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Kicky’s Post It Note Reviews: In which a Teen tells us what she thinks about Raven, Sweat Pea, Guts and more

The Teen has been read a lot this summer and she’s heart today to share her thoughts with some post it note reviews. She’s brief, concise and to the point. In other words, she’s the exact opposite of me. Because we also talk about the books we read, I sometimes expand on her reviews with some of our follow up conversations.

Publisher’s Book Description

When a tragic accident takes the life of 17-year-old Raven Roth’s foster mom—and Raven’s memory—she moves to New Orleans to recover and finish her senior year of high school.

Starting over isn’t easy. Raven remembers everyday stuff like how to solve math equations and make pasta, but she can’t remember her favorite song or who she was before the accident. And when impossible things start happening, Raven begins to think it might even be better not to know who she was before.

But as she grows closer to her new friends, her foster sister, Max, and Tommy Torres, a guy who accepts her for who she is now, Raven has to decide if she’s ready to face what’s buried in the past… and the darkness building inside her.

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Kami Garcia and first-time graphic novel artist Gabriel Picolo comes this riveting tale of finding the strength to face who you are and learning to trust others—and yourself.

Post It Note Review

“Very quick read. Positive message throughout.”

I asked what the positive message was and The Teen said, “You know how Raven’s dad is a demon. Well she doesn’t want to grow up like her dad and the message is that you don’t have to follow in your parents footsteps, that you can be your own person.”

Publisher’s Book Description

A true story from Raina Telgemeier, the #1 New York 
Times
 bestselling, multiple Eisner Award-winning author of 
SmileSistersDrama, 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.

Post It Note Review

“Shows anxiety very well and supportive family and friends.”

As The Teen herself has an anxiety disorder, it is high praise indeed that she felt that this was a good, honest depiction of anxiety. Thing 2 has also read this book and highly recommends it as well.

Publisher’s Book Description

Barbara Dee explores the subject of #MeToo for the middle grade audience in this heart-wrenching—and ultimately uplifting—novel about experiencing harassment and unwanted attention from classmates.

For seventh grader Mila, it starts with an unwanted hug on the school blacktop.

The next day, it’s another hug. A smirk. Comments. It all feels…weird. According to her friend Zara, Mila is being immature, overreacting. Doesn’t she know what flirting looks like?

But it keeps happening, despite Mila’s protests. On the bus, in the halls. Even during band practice-the one time Mila could always escape to her “blue-sky” feeling. It seems like the boys are EVERYWHERE. And it doesn’t feel like flirting–so what is it?

Mila starts to gain confidence when she enrolls in karate class. But her friends still don’t understand why Mila is making such a big deal about the boys’ attention. When Mila is finally pushed too far, she realizes she can’t battle this on her own–and finds help in some unexpected places.

From the author of STAR-CROSSED, HALFWAY NORMAL and EVERYTHING I KNOW ABOUT YOU comes this timely story of a middle school girl standing up and finding her voice. 

Post It Note Review

“Extremely good & shows how much harassment affects everything.”

When The Teen moved into middle school in the 7th grade, her and her friends really began experiencing a lot of sexual harassment from the boys at school. There were catcalls, swatted behinds and more. When she read the description of this book she told me, “I know this is middle grade and a little young for me, but I really want to read it.” So she did. She said this was a very important and impactful book and she hopes that it is read far and wide.

Publisher’s Book Description

The first middle grade novel from Julie Murphy, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Dumplin’ (now a popular Netflix film), is a funny, heartwarming story perfect for fans of Rebecca Stead, Ali Benjamin, and Holly Goldberg Sloan.

Patricia “Sweet Pea” DiMarco wasn’t sure what to expect when her parents announced they were getting a divorce. She never could have imagined that they would have the “brilliant” idea of living in nearly identical houses on the same street. In the one house between them lives their eccentric neighbor Miss Flora Mae, the famed local advice columnist behind “Miss Flora Mae I?”

Dividing her time between two homes is not easy. And it doesn’t help that at school, Sweet Pea is now sitting right next to her ex–best friend, Kiera, a daily reminder of the friendship that once was. Things might be unbearable if Sweet Pea didn’t have Oscar—her new best friend—and her fifteen-pound cat, Cheese.

Then one day Flora leaves for a trip and asks Sweet Pea to forward her the letters for the column. And Sweet Pea happens to recognize the handwriting on one of the envelopes.

What she decides to do with that letter sets off a chain of events that will forever change the lives of Sweet Pea DiMarco, her family, and many of the readers of “Miss Flora Mae I?”

Post It Note Review

“Super cute and gives a strong message of hope.”

