Whats New Category: Graphic Novel

Get Real with Graphic Novels

Do you sometimes find is harder to read books about real people, places, or events?  Have you ever tried reading graphic novels that are about real life things?  Check out the list below of graphic novels that tell the story of real life people, places, things, or events in history:

hiphopfamilytree

Hip Hop Family Tree by Ed Piskor

Chronicles the rise of Hip Hop music as it grew from the streets of New York City in the 1970’s to the rise of the emcee into 1981. Additional volumes will follow.

great american dust bowl

The Great American Dust Bowl by Don Brown

The Dust Bowl is a desolate time in American history, where the earth was so ravaged that dust storms terrorized the land. What was worse about this time, was that it was caused by man. Brown describes the causes and the life of that terrible time, as well as what we can learn to prevent this from happening again.

 

gandhiGandhi: My Life is My Message written by Jason Quinn and illustrated by Sachin Nagar

Renouncing wealth, ambition and comfort, Gandhi led by example, becoming one with the people he sought to free, facing imprisonment, hardship and humiliation while never raising his voice in anger. His strategy of nonviolent protest would become the model for the U.S. Civil Rights movement led by Martin Luther King, Jr. and continues to change history throughout the world.

 

 

gettysburg addressThe Gettysburg Address written by Jonathan Hennessey, art by Aaron McConnell, and lettering by Tom Orzechowski

A graphic adaptation of the Gettysburg Address explains the events of the War, drawing on first-hand accounts from soldiers, slaves, and key figures and providing an understanding of the speech that marked America’s new path.

 

 

vietnamericaVietnamerica by G.B. Tran

A memoir in graphic novel format about the author’s experiences as the son of Vietnamese immigrants who fled to America during the fall of Saigon describes how he learned his tragic ancestral history and the impact of the Vietnam War on his family while visiting their homeland years later.

 

Primates

Primates: the Fearless Science of Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey, and Biruté Galdikas by Jim Ottaviani and Maris Wicks

This is the true story of three scientists who risked their lives for research that forever changed the way we think of primates- including ourselves.

Celebrate Women’s History Month with Strong Female Characters in Teen Lit!

March is Women’s History Month. If you’re looking to celebrate by reading a teen novel with a strong female lead, then check out this list!

enclaveloveinthetimeofglobaletiquette espionageGraceling

Enclave by Ann Aguirre
YA AGUIRRE, A.
In a post-apocalyptic future, fifteen-year-old Deuce, a loyal Huntress, brings back meat while avoiding the Freaks outside her enclave, but when she is partnered with the mysterious outsider, Fade, she begins to see that the strict ways of the elders may be wrong–and dangerous.

Love in the Time of Global Warming by Francesca Lia Block
YA BLOCK, F.
After a devastating earthquake destroys the West Coast, causing seventeen-year-old Penelope to lose her home, her parents, and her ten-year-old brother, she navigates a dark world, holding hope and love in her hands and refusing to be defeated.

Etiquette & Espionage by Gail Carriger
YA CARRIGER, G.
In an alternate England of 1851, spirited fourteen-year-old Sophronia is enrolled in a finishing school where, she is suprised to learn, lessons include not only the fine arts of dance, dress, and etiquette, but also diversion, deceit, and espionage.

Graceling by Kristin Cashore
YA CASHORE, K.
In a world where some people are born with extreme and often-feared skills called Graces, Katsa struggles for redemption from her own horrifying Grace, the Grace of killing, and teams up with another young fighter to save their land from a corrupt king.

the Miseducation pf cameron post book coverFirelightGrave mercy book coverhuntress

The Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily Danforth
YA DANFORTH, L.
In the early 1990s, when gay teenager Cameron Post rebels against her conservative Montana ranch town and her family decides she needs to change her ways, she is sent to a gay conversion therapy center.

Firelight by Sophie Jordan
YA JORDAN, S.
When sixteen-year-old Jacinda, who can change into a dragon, is forced to move away from her community of shapeshifters and start a more normal life, she falls in love with a boy who proves to be her most dangerous enemy.

Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers
YA LAFEVERS, R.
In the fifteenth-century kingdom of Brittany, seventeen-year-old Ismae escapes from the brutality of an arranged marriage into the sanctuary of the convent of St. Mortain, where she learns that the god of Death has blessed her with dangerous gifts–and a violent destiny.

