In my opinion, books are the best accessory.
I adore reading graphic novels. I’ve posted about my love of them a few times before this…
This time, I decided to try to read a few recommended adult graphic novels, catch up on a few young adult graphic novels, and also celebrate few new releases of graphic novels… So, here’s to celebrating books!
Adult Graphic Novels:
Dirt Candy- A Cookbook by Amanda Cohen & Ryan Dunlavey with Grady Hendrix – “Flavor-forward food from the upstart new york city vegetarian restaurant” – Graphic Novel – what an incredible book… I wish every cookbook could be graphic novel. I loved the attitude of a business person juggling the life of opening a business, explaining her perspective on vegetarian food, and managing many people in her life. The cookbook actually made sense to me overall, which is honestly a miracle, usually everything goes over my head. I actually think I could try out a few of the recipes… they sound terrific. I love the concepts she has sprinkled throughout the book. Her concept of a chef at a restaurant who needs to find the delicate balance between being a panda and a monkey for planning out the food to be cooked. There is a vast difference between a panda and a monkey. My favorite quote comes on page 123 of the book: “Vegetarian food has become about saying “No” to meat rather than about saying “Yes” to vegetables. It focuses on what it’s not rather than what it is. At Dirt Candy I obsess about what I can serve, not about what I can’t.”
Brilliant, right? So… the recipes I think I’ll try to make are: Broccoli Carpaccio with Broccoli Stalk Salad on p. 110-111, Celery Salad with Grilled King Oyster Mushrooms and Celery Pesto on p. 80-81, Chocolate Sorbet on p. 215, and Roasted Pear Sorbet on p. 216.
Goodreads Summary: “Amanda Cohen does not play by the rules. Her vegetable recipes are sophisticated and daring, beloved by omnivore, vegetarian, and vegan diners alike. Dirt Candy: A Cookbook shares the secrets to making her flavorful dishes—from indulgent Stone-Ground Grits with Pickled Shiitakes and Tempura Poached Egg, to hearty Smoked Cauliflower and Waffles with Horseradish Cream Sauce, to playfully addictive Popcorn Pudding with Caramel Popcorn. It also details Amanda’s crazy story of building a restaurant from the ground up to its currently being one of the hardest-to-get reservations in New York City—all illustrated as a brilliant graphic novel. Both a great read and a source of kitchen inspiration, Dirt Candy: A Cookbook is a must-have for any home cook looking to push the boundaries of vegetable cooking.”
Fun Home – A Family Tragicomic by Alison Bechdel – Interesting graphic novel FOR ADULTS – Powerful family reflection with a father who likely committed suicide and how the father and daughter developed their tenuous relationship over time. Difficult to read to be honest. Brilliant creation. Goodreads Summary: “A fresh and brilliantly told memoir from a cult favorite comic artist, marked by gothic twists, a family funeral home, sexual angst, and great books.
This breakout book by Alison Bechdel is a darkly funny family tale, pitch-perfectly illustrated with Bechdel’s sweetly gothic drawings. Like Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis, it’s a story exhilaratingly suited to graphic memoir form.
Meet Alison’s father, a historic preservation expert and obsessive restorer of the family’s Victorian home, a third-generation funeral home director, a high school English teacher, an icily distant parent, and a closeted homosexual who, as it turns out, is involved with his male students and a family babysitter. Through narrative that is alternately heartbreaking and fiercely funny, we are drawn into a daughter’s complex yearning for her father. And yet, apart from assigned stints dusting caskets at the family-owned “fun home,” as Alison and her brothers call it, the relationship achieves its most intimate expression through the shared code of books.
When Alison comes out as homosexual herself in late adolescense, the denouement is swift, graphic — and redemptive.”
Cancer Vixen – A True Story by Marisa Acocella Marchetto – Graphic Novel – Adult – Just one powerful, fantastic example of how cancer can throw you for a loop but you can rise up and be a vixen vs. a victim. Powerful journey journal through graphic novel that is approachable for any reader who is trying to understand their cancer journey, their friend’s cancer experience, and also good for those who have gone through the experience and need to reflect and laugh a little… So glad to receive this as a gift recently… quite grateful. Goodreads Summary: “What happens when a shoe-crazy, lipstick-obsessed, wine-swilling, pasta-slurping, fashion-fanatic, single-forever, about-to-get-married big-city girl cartoonist with a fabulous life finds… a lump in her breast?
That/s the question that sets this powerful, funny, and poignant graphic memoir in motion. In vivid color and with a taboo-breaking sense of humor, Marisa Acocella Marchetto tells the story of her eleven-month, ultimately triumphant bout with breast cancer–from diagnosis to cure, and every challenging step in between.
But Cancer Vixen is about more than surviving an illness. It is a portrait of one woman’s supercharged life in Manhattan, and a wonderful love story. Marisa, self-described “terminal bachelorette”, meets her Prince Charming in Silvano, owner of the chic downtown restaurant Da Silvano. Three weeks before their wedding, she receives her diagnosis. She wonders: How will he react to this news? How will my world change? Will I even survive? And… what about my hair?”