The Teen is a fan of author Julie Murphy so she was pretty happy to read this book. She especially liked how hopeful it was.

Publisher’s Book Description

For fans of Love, Simon and Eleanor and Park, a romantic and sweet novel about a transgender boy who falls in love for the first time—and how first love changes us all—from New York Times bestselling author Amber Smith.

Chris and Maia aren’t off to a great start.

A near-fatal car accident first brings them together, and their next encounters don’t fare much better. Chris’s good intentions backfire. Maia’s temper gets the best of her.

But they’re neighbors, at least for the summer, and despite their best efforts, they just can’t seem to stay away from each other.

The path forward isn’t easy. Chris has come out as transgender, but he’s still processing a frightening assault he survived the year before. Maia is grieving the loss of her older sister and trying to find her place in the world without her. Falling in love was the last thing on either of their minds.

But would it be so bad if it happened anyway? 

Post It Note Review

“I think this relationship was toxic and harmful but at least it’s LGBTQ+ affirming.”

This is one of several books lately where The Teen has come to me upset because she has felt that the relationship presented in the book is toxic and she just couldn’t route for or buy into the relationship. We talk a lot about toxic relationships vs. healthy relationships and I’m thankful every time that books help us have those conversations. She’s conflicted about this book because she was very happy with how LGBTQIA+ affirming it was but didn’t really like the relationship. All the professional reviews I read mention that both participants often are truthful with each other while holding things back and I think it was this aspect that she struggled with. You can read author Amber Smith’s post Out and Proud (On the Page and In Real Life): My Long and Not-Straight Journey to Self-Acceptance here.

Collecting Comics: Middle Grade Novels that a Middle Grade Reader Really Loves

I’ve shared with you before the struggles that Thing 2, now almost 11, has had with reading. From being diagnosed with dyslexia to the ways in which school reading assignments have made her hate reading, I’ve been working overtime as both a mom and a librarian to try and ignite that love for reading. Do you know what’s helping? Graphic Novels!! So today while regular C2 blogger Ally Watkins is on sabbatical – it’s summer reading program time! – Thing 2 and I are here to share with you some graphic novels read by and recommended by a middle grade reader.

Now if you know anything about me, I have often proclaimed that graphic novels are my archnemesis. Not because I don’t respect or value them, because I do, but because I don’t personally enjoy them as a reader and have found them over the years to be hard to evaluate and collect. Thankfully, I now have resident comics and graphic novel expert Ally Watkins saved into my phone and I talk to her regularly about GNs. In fact, she kindly gives me a lot of recommendations for my very favorite middle grade graphic novel reader. I have a long list of recommended titles we’re working through.

Here’s a look at some of the GNs Thing 2 is currently reading and loving.

Like most middle grade kids, Thing 2 LOVES Raina Telgemeier. I was very fortunate to attend BEA and got an advanced copy of Guts, which she loved. The Teen also read this book because she grew up reading Telgemeier and she also was a fan. One of the things we really liked about this book is that it talks openly and honestly about having anxiety, which several people in our house struggle with. This ARC has already been read several times by multiple people in our house and is highly recommended.

The Cardboard Kingdom is a super fun book about a group of kids who make a play kingdom out of cardboard. It’s about friendship and creativity. It’s inspiring and joyful. As a librarian, I love that it has built in fun activities that require nothing more than creativity and cardboard, something that libraries have in spades as we get shipments of books in large cardboard boxes. This book is a delight and is another title that she has read multiple times.

YA authors Meg Cabot and Kami Garcia have both joined the DC graphic novel line. Meg Cabot wrote the Black Canary graphic novel that you see pictured above. Kami Garcia wrote the origin story for Raven, from Teen Titans. We watch a lot of comic book movies in our house and we are regular Teen Titans Go watchers so both of these GNs were awesome!

I did a random search for middle grade grade novels and came across The Breakaways which I purchased with almost no information because it’s about a group of friends who play soccer. Thing 2 also plays soccer so I thought tying reading in with something she already loves might help. It came when I was at work and by the time I had gotten home she had already read it. It is a great coming of age novel in which a variety of characters explore things like their sexuality, friendships, and features a wide variety of middle schoolers who are just trying to figure out who they are.

Real Friends by Shannon Hale is another graphic novel that is popular with Thing 2 and all of her friends. The companion novel, Best Friends, comes out in August and we already have our copy pre-ordered.

I have a long list of GNs to try from Ally and they include series like Amulet, Zita the Spacegirl, Cleopatra in Space, Princeless and Roller Girl. Be Prepared is on its way to our house as we speak. Graphic novels are very popular and growing in popularity, especially among middle grade readers. Several publishing houses have started or have announced that they are starting graphic novel imprints this year and next. I’m calling a truce with graphic novels, they are my archnemesis no more!

Remember, reading graphic novels is reading! And I am thankful that they are helping my kid develop a love of reading after so many struggles.

Here are some other great recommended reading lists that we’re currently working our way through

7 Awesome New Middle Grade Graphic Novels 

Get Real with Middle Grade Graphic Novels

Best Middle Grade Graphic Novels of 2018

50 Must Read Graphic Novels

Middle Grade Graphic Novel Publishers

Oni Press

DC Press

Scholastic Graphix

And Here are Some General Resources About the Rising Popularity of Graphic Novels Among Middle Grade Readers

Going Graphic: Why Graphic Novels are the New Frontier in Middle Grade

PW: An Ever Growing Demand for Middle Grade Graphic Novels

Book Review: The Unwanted: Stories of the Syrian Refugees by Don Brown

Publisher’s description

the unwantedIn the tradition of Don Brown’s critically acclaimed, full-color nonfiction graphic novels The Great American Dust Bowl and Sibert Honor winning Drowned CityThe Unwanted is an important, timely, and eye-opening exploration of the ongoing Syrian refugee crisis, exposing the harsh realities of living in, and trying to escape, a war zone. 

 

Starting in 2011, refugees flood out of war-torn Syria in Exodus-like proportions. The surprising flood of victims overwhelms neighboring countries, and chaos follows. Resentment in host nations heightens as disruption and the cost of aid grows. By 2017, many want to turn their backs on the victims. The refugees are the unwanted.

 

Don Brown depicts moments of both heartbreaking horror and hope in the ongoing Syrian refugee crisis. Shining a light on the stories of the survivors, The Unwanted is a testament to the courage and resilience of the refugees and a call to action for all those who read.

 

Amanda’s thoughts

I’m a huge fan of all of Don Brown’s graphic nonfiction. If you are unfamiliar with them, I hope you will check into them and add them to your collections, particularly his stunningly moving book on Hurricane Katrina, Drowned City. This slim volume packs a real punch, filled with information and first-person accounts of Syria’s refugee crisis.

 

Brown provides a very brief overview of the Arab Spring, starting this story with teenage boys writing graffiti (“Down with the regime”) on a wall in Dara’a, in southern Syria, then the arrest and torture of those boys, which sparks a protest for their freedom. Of course, this is just one of many inciting incidents, as the anger is far deeper and more widespread, with Syrians unhappy with Assad’s rule and the corrupt government. The government retaliates against the protesters, with the growth of the protest and violence leading to civil war. Syrians flee to Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey, living in tent cities, with friends and family, or in communities in the hills. Violence intensifies when jihadists, including ISIS, join the fight. Brown followers various refugees’ journeys as they escape any way they can. We see people fleeing on foot, on boats, with smugglers, some of them successfully escaping, but many thousands and thousands dying in the process.

 

Brown gives readers a closer look at life both inside and outside of refugee camps. He also shares statistics that help inform the stories he is telling, such as numbers of registered refugees, applications for asylum, and numbers of the dead and missing. He goes on to show the tolls on the countries accepting refugees and the lengths many countries went to to keep refugees out. As sympathies wane, many begin to fear and hate the influx of refugees, whom they see as a threat and drain on resources. As more borders close, more and more people find themselves stranded. One refugees asks the heartbreaking question, “Who cares about us?” Brown takes readers back to Syria, looking at the continued war there, with the eventual exodus of so many who had hoped to be able to wait out the violence and unrest. Brown ends with a family making it to California and speaking about the future. He then includes extensive back matter explaining why he focused this story so closely on the refugee experience without going into the complicated roles that religion, politics, and cultured played in the story. Included are journal summaries from his May 2017 visit to a refugee camp in Greece, lengthy source notes, and a bibliography.

 

It was no surprise to me that Brown so adeptly captures the emotions and weight of this experience. Though, as noted, this book is slight, it is a thorough and affecting look at the Syrian refugee crisis, particularly for younger readers who may just be looking for a quick and basic understanding of what has been going on. The full-color illustrations are dynamic and powerful, whether showing crowded boats, near-empty deserts, or the anguish on the refugees’ faces. This somber, poignant, and deeply sympathetic look at Syrian refugees is as moving as it is informative. A solid addition for all collections. 

 

 

Review copy (ARC) courtesy of the publisher
ISBN-13: 9781328810151
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date: 09/18/2018

Book Review: DeadEndia: The Watcher’s Test by Hamish Steele

Publisher’s description

deadendiaBarney and his best friend Norma are just trying to get by and keep their jobs, but working at the Dead End theme park also means battling demonic forces, time traveling wizards, and scariest of all–their love lives!

Follow the lives of this diverse group of employees of a haunted house, which may or may not also serve as a portal to hell, in this hilarious and moving graphic novel, complete with talking pugs, vengeful ghosts and LBGTQIA love!

 

 

 

Amanda’s thoughts

I’m always marrying things—a really yummy pancake, a cute dog, a good book. Add this graphic novel to my marriage line-up; I’m in love with this book.

 

Really, this book had me at trans protagonist, graphic novel, talking dog, girl with anxiety disorder, and hell portal. It’s like all my favorite things together in one place. If only they had also obsessively eaten donuts and the dog was a dachshund and not a pug! Barney, who is trans, has recently left home, after it was made clear that he wasn’t welcome there. His friend Norma Khan hooks him up with a job as a janitor at the Pollywood amusement park where she works as a guide at a haunted house (a job she likes because there is a script). It’s the least popular attraction there, in the area referred to as Scare Square. Barney figures it will be a good place to stay while he’s homeless, and it maybe would have been, if it hadn’t turned out that the haunted house was also a portal to a bunch of demons. Before long, Barney, Norma, and Barney’s dog, Pugsley, are constantly battling demons through shifting timelines and dimensions. The planes are described as a “big, interdimensional, supernatural cake,” and it’s hard to know who is mostly harmless, who may be helpful, and who eventually becomes bad in a another timeline. When a demon possesses Pugsley early on, he retains the ability to speak, even after they manage to exorcise the demon. Norma has known about the demons for ages, but for Barney, this is all so new and odd at an especially new and odd time in his life.

 

Norma has nicknames for everyone working at the park—it helps with her anxiety, because she’s always worried she will forget someone’s name, so she just calls them nicknames. Barney has a crush on Logs, Logan, who runs the flume log ride. But it’s hard to start up a new relationship when you’re constantly being visited by faceless echo demons, or an angelic punisher, or turned into an animal, or dealing with a fear-eating skull, or being visited by a happiness vampire. Norma starts hanging out with Badyah, a cute hijabi girl, who helps her move past her social anxiety a bit (though Norma doesn’t like being asked to hang out, is horrified with herself when she can’t come up with an excuse to not hang out, and is disgusted to have “plans” to know facts about Badyah), but she also seems a therapist. When trying to describe to someone why her one day of everything seeming strange and scary is nothing to how every day is for Norma, she says, “It doesn’t make me pathetic. It doesn’t make me weird. It makes me brave.” The main characters all have kind of a lot of real-life things to deal with and don’t exactly need the excitement and drama (and terror) that comes with demons, but, willing or not, they slog through this time-traveling battle royale with each others’ help. Complicated emotions, strong friendship, demons, and plenty of LGBTQIA+ representation. All that and bright, bold illustrations AND great writing? Total win. Sweet, funny, and enjoyably, delightfully weird. 

 

 

Review copy courtesy of the publisher

ISBN-13: 9781910620472
Publisher: Nobrow Ltd.
Publication date: 08/07/2018

Book Review: The Cardboard Kingdom by Chad Sell and friends

Publisher’s description

cardboard kingdomPerfect for fans of Raina Telgemeier, Awkward, and All’s Faire in Middle School, this graphic novel follows a neighborhood of kids who transform ordinary cardboard into fantastical homemade costumes as they explore conflicts with friends, family, and their own identity.

Welcome to a neighborhood of kids who transform ordinary boxes into colorful costumes, and their ordinary block into cardboard kingdom. This is the summer when sixteen kids encounter knights and rogues, robots and monsters—and their own inner demons—on one last quest before school starts again.

In the Cardboard Kingdom, you can be anything you want to be—imagine that!

The Cardboard Kingdom was created, organized, and drawn by Chad Sell with writing from ten other authors: Jay Fuller, David DeMeo, Katie Schenkel, Kris Moore, Molly Muldoon, Vid Alliger, Manuel Betancourt, Michael Cole, Cloud Jacobs, and Barbara Perez Marquez. The Cardboard Kingdom affirms the power of imagination and play during the most important years of adolescent identity-searching and emotional growth.

 

Amanda’s thoughts

I’m keeping track of what books I read for younger readers this summer and making a post-it note blog post about them, just like I post during the school year. But I loved this book so much that I wanted to single it out and make sure it gets seen so it can be added to all collections. There is a lot to like about this graphic novel. The vibrant, cheerful art is incredibly appealing, the large cast of characters all get their own little storylines and stand out as unique and memorable—not an easy task when looking at this many characters. I love the emphasis on creativity, imagination, and working together as well as the creative play that allows you to imagine yourself however you’d like to be—or to show the world how you really are. As the parent of a kid who still, at 12, loves nothing more than turning a cardboard box into the scene for some imagined battle, a kid who is generally outside in some kind of costume, I especially love it. The diversity of kids and home lives shown here is effortless, inclusive, and affirming. There’s a boy who lives with this grandmother while his mother is off somewhere else, and needs to learn to care for herself before he can go live with her again. There’s a young child, Jack, who loves the role of the sorceress because she is how he sees himself, how he’d like to be. His mother assures him that she’s okay with that, with him, and that he’s amazing. There’s Miguel who longs to be the romantic lead opposite a dashing prince. Seth’s parents are splitting up and he fears his father’s visits to their house. Some of the kids are the charismatic organizers while others hang back more and have to work a little harder to feel at ease with the group. This is a really excellent book with one of the most diverse groups of kids I’ve seen in a children’s book in a long time. A surefire hit with the graphic novel crowd. 

 

ISBN-13: 9781524719388
Publisher: Random House Children’s Books
Publication date: 06/05/2018

 

Book Review: Tsu and the Outliers by Erik Johnson

When I’m reviewing books for professional publications, I stay quiet about them on social media. I’m always really excited once a review comes out to be able to talk about the book, finally! Here’s one of my most recent reviews which originally appeared in the June 2018  School Library Journal.

 

tsuTsu and the Outliers by Erik Johnson (ISBN-13: 9781941250242 Publisher: Uncivilized Books Publication date: 06/12/2018)

Gr 7–10—Tsu, a nonverbal boy, is mocked by his peers and those around town for riding “the short bus”; they call him “dumb,” “idiot,” “freak,” and “unusual.” The local police in his rural town and a mysterious, apelike scientist want information from Tsu about the accident that his school bus was involved in and the creature that was seen shortly after. Tsu does not offer them any answers or tips but does haltingly speak to his mother to tell her he has to go away for a while. Densely drawn scenes, particularly outside, where most of the book takes place, are cluttered and sometimes hard to parse. The mostly black-and-white palette is punctuated by spots of a third color, which varies from section to section and helps images stand out; however, the overall effect is still a visual jumble. Readers are thrust right into the action, with little to no backstory about Tsu, the creature, or the scientist, and the thin plot feels like it is just starting to ramp up when it abruptly ends. Though Tsu isn’t explicitly described as autistic, the author heavily implies that he is, and the decision to imbue a character who has a disability with mystical powers is a tired cliché. VERDICT An additional purchase.

Book Review: All Summer Long by Hope Larson

Publisher’s description

all summer longA coming-of-age middle-grade graphic novel about summer and friendships, written and illustrated by the Eisner Award–winning and New York Times–bestselling Hope Larson.

Thirteen-year-old Bina has a long summer ahead of her. She and her best friend, Austin, usually do everything together, but he’s off to soccer camp for a month, and he’s been acting kind of weird lately anyway. So it’s up to Bina to see how much fun she can have on her own. At first it’s a lot of guitar playing, boredom, and bad TV, but things look up when she finds an unlikely companion in Austin’s older sister, who enjoys music just as much as Bina. But then Austin comes home from camp, and he’s acting even weirder than when he left. How Bina and Austin rise above their growing pains and reestablish their friendship and respect for their differences makes for a touching and funny coming-of-age story.

 

Amanda’s thoughts

This will be an easy hit with fans of Raina Telgemeier, Victoria Jamieson, Jennifer Holm, and Shannon Hale’s Real Friends. I could probably bring 20 of these to work, put them on my desk, and have them all gone to 5th graders in a few hours.

 

There’s so much to like here. I loved everything about this graphic novel except the repeated use of the word “lame.” Why do people think it’s okay to still use that word? Barring that, which took me out of the story every time because I had to sigh and roll my eyes, it was fantastic. I love that it’s about a boy-girl friendship. Neighbors Bina and Austin have been best friends literally their entire lives. But as athletic Austin heads off to a month of soccer camp, leaving music enthusiast Bina behind, Bina feels at loose ends. She’s never really had to figure out what to do without Austin. She listens to music, plays her guitar, binges a tv show, and texts Austin, wishing he’d bother to text her back. It’s not that she doesn’t have anything else going on in her life, but it’s her first summer really on her own. Her older brother and his husband are adopting a baby, her other adventurous brother pops home and gives her a little pep talk, and she has a good relationship with her parents. She becomes friends (maybe, sort of, she thinks) with Charlie, Austin’s older sister. Charlie introduces her to new music, gets her into babysitting, and makes Bina feel kind of cool. And kind of used and frustrated. Middle school is a pretty typical time to discover just how complicated relationships, even lifelong ones, can be. So much is changing, but, as her mom points out, Bina is becoming more herself every day. She’s getting more into music, understanding more about social dynamics, and learning how to shape her own days without her best friend there to help her. When Austin returns from camp, things between them are definitely different, but they work it out, discovering that growing and changing doesn’t have to mean growing apart. Bina is a great character and a lot of readers will relate to her feelings and uncertainty. A solid addition to any graphic novel collection. 

 

Review copy courtesy of the publisher

ISBN-13: 9780374310714
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publication date: 05/01/2018

Collecting Comics: May 2018 with Ally Watkins

Check out these May comics and graphic novels that your teens and tweens will be clamoring for!

collectingcomics

Goldie Vance, Volume 4 by Hope Larson and Jackie Ball, illustrated by Elle Power, colors by Sarah Stern (BOOM! Box, May 1). Goldie Vance is back! In Volume 4 of her adventures, sixteen year old ameteur sleuth Goldie finds plenty to keep her detective brain busy at the St. Pascal Rockin’ The Beach Music Festival which is in town! Give this to your young patrons who love historical fiction and/or mysteries.

maycomics1

All Summer Long by Hope Larson (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux BYR, May 1). A standalone middle grade graphic novel about summer and friendships, All Summer Long is about 13-year-old Bina, who has a long summer ahead of her. Her best friend Austin is off to camp for a month and he’s been acting weird anyway. So Bina bonds with Austin’s older sister, who has similar taste in music. But when Austin returns, growing pains make things even more awkward. Will they reconnect? A touching coming of age story from Goldie Vance’s Hope Larson.

Runaways, Volume 1: Find Your Way Home by Rainbow Rowell, illustrated by Kris Anka (Marvel, May 1). YA superstar Rainbow Rowell takes over the wildly popular Runaways series, bringing back original characters like Nico, Carolina, Molly, Chase, and even Gert. Your comics fans will love this one because of the beloved characters, and your YA fans will be thrilled to get new work from Rowell. Collects issues #1-#6 of the comic book series.

maycomics2

Angelic Volume 1: Heirs and Graces by Simon Spurrier, illustrated by Caspar Wijngaard (Image Comics, May 15). Centuries after humanity is gone, the earth belongs to genetically modified animals who stick to routines that feel oppressive to one young monkey, Qora, who just wants to fly free. Collects issues #1-#6 of the comic book series.

Misfit City Volume 2 by Kurt Lustgarten and Kirsten “Kiwi” Smith, illustrated by Naomi Franquiz (BOOM! Studios, May 29). Wilder and her friends continue their adventure, hunting for Black Mary’s treasure, and hoping to uncover secrets in their otherwise sleepy hometown. Collects #5-#8 of the comic book series.

BONUS NON-COMIC:

maycomics3

Supergirl: Curse of the Ancients by Jo Whittemore (Amulet, May 1). This book is the second of a planned middle grade Supergirl trilogy. Kara Danvers is back to save the day!

BONUS COMICS INFORMATION:

The Eisner Award nominations have been released. The Eisner Awards are a major comic award given every year at San Diego Comic-Con. The nominees, which include awards for kids and teens, can be found here: https://www.comic-con.org/awards/2018-eisner-awards-nominations.

Collection Development: Updating My GN and Manga Collection; or, that time I decided I wanted to face my arch nemesis and build a better collection for my patrons

collectingcomics

Hello all, Collecting Comics is Ally Watkins’ column, but I’m co-opting her column for a brief moment to share with you how I’m going about re-vamping my graphic novel and manga collection. It’s okay, Ally helped me periodically on this project. I could not have done it without her and the help of several other librarians and my friends on Twitter, who are way better at graphic novel collection development than I am. I went to the experts.

Some of you may be aware, but I am in the midst of a massive collection development project. I took over here 3 1/2 years ago and after getting the Teen MakerSpace organized, I took a deep dive into collection development. That deep dive has included a huge weed (twice now), a re-organization, a diversity audit, and now I am looking at what I have always called my arch-nemesis: graphic novels. Let me state right at the beginning, I do not hate graphic novels or manga. I know that they are valuable and popular formats, they just don’t personally work for me as a reader, which makes ordering them more challenging. And to be honest, I find them overwhelming, in large part because they are often long running series which keep me on my toes and take a lot of space and budget. The budget issue comes in because I feel like I’m always replacing lost or damaged copies. Graphic novel collection development does not come as easily to me as YA collection development does, and I know I’m not alone.

Graphic novels still make up about 8% of the book market, and some 11.3 million graphic novels were sold in 2017. Source

So, here I am taking this deep dive into graphic novels and manga. Let me share with you a quick outline of what I’ve been doing.

I began by running a shelf list and weeding report.

I then made a list of every series that we have and every superhero we have something on. I used the stats to help me determine if it earned shelf space. If something hasn’t circulated in the last year, it goes into the consider weeding pile. My shelf space for this collection is tight and you have to earn your space.

I used the statistical information to determine whether we should keep or weed the series. I was only able to weed about 100 titles as the circulation statistics indicated that this is a high circulating collection. I also want to make a note here that we are very aware that circulation statistics alone can’t be our only measure because we have a large number of manga and gn readers who come in, read books off the shelf, and then place them back on the shelf. We see it happen daily. We have tried to put a basket for readers and asked that our patrons don’t re-shelve these items to help us get a better idea of what people are reading. I highly recommend not relying on circulation statistics alone for a manga/graphic novel collection because of in-house readers.

I went through and filled holes on massively popular series that we get a lot of I.L.L. requests for. This was a time consuming process that involved my shelf list which let me know which items were missing or lost.

Source: https://publishingperspectives.com/2018/01/childrens-books-salon-international-issues-trends-rights/

Source: https://publishingperspectives.com/2018/01/childrens-books-salon-international-issues-trends-rights/

We then made the decision to re-catalog all of our YA and Adult graphic novels simply as Graphic Novels (for us, GN means graphic novels and manga). This allowed us to put all of our adult and YA GNs into one location. Because we combined them both, we no longer wanted to promote them as YA or house them in YA. So they are no longer YA, but they are YA adjacent. We did this because we had a handful of graphic novels stuck in the 741.5 section, like The Walking Dead, that we knew our teens were reading but were getting lost in adult nonfiction. We wanted to adopt a more book store model and put all of our items of the same format into one location, but we also wanted to make sure that we weren’t saying the titles were necessarily YA. We do still have a separate E and J graphic novel section on our children’s floor.

I then turned to my librarian friends who excel at graphic novel collection development, including TLT’s own Ally Watkins, and several people I know from Twitter. I even tweeted pics of the series we do have and asked for recommendations. I compiled these recommendations and did some research.

I of course did the research and looked at things like award winners and YALSA best graphic novels lists. If a series appeared on a list, it got higher priority when considering whether or not to add it.

I then grabbed a notepad and pen and went a spent a day at Barnes and Noble. This was the most illuminating part of my research. You see, my library has two ranges of graphic novels and manga. Barnes and Noble has sixteen. That’s right, they have fourteen more shelving ranges of graphic novels and manga than the library has. I spoke at length to the staff at B&N and learned that graphic novels and manga are high selling items and a growing market. I knew from our stats that graphic novels were circulating well for us, but I had no idea how big of a market they are. Barnes and Noble has as much graphic novels and manga as they have Young Adult literature. I was blown away by this. Also, going through the graphic novels and manga at Barnes and Noble allowed me to look at a few titles from each recommended series, thumb through them, look at the rating on the back, etc. I felt it allowed me to make a somewhat more informed decision.

“According to NPD Bookscan data from global information provider the NPD Group, the comics and graphic novels category in the U.S. trade book market has experienced compound annual unit sales growth of 15 percent over the last three years, making it one of the highest growth categories in the trade book marketplace.” Source

I then placed an order to help add some new series to my graphic novel collection. I ordered a couple of titles in each series. I will then look in a couple of months to see how they are circulating and determine whether or not we want to add more of that series.

Today I am sharing with you a shelf list of the series that we either own or were recommended to me. Please note, it does not contain stand alone titles or titles by authors such as Raina Telgemeier or Gene Luan Yang, this is simply a look at some manga series that are recommended and some superheroes that you might want to make sure you have. These are not titles necessarily recommended by me, but have been recommended to me or their circulation at our library meant they were worth keeping in our collection. I am sure there are many series that we are missing, in fact, please feel free to comment and let me know what else you recommend.

