files/editorspics/Wolv3.jpg
Kick Ass 2
 [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g0zu5isIBZo?rel=0]
Following the first movie, which drew huge criticism for having a nine-year-old Chloe Grace Moretz as Hit Girl, Kick Ass 2 is amping it up and following the comics right along the storylines, if the trailers are any indication.

http://www.bleedingcool.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/image30-600x327.jpg 
And that, my friends, takes us until the end of the summer, at least graphically speaking….  BOOK WISE is a WHOLE ‘NOTHER story…
Which ones are you looking forward to?  Share in the comments below!

Take 5: Resources for Working with Reluctant Readers

Who are reluctant readers?  
Reluctant readers are people who. . .

Can Read, But Don’t (Aliteracy)
A reluctant reader may have good reading skills, but chooses not to read.  They will often say that they just don’t like to read.  This is also called aliteracy; being able to read but uninterested in doing so.  When we talk about Reluctant Readers, these are primarily the types of readers we are talking about.  As Mark Twain once said, “The man who does not read has no advantage over the man that can not read.” 

The Pew Report on Young American Reading Habits tells us that at least 83% of young people in America read at least one book in the past year.  This tells us that 17% didn’t.  And one book in a year, that’s not exactly our goal.

Wants to Read but Hides It
There are also some tweens and teen who actually do like to read, but because of the perceived coolness factor of it, they choose to hide it.  They are closeted readers if you will.

Boys?
It’s a common adage that boys don’t like to read.  Truthfully, I know plenty of boys who like to read, and the things they like to read often surprise me.  But here is a really good look at boys and reading, some statistics to be concerned about (test scored have been falling for 30 years), and a different look at the question.  The truth is, there IS a gender gap in reading.  Test scores show that boys are less proficient at reading than girls and this gap has been widening for the past 30 years.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TLHzIxXXHp0]



Can’t Read (Illiteracy)
Illiteracy is not necessarily the same as reluctant reading, because many people who struggle with the inability to read would like very much to be able to read.  It is amazing to me how many people are able to effectively hide the fact that they can’t read.  Others do so less effectively, of course.  Here is a look at the World’s Illteracy rate as compiled by Info Please:

The United Nations, which defines illiteracy as the inability to read and write a simple message in any language, has conducted a number of surveys on world illiteracy. In the first survey (1950, pub. 1957) at least 44% of the world’s population were found to be illiterate. A 1978 study showed the rate to have dropped to 32.5%, by 1990 illiteracy worldwide had dropped to about 27%, and by 1998 to 16%. However, a study by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) published in 1998 predicted that the world illiteracy rate would increase in the 21st cent. because only a quarter of the world’s children were in school by the end of the 20th cent. The highest illiteracy rates were found in the less developed nations of Africa, Asia, and South America; the lowest in Australia, Japan, North Korea, and the more technologically advanced nations of Europe and North America. Using the UN definition of illiteracy, the United States and Canada have an overall illiteracy rate of about 1%. In certain disadvantaged areas, however, such as the rural South in the United States, the illiteracy rate is much higher.

 
Here are 5 Spectacular Resources to Help Connect Readers with Books
People will read, when they find something they connect with. Our job as librarians (and teachers and parents) is to help them make those connections.  Here are some resources that can help you do that.

1) YALSA Quick Picks List
The YALSA Quick Pics list is a list of books specifically chosen for their appeal to reluctant readers.  These are short, quick reads that are engaging, thoughtful, and bound to turn reluctant readers into raving readers.

2) Graphic Novels
Many libraries now have Graphic Novel (GN) and Manga collections, because they are hugely popular.  But they are also a good draw for reluctant readers.  One of my favorite resources is the No Flying, No Tights website for reviews and core collection lists.

Research: Teenage Reluctant Readers and Graphic Novels

3) Audio Books
For many, audio books can help you engage in the story more readily than a book.  When reading a book, you can be overwhelmed if you are a struggling reader or easily distracted.  Research shows that listening to audio books can help engage readers and improve skills.

Research: Young Adult Audio Books, the audio answer for reluctant readers

4) Guys Read.com

Are Guys Reluctant Readers? That question is debatable; the truth is some guys are and some guys aren’t, just as some girls are and some girls aren’t.  But, Guys Read is a great resource for those looking to connect guys with books.


5) Orca Books 



Orca Books has set out with the singular purpose of producing hi interest/low level titles for struggling and reluctant readers.  They’ve done their research, established some great product lines, and produce a variety of titles.

What are some of the ways you help connect your reluctant readers with books?

Tell us in the comments.

Here are some additional research and information on Reluctant Readers: