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WHY YA? An Exploration Into the Rise of Young Adult Graphic Novels


• Kid Savage Creator Discusses Upcoming All-Ages

Graphic Novel from Image Comics • Getting a Graphic Novel Approved for the Classroom • A Preview of Dynamite’s Animal Jam • Lesson Plans, Reviews, and More!

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WELCOME TO BOOKSHELF T HE GR APH I C N OV EL RES OURCE FO R EDU CA TOR S A ND LIB R A R IA NS Graphic Novels have a lot to offer as literature, educational tools, entertainment and more! Whether you are a teacher or reading specialist seeking to incorporate graphic novels into the classroom; or a librarian or media specialist looking to add graphic novels to your collection, our mission with the Diamond BookShelf is to provide you with comprehensive information on the latest graphic novel news, reviews and events.

On Our Cover From comic-icon Joe Kelly and British cartoonist ILYA, Kid Savage follows the “First Family in Space” after a catastrophic wrong turn on their maiden voyage. Crashing on a danger alien planet, their 21st century know-how is useless against the harsh environment and survival seems likely until they meet a strange ally – a mysterious orphan boy, short on temper but big on survival skills.

HOW TO USE THIS PUBLICATION The BookShelf magazine was created as a compliment to Diamond’s BookShelf website. With this publication, you’ll find articles designed to introduce you to the world of graphic novels and help you learn how to integrate them into your classroom or library. You’ll also find reviews, core lists, reference recommendations and special extras to help you get started. If you want to know what comics and graphic novels are and how or why to use them, or if you are already familiar with graphic novels and are looking for a great resource to improve your collection… Read on!

Read BookShelf Online! To read a pdf version of previous issues of Diamond BookShelf, visit

TABLE OF CONTENTS SPECIAL FEATURES An Academic Guide to Young Adult Graphic Novels........................... 10 Explore the history of the young adult genre in graphic novels and how it has pioneered the format into literary and academic acclaim

A Family Affair................................................ 19 Creator of Kid Savage, Joe Kelly, discuss the first volume of the new all-ages graphic novel

Food For Thought............................................32 Creator of Space Battle Lunchtime, Natalie Riess, talks about working with young adult fiction in the graphic novel format.

EDUCATORS Overcoming Obstacles ................................... 16

Social Studies teacher Tim Smyth provides a guide for getting graphic novels approved for his classroom and the impact the graphic novel had on his students

Comics in Education........................................28

An interview series dedicated to talking with educators about their use of graphic novels in the classroom

Katie’s Korner..................................................38

Prof. Katie Monnin reviews Lumberjanes Volume 1 and Fight Like A Girl, with suggestions for how they can be used in the classroom

LIBRARIANS The Rise of YA................................................. 14

Editor of Roar from Lion Forge, Andrea Colvin, explores how publishers have embraced the young adult genre and their plans to expand and provide more content for YA readers

TOSHO-CON....................................................22 Library Coordinator, Matthew Powell, discusses how East Orange Public Library began hosting their own comic-cons and the effects the event has had on their community

DEPARTMENTS Graphic Novels 101............................................5 News and Notes.................................................8 Reviews............................................................40 Core Lists.........................................................42 Resources.........................................................45 Editor: Ashley Kronsberg Contributing Writers: Katie Monnin, Matthew Powell, Tim Smyth Designers: Matt Barham, Belinda Miller Special Thanks to: Cindy Anderson, Roger Fletcher, Steve Geppi, Allan Greenberg, Kuo-Yu Liang, Dan Manser, Tom Sadowski, Andrea Purcell PRINTED IN CANADA

© 2017 Diamond Comic Distributors, Inc. All rights reserved. Diamond, the Diamond logo, Diamond Books logo, Diamond BookShelf logo and are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Diamond Comic Distributors in the United States and/or other countries. All other trademarks are the property of their respective copyright owners.

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GRAPHIC NOVELS 101 WHAT A R E G R APHIC NOV ELS AND COMICS? GRAPHIC NOVEL can be used to denote both the content and the format of a book. When speaking of content, a graphic novel is a long, self-contained story depicted as a pictorial narrative, often taking the form of a comic book. In terms of format, however, the words “graphic novel” can be used to describe any pictorial narrative that looks like a book, whether it is a self-contained story, a chapter in a longer serial, an anthology of different work or a non-fiction text depicted in comic book form. A COMIC BOOK is the traditional periodical form most people are familiar with. A comic book can stand on its own or be part of a SERIES. A series is also sometimes called a “title,” which refers to the entire series, not a single discrete unit.

DON’T BE. Before taking the plunge and using comic books in your instruction, you may be hesitant about the appropriateness of the content of the comic. Some misperceptions of the comic book medium are that it is rife with graphic depictions of sex, nudity, or worse. But while there certainly are titles that meet that description, it is impossible to pigeonhole the diverse landscape of comics into a single slot. As with any form of literature, comics and graphic novels run the gamut from kid-friendly to adult and represent every kind of genre imaginable. Also like other forms of literature and entertainment, not every comic book or graphic novel may be suitable to your classroom. Remember, the comic book is a format, not a genre. It is just another unique medium used to tell a story.

Sometimes multiple issues of a series are collected into one volume. It can be hardcover or softcover. Softcover editions are often called TRADE PAPERBACKS or just TRADES, regardless of size. A smaller size paperback (the typical size for manga collections) can also be referred to as a DIGEST.

Yes: some comics may contain objectionable language, graphic depictions of violence, or sexual content. However, this is also the case when talking about prose novels, films, television programs, computer games, etc. Your students are most likely already exposed to such thing on television, in the music they listen to, and in the video games they play.

When a story is published in the hardcover or softcover format first (that is, without periodical serialization), it is referred to as a GRAPHIC NOVEL and only a graphic novel. Many of these terms are interchangeable, as you can see. A “graphic novel” can refer to a hardcover or softcover, to a reprint collection or an original story. Similarly, all of the formats referenced can be called “comics” or “comic books.” GRAPHICA and SEQUENTIAL ART are both terms frequently used in the academic community to describe all of these formats.

provides more great introductory information about graphic novels and comics, including: • What is Manga? • A Brief History of Comics • A Brief History of the Graphic Novel • A History of Comics in Education • A Glossary of Frequently Used Terms AND MORE! Find us on Facebook at and Twitter at



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“But that doesn’t mean they should be exposed to such things in my classroom,” you may reply. And we agree with you wholeheartedly. Any comic found objectionable should be excluded from your classroom or school library. We ask only that you realize that not all comics — or even the majority of comics, for that matter — should be so excluded. Obviously, when choosing a particular title, some discretion will be involved. But for every objectionable or offensive title in the market, there are many, many more that are not only appropriate, but also critically acclaimed and respected works of art. Even as conservative an organization as the Parents Television Council has endorsed comic books in schools, commenting that they “may be the best thing to happen for kids who resist the written word.”* Your community standards and mores will prevail, as they should: Be sure to investigate a new comic book or graphic novel with the same vigor and critical eye you would apply to any addition to your classroom. Depending on the class and/or lesson you are teaching, a comic’s suitability can vary; preview the graphic novel’s content before assigning it to your students. Taking a few simple steps to educate yourself will prepare you for the concerns of others and alleviate your own as well! * Gustafson, Rod. “Help for Reluctant Readers” (06/29/04)

GRAPHIC NOVELS 101 ST A R T I N G A G R APHIC NOV EL CO LLEC TION Deciding to include comic books and graphic novels in your collection is the first step into a larger world. Now, you must decide what to do once you’re there. Here are some basic steps on your path to using graphic novels in your collection:

1. Determine Needs

First, you need to ascertain what books you would like to incorporate into your collection. Perhaps you have one or two graphic novels already, or you may be deciding to carry these books for the first time. You’ll need to decide which books would be appropriate for your community of readers, which books they’re hankering for, and which books would delight and surprise them.

2. Find An Expert

You don’t have to possess an encyclopedic knowledge of comics and graphic novels to successfully integrate them into your library’s offerings. There are people out there who can advise you on what books are valuable. For instance, you almost certainly already have readers in your library community with an understanding and love of graphic novels. You can also reach out to the independent comic book retailers in your area who are armed with detailed information about this area of reading they have a vested interest in supporting. (See “How to Order Comics & Graphic Novels” at the back of this publication for information on how to find and work with your local comic book store.) And, of course, you can also feel free to contact those of us at the Diamond BookShelf!

3. Purchase Graphic Novels

Once you have consulted with your readers, experts in the field, and any others who can offer insight, you’ll be ready with a list of titles of graphic novels to acquire for your library.

4. Decide How To Catalog/ Where To Shelve

Now you need to decide where to put them! Diamond provides information on cataloging to make integrating graphic novels into your collection easier. You can find these tools at In terms of shelving you have a number of options. See “How to Catalogue Comics” for a comprehensive look at cataloging and shelving options and resources.

5. Promote Your Graphic Novels

You could have the finest graphic novel collection in history, but if no one knows about, it won’t matter. The success of your collection relies on a certain level of promotion. If you don’t get the word out, no one will know the books are there. Start including the news about your graphic novels into your existing newsletters, pamphlets, and other promotional materials. Put up easy-toread signs at the entrances to your library so that nobody who enters will fail to know about the new additions. Add the news to your e-mail correspondence. Contact your local media and encourage them to do a story about your library’s efforts to expand and enhance readership through this vital art form. Stage contests, offer giveaways, and plan fun events. Coordinate promotions with your local comic book retailer.

6. Evaluate Success /Circulation Data

After a certain period of time, you’re going to want to crunch the numbers. Measuring the graphic novel circulation at your library indicates the extent to which your readers are using this new library resource and will help you evaluate the success of the program. It will THERE IS NO NATIONAL STANDARD when it comes to the also point you in appropriateness or selection of graphic novels. Therefore, the best the right direction titles to include can vary from library to library. It is vital — once as to which titles and series to snap you’ve decided on a particular book — to read through the book up in the future!

yourself. What might pass muster in some communities may not pass muster in yours. This website and the various resources listed throughout are your best starting points if you are approaching comics from a starter’s perspective. Summer 2017


THREE CATEGORIES TO KEEP IN MIND: 1. BESTSELLERS Lists of bestselling graphic novels can be obtained each month from w w w. D i a m o n d B o o k S h e l f . c o m . Additionally,






can provide similar information for

7. Poll Patrons

Never forget to meet the needs of your readership. Consulting the experts and embarking on your own research into which titles to carry is a necessary element of this program, but asking your patrons what they want is also crucial. Poll your patrons to find out what other titles they’d like to add to the collection. The flourishing graphic novel collection at a library will greatly depend on the actual requests of the readers being served.

8. Make Graphic Novels a Regular Part of Your Ordering Cycle

the highest selling graphic novels in the book-store market.

Once you’ve talked to your readers and assessed your circulation data to see how successful the addition of comic books and graphic novels has been, you’ll want to keep the ball rolling. An established graphic novel program in your library needs to be sustained, and making graphic novels a regular part of your ordering cycle will ensure the vibrancy of your collection. Including these titles in your regular decisions on what books to carry will help make them a significant and popular segment of your library.

2. CRITICALLY ACCLAIMED TITLES Graphic novels that have received stellar reviews and won literary awards are sure to generate interest in the medium, will attract new readers and also make a great case for having a graphic novel collection. There are a number of literary publications that review graphic novels, including Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, School Library Journal, Booklist, VOYA and others. See pages 40-41 for a selection of recent reviews.



Titles that tie in to hit movies, games, novels and TV shows are sure to appeal to fans of the same. Many Manga titles are also TV cartoons, and many blockbuster movies are adapted

Soon, you’ll come to realize that comic books and graphic novels are an engaging and vibrant form of literature, and the promotional possibilities for your library are endless!

from comic books. The BookShelf newsletter stays current with the latest media tie-ins and adaptations.


REMEMBER: As with any collection development, there is a period of experimentation during which you will learn which titles will circulate and which will not. You cannot judge the effectiveness of a graphic novel collection with a handful of titles, any more than you would do so with a handful of DVDs or audiobooks. If there’s no room in your budget to make a large initial purchase, start small and evaluate regularly. Add titles as you can, polling your patrons, reading review sources, and keeping diversity in mind. As time goes on, you will find the right combination for your readership and community.

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They bring a whole new group of readers into the library.


There’s no dearth of material that appeals to boys, and there’s a growing body of material that appeals to girls too.


They engage the reluctant reader — and appeal to gifted readers, too.


They help increase kids’ vocabulary — studies show, even more than movies, television, or adult books!


They are a multi-modal form of communication (meaning is communicated through visual context, not just words), similar to spoken language, and are thus a great bridge to written language.


Visual literacy is increasingly important in 21st century society.


They stimulate the imagination and model visualization for readers.


They offer dynamic and high-interest supplementary material for a wide range of disciplines -- not just English but also history, civics, science, art, geography, and more.


They appeal to boys’ kinesthenic and visual tendencies, and help girls strengthen theirs.


They create a gateway to literature!

Comics and Literacy: A Powerful Team-Up! “The presence of comics in a junior high school library resulted in a dramatic 82% increase in library traffic and a 30% increase in circulation of non-comic books.” - Dorrell & Carroll School Library Journal

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NEWS AND NOTES 2017 Winners of Will Eisner Graphic Novel Grants for Libraries Announced The Will Eisner Graphic Novel Grants for Libraries are made up of two annual grants - The Will Eisner Graphic Novel Growth Grant which is provided to support a library that would like to expand its existing graphic novel services and programs, and the Will Eisner Graphic Novel Innovation Grant which provides support to a library for the initiation of a graphic novel service, program, or initiative. Funded by the Will and Ann Eisner Family Foundation and administered by ALA’s Games and Gaming Round Table and sponsored by Diamond Comic Distributors, the two grants will be awarded during the 2017 ALA Annual Conference in Chicago. The 2017 Will Eisner Graphic Novel Growth Grant has been awarded to the Colorado State Library of Denver, Colorado. To support their project “Where There is Art, There Is Hope: Graphic Novels and Literacy at the Sterling Correctional Facilities Libraries,” the Colorado State Library plans to allow a new teacher to travel to Sterling, Colorado to enrich their LEAD (Literacy Education in Adult Detention) with Comics curriculum at the Sterling Correctional Facility (SCF) Libraries, encouraging literacy

and reducing recidivism. The 2017 Will Eisner Graphic Novel Innovation Grant is presented to the Institute of American Indian Arts of Santa Fe, New Mexico. Their project “Giving Voices to Our Stories: Fostering the Growth of Future Indigenous Graphic Novelists” aims to foster the growth of future indigenous graphic novel creators and further diversify the voices represented in visual narrative through development. To read more about the grant winners, visit Diamond BookShelf at:

Hugo Award Nominees for Best Graphic Story Announced The Hugo Awards are revered as science fiction’s most prestigious set of awards and have been awarded annually since 1955. Named after the founder of the pioneering science fiction magazine Amazing Stories Hugo Gernsback, the awards are organized and overseen by World Science Fiction Convention (“Worldcon”) with the ceremony being the central focus of the event. After careful consideration by the Worldcon jury, the 2017 nominees for the Hugo Award Best Graphic Story category have been announced. Nominees for the category include the following: Black Panther Volume 1: A Nation Under our Feet written by Ta-Nehisi Coates, illustrated by Brian Stelfreeze (Marvel) Monstress, Volume 1: Awakening written by Marjorie Liu, illustrated by Sana Takeda (Image Comics) Ms. Marvel Volume 5: Super Famous written by G. Willow Wilson, illustrated by Takeshi Miyazawa (Marvel) Paper Girls Volume 1 written by Brian K. Vaughan, illustrated by Cliff Chiang, colored by Matthew Wilson, lettered by Jared Fletcher (Image Comics) The Vision, Volume 1: Little Worse Than A Man written by Tom King, illustrated by Gabriel Hernandez Walta (Marvel) Saga, Volume 6 written by Brian K. Vaughan, illustrated by Fiona Staples, lettered by Fonografiks (Image Comics) The Hugo Awards will be presented on the evening of Friday, August 11, 2017 at the 75th World Science Fiction Convention. * bold denotes Diamond publishers


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NEWS AND NOTES Image Presents ‘Authorless Event Kit’ to Support Local Events

High School Teachers Use Comics to Teach Classic Texts

In honor of their 25th anniversary, Image Comics has created an event guide for hosting an Image Comics Author event at a school, library, or retailer venue. The Authorless Event Kit features 44pages of Image Comics crossword puzzles, comic quizzes, coloring pages, and other tools and resources needed to host a successful author event.

Chicago-based high school teachers Eric Kallenborn and Ronell Whitaker have been using graphic novels to engage students with classic texts. From at risk students to AP level courses, the two teachers have had incredible success in engaging students with texts such as Beowulf and Shakespeare with graphic novel adaptations. With the positive results of their use of graphic novels in the classroom, Kallenborn and Whitaker are launching a program that gives teachers a starting point to use comics and graphic novels in the classroom called Comics Education Outreach. The outreach program will be offering a classroom lending library of eight titles, reviews, lesson plans, and professional development resources.

To download the full pdf file, please visit: tKEu30aOz2a

To find out more about their outreach program, please visit:

Davidson County Public Libraries Reach Reluctant Readers Through Year-Long Graphic Novel Program Drew Meyer, a librarian at the Lexington Public Library, along with other library leaders across the Davidson County Public Library system are working together to promote the art of graphic novel literature with the “Believe in Reading” grant from the Steve and Loree Potash Family Foundation. The program (The Super Reading Superheroes) kicks off with a book club meeting about Baba Yaga’s Assitant on March 29th hosted by Wendy Beck and the North Davidson Public Library. The Super Reading Superheroes program is a cross-county initiative that will take place throughout the year with book discussions scheduled around five graphic novels chosen by the librarians for students in fourth through eighth grade. Each branch will have the books available on a rotating schedule to make sure copies are always

available, and during each discussion participants will be entered into a raffle for a chance to win the featured title. To read more about the program, please visit: http://

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he rise of graphic novels in the literary world has been a long and rocky road from Art Spiegelmen’s Maus becoming the first graphic novel to win a Pulitzer Prize to the New York Times removing graphic novels from their best seller’s category to Congressman John Lewis’ March, Book 3 taking home several prestigious literary awards including the National Book Award between 20162017. With graphic novels being at the forefront of critical acclaim, the veil of previously constructed stereotypes cloud the conversations as many scholars still struggle with the idea of comics having academic literary value. Despite these stereotypes, graphic novels have consistently proved their literary worth especially in the young adult genre. The enthusiasm for young adult fiction and non-fiction graphic novels can be seen not only through the shift in academic award history, but also in the reported increase in sales from $75 million in 2001 to $120 million in 2003. Fifteen years after this initial spark, the former taboo text has been embraced by educators and librarians through several avenues including the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) providing a year “Great Graphic Novels” list to the format being included in awards such as the National Book Award and various awards from the American Library Association (ALA).

Jew and Holocaust survivor. Despite the proven merit of the graphic novel format, some educators and librarians are reluctant to treat these texts with the same value as the classic novel, believing the instances of literary acclaim do not represent the format as a whole. For readers unfamiliar with the comics industry, it is easy to write them off as simple works of fiction revolving around superheroes considering the over-saturation of the trope in everyday media. However, comics and graphic novels have overwhelmingly expanded into a wide variety of content. Oni Press is a Portland-based comic publishing house most well-known for publishing Scott Pilgram and the Adult Swim comedy Rick and Morty. Along with these bestsellers, Oni Press is also known for providing high quality middle grade and young adult graphic novels appropriate for the classroom. Princess Princess Ever After (9781620103401, $12.99) by New Zealand cartoonist Katie O’Neill immediately gained popularity among educators and librarians after its release in fall of 2016. This all-ages LGBTQ friendly tale begins as any other damsel in distress story with Princess Sadie locked in a tower. Hearing cries for help, the adventuring Princess Amira finds the tower and attempts to rescue the imprisoned maiden. With clever banter and some ingenuity, Princess Amira accomplishes what no prince before her could and releases Princess Sadie from the walls of her

The critical acclaim of graphic novels in education may seem like a recent phenomenon, however, the rise of the format’s popularity began in 1978 when cartoonist Will Eisner created A Contract with God. This graphic ensemble collects four stand-alone stories: “A Contract with God” in which a religious man gives up his faith after the death of his young adopted daughter; “The Street Singer” where a washed up diva tries to seduce a poor, young street singer who in turn tries to take advantage of her former stardom; a racist bully is led to suicide after false accusations of pedophilia plague him in “The Super;” and the collection is wrapped up with the story of several tenants of 55 Dropsie Avenue vacationing in the country in “Cookalein.” This collection of short stories has been documented to be one of the first comic collections to use the term “graphic novel” to distinguish itself from the common comic periodicals. While the term “graphic novel” was coined in 1964, A Contract with God set the foundation for comics collected in a novel form, beginning their rise as a respected and valued narrative format. This road to acceptance was paved further in 1992 when Art Spiegelmen won the Pulitzer Prize for his graphic novel Maus, a frame narrative of Spiegelman interviewing his father about being a Polish


Summer 2017 prison. The two begin travelling together learning to solve problems with more than just hack and slash sword tricks seen in other fairy tales, including compromising with an ogre to stop destroying a city in exchange for dance lessons and saving a young prince from a tree. Not only does this modern fairy tale explore the world of problem solving and gender roles, it also touches on the ideas of body shaming and self-image when Princess Sadie confronts her thinner and more conventionally attractive sister in an attempt to take back a kingdom that rightfully belongs to her. Katie O’Neill’s Princess Princess Ever After challenges the stereotypical damsel in distress story arc, and her story is only amplified by its ability to hook the reader and explore various themes because of its use of the graphic novel format. The School Library Journal describes O’Neill’s unique and thought-provoking story as being “filled with empowering messages about friendship, gender roles, identity, heroism, and the importance of staying true to oneself.” Along with analyzing the subtle, stimulating themes laced throughout the stories presented

skills that can easily be revisited and reinforced later with traditional texts after graphic novels have laid down the foundation. Along with transitions, what Botzakis terms as “visual permeance” allows readers to determine how fast or how slow to read a text as well as to what degree they attend to the words and pictures. Graphic novels provide an illusion of time passing while allowing the reader to easily rewind and revisit information in a manageable way. Using graphic novels to practice and hone this skill allows for them to better parse through traditional texts, therefore making them better critical thinkers. Finally, Botzakis explains that “the illustrations in graphic novels provide contextual information that can assist or enhance a reader’s ability to engage with a text.” This feature has gained popularity among readers learning English as a second language as it allows them to take the connections they make between words and images and translate it into their everyday conversational and academic use of the language. Being able to make these connections and use the images as a way to

“YOUNG ADULT GRAPHIC NOVELS HAVE BEEN COINED AS THE ‘MISSING LINK’ BETWEEN PICTURE BOOKS AND TRADITIONAL TEXTS.” within graphic novels, the physical format also poses several academic values that encourage critical thinking and deep reading of a text. In the fourth edition of The International Literacy Association’s (ILA) Children’s Literature in the Reading Program, Stergios Botzakis writes an analytical exploration of the features present in a graphic novel that lend themselves useful to academic instruction. According to Botzakis, an Assistant Professor of Adolescent Literacy in the Department of Theory and Practice in Teacher Education at the University of Tennessee, there are three key elements in graphic novels that are valuable to education and unique to the medium: transitions, contextual information, and visual permanence (http:// “Reading graphic novels requires readers to make connections between images set apart by panels and gutters,” leading readers to constantly infer and assume actions that are occurring between the panels. Filling in the actions taking place between panels forces readers to engage in higher level thinking

comprehend the textual story has also allowed struggling readers to develop their reading skills and in turn use them to critically think about and understand classic texts. Botzakis’ exploration of these elements in depth further details how each one can lead to higher literary engagement, increased reading fluency, developed vocabulary awareness, and an increased interest in reading. Not only are graphic novels often appealing to young readers, educators are able to use them to actively track students’ understanding of a text and measure their growth. Many studies revolving around the academic benefits of graphic novels focus on the effect they have on reluctant readers, but as Botzakis’ analysis showed, graphic novels have also proven to have a positive impact on English Language Learners (ELLs). In 2007, the National Center for Educational Statistics reported over 11 million ELLs in the United States with 7.3 million being students in kindergarten through eighth grade, with the goal of

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11 closing the gap between ELLs and native-speaking students. According to Amy Baker (University of Central Missouri), because graphic novels deal with the English language in a different way than traditional texts, many students embrace the format because they “are viewed as being more manageable than text-only literature” (http:// ELL’s face many challenges that are unrelated to the struggles seen by reluctant readers. Not only must ELLs learn English as a social language – conversational English also known as Basic Interpersonal Communication Skills – which includes regional dialect and slang, they must also learn academic language – or Cognitive Academic Language Proficiency which includes vocabulary and reasoning skills. Having multi-faceted needs in making up for lost time in language acquisition, the use of reading and creating comics as a teaching tool has visual appeal, less text, and familiar characters that bring a higher sense of comfort and understanding to students. Fostering a welcoming platform for literacy and language acquisition is not only important for the initial foundation for ELLs, but also for their excitement to continue reading English texts beyond comics. In her analysis, Baker goes on to describe several programs that specifically use comics to teach English including parts-of-speech comics, read and listen comics, and vocabulary focused comics. Not only do these resources help develop academic proficiency of the spoken language, Baker reported the exercises had a positive influence over the writing skills of the students. To support educators working with English learning students, bilingual young adult and kids graphic novels such as Oni Press’ Booger Beard (9781620102206, $12.99) have helped smooth out the transition from Spanish to English. Using both bilingual and English graphic novels in the classroom have allowed ELLs to develop both basic interpersonal communication skills as well as cognitive academic language proficiency.

While most studies agree comics should not replace traditional texts in the classroom, the support of the format as supplementary reading is overwhelming, especially during early education and middle grade. Graphic novels are unique in the literary skills they encourage students to develop and because most students find them appealing to read. In their March 2017 meetings, industry professionals gathered with the Children’s Book Council (CBC) to further discuss the young adult graphic novel phenomenon and the effects it will have over the rest of the year and in years to come. Provided through their CBC Forum Series, the panel consisted of Erin Berger (VP and Creative Marketing Director of Penguin Random House), Cristin Stickles (Children’s and YA buyer), McNally Jackson Books, and Chantalle Uzan (Senior Young Adult Librarian at New York Public Library) with Matthew Baldacci (Director of Business Development at Shelf Awareness) moderating. During the forum, the panelists gave an overview of 2016 trends paired with expectations for 2017 with Stickles reporting that young adult readers have a strong interest in books described as “emotional tool kits,” or titles that address readers’ emotional or psychological well-being while parents often focused on that focused on sight words with authentic voices representing diverse experiences. These observations quickly led into a discussion about the dramatic rise of young adult graphic novels. The panel unanimously agreed that the format is the “fastest growing, best performing category” in children’s books. Young adult graphic novels have been coined the “missing link” between picture books and traditional texts. Both among academic critics and industry professionals, the young adult graphic novel category has been recognized as the fastest growing in the print market as educators, librarians, and parents continue to see the influence they have on a student’s overall education and desire to continue reading beyond the classroom.


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oung adult graphic novels have become one of the most compelling forms of literature in the last decade from Gene Luen Yang’s American Born Chinese to John Lewis’ March trilogy. The demand for this genre has led many publishers to focus on creating content specifically for young adult readers. Comics publisher Lion Forge is paving the way for young adult graphic novels with their dedicated imprint, Roar Comics. We spoke with Roar Comics’ editor, Andrea Colvin, about the state of the market and how Roar plans on expanding their content and their support of educators and librarians. t Diamond BookShelf: Young adult graphic novels have been pioneering the road to literary and academic acclaim for graphic novels in recent years. What would you say was the turning point that sparked the demand for graphic novels aimed at children and young adults? Andrea Colvin: Well I think it’s easy to point to the publication of Raina Telgemeier’s Smile in 2010 as a watershed moment in kids’ comics – and it was – but the truth is that momentum had been building in the kids’ comics space for years before that. Librarians had been steadily building their young readers’

graphic novel sections as they watched those books become some of the most highly circulated in their collections. And the accessibility and authenticity of Smile really pushed the genre over the edge into the mainstream. I also think one can’t discount the effect of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series – the first in the comics-prose hybrid genre – on gatekeepers such as parents and teachers, whom it showed that images could in fact be interdependent with text in a “real” book. Combine all of this with the tendency of reluctant readers to gravitate toward comics, and you’ve got the recipe for what is now one of the fastest growing segments in trade publishing. t What was the inspiration behind launching Roar Comics as an imprint dedicated to focusing on comics for teens and young adults? What sets it apart from both Lion Forge and the CubHouse imprint? We started with Roar as an “all ages” imprint under the Lion Forge umbrella. But we quickly understood that there were a couple of problems with that. First, what does “all ages” even mean? What are parents supposed to understand from that designation? How does that help them choose appropriate graphic novels for their kids? How does that help librarians know where to shelve books in their collections? Second, books aimed at, say, 8 to 12 year olds should necessarily be different in tone and content from books aimed at 14 to 17 year olds. There’s a reason bookstores have moved the teen books out of the children’s section. So, we launched CubHouse to publish books for younger readers, from the


Summer 2017 very youngest of readers (we publish picture books for kids as young as 3) to middle-grade (up to 12 years old). Younger kids are more interested in humor and the absurd, and teens and young adults want more searing emotional storytelling. Of course, younger kids like emotional and heartfelt stories as well, and teens aren’t totally devoid of humor! But we felt it was important to be able to draw a line, even a fuzzy one, between content appropriate for younger kids and content that will appeal to teens and young adults. t Young adult graphic novels are often popular not only because they target a specific audience, but because the themes and content are easily accessible to adults and sometimes children. How do you feel the accessibility of young adult graphic novels benefits the genre and the medium in the academic world? There is a huge adult crossover audience for teen and YA graphic novels. As in prose publishing, adults are reading books originally conceived for teens and young adults in droves. And some titles are also appealing to the more mature among younger readers. But as far as their suitability for an adoption into the institutional market, we still feel it’s important to have a teen/YA (or younger, if it’s CubHouse) readership in mind when we are creating and marketing titles. Institutional gatekeepers don’t have time to read every graphic novel published, which is why it’s important that we are clear about appropriateness for those audiences.

t Can you give a little bit of background on a couple of titles coming out this year from Roar/CubHouse and how they fit into the young adult genre? There are two in particular I’m excited about in 2017. The first is Lighter Than My Shadow (9781941302415, $19.99) by British creator Katie Green. It’s a memoir of her harrowing journey through a tenacious eating disorder and abuse by a trusted therapist. The way Katie uses the graphic format is amazing; she forces the reader to really feel what she felt and to understand what she went through. This book is a gut punch, but one it’s impossible to look away from. Every time I pick up Katie’s work, I get lost in it. She’s a wonderful talent. The second is Taproot (9781941302460, $10.99) by Keezy Young. Keezy is a sublime storyteller and incredible artist. Taproot is an atmospheric tale centered around a gardener who is secretly in love with his best friend, who happens to be a ghost. It’s an affecting queer love story that is not about being queer. Rather it’s about friendship, loss, acceptance, and surrender. It’s just beautiful. t Do you believe it is necessary for the comics industry to recognize the shift in demand for young adult graphic novels? As a publisher, how do you track these trends as well as the longevity of them?

t Does Lion Forge have any resources available for librarians or schools to help get more young adult graphic novels into circulation? We’re planning a robust nonfiction list in coming years, and we’ll be making sure those titles cover subjects that are part of school curriculum. I’ve seen studies that show students retain information better when it’s presented in a graphic format; I know it works for me! At the least we can find new and compelling ways to tell stories that might interest kids in a topic, hopefully piquing their interest in additional texts and prose nonfiction reading. Additionally, we plan to have robust teaching and discussion guides available for all our CubHouse titles as well as our nonfiction Roar titles. We want to make it easy for schools and libraries to use our books!

The trade publishing industry is sure waking up to the increase in demand for kids’ graphic novels, so it would behoove the comics industry to do the same if it wants to remain competitive in this space. I think we’re teetering on the brink of something really big, and there is so much wonderful talent out there. As far as tracking longevity of the market, this is always tough. Of course, we look closely at both recent and longerterm sales trends, but you know the old adage that past performance is not a guarantee of future results. A certain amount of this is gut and faith. But the fact is, comics and graphic novels are great books for kids, and not just reluctant readers. They help readers develop visual literacy as well as textual literacy. They’re great for English language learners. They’re great for emerging readers. And as parents, teachers, and librarians get more and more comfortable with the comics format, I don’t see this trend slowing down.

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ince I started advocating for comics in the classroom, I’ve been met with two consistent questions from my fellow educators: how do I get started, and how do I convince my administration that comics are valid literary and historical materials appropriate for the classroom? While there are many accounts of the positive impact graphic novels have on students, not much can be found on how a teacher got the text approved for the classroom. Recently, I went through the lengthy process of getting the award-winning trilogy March by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell approved as a literary text for teaching the Civil Rights Movement to my 11th grade students. Although the idea of getting a graphic novel approved for the classroom may seem daunting, seeing the amazing effects the format has had on my students throughout the years, and especially with March, has always made every effort worth it.


This may sound obvious, but the first, and perhaps most important step, is to choose a book you love. Nothing is more impactful in a classroom than when a teacher brings something he/she is passionate about – it becomes infectious. I was completely taken in by March the first time I read it and immediately knew I had to get it into the hands of my students in a meaningful way. However, be careful when choosing a title as images can get a teacher into trouble faster than a traditional text. As with any text, know your district and your grade level expectations as this is the number one reason why teachers are put on the defensive with graphic novels.


The next step is to ask yourself, why am I bringing in this graphic novel? It should never be simply because it is different or cool – but should foster specific educational benefits. Be able to answer: what skills will you be teaching through the book? How will this add to your classroom discussions and learning? These are the answers you’ll need when approaching administration, school board members, parents, and even students. As the former social studies department chair for eight years with a MS Reading Specialist Degree, I felt more than prepared to present the necessary research supporting the merits of this medium when making my case, but simply making note of how well graphic novels address the Common Core standards might be the true deciding factor in convincing your district that they should be included in the classroom.



Social media, especially Twitter, is a fantastic tool where you will find educators, publishers, and authors who are willing to share their experiences and advice. You can find me: @historycomics,, and on Facebook in a collaborative educators’ group called Comic Book Teachers. Top Shelf, the publisher of March, already has free teacher lesson plans available on their website; many publishers also have similar resources available. These lesson plans may or may not be the perfect fit for you, but may give you inspiration and get you started. Another option is to attend a comic con in your area. These are great places to network and find educators with experience, and most are more than willing to share their knowledge. Look into the panels being offered and schedule your day around those focused on education. You may even be lucky enough to meet an author or illustrator of your chosen graphic novel.


Find studies about the efficacy of using comics in the classroom. Do your research – come prepared. These studies are widely available through a simple Google search. Buy books on teaching with graphic novels – you don’t always have to reinvent the wheel. Luckily for educators, there is now a wealth of information and support available.

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Now you can begin your conversation with administration. Be sure to wow them at the outset, be prepared, even encourage them to read the book. Share with them the SKILLS that will be taught and how these books are perfect for cross-curricular lesson planning. I teach in Pennsylvania and have used some of the following abbreviated Common Core standards to specifically explain how graphic novels can be integrated. Look through your own local standards and be sure to include them in your proposal. Elementary CC.1.2.1.G Use illustrations and details in a text to describe its key ideas CC.1.3.5.G Analyze how visual and multimedia elements contribute to the meaning, tone, or beauty of a text (e.g., graphic novel). CC.1.4.K.M Use a combination of drawing, dictating, and writing to compose narratives Secondary CC.8.6.E use technology to produce and publish CC.8.9.G gather information from multiple sources CC.8.6.H draw evidence from information texts CC.8.5.A cite textual evidence to support analysis CC.8.5.E analyze how text uses structure

use. Of course, we still expect students to read traditional texts, but these graphic novels can often be a beginning point to build confidence and to introduce higher level reading. I can use my own children as an example as they have read Udon Entertainment’s wonderful Manga Classics – the Scarlet Letter, Emma, Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, and Les Miserables. My daughter is in 5th grade and on a much higher reading level, and she found these books both challenging and immersive. My wife and I have had wonderful conversations with her about these books and now she wants to read the original texts. My youngest daughter, 1st grade, doesn’t always get the deeper meaning of these books, but the images have helped her to engage in our conversations and to get the big idea. Neither child is a reluctant reader, but the type of student to whom a graphic novel can be an engaging way to broaden their knowledge. My son, however, was a reluctant reader and unable to find confidence in his reading abilities. Through years of struggles, we were eventually able to use comic books as a gateway to increasing his skills and interests. The next step was to involve him in reading graphic novels. This

Additionally, graphic novels help students with 21st century skills. When reading online, text is often not linear nor from left to right – it often molds around pictures and offers links – text is rarely presented alone. Our students are highly visual and are adept at making meaning through images. Some other topics to include in your conversation are breaks from the textbook, scaffolding for English Language Learners, pairing visuals with text, and higher level skills such as inference and predicting. Don’t focus solely on how graphic novels can help reluctant readers, although they are a great resource for this type of student. The strength of graphic novels is that they are easily adaptable to all levels of students, it all depends on the application and use. Gifted students can be asked for more text to text connections, to make predictions, and to use the graphic novel as a jumping off point to other texts. Also – be sure to state that graphic novels are never a replacement text, but one of many tools that we can

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17 immediately gave him the needed confidence as he knew that he was reading full books and now loves to read everything he can get his hands upon.


Once approved, lesson planning begins. It is important to find success out of the gate as many will be watching, especially if this is the first time your school has integrated this type of literature. Begin with the basics. The first time I gave comic books to my students to read – we were using comics from several decades as windows into society – I was surprised at how many students had never read a comic. I found that I had to teach students how to read a comic book: how the pages flow, the meaning of different types of dialogue bubbles, the importance of gutters, etc. I found success with putting together a PowerPoint with many different types of pages, including Manga. The last thing I wanted was for the format to get in the way of the story. Use images without words (as from Nat Turner by Kyle Baker) and have students use close reading skills to explain what is going on in the images. It is important for you not to tell them, let the students reason through and find the evidence to defend their opinion. This visual literacy is exactly the same skill we expect of students when reading prose and forces them to focus on the meaning of the page or image. Additionally, it helps the students to be more independent thinkers as we are all free to come up with our individual meanings, as long as the evidence can be found and explained.


Decide on the process of reading the book. Will you have students read and participate in a debate? Will they have a literature circle/book talk? Will you have them fill out a guided reading packet as they read? Share this with your administration as you work through the process. I stumbled somewhat in my lesson planning as I gave my students an, admittedly, huge guided reading packet, small research projects, and drawing assignments as they read. I now know that this interrupted their reading and ability to be emotionally involved in the events of the book. Next time, I will front load the lessons with some background research before beginning to read March.


Next – think – what is the end result? I decided to ask my students what they wanted to do as a culminating activity after reading March. We were lucky enough to have paired with a school in Norway that was also reading March (again – the amazing social media world gives us so many possibilities) and had introduced ourselves to each other. Collectively (my


class and the students in Norway) decided to create original comic books based on current civil rights issues. My students worked in groups of 3-4 students, chose an issue, and began to outline their comic. I left it open to the students if they wanted to hand draw it, use an online tool like Pixton, or a combination of the two. We added an interesting twist – my students would begin the comic and leave it at a cliff-hanger, the students in Norway would then complete the comic and we would discuss the outcome. I was floored at the high level of engagement from my students as they researched current events and passionately wrote about these issues. The comic format really made them focus on individual expressions, body language, symbols, etc. – this was the power of March as well – it made John Lewis’ incredible story personal and emotional. This is always the stand-out comment from my students – that graphic novels allow them to connect on a much deeper and personal level to the characters.


When you are done be sure to ask for student feedback. I gave my students a survey before we began and similar questions when we finished. Not only is this good for you as a teacher, it also gives you invaluable data to present to administration. As I write this, I am compiling all my data to send to my supportive and helpful administration so that we can widen the graphic novel potential for not only my classroom, but for others in the district.


Finally, don’t forget to share – blog about your experiences, contact the author, contact the illustrator, and the publisher. Share with your colleagues. One last bit of advice, and maybe I should have led with this – have a classroom library. You don’t need a class set of one book to get started. Have students borrow one and write a review for extra credit. When beginning a unit, put out graphic novels on that topic. Black History Month. Women’s History Month. WWI. There are so many titles available that will have your students staying after and asking to borrow. Talk to your librarian about creating a special place in the library for graphic novels and tell your students about it. Just get started – your students will thank you. Tim Smyth has been a high school social studies teacher since 2002, and currently teaches in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He has a BA in History and received his Masters as a Reading Specialist. Smyth is a firm believer in cross-curricular writing and close reading analysis and has used graphic novels and comics to engage students while maintaining those beliefs. Smyth takes his knowledge of teaching and the use of graphic novels in the classroom on the road by presenting panels at various conventions such as WizardWorld, San Diego Comic Con and New York Comic Con. More information about Smyth’s beliefs and adventures can be found on his website:

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By Katie O’Neill Oni Press 9781620103401 When the heroic princess Amira rescues the kind-hearted Princess Sadie from her tower prison, neither expects to find a true friend in the bargain. Yet as they adventure across the kingdom, they discover that they bring out the very best in the other person. They’ll need to join forces and use all the know-how, kindness, and bravery they have in order to defeat their greatest foe yet: a jealous sorceress, who wants to get rid of Sadie once and for all.


By Leila del Duca and Kit Seaton Image Comics 9781632159410 Boetema suddenly develops the ability to astrally project to other worlds, unintentionally possessing the bodies of people light years away. Inotu, her inquisitive brother with a pension for trouble, finds himself on the run after he’s caught eavesdropping on an illegal business deal between small town business tycoons and their cyborg bodyguard. When Boetema accidentally gets someone hurt while in another girl’s body, the siblings are forced to work together to solve the problems they’ve created on their planet and others.

Ocean of Secrets

By Sophie-chan Tokyopop 9781427857149 Lia, a 17-year old orphan living by the Atlantic is swept away by the ocean currents during a ruthless storm. She is then saved by Moria and Albert, a duo of illegal runaways on their magical ship! Her normal, mundane life suddenly becomes a supernatural adventure as she learns about the powers of their kind and their relations to the human world. But Lia soon discovers that there is a dark secret hidden in a mysterious kingdom.

Space Battle Lunchtime Volume 1

By Natalie Riess Oni Press 9781620103135 Earth baker Peony gets the deal of a lifetime when she agrees to be a contestant on the Universe’s hottest reality TV show, Space Battle Lunchtime! But that was before she knew that it shoots on location... on a spaceship... and her alien competitors don’t play nice! Does Peony really have what it takes to be the best cook in the Galaxy?