Series Title (GNs and Manga, not superheroes)
Adventure Time
Ajin
Amulet
Assassination Classroom
Attack on Titan
Bakuman
Behind the Scenes
Black Butler
Bleach
Blue ExorcistBone
Chilling Adventures of Sabrina
Cleopatra in Space
Death Note
Doctor Who
Fairy Tale
Faith
The Far Side
Fruits Basket
Gabriel Dropout
Garfield
Giant Days
The Good Neighbors
Gotham Academy
Haven’t You Heard
I Hate Fairyland
I Kill Giants
Immortal Hounds
iZombie
Kill Shakespeare
The Last Airbender
Lumberjanes
The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzaumiya
Miki Falls
Monster Hunter
Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur
Naruto
One Piece
One Punch Man
Ouran High School Host Club
Pandora Hearts
Princeless
Riverdale (Archie)
Pretty Guardian (Sailor Moon)
The Sandman
School-live!
Scott Pilgrim vs. The World
Secret Coders
A Silent Voice
Simpsons
Spill Zone
Star Wars
Tokyo Ghoul
Transformers
Twin Star Exorcists
The Unbeatable Squirrell Girl
The Walking Dead
Zits
Superhero GNs
Ant-Man
Avengers
Batgirl
Batman
Black Panther
Captain Marvel
Daredeveil
Deadpool
Doctor Strange
Guardians of the Galaxy
Justice League
Ms. Marvel
Runaways
Spider-Man
Supergirl
Watchmen
Wonder Woman
X-Men

Collecting Comics: March 2018 with Ally Watkins

Check out these March-releasing comics that your teens and tweens will love!

collectingcomics

Archival Quality by Ivy Noelle Weir, illustrated by Steenz (Oni Press, March 6). Cel starts working as an archivist at the Logan Museum, but the job may not be everything she’s hoping for. Cel starts to dream of a woman she’s never met, and as she tries to learn more about her, strange things start happening–misplacing things, losing time–but she can’t seem to let go. Who’s the mysterious woman and why is Cel so drawn to her?

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The Altered History of Willow Sparks by Tara O’Connor (Oni Press, March 6). Willow is just about as low on the popularity scale of her high school as you can be. Until she finds a mysterious book that has the power to literally change her life. With each entry in the book, she becomes more popular, but her old life and friendships get farther and farther away. Willow is starting to discover that every action has a reaction and that this social experiment might not turn out the way she thinks it will.

brazen

Brazen: Rebel Ladies who Rocked the World by Pénélope Bagieu (First Second, March 6). Bagieu compiles a comic biography of a variety of women who have rebelled and changed the world in various ways. Some of the women are well known, and some aren’t, but all are rebels. Great nonfiction title for teens!

Invincible Iron Man: Ironheart: Volume 1: Riri Williams by Brian Michael Bendis, illustrated by Stefano Caselli (Marvel, March 6). Riri Williams has her own Iron Man suit and the newest, best technology, and she’s ready to try her hand at this superhero thing. But she’s got a lot to deal with: super villains, super-teams trying hard to recruit her, and her adventures going viral. Is she ready for this? Collects issues #1-#5 of the comic book series. Your superhero fans will love the introduction of a new teenage superhero character!

The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, Volume 7: I’ve Been Waiting for a Squirrel Like You by Ryan North, illustrated by Erica Henderson (Marvel, March 13). Doreen and Nancy enter a programming contest and they don’t expect the prize to be a trip to The Savage Land. Will Squirrel Girl get to fight a dinosaur?? Collects issues #22-#26 of the comic book series.

The Unstoppable Wasp, Volume 2: Agents of G.I.R.L. by Jeremy Whitley, illustrated by Elsa Charretier (Marvel, March 13). The Red Room wants Nadia back, and they’re gunning to get her there. This means the geniuses of G.I.R.L. are taking on their first real science challenge! Can they outsmart the Red Room, or will Nadia be forced back into captivity? Collects issues #5-#8 of the comic book series.

Giant Days Volume 7 by John Allison, illustrated by and Max Sarin and Liz Fleming (BOOM! Studios, March 27). Susan, Daisy, and Esther continue their second year at university and this semester includes: protests, family reunions, and an MMORPG wedding. Collects issues #25-#28 of the comic book series.

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Secret Coders: Potions and Parameters by Gene Luen Yang, illustrated by Mike Holmes (First Second, March 27). In the fifth Secret Coders book, The Coders have found Hopper’s dad–but he’s not the same. He’s had some of Professor One-Zero’s “green pop” concoction that makes him obsessed with the color green. The Professor won’t stop until the whole town is in a green stupor! Can the Coders stop him? Your younger comics readers will love this series!

BONUS NON-COMIC:

The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl: 2 Fuzzy 2 Furious by Shannon Hale and Dean Hale (Marvel Press, March 6). Doreen Green, age 14, also happens to be Squirrel Girl, a middle school superhero! In this next installment of her adventures, a new mall is opening up between two neighboring towns, and everyone gets to vote on the mascot! But soon the two towns are at war over the election, and Doreen begins to wonder if there isn’t something shady going on in Shady Oaks.