Sidescrollers by Matthew Loux is about three boys who try to keep their friend from dating a football player who’s a total jerk. It was taken off a 9th grade OPTIONAL reading list because a parent thought the language and sexual content was inappropriate. We go kind of crazy over this. We’d like to explain, but it’s best you just watch the video. But WARNING: Parents might want to use discretion with our little viewers because we do talk about our 7th grade science teacher making us yell the names of male and female anatomy parts during class.
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: Dramaby 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?
It is officially summer for us! Yay! So, we thought this would be the perfect time to tell you about our summer reading plans. In this week’s episode, we tell you about the CBLDF and announce our Challenged Graphic Novel Reading Challenge. Our hope is that kids and parents (and everyone else) will read along with us. Because you seriously can’t question that book be suitable for library shelves if you haven’t read it, right?
This summer we will be reading 8 graphic novels that have been challenged or banned in school libraries and then every week we will discuss one of the titles. We’ll talk about why it was challenged, how to best talk about the questioned topics or themes in the book with your kids. We’ll also tell you from a kid’s perspective how we viewed the appropriateness of the books for us, because sometimes adults forget what they could handle and understand when they were our age.
We also hope that you will support everyone’s right to choose what they want to read by doing some sleuthing in your local or school library. Take a look at our reading list and see which of the books are available for you to check out. You can post your findings in Social Media like Facebook and Twitter (@ComicMix and @The_Tweeks) with #InTheStacks and/or #ComicMixChallengedChallenge, hopefully generating further discussion. We also think you should check out the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund’s site. We talk more about them in the episode.