March, Book 3

Herald: Lovecraft and Tesla: Tying the Knot

Tenko King Volume 1

Manga Classics: Jane Eyre

By John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell Top Shelf Productions 9781603094023 The stunning conclusion of the award-winning and best-selling March trilogy, Congressman John Lewis, an American icon and one of the key figures of the civil rights movement, joins cowriter Andrew Aydin and artist Nate Powell to bring the lessons of history to vivid life for a new generation, urgently relevant for today’s world.

By Tavis Maiden Toonhound Studios 9780997226904 Flip is a 10-year-old Redori sapling who wants to experience life outside of the village, and travel to places he’s only read about in the forbidden journals. He daydreams about meeting The Rumble Bees of the Cinder Woods, traveling the winding maze of the Ever Root, or even experiencing the chilling dread of the Terror Tombs. When he becomes lost in the woods, Flip soon finds out that the world is much bigger than he bargained for.


By Raina Telgemeier Graphix 9780545132060 Raina just wants to be a normal sixth grader. But one night after Girl Scouts she trips and falls, severely injuring her two front teeth. What follows is a long and frustrating journey with on-again, off-again braces, surgery, embarrassing headgear, and even a retainer with fake teeth attached. And on top of all that, there’s still more to deal with: a major earthquake, boy confusion, and friends who turn out to be not so friendly.

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By John Reilly, Dexter Weeks, and Tom Rogers Action Lab Entertainment 9781632292124 Love is in the air when the Cthulhu cult converts its faithful into hideous flesh beasts. In Vienna, Hitler responds to an RSVP from something old. Lovecraft and Houdini find themselves neck-deep in something new. Sonia Greene is hunted for something borrowed. And after reconciling the possibility of never finding Earhart, Tesla is blue.

By Crystal Chan, Lee, and Charlotte Brontë Udon Entertainment 9781927925645 As an orphaned child, Jane Eyre is first cruelly abused by her aunt, then cast out and sent to a charity school. Though she meets with further abuse, she receives an education, and eventually takes a job as a governess at the estate of Edward Rochester. Jane and Rochester begin to bond, but his dark moods trouble her. Charlotte Bronte’s classic tale of morality and social criticism takes on an entirely new life in this Manga Classic adaptation of Jane Eyre.

Bob’s Burgers

By Chad Brewster, Justin Hook, Tony Gernarro, Frank Forte, and others Dynamite Entertainment 9781606906606 The hit show from Fox is now a graphic novel... 100% created by show writers and animators, so it’s 100% authentic Bob’s Burgers flavor! Enjoy wild new stories of the Belcher family, beloved characters from the 2014’s Primetime Emmy Award Winner for Outstanding Animated Program! This volume brings you brand-new in-canon stories created by the TV show’s producers, writers, and animators!





an of Action Entertainment’s founder and co-creator of I Kill Giants Joe Kelly teams up with British cartoonist Ilya for an allnew all-ages series in Kid Savage Volume 1 (9781632159380, $14.99). Following the story of the pioneering “First Family in Space” after a catastrophic wrong turn on their maiden voyage, the family crash lands on a dangerous alien planet. Their 21st century know-how proves to be useless against the harsh environment, and their demise seems certain until they meet a strange ally – a mysterious orphan boy who’s short on temper but big on survival skills. Diamond interviewed Joe Kelly about his inspirations for this heartfelt adventure and the future of all-age comics.

the place. Mostly Image titles - stuff written by my fellow MOAs (Steve Seagle, Joe Casey and Duncan Rouleau) as well as Monstress, Saga, Paper Girls. Phil Jiminez’s Superwoman ​is a title I really dig - beautiful and packed with story. Also working my way through a lot of Manga, old and new.

t Diamond BookShelf: Take us through the cast of characters: the wildboy, the science-minded dad, the nervous son, and the too-cool-to-care daughter. What makes this cast of characters so interesting?

Joe Kelly: From the beginning, I wanted to do a fun, overthe-top adventure book but with a very realistic family. They spar and snipe. They love one another but don’t get a chance to show it because we meet them hours after the biggest mistake of their lives. Even if they are the “First Family in Space,” they’re still normal human beings who have been thrust into extraordinary circumstances - some willingly and others not so much. I relate to each of the core family members in some way: I get young Ethan’s fears and desire to please his dad, Alina’s drive to stay cool and above it all even if she’s scared witless, and Gerard’s completely unbalanced approach to parenting as soon as things go lopsided. And then there’s “Kid”... the savage. The survivor. Crossing a dysfunctional family of the future with a self-sufficient wild child illuminates the heart of the book for me. Forces everyone in the cast to reconsider who they are and their definition of family... while being chased by space monsters. Don’t forget the monsters! t What got you reading comics? What are some series you’re reading today?

I started reading a pile of comics that an uncle gave me. Mostly Superman and horror books like House of Secrets and Witching Hour. The perfect alchemy to twist my impressionable mind. I picked up Spidey books on my own as a kid, but comics really took off for me with New Mutants 19 - Bill Sienkiewicz’s a ​ rt hooked me and pulled me in to a book that was tailor made for a Junior High Schooler trying to find his way. Now, I’m all over


t Was making “Kid Savage” an all-ages title an important decision in the creation of this story?

Absolutely. First and foremost, we wanted to do a book that was unabashedly for everyone, young and old. While Kid Savage has its eye firmly set on a younger audience, there are more subtle layers that will appeal to adults – especially parents. Mostly, though, we wanted to craft a big adventure for kids, and that’s what we did! Secondly, Ilya and I are keenly aware that there is a gap in mainstream comics aimed for all ages, which is generally sad but also short-sighted for the industry at large. Where do we find an audience in 10 years if we don’t introduce new readers to our work now? Kids want to read comics, and most of the time I believe parents are happy to provide them so long as they are deemed “appropriate.” The irony doesn’t escape me that more 10-year olds saw the Deadpool film than ever read the comics, but that’s the funny thing about our relationship to books. There is something about reading that is so much more personal and engrossing an experience that

Summer 2017 horror books. One genre thrilled me and the other scared the hell out of me. What made them all accessible was the fact that they were cheap and readily available. I read plenty of books whose vocabulary went over my head. I looked those words up. If I didn’t get the subtext on first read, in later years I discovered something new.

some parents worry more about the rating of a comic than they do a film! t Young adult graphic novels have been making a name for comics in the academic world in the last few years, how do you feel the genre fits into comics as a whole? Do you think creators have become more aware of this demographic?

I don’t think of YA as a genre in the same way comics aren’t a genre. You can tell YA adventure stories, horror stories, romance stories, etc. It’s a delivery system. YA implies that the main characters will likely be younger and the reading level will be slightly more accessible, but that’s about it. I think that it’s academically interesting to ask why something like Harry Potter or Twilight crosses over to adult readers, but a good story is a good story. I didn’t write I Kill Giants for teens. I just wrote a story featuring a young girl as the protagonist. The fans that come up to me at conventions range from 16 to 50, men and women. The book finds its reader. That said, the YA trend is a very good thing for comics and literature. Anything that gets a broader audience into book shops to explore and find their personal groove means the creation of more readers. Readers are smart people. We need more smart people. Creators are certainly aware of the YA audience, but as with all things you can’t chase a trend if you don’t believe in it. The readers smell that from a mile off. However, the creators who have always wanted to tell stories for all ages are finding it easier to do so. That’s a wonderful thing. t Being a comic-reader from a young age yourself, do you believe it is important format to have accessible to young readers?

