3-6, 5-7, 7-12, Books, Children, Hi-Lo

Graphic Novel Recommendations for Kids: Fantasy

One of the biggest booming industries in the middle grade genre at the moment is that of the graphic novel.  Now of course,  comic books have always been a beloved pastime of the young nerd in training but the cultural ideas around comics and graphic novels has been shifting and with that has come a whole new genre of books available to kids both avid readers and those who require something a little easier.

My younger brother was never a big reader like most of the women in my family (I still believe part of that has something to do with cultural gender norms) but most of it had to do with his struggle to read and his preference to other ways of passing the time.  I was a kid who would read for hours with no issue, or play video games, or all manners of arts and crafts.  He was a bit more focused in the things he liked to do and was adamant against any other suggestions.

However, he did follow my love of super heroes and so comics were a good way to get him reading when he wouldn’t be interested in a regular book.  Now I don’t think that kids should read graphic novels alone, but getting them to read a story is a win in my book and here are some action packed adventure suggestions for anyone who should want them.

For anyone who has never seen one of my recommendation posts, clicking the cover photo will open the goodreads page for that book so you can read more.

I have a full review of this guy on the blog already if you missed it but the tl;dr version of it is: This is a great action story set in a steam punk world where most folks live on giant flying ships separated from those on the ground by giant dangerous storm clouds.  Our rambunctious female protagonist is more than ready to come of age to inherit her father’s ship as she has been a constant troublemaker on the ship, unable to really find her own niche.  The world is rich and varied, the characters are incredible bright and well fleshed out both visually and through their characterization.  This might be worth the look for any young girls (or boys) who are interested in mechanical engineering or robotics.

Now I can’t completely vouch for the graphic version of this book because it is an adaptation of a Newbery Award winning book by the same title.  The reason I am throwing it in here as an option is to show how there are graphic novel versions of a lot of really well written and complex stories.  For kids who have a hard time parsing through language the graphic version may be a good option for them (even classic children’s books like A Wrinkle in Time have graphic versions)  This story is an adorable one about a child who lives in a graveyard and raised by the spirits who reside there.  Neil Gaiman is a master of fantastic fiction for both children and adults and will appeal to folks who enjoy a little bit of creepiness in their books as well as a lot of heart and humor.  Worth the read for adults as well in my opinion.

This one is great for slightly older kids (7th grade and older)  It discusses what it is like to go through puberty, to begin to feel a bit out of place in your school and your family, and what it is like to be an outcast.  Anya needs a new friend, she just didn’t realize that she would find one … at the bottom of a well.  This is a cute little story and the art is simplistic for kids who don’t care about the massive color spreads.  It is an original graphic novel (created to be a graphic novel specifically) and is also highly recommended for adults in my opinion.  It captures the feeling of young children (especially girls) very well.  The younger kids may not fully relate with Anya and most of the beauty in this one comes through how relateable of a story it is.

Doug TenNapel has several graphic novels made for kids and I would recommend all of them.  I was a kid who loved interesting weird stories (maybe a little scary) so I was most drawn to Ghostopolis.  A young boy is accidentally transported to the realm of the undead and this is the story of his misadventures attempting to leave … while also fighting the evil ruler of Ghostopolis.  It also has a really cute story involving the ghost of the protagonists grandfather and I really appreciated the way that generations and familial ties are used in this story and it would definitely be loved by an child who is worried about the afterlife or how their family members who have passed away are after death.  (Even if their city is ruled by an evil dictator)

This may be the most well known title on this list but I figured I would throw it out there for anyone who hasn’t stepped into the world of middle grade graphic novels.  This was the series that my brother loved and really got him interested into the genre.  This is a more traditional fantasy story about some kids who are on a quest to save their mother from the demons who lured her into a mysterious world on the other side of an out of place door in their basement.  It calls upon so many stories of children falling into fantastic worlds, as well as the idea that they are gaining self sufficiency from their parents while still needing them.  It has great monsters, interesting allies, and is all around fun to read.  This is a must read in the genre, if you aren’t at all interested, I would still highly recommend getting it as an example of everything graphic novels can do.

I want to make this into a series where I discuss different subgenres within the graphic novel arch.  There are great graphic novels on many different subjects and while I am limited to those that have piqued my interest any good bookseller can show you the best way to find graphic novels for kids.  If you have more specific questions about the books that I discussed here or want to hear my thoughts on a different title please let me know down below and I will do my best to compensate you.

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5-7, 7-12, Books, Children, Comics, Hi-Lo

Diesel: Ignition by Tyson Hesse Review

This was a review of a middle grade graphic novel I did a few weeks back.  Part of the ongoing effort to post any back content that is relevant to the blog.

