Book Review: Nimona by Noelle Stevenson

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Ready for a new graphic novel?  This is  great pick for teens and adults alike.

Things to love:

  • powerful female protagonist
  • variety of cool supporting characters
  • art seamlessly integrated with text
  • powerful plot that goes way beyond cliche

 

Source:  ebook from the public library (really, I’d suggest the print version)

Audience:  Teens and Up

 

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I am Princess X by Cherie Priest

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Internet Geeks, this is your book. In addition to some great artwork the author uses twitter, tumblr and all kinds of techy references to move this story along.

I think a lot of readers will be drawn (nice pun) to the plot of this book. What if your dead best friend isn’t really dead? What if you got to use your fantastic creative brain to go on a quest and solve a mystery? I thought the use of technology was really well balanced with traditional problem solving. I also enjoyed the art work – plenty of clues for the reader to think alongside the characters.

This is a great book for readers who are willing to work hard alongside the characters to figure out the clues.

Of course, there is a Tumblr for the book.

Scribd is hosting an excerpt.

 

Audience:  High school and new adult

Source:  hardcover from the public library.  I wonder if the ebook is enhanced in any way?

The Sleeper and the Spindle by Neil Gaiman*

I didn’t actually read The Sleeper and the Spindle by Neil Gaiman and Chris Ridddell.  But I must say, this is an illustrated text I would really enjoy reading.  Check out the gorgeous cover:

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Except, I did not read this book.  Not one word.  Not even the blurb.  Not. One. Word.  And really, you shouldn’t either.  I listened to it and it was amazing.  (OK, to be honest, I listened to it twice, but more on that later).

For the second year in a row I am attempting to complete Book Riot‘s Read Harder 2016 Challenge.  Check out this task list:

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The task in question is :  Listen to an Audiobook that has won an Audie Award.  A quick check of Audiophile’s website led me to this title.  What grabbed me was the description: full cast and sound effects.  I cruised over to the Ocean State Libraries eZone and downloaded it directly to my phone.  (seriously, how great is that?!)

It was so good, I listened to it twice, once on my own and once with my 19 year old daughter – a captive audience on a long car ride.  Ten minutes in she paused the recoding and told me that while she was initially just being polite, she now was hooked.  We listened to the very end!  Check out this 5 minute excerpt and you will be hooked as well.

 

Audiobook Excerpt

 

Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson

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Roller Girl is an excellent addition to the middle grade graphic novel collection. I think this book will appeal mainly to preteens, and especially to girls who feel like they don’t fit the stereotypical mold for 12 year olds. Astrid’s story about growing up and moving on from a friend is perfectly situated in the story of her foray into roller derby. The author does a fine job of explaining the sport and making Astrid a realistic beginner.  I hate it when book characters are instantly successful at new sports.  And I really want to go see roller derby now!

The author has a great excerpt on her site – perfect to pull in those reluctant reader!

Check out the Scholastic trailer here.

The excellent folks at The Rhode Island Center for the Book have chosen Roller Girls for the 2016 One State One Book initiative.  Imagine all kids in grades 3-6 having a book in common?

Source:  school library

Audience : grades 6 and up

Through the Woods, stories by Emily Carroll

(I used guidelines from East Carolina University to help me critically evaluate this text.)

This graphic novel is a collection of 5 stories of similar style and tone.  Think creepy ghost story meets very grim fairy tale.  In each story the main character is faced with a choice, what she chooses will lead to her…adventure.

First off, the text.  I found this appropriate for middle and high school in terms of content and vocabulary.  Struggling readers will not find too many difficult words or sentence structures.  Skilled readers will find the plots intriguing and interesting.  The cover art certainly reflects the content of the book and will have excellent shelf appeal.  The interior art and text work well together.  I found myself flipping back pages to check detail in the art as I made predictions about the plot.  Each palette of color seemed to be chosen deliberately.  A variety of page layouts add to the interest of the book.

Artists may enjoy a scroll through the author’s website.

Thanks to my local library for buying this book!

Dogs of War by Sheila Kennan

(I’ve already told you how important I think graphic novels are.  Did you miss that post?  Find it here.)

I really enjoyed the three stories that comprised this book.  The author and illustrator do a fine job of showing how dogs serve so many purposes during and after war.  I found some of the illustrations difficult in the first story, but I definitely got better at reading them as the book went on.  It was truly worth the effort.

Date finished: 11/24/2014

Lexile : 490

Interest:  grades 7 and up (even 6th graders with good schema can do this)

Source:  public libary

Publication date: 11/29/2013

 

Graphic Novels are real reading.

There’s been some discussion in my community about whether or not graphic novels “count” as reading.  In the past, it’s been easy to convince people by noting that our most reluctant readers will pick them up – and that in itself is a good thing.  But it is surely not the only reason to value this genre.

Lat year I read Nothing Can Possibly go Wrong (read the first chapter here) and Friends With Boys.  I read them as part of an assignment; required reading of a sort.  What an eye-opener.  Engaging plots, great characters, strong storylines and themes.  Without the pictures, no story. Without the text, no story.

Then I read Raina Telgemeir’s excellent graphic memoirs Smile and Drama.  When I give them to my students they devour the books.  My brand new copy of Sisters is already looking a bit worn. There is so much buzz about Sisters at my school that I may need to buy a second copy. ( I just noted on Raina’s website that she has taken over The Babysitter’s Club.  Thank you Raina!)

Just this summer I read the moving To This Day by Shane Koyczan.  I had heard his spoken-word essay on You Tube earlier in the year.  To see it in print, illustrated , added so much to my experience of his work.  Listen to him yourself, then go buy the book.

Want something for older readers?  Head out to your local library or bookstore.  Look for Maus, Persepolis, and  Boxers & Saints. All three books will help you look at history in a new, more detailed way.

Learn more about graphic novels with this helpful guide from Scholastic:  “Using Graphic Novels With Children and Teens.”

Please share any good titles in the comments, I would love to hear from you!

Sisters by Raina Telgemeier

I was absolutely thrilled to tell my students that Raina Telgemeier is back with another book.  Two of them have already read it and a third is digging in.
As with Smile and Drama, this graphic novel captures a time in the author’s life in thoughtful way. Mom and kids set out on a cross-country trip during which Raina examines her relationship with her sister, Amara.  Cleverly drawn flashback scenes show a real family’s growing pains. Kids will identify with both Raina and Amara as they try to get along with each other and the extended family.

If you have a graphic novel fan in your life be sure to show them Raina’s excellent website.

Date finished: July 26, 2014

Interest:  grades 5-8

Source:  ARC

Publication date: August, 2014

 

Sisters by Raina Telgemeier

I cannot wait to tell my students that Raina Telgemeier is back with another book.

As with Smile and Drama, this graphic novel captures a time in the author’s life in thoughtful way. Mom and kids set out on a cross-country trip during which Raina examines her relationship with her sister, Amara. Cleverly drawn flashback scenes show a real family’s growing pains. Kids will identify with both Raina and Amara as they try to get along with each other and the extended family.

Date finished:  July 27, 2014

Lexile :  320

Interest:  grades 5-8

Source:  ARC