Calling Dr. Laura – A Graphic Memoir by Nicole J. Georges – Graphic Novel – Adult – Powerful memoir to read. About a woman coming to terms with her past, learning how to speak up for herself, and taking the risk of honesty with her mother. Quite an interesting one. Goodreads Summary: “When Nicole Georges was two years old, her family told her that her father was dead. When she was twenty-three, a psychic told her he was alive. Her sister, saddled with guilt, admits that the psychic is right and that the whole family has conspired to keep him a secret. Sent into a tailspin about her identity, Nicole turns to radio talk-show host Dr. Laura Schlessinger for advice.”
Young Adult Graphic Novels:
Boxers and Saints by Gene Luen Yang – Graphic Novel – High School/Adult – wow. You don’t read many books like this. Or at least I don’t. It is a powerful history of the Boxer rebellion throwing you back in time… fascinating to read a book from both perspectives in addition to having it graphically created as well. “Every war has two faces.” I wish that this set of books could be shared with younger children, especially my Year 5 students who have discussions on conflict, really appreciate multiple perspectives shared. Made me think this book can be part of a high school curriculum partnered with world history in conjunction with the Maus books which introduce the Holocaust. I think as a high schooler I would have absorbed and been more curious to learn about history if I had initially read graphic novel books. I’ve said that about picture book biographies and historical fiction as well. Goodreads Summary: “In two volumes, Boxers & Saints tells two parallel stories. The first is of Little Bao, a Chinese peasant boy whose village is abused and plundered by Westerners claiming the role of missionaries. Little Bao, inspired by visions of the Chinese gods, joins a violent uprising against the Western interlopers. Against all odds, their grass-roots rebellion is successful.
But in the second volume, Yang lays out the opposite side of the conflict. A girl whose village has no place for her is taken in by Christian missionaries and finds, for the first time, a home with them. As the Boxer Rebellion gains momentum, Vibiana must decide whether to abandon her Christian friends or to commit herself fully to Christianity.”
Will & Whit by Laura Lee Gulledge – Graphic Novel – High School – one of my favorite graphic novels I’ve every read is Page by Paige by Laura Lee Gulledge, so when I learned she had a new book out… couldn’t wait!! Loved reading this touching graphic novel about a young girl coming to terms with being an orphan and learning how to move past the shadow of loss and move towards hope, life, and happiness. Loved the art connections in addition to theater. Perfect partner book with Raina Telgemeier’s book Drama! Goodreads Summary: “Wilhelmina “Will” Huxstep is a creative soul struggling to come to terms with a family tragedy. She crafts whimsical lamps, in part to deal with her fear of the dark. As she wraps up another summer in her mountain town, she longs for unplugged adventures with her fellow creative friends, Autumn, Noel, and Reese. Little does she know that she will get her wish in the form of an arts carnival and a blackout, courtesy of a hurricane named Whitney, which forces Will to face her fear of darkness.”
The Complete Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi – Talk about a family and friends who know a girl as well as they can, love her as much as they can, but are in such a position that they must send her away to make sure she survives. Tough tough tough brilliant book to be lost in. Goodreads Summary: “ersepolis is the story of Satrapi’s unforgettable childhood and coming of age within a large and loving family in Tehran during the Islamic Revolution; of the contradictions between private life and public life in a country plagued by political upheaval; of her high school years in Vienna facing the trials of adolescence far from her family; of her homecoming–both sweet and terrible; and, finally, of her self-imposed exile from her beloved homeland. It is the chronicle of a girlhood and adolescence at once outrageous and familiar, a young life entwined with the history of her country yet filled with the universal trials and joys of growing up.”
Children’s and Young Adult- appeal for both:
Sisters by Raina Telgemeier – Just loved reading this new graphic novel by such an incredible talent. Appreciated her jumping back in time and mining her family history to create a fascinating glimpse into a family road trip over a summer and glances back at past years as well. The snake story certainly added another level to the road trip and the family issues made me think, “No, more please!!!” at the end of the book. Have so many questions finishing the book but will survive. Some of my questions are: So, how is Raina’s sister’s art skills now, did she cultivate as well? What happened to the issue introduced near the end of the book with parents? What does her little brother end up doing in life? And many more… Highly recommended! Goodreads Summary: “Raina can’t wait to be a big sister. But once Amara is born, things aren’t quite how she expected them to be. Amara is cute, but she’s also a cranky, grouchy baby, and mostly prefers to play by herself. Their relationship doesn’t improve much over the years, but when a baby brother enters the picture and later, something doesn’t seem right between their parents, they realize they must figure out how to get along. They are sisters, after all.”