Title: Diesel: Ignition
Author: Tyson Hesse
Illustrator: Tyson Hesse
Publisher: BOOM! Box
Page #: 211
Genre: Graphic Novel, Fantasy, Adventure

 

Adult, Books, Comics

Y The Last Man: Book One by Brian K Vaughan Review

Day two of posting things when they are supposed to be posted this is a pretty good streak so far.

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Series Title: Y The Last Man
Volume: Deluxe Edition Vol. 1 & 2
Writer: Brian K Vaughan
Illustrator: Pia Guerra
Publisher: Vertigo
Page #: 256
Genre: Science Fiction, Post Apocalyptic

You would be surprised how much I was actually kind of on the fence with this one.  I had heard of this one, and knew it is one of the most critically acclaimed series to date and it is by the writer of Saga which I have up until this point enjoyed for the most part, and yet? I was sad that it didn’t quite live up to the hype.  Was this a case of the hype was too great?  I don’t know, I didn’t feel over hyped going into it.  I was pretty open to whatever.  Maybe I just figured that more people would have spoken out about the few things that I did take issue with.

My main issue, and it is one that I don’t often mention with comics but is a problem in books a fair amount, was that often times I felt there was author intervention.  The point that Vaughan was trying to make was pushing characters to act in certain ways that I honestly didn’t think they would.  There were times where I felt those out of character scenes were caused in an attempt at humor, and other times in an attempt to make some sort of plot based movement or emotional point.  It just didn’t really work for me.

I have issues with books that stand up on the soap box and shove their message down your throat.  Honestly Saga is much better at it, and it might just be that Vaughan is learning as he works on more and more projects, which is entirely acceptable, but still this is more interesting in concept than what actually shows up.

Now after complaining for three paragraphs I feel I should say that I didn’t hate this book.  Quite the contrary, it was an interesting little romp.  I will definitely continue the story.  Let’s just say I’m not jumping up to get it.

Probably not the most helpful review, but hey, I tried.  I’ll hopefully have a book review on Friday, we shall see.  Gonna do my best.

Books, Comics, Musings

The Joy of #FreeComicBookDay

Now those of you who don’t come here for my weekly opinions on comics might not know that there is such a thing as free comic book day, but for those of us nerds who have fallen into the bottomless pit that is the comic world it is maybe the most exciting day of the year.

I wasn’t actually planning to go out this comic book day.  I hadn’t seen any comics that were being offered that I was particularly interested in but then I saw that one of the comic stores in the next state over were having a sale I figured it was for the best.  Then I dragged my siblings along with me! (I am the best at big sistering)

I think it worked out for the best thought because I bought them each a trade they were excited about and they got free comics.  Plus a local comic artist was there and did sketches of their favorite heroes (I got Red Hood… because my poor sweet baby :#) You can see those on my instagram if you are so inclined.

In any case if you aren’t sure what the event is, unfortunately you will have to wait a year for it to come back around again but that doesn’t mean you can’t learn a thing or two this year.

If you happen to be part of the cosplay community then this is an event you might want to look into.  A lot of fans will dress up as their favorite supers and head down to the comic store to say high to all the mini nerds in training who are dragged along by their parents and spark some magic in their lives.

Like I said, sometimes local artists are there doing free sketches and showing off their own work.  The guy who did our sketches was also promoting a class he teaches once a week where he helps people learn how to make their own comics.  Which was awesome and might be something I try for myself one day, who knows.

Plus depending on the comic store you can grab a handful of comics that the publishers put out especially for that day to hook you into their currently running titles.  Its like a free sample of the sweetest most addicting cocaine you will ever taste, well that might be a bit of an exaggeration, but my point still stands.

If you haven’t attended one, be sure to put it on the calendar for next year because its something worth doing in the nerd community and definitely something worth trying.  There are comics for every size, shape, age, and taste.  You will find something for you out there.  Whether it is the creator owned science fiction and fantasy stuff I gravitate toward, comics based on shows like the Serenity comic or the Simpsons comic, comics shows are based off like The Walking Dead or Jessica Jones, and of course the old standby, those superheroes.  There is something there that you will like and when all of the nerds are there they are going to be able to help you find something, even if it means talking too much about something you aren’t actually interested in for a bit before you get there, they are well meaning those nerds.  They just want to share with you something they love.  Allow them this day.

 

Adult, Bibliomancy For Beginners, Books, Comics

#imbibliomancy: Death Vigil by Stjepan Sejic Review (Bibliomancy for Beginners Book Club)

Remember how once a month we do drunk book club?  Well this is the last one of Taylor and Gretchen’s undergraduate careers, so its a momentous occasion.  Honestly it is one of our best discussions as well.

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Series Title: Death Vigil
Volume Number: 1
Collected Issues: #1-8
Writer: Stjepan Sejic
Illustrator: Stjepan Sejic
Publisher: Image Comics
Page #: 284
Genre: Fantasy, Horror

Hope you guys enjoy this!  If you want to know what we are reading next and when the live streams are scheduled you should definitely check out the Bibliomancy page up above and follow the book club’s social media.  We have a bunch of fun!