Huntress by Malinda Lo
YA LO, M.
Seventeen-year-olds Kaede and Taisin are called to go on a dangerous and unprecedented journey to Tanlili, the city of the Fairy Queen, in an effort to restore the balance of nature in the human world.

Vampire Academy book coverAngelfireDivergent book coverstrangeangels

Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead
YA MEAD, R.
Two years after a horrible incident made them run away, vampire princess Lissa and her guardian-in-training Rose are found and returned to St. Vladimir’s Academy, where one focuses on mastering magic, the other on physical training, while both try to avoid the perils of gossip, cliques, gruesome pranks, and sinister plots.

Angelfire by Courtney Allison Moulton
YA MOULTON, C.
A seventeen-year-old girl discovers she has the reincarnated soul of an ancient warrior destined to battle the reapers–monstrous creatures who devour humans and send their souls to Hell.

Divergent by Veronica Roth
YA ROTH, V.
In a future Chicago, sixteen-year-old Beatrice Prior must choose among five predetermined factions to define her identity for the rest of her life, a decision made more difficult when she discovers that she is an anomoly who does not fit into any one group, and that the society she lives in is not perfect after all.

Strange Angels by Lili St. Crow
YA ST. CROW, L.
Sixteen-year-old Dru’s psychic abilities helped her father battle zombies and other creatures of the “Real World,” but now she must rely on herself, a “werwulf”-bitten friend, and a half-human vampire hunter to learn who murdered her parents, and why.

Au Revoir crazy European chick book coverOut of the EasyScorpio RacesDaughterSmokeBone

Au Revoir, Crazy European Chick by Joe Schreiber
YA SCHREIBER, J.
Perry’s parents insist that he take Gobi, their quiet, Lithuanian exchange student, to senior prom but after an incident at the dance he learns that Gobi is actually a trained assassin who needs him as a henchman, behind the wheel of his father’s precious Jaguar, on a mission in Manhattan.

Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys
YA SEPETYS, R.
Josie, the seventeen-year-old daughter of a French Quarter prostitute, is striving to escape 1950 New Orleans and enroll at prestigious Smith College when she becomes entangled in a murder investigation.

The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
YA STIEFVATER, M.
Nineteen-year-old returning champion Sean Kendrick competes against Puck Connolly, the first girl ever to ride in the annual Scorpio Races, both trying to keep hold of their dangerous water horses long enough to make it to the finish line.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
YA TAYLOR, L.
Seventeen-year-old Karou, a lovely, enigmatic art student in a Prague boarding school, carries a sketchbook of hideous, frightening monsters–the chimaerae who form the only family she has ever known.

Code NameAllTheseThingsIveDoneFrozenlegend book cover

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
YA WEIN, E.
In 1943, a British fighter plane crashes in Nazi-occupied France and the survivor tells a tale of friendship, war, espionage, and great courage as she relates what she must to survive while keeping secret all that she can.

All These Things I’ve Done by Gabrielle Zevin
YA ZEVIN, G.
In a future where chocolate and caffeine are contraband, teenage cellphone use is illegal, and water and paper are carefully rationed, sixteen-year-old Anya Balanchine finds herself thrust unwillingly into the spotlight as heir apparent to an important New York City crime family.

Frozen by Melissa de la Cruz and Michael Johnston
YA SF DE LA CRUZ, M.
More than a century after a catastrophic disaster wiped out most of humanity and covered much of the earth with ice, fifteen-year-old Cass yields to the voice in her head urging her to embark on a dangerous journey across a poisoned sea to the mythical land, Blue.

Legend by Marie Lu
YA SF LU, M.
In a dark future, when North America has split into two warring nations, fifteen-year-olds Day, a famous criminal, and prodigy June, the brilliant soldier hired to capture him, discover that they have a common enemy.

cinder - the lunar chronicles book coverLife as We Knew It book coverThe Plain Janes book cover

Cinder by Marissa Meyer
YA SF MEYER, M.
As plague ravages the overcrowded Earth, observed by a ruthless lunar people, Cinder, a gifted mechanic and cyborg, becomes involved with handsome Prince Kai and must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect the world in this futuristic take on the Cinderella story.

Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth
YA SF PFEFFER, S.
Through journal entries sixteen-year-old Miranda describes her family’s struggle to survive after a meteor hits the moon, causing worldwide tsunamis, earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions.

Plain Janes by Cecil Castellucci
YA GRAPH CASTELLUCCI
When transfer student Jane is forced to move from the confines of Metro City to Suburbia, she thinks her life is over. But there she finds her tribe: three other girls named Jane. The four girls form a secret art gang, but can art really save the hell that is high school? Young adult.

Enjoying the Olympics set in Sochi?

I love the Olympics!  I don’t know what it is, but I love watching top athletes compete in various sports that you usually can’t see on TV.  Another thing I like about the Olympics is that it usually introduces me to new information about the culture and customs of the host country.  While watching the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, I have really enjoyed learning more about modern-day Russia.  Though there is a checkered past to the country, the special looks by NBC have been pretty awesome.  (One of my favorites was the look at Siberia today.)

All of this got me thinking: there have to be some pretty good books for teens about Russia or that are set in Russia.  Check out the list I came up with below. Some are fiction and some are nonfiction.  Some are set in modern day and some are set in what was considered the darker times of Russia’s history.  Just click on the covers to find them in the Library!

boyonthebridgeThe Boy on the Bridge by Natalie Standiford

YA STANDIFORD, N.

It is 1982 and nineteen-year-old Laura Reid is spending a semester in Leningrad studying Russian, but when she meets Alyosha she discovers the dissident Russia–a world of wild parties, underground books and music, love, and constant danger.

I want to liveI Want to Live: the Diary of a Young Girl in Stalin’s Russia by Nina Lugovskaya; translated by Andrew Bromfield

YA 947.0842 LUG

Recently unearthed in the archives of Stalin’s secret police, this diary offers rare insight into the life of a teenage girl in Stalin’s Russia, when fear of arrest was a fact of life. Nina’s diary offers today’s reader a fascinating perspective on the era in which she lived.

fetchThe Fetch by Laura Whitcomb

YA WHITCOMB, L.

After 350 years as a Fetch, or death escort, Calder breaks his vows and enters the body of Rasputin, whose spirit causes rebellion in the Land of Lost Souls while Calder struggles to convey Ana and Alexis, orphaned in the Russian Revolution, to Heaven.

LaikaLaika by Nick Abadzis

YA GRAPH ABADZIS, N.

This is the journey of Laika, the abandoned puppy destined to become Earth’s first space traveler. With the blending of fact and fiction, this story intertwines three compelling lives. Along with Laika, there is Korolev, a driven engineer at the top of the Soviet space program and Yelena, the lab technician responsible for Laika’s health and life.

shadow and bone book coverShadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

YA BARDUGO, L.

Orphaned by the Border Wars, Alina Starkov is taken from obscurity and her only friend, Mal, to become the protegé of the mysterious Darkling, who trains her to join the magical elite in the belief that she is the Sun Summoner, who can destroy the monsters of the Fold.

out of lineOut of Line: Growing Up Soviet by Tina Grimberg

YA 947.7708 GRI

Although the Iron Curtain is gone, the memory of the high drama, tragedy, and comedy that was life in the Soviet Union remains. Tina Grimberg brings color and perception to a life we think of as gray, impersonal, and foreboding.

Between shades of grayBetween Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

YA SEPETYS, R.

In 1941, fifteen-year-old Lina, her mother, and brother are pulled from their Lithuanian home by Soviet guards and sent to Siberia, where her father is sentenced to death in a prison camp while she fights for her life, vowing to honor her family and the thousands like hers by burying her story in a jar on Lithuanian soil. Based on the author’s family, includes a historical note.

Anastasias SecretAnastasia’s Secret by Susanne Dunlap

YA DUNLAP, S.

As world war and the looming Russian Revolution threaten all they hold dear, Anastasia, the youngest daughter of Czar Nicholas II, and her family are being held in captivity, where she falls in love with one of their captors, a young man who has espoused the ideals of Lenin.