Children’s Graphic Novels:
Squish – Fear the Amoeba #6 by Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm – I just love this series… it makes me laugh and also love the messages, courage, being different, speaking up for yourself, making your own decisions… what a wonderful team. I was thrilled to meet Matt Holm at a writers workshop and receive this book as a gift (and get it autographed!) Can’t wait to share with students at school, know they’ll be as excited as I was to read it! (Just hope it isn’t like Squish #5 that walked away from the library the first day it was on the shelf and was returned the last day of school… but at least it was returned! Goodreads Summary: “He’s ba-ack! From the award-winning creators of Babymouse, it’s the most spine-tingling* Squish yet!
Gulp! A SCARY new movie has everyone talking–and Squish is SPOOKED out of his cellular mind! But it’s just a movie, right? Right?! Will Squish be eaten alive by a TERRIFYING movie monster? Will his friends think he’s (gasp!) totally chicken? And can Squish’s comic book hero, Super Amoeba, defeat his CREEPIEST foe yet?”
Hilda and the Bird Parade by Luke Pearson – Graphic Novel – 2012 – So glad my sister mentioned that I’d like this book, great adventure! Very different type of book about a little girl who loves going on adventures and moves with her mom into a big city and finds the lifestyle there needed her to adjust her attitude and actions quickly. Love how she takes the time to rescue a bird and learns how she can be helped by others in return. Goodreads Summary: “Getting used to life in the big city is proving difficult for Hilda. The diminutive explorer is still missing the enchanted valleys and magical friends that surrounded her home in the fjords. But tonight is somehow different; tonight is the night of the mysterious Bird Parade.
Finding herself lost on the streets of Trolberg, Hilda befriends a talking raven. Together they encounter all manner of bizarre creatures from outcast Trolls to ferocious Salt Lions and deadly Rat Kings—maybe the city isn’t so boring after all.
As the pair try to find their way home, it becomes clear that the amnesiac raven has an important mission to attend to…if only he could remember what it was.”
Comics Squad Recess! By Jarrett J. Krosoczka, Jennifer L. Holm & Matthew Holm, Dav Pilkey, Raina Telgemeier & Dave Roman, Dan Santat, Ursula Vernon, Eric Wight, and Gene Luen Yang – 3rd grade and up – All I can say is: I CAN’T WAIT til the next book is released! I just loved the focus on school throughout the book in addition to seeing some graphic novel favorites break out of their regular characters and create new ones. This book is packed with fantastic, hilarious stories. I hope many, many, many teachers and parents get this book because it introduces students to 8 graphic novelists or teams and their style and humor. Fabulous collection, love love loved it. Goodreads Summary: “Wowza! Calling all kidz! Do you like comics? Do you like laughing till milk comes out of your nose?! Look no further—do we have the book for you! All your favorite comic creators are right here in this handy-dandy hilarious book! This all-star tribute to classic Sunday comics includes eight sidesplitting, action-packed stories about every kid’s favorite subject—RECESS! With popular characters from Babymouse and Lunch Lady and brand-new soon-to-be favorite characters from superstars including Dav Pilkey! Raina Telgemeier! Gene Yang! and many more! Comics Squad also features Pizza Monsters! Secret ninja clubs! Aliens! Talking desserts! Dinozilla! Death-defying escapes! Bad guys! Good guys! Medium guys! Superheroes! Bullies! Mean girls! Epic battles! True love! Outlandish schemes! Evil plans! Fun! Jokes! Terrible puns! And other surprises that will tickle your funny bone! WARNING: THIS BOOK MAY CAUSE EXCESSIVE LAUGHTER AND POSSIBLE SILLINESS. No assembly required.”
Hidden by Loie Dauvillier, Marc Lizano and Greg Salsedo – historical graphic novel for 3rd grade and up – good for children curious about the Holocaust. You follow a little girl whose parents are taken away to a concentration camp and she is taken in my kind neighbors. Living in hiding for years and hoping her parents can be found is tough on a child. Read to see more. There are a few scenes that are upsetting and a bit here and there that makes this book something I wouldn’t read aloud to a class but certainly something I’ll add to the library collection. Goodreads Summary: “In this gentle, poetic young graphic novel, Dounia, a grandmother, tells her granddaughter the story even her son has never heard: how, as a young Jewish girl in Paris, she was hidden away from the Nazis by a series of neighbors and friends who risked their lives to keep her alive when her parents had been taken to concentration camps.
Hidden ends on a tender note, with Dounia and her mother rediscovering each other as World War II ends . . . and a young girl in present-day France becoming closer to her grandmother, who can finally, after all those years, tell her story. With words by Loïc Dauvillier and art by Marc Lizano and Greg Salsedo, this picture book-style comic for young readers is a touching read.”
Want more book ideas and reviews? – Yes, I’m quite brief, but a prolific reader! Please visit me at Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/user/show/1941055-the-styling-librarian Also, please follow this blog through email updates – (do so to the right of this blog post), my Facebook page, comment, or meet up with me on Twitter. I appreciate all of the support, makes my day! Honored by all the wonderful followers.
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