Just got back from a mahhh-velous soiree at Casa El Deseo held in honor of my niece Isabel’s 15th birthday. Wow. Seems like just yesterday I was the bath witch giving a screaming infant girl her evening absolutions before tucking her into her crib.
That little infant girl has grown into a talented young woman who is not only an orchestral cello player, but also an aspiring professional actress of musical theatre, studying voice, dance, and the theater arts. She also plays a mean piano.
Iz loves Doctor Who.
And the sequential art story form – comics and graphic novels, boys and girls.
I’ve been following the Challenged Comics Summer Reading Challenge vid series hosted by Maddie and Anya Ernst, otherwise known as the “twins, teens, geeks…Tweeks!” found right here on ComicMix, of course. (I’m a huge fan of theirs. You should be, too.) All of these books have been attacked, removed, and/or banned for one stupid reason or another. Here’s the discussion schedule:
- 7/13: Bone, Volume 1: Out From Bonesville by Jeff Smith
- 7/20: Drama by Raina Telgemeier
- 7/27: This One Summer by Jillian Tamaki & Mariko Tamaki
- 8/3: The Graveyard Book Volume 1 (the graphic novel) by Neil Gaiman & P. Craig Russell
- 8/10: The Color of Earth Book 1 by Kim Dong Hwa
- 8/17: Sidescrollers by Matthew Loux
- 8/24: Perepolis: The Story of a Childhood by Marjane Satrapi
- 8/31: Maus: A Survivor’s Tale by Art Spiegelman
If you’ve missed July’s entries, don’t worry, there’s plenty of summer left – officially until September 23 this year, the first day of autumn.
I am very proud to say that Isabel has already read two of the challenged graphic novels: Jeff Smith’s Bone, Volume 1: Out of Boneville – which she discovered on her own and, by the way, she’s read the entire collection – and Raina Teglemeir’s Drama, which her mom bought her. (Iz also read Smile when she got braces.)
Like all great books, the reviewers raved.
“Charming, character-driven fantasy with an elegant design and masterful story-telling in the tradition of Walt Kelly, Charles Schulz and Carl Barks.” – Publisher’s Weekly; “Like Pogo, Bone has whimsy best appreciated by adults, yet kids can enjoy it, too; and like Barks’ Disney Duck stories, Bone moves from brash humor to gripping adventure in a single panel.” – ALA (American Library Association) Booklist;
“Bone has the multi-level writing and artwork of the best Chuck Jones cartoons or early Disney movies. It’s overflowing with subtext about conflicting philosophies of power, cultural imperialism and political responsibility – though not enough to get in the way of its silly fun.” – CMJ New Music Monthly
“One of the best kid’s comics ever.” – Vibe Magazine;
“…Sprawling, mythic comic is spectacular.” – Spin Magazine;
“I love BONE! BONE is great!” – Matt Groening; “Jeff Smith can pace a joke better than almost anyone in comics; his dialogue is delightful — so are all his people, not to mention his animals, his villains, and even his bugs.” – Neil Gaiman
“An utterly charming graphic memoir of tooth trauma, first crushes and fickle friends, sweetly reminiscent of Judy Blume’s work . . . Irresistible, funny and touching–a must read for all teenage girls” by Kirkus Reviews;
“A charming addition to the body of young adult literature that focuses on the trials and tribulations of the slightly nerdy girl” by Publishers Weekly;
“It hits home partly because there is nothing else out there like it” by The New York Times Book Review.
So here’s a challenge.
Don’t be a schmuck.
Get going, choose your favorite book retailer, brick-and-mortar or on-line, and buy these books for your kid(s) – or yourself. You won’t be sorry. You might even find yourself – *gasp* – having an intelligent discussion with your offspring about them. Y’know. Like in a book club.
And what did I get Isabel to celebrate her big day?
This One Summer.
With the rest of the list to follow.
Happy Birthday, kid!