Monday, June 19, 2017

World Refugee Day

Tomorrow, Tuesday, June 20th, 2017 is the United Nation’s designated day for commemorating refugees who leave their home countries under duress. These are everyday folks seeking safe living conditions and opportunities to improve their lives and those of their children.

This is World Refugee Day

In recognition of this day, I’m featuring the amazing book, Stepping Stones: a refugee family’s journey by Margriet Ruurs, artwork by Nizar Ali Badr.


There are a number of reasons why I think this book is amazing

First, what’s going to catch your eye are the illustrations. These have been composed from stones. The composer is a Syrian artist, still living in Syria. The author stumbled across his artwork on Facebook and it inspired her to want to create a story reflecting the refugee experience. She also wanted to use Nizar Ali Badr’s artwork. Though composed of beach-found rocks, the artistry of the images creates scenes of everyday life and events that often occur when people are fleeing war. The stones convey movement and contributes to the narrative in an interesting and unique way.

Next, is reading the forward. The forward tells of the extraordinary lengths Margriet Ruur went to contact Nizar Ali Badr and the amazing collaboration that went into this book.

And then, there’s the story. This is a story that expresses the devastating circumstances that makes a family undertake a perilous journey from their home looking for a life of peace, allowing them and their children to prosper.

The text is in English and Arabic.


I highly recommend Stepping Stones for elementary grades for discussing current events in social studies and for the inspiring artwork.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Summer reading - Graphic novels

Recently, I was asked for some recommendations for summer reading. More specifically, for a 9 year-old boy who was really into graphic novels.

Since we’re heading into that time when parents are concerned their children won’t keep up with reading and may even regress a degree or two, I thought I’d pull together suggestions for all grade levels.

And because I love graphic novels that’s where I’ll start.

In working out this list, I realized it was getting a little long so decided to focus on those titles that I’ve not blogged about before. However, excluding those titles means it’s possible that you would miss some great books. At the end of each section, I’ll just list the titles and authors so you can look them up on my blog or through another source to find out more about them.

Elementary – Grades 1-4

Bad Guys by Aaron Blabey
Four typical antiheroes with a mission to change the world's perception about their 'badness'. They're really just misunderstood? Isn't that right Mr. Big Bad Wolf? Hilarious.



Two sisters pass a rainy day playing and experiencing typical ups and downs of passing time together.



Little Robot by Ben Hatke
An adventurous little girl befriends and protects a little robot from other robots who have some dark reason for pursuing them.


Previously blogged about: Babymouse (series) by Jennifer Holm; 



Middle grades – Grades 4/5-7



Baba Yaga’s Assistant by Marika McCoola
Masha, a resourceful girl takes on an apprenticeship with Baba Yaga, a witch with a terrible reputation. Masha undertakes several challenges that enable her to face her own family-related issues. Great illustrations.




Princeless by Jeremy Whitley
Adrienne is a princess with attitude not to mention a dragon who gives good back up when the going-gets-tough. This is one princess who's not waiting around to be rescued.

Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson
Astrid takes on the challenging sport of roller derby which provides an outlet for her pre-teen woes when she and her best friend start to grow apart. Really strong character, story-line and illustrations.

 A nonfiction series focused on high interest topics such as dinosaurs, volcanoes or bats. 

Secret Coders by Gene Luen Yang
A couple of kids use their computer coding abilities to figure out mysterious happenings at their school.


Previously blogged about: Rapunzel's Revenge by Shannon Hale; Monster on the Hill by Rob Harrell; Cardboard by Doug TenNapel; Ghostopolis by Doug TenNapel; Amulet series by Kazu Kibuishi.


Secondary – Grades 8-12

Groot byJeff Loveness
Yes, this is the character from the Guardians of the Galaxy. Rocket and Groot are on the equivalent of a road trip but in space. Rocket is kidnapped and it's up to Groot to rescue him. Fun adventure and antics make this an enjoyable read. (Grades 7 and up)

Just So Happens by Fumio Obata
London-based Yumiko is drawn back to Japan when her father dies. Her visit home is an emotional one as she deals with her grief and tries to understand her relationship with her father.


Nimona by Noelle Stevenson
An interesting fantasy with a shapeshifter with sometimes questionable motives for helping out the hero. (Grades 7 and up)


If you're into short stories this anthology, written and illustrated by aboriginals from around North America will be one to consider. The stories are diverse in subjects, time periods and illustration styles. 

Noughts & Crosses by Malorie Blackman
This adaptation, based on the novel, is not your average story of star-crossed lovers separated by societal strictures. 


Rust series by Royden Lepp
Set in a futuristic world, where Jet, a robot warrior questions his identity and purpose. He happens upon the Taylors, struggling to keep the family farm going and who have their own interests in learning more about Jet. Illustrations are amazing and evocative of World War I and convey the action scenes perfectly.



The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl by Ryan North
Doreen Green, otherwise known as Squirrel Girl, superhero and friend to Tony Stark, is starting college. In addition to settling into campus life, making friends, and handling classes, she must continue to battle villians of varying degrees from muggers to Galactus, Devourer of Worlds. Great comedic vibe.




Previously blogged about: Shadow Hero by Gene ; Ms Marvel series by G. Willow Wilson.


For additional titles please visit my Goodreads page and check out other graphic novels I’ve read.

Also, if you go to the Doucette Library’s catalogue and type in graphic novels as a keyword search you will find a list of graphic novels found in this library.


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