Adult, Books, Comics

Rat Queens: Vol 2. The Far Reaching Tentacles of N’Rygoth Review

Two weeks ago I reviewed my favorite comic of last year, this week I review the runner up.

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Comic Title: Rat Queens
Volume: 2: The Far Reaching Tentacles of N’Rygoth
Collected Issues: #6-10
Writer: Kurtis J. Wiebe
Artist: Roc Upchurch, Stjepan Sejic
Publisher: Image Comic
Page #: 128
Genre: Fantasy, Humor
Rating: M

Yes I have reviewed the first volume of Rat Queens and you can find that review here!

So why is this my second favorite comic of the year?  Aside from the fact that as a nerd who enjoys both playing and running Role Playing games including Pathfinder and this comic being the embodiment of everything that is great about that, I love the fact that this comic wasn’t afraid to put aside their main plot for a volume to build on their characters.

The best part of role playing in my experience is the way that people build their characters, shape them with stories that may or may not be true but they use them to find their place in the world, as well as the way those stories interconnect and bring the group together.  This volume perfectly embodies this.

The humor and the sex and the drinking is all still here, don’t get me wrong, but I really loved the way that this volume focused on what is most likely the worst moment of all of the main group’s lives.  I’m not going to go into specifics but despite the somber tone a lot of these issues had, it meant that by the end of the book you were rooting for them to succeed.  Not just because they were funny and adorable, but because you had seen where they were coming from and why this was important to them.

If you are a character oriented reader this volume will be something that you love I am sure.  The art is fantastic even though there was a change from the first volume, if anything I like it more.  The side characters that I often find myself loving more and more are still here.  There is suspense, there is drama, there is humor.  What more could you ask for in a comic?

I would also recommend this comic to anyone looking for a comic filled with bad ass ladies that are represented realistically.  Each of the girls have a different body type, different struggles, different attitudes.  They are all awesome in their own right.  There is a transgender character.  There are lesbian characters.  All of it feels natural and genuine.

If none of that convinced you I have one final argument, and I’ll leave you with that:

Lady dwarves have beards.

Boom.

 

 

Bibliomancy For Beginners, Books, Comics, YA (Young Adult)

Through the Woods by Emily Carroll Review (Bibliomancy for Beginners)

WEDNESDAY IS COMIC BOOK DAY! Surprisingly I can post a Bibliomancy video and podcast this week for my comic post because we reviewed and discussed a graphic novel last week. For those of you who don’t follow my book club but want to you can check out my Bibliomancy page, and for the rest of you I hope to see you this coming Monday where we will have a Bibliomancy double feature. First we will be discussing Angelfall by Susan Ee followed by a discussion on the fourth Pendragon book, The Reality Bug by D.J. MacHale.

Enough of all that, on to the real stuff:


Title: Through the Woods
Writer: Emily Carroll
Illustrator: Emily Carroll
Publisher: Margaret K McElderry Books
Page #: 208
Genre: Graphic Short Fiction, Horror

 

http://bibliomancyforbeginners.podomatic.com/embed/frame/posting/2015-07-23T13_24_32-07_00?json_url=http%3A%2F%2Fbibliomancyforbeginners.podomatic.com%2Fentry%2Fembed_params%2F2015-07-23T13_24_32-07_00%3Fcolor%3D43bee7%26autoPlay%3Dfalse%26facebook%3Dtrue%26height%3D85%26width%3D440%26minicast%3Dfalse%26objembed%3D0&notb=1

Adult, Books, YA (Young Adult)

Top 10 Books of 2013

I have just come in from my goodreads stats page and it let me know that I rated 12 books five star books this year.  I will now compose those books into a handy list for you in no specific order, except perhaps for my top five which are better than the rest.  However, each set of five are not really put into a specific order.

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10. The Collected Stories of Lydia Davis

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9. Everyday by David Levethan

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8. The Monstrumologist by Rick Yancey

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7. Saga, Vol. 1 by Brian K. Vaughan

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6. Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistlestop Cafe by Fannie Flagg

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5.The Fault in our Stars by John Green

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4. The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides

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3.Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer

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2. The Book Theif by Marcus Zusak

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1. A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

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Those were my top rated books of this year.  They are all so different that I don’t think I can rate them accordingly.  They are all worth checking out if you haven’t yet.

In two days I will be posting my 2013 year in review, wherein you will find out some of the stats of this year as well as a list of all of the books I have read so far with their ratings in order.

Also it looks as if the Thirteen days of Misfortune will be starting next Monday, January 9th at 8:30 if you want to watch us discuss the book in A Series of Unfortunate Events.

I hope you guys have a happy New Year, and that 2014 shines brightly on you all.  The Pied Piper is calling to me, do you hear him too?