Attack on Titan by Hajime Isayama

AttackonTitanAttack on Titan by Hajime Isayama, translated and adapted by Sheldon Drzka, lettered by Steve Wands

Attack on Titan is a relatively new manga and anime series.  The manga was first published in Japan in 2010, it hit stateside in 2012 and the series currently is in its eleventh volume, published this month.  It is much better known as an anime series, apparently the art is better, but I have yet to figure out how to watch it (apparently you can stream it online) so I decided to start out by reading the manga.  I have been hearing a lot of good things about it and I was not disappointed!

The basic storyline of Attack on Titan (summarized from my reading of volumes 1 and 2) is that world has been overrun by Titans.  They are scary, ugly, creepy, and destructive giants.  They eat humans, though they don’t seem to need to eat humans to stay alive, and the only way to kill them is to attack the back of the base of their neck–hacking away until you have killed them.  Trying to kill them any other way only leads to the titan’s regeneration.  To survive, the remaining humans have built a large structure of different levels of walls.  Think of it like a bullseye–each wall protecting different classes of citizens, and a military force to protect the walls with a lot of high tech gear.  In the first volume, we meet Eren, Armin, and Mikasa three teens who have never seen outside the wall.  Eren longs to explore the outside world, however, as he is on the verge of leaving the city the three teens are almost killed when a colossus titan destroys the first wall and allows the smaller titans to invade and eat the humans. Narrowly escaping, the teens end up training for military service and the series continues to follow the three as they battle the titans.

I have read the first two volumes in this series, and I can’t wait to read the rest!  It is really a fascinating story, and I think the most appealing thing is learning more and more about the Titans, their history, and what the humans can do to try and survive and destroy the titans.  Yes, some of the art of this manga is pretty basic, and I have seen some stills from the anime so I can understand why it is the better of the two when it comes to the art.  But some of the manga art really makes the titans seem even more creepy.  Check out a couple below:

Attack on Titan image

Here’s a look at the Colossus Titan.

 

 

 

Attack on Titan image

Here’s a Titan about to eat Eren’s mother.

So, if you like manga with high action, some sci-fi and fantasy, some scary elements, and a really good story, then you should definitely check out Attack on TitanClick here to find the first book in the series at the Library!

Baby’s in Black by Arne Bellstorf

babys in blackBaby’s In Black: Astrid Kirchherr, Stuart Sutcliffe, and the Beatles by Arne Bellstorf

If you are a fan of the Beatles, then you will definitely want to pick up the graphic novel, Baby’s In Black.  Through black and white drawings, Arne Bellstorf tells the story of the “Lost Beatle” Stuart Sutcliffe.  Sutcliffe was the original bass player for The Beatles when they were starting out, playing seedy clubs in Germany in 1960.  Sutcliffe is a fascinating part of The Beatles history, as he was also an accomplished artist and writer who chose to leave The Bealtes right before they made it big.  While playing with The Beatles in a dive bar in Germany, Sutcliffe met Astrid Kirchhherr, a local photographer.  Astrid also plays an important role in The Beatles history: she shot some of the most famous early portraits of The Beatles when they were in Germany, and are also some of the only photos that include Sutcliffe in the mix.  Shortly after meeting, Stuart and Astrid fell in love.  It was then that Sutcliffe  decided that The Beatles were not for him.  He wanted to stay in Germany with Astrid and focus on his painting.  Tragically, though, Sutcliffe’s life was cut short when he died from a brain hemorrhage in 1962.  He never had the chance to marry Astrid or to see how successful The Beatles would become.

This graphical novel really does justice to the story of Sutcliffe’s time with The Beatles and his romance with Astrid.  The author, Arne Bellstorf, worked closely with Astrid to get details right and put the emotional punch in this story that only Astrid could provide.  It is also a really great snapshot of the short time that The Beatles spent in Germany, playing wherever they could, right before they became uber-famous.  Finally, the art in this book is pretty simple, but also really expressive.  I think the style of drawing was my most favorite things about this graphic novel, and I am a huge fan of The Beatles so I loved getting  a new insight to a story I know well.  Here are a couple of examples of the art in Baby’s In Black:

Babys in Black 1

This first example is of Astrid and her boss looking artwork and talking about light and expression in classic art. It’s really cool how the art is depicted here, and how they are talking about the expression and lighting which is exactly what comes through in the art of Baby’s in Black.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Babys in Black 2

In this second photograph, Bellstorf recreates Astrid’s famous photos of The Beatles.