When I read comics as a kid, they were broken down by genre with very few exceptions – the Harvey comics come to mind as geared specifically for kids. They weren’t rated beyond the Comics’ Code. I liked superheroes and

My point is no one was writing down to me, the comics buyer, because I was young. They were telling their stories within the limits of the Code, pushing wherever they could. I accessed whatever I could handle as a reader and ignored the rest. The best YA books do this today. The biggest hurdle we face now is price and literal access to books. With shops closing left and right and costs at a disproportionate level to the value of a single issue of a comic, it’s a challenge to get books in the hands of kids. Even if a movie ticket is $12, a $4 comic is not a comparable value. $3 is pushing it when an app is $0.99. I prefer the graphic novel format because it not only allows for more storytelling, but it generally feels like a solid value to the parents who are paying for it. $15 for a book? Okay, I get it, that’s what books cost. If we want to build an audience for the future, content is king, but price and access are the roads to the kingdom. About Joe Kelly Joe Kelly is the creator of the lauded graphic novel I Kill Giants, currently in post-production as a feature film and the winner of the 2012 International Manga Award from Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, a rare feat for an American work. His original graphic novel Four Eyes was a YALSA “Great Graphic Novel for Teens” selection and in 2016, he launched a new arc in Four Eyes. Kelly also wrote Bang! Tango and Bad Dog for the Man of Action imprint at Image Comics. Kelly is credited with writing “The best Superman story of all time” in Action Comics #775, which he adapted to the DC feature animation home video, What’s So Funny About Truth, Justice and the American Way? for Warner Brothers, released to great reviews in 2012. His run on Deadpool remains the industry standard which greatly influenced the successful feature film and he returned to Spider-Man/ Deadpool in 2016 – one of the year’s top-selling comics. Kelly also teaches Writing for Animation at his alma mater, NYU.

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rguably, the most abundant resource that a comic fan has is passion, and for the patrons and staff at the East Orange Public Library (EOPL) in East Orange, NJ, they possess more than enough to engulf the Batcave.

TOSHO-CON 2017 Mascot Artist Leilani Miller

Lieberman. “I love being able to share my passion with patrons by organizing events that bring them into the library, promote community, and encourage literacy, while offering a forum for fans.” Early into her library career as a page in Nassau County, New York, Lieberman sparked the idea to gather comic/anime fans together in the form of a young adult anime club. “It was with those teens that I planned the first library anime convention in the county, running strong from 2010-2012,” says Lieberman. “My goal was to create a safe space for anime fans to gather and interact in a way that mimics larger anime conventions, with panels, crafts, cosplay contests, screenings, drawing workshops, an artist alley and special guests.”

On Saturday, June 17, the EOPL enters its third year hosting its annual all-day comic/anime convention, “TOSHO-Con” (which garners its name from the Japanese word for “library,” “toshokan”), and the anticipation and enthusiasm among patrons and staff alike shows no signs of slowing down. “It is a major event here at the library that people of all-ages look forward to,” says Matthew Powell, Coordinator of Public Relations & Community Outreach for the library. “The all-encompassing spirit of Tosho-Con reflects through the diversity of the patrons who participate and the unique programs.” The origin of the convention comes from humble yet impassioned beginnings. “I became entranced by the world of anime and manga at the age of 12,” says EOPL’s Children’s Librarian and TOSHO-Con Founder, Marissa

Physically, the East Orange Public Library appears to be a worthy venue for a comic convention; a huge brick building, centered in town, overlooking a park effortlessly attracting youth and adults. In conceiving the convention, accessibility and inclusion were two of the paramount concerns in their planning. “We have a culturally-rich community in East Orange, and we pride ourselves on meeting the needs of the community without exclusion or judgment,” says East Orange Public Library Director, Carolyn Ryan Reed, Esq. “People have mentioned to our staff how thankful they are that we have a free and local convention with diverse programs.” While larger conventions including San Diego and New York Comic Con remain traditional comic fan meeting places, the insurgence of local comic conventions at public libraries in recent years allows patrons in the community to meet locally with their peers for little investment, not including cosplay costume supplies, of


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“THE CONVENTION MAY BE FOR ONE DAY, BUT OUR PATRONS ARE FANS FOR LIFE AND WE WANT TO ENSURE THEY WILL ALWAYS HAVE A PLACE AT THE LIBRARY.” course. In keeping costs low in planning a convention, Lieberman advises librarians to exhaust internal resources first and not be surprised if the participants take initiative on their own. “When EOPL chose to revive the Con, members of the library’s Tween Anime Club also assisted in the design, ran their own table and even served as guest liaisons,” says Lieberman. The partnership between the library and the community is as evident as the TOSHO-Con mascot itself as the library hosts an annual “Design TOSHO-Con’s Mascot” contest within the community. “The winning entry gets to be TOSHO-Con’s official mascot featured in all of our promotion of the event,” says Lieberman. “The direct visibility of the community through the mascot gives patrons a stronger connection to the library which is indescribable.”

and interests. From informative “Comics 101” and “Diversity in Comics” panels to exhilarating samurai sword performances to interactive panels with famed voice actors such as Michele Knotz (voice of Team Rocket’s Jesse from ‘Pokemon’), EOPL strives to ensure its convention is a destination event for any fan’s convention season. Beyond TOSHO-Con, EOPL produces monthly content to satisfy comic fans year-round with a Junior Anime Club led by Lieberman, a manga/anime-fueled Teen Otaku Club run by Teen Librarian, Rebecca Magnan and an Adult Comic Book Club held by Adult Services Librarian, Nathalia Bermudez. “The convention may be for one day, but our patrons are fans for life and we want to ensure they will always have a place at the library,” said Powell. Matt Powell is a journalist and a lifelong Marvel fan. Mr. Powell’s previous writing credits include Wizard Magazine, Toyfare Magazine, and In his support of literacy, Mr. Powell transitioned from entertainment writing to public library advocacy to encourage the use of graphic novels in libraries to promote literacy for all ages. In his community outreach, he continues show his appreciation of the comic medium at East Orange Public Library through his promotion of library conventions, clubs and discussions.

VISIT US: Facebook: EastOrangePL Twitter: EastOrangePL Among the crafts and the costumes, diverse and engaging programming content remains the key to attracting and maintaining a successful audience. EOPL’s programming runs the gamut to be inclusive to a number of fandoms

Summer 2017

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YOUNG ADULT SUMMER READING LIST 2017 U PCO MIN G GRA P H IC NOVE L S F OR T H E S U M M E R Backstagers Volume 1 By James Tynion IV and Rian Sygh BOOM! Box – 9781608869930, $14.99 Release Date: 07/25/2017 When Jory transfers to an all-boys private high school, he’s taken in by the lowly stage crew known as the Backstagers. Hunter, Aziz, Sasha, and Beckett become his new best friends and introduce him to an entire magical world that lives beyond the curtain that the rest of the school doesn’t know about, filled with strange creatures, changing hallways, and a decades-old legend of a backstage crew that went missing and was never found.

Clueless By Amber Benson, Sarah Kuhn and Siobhan Keenan BOOM! Box – 9781608869831, $14.99 Release Date: 08/29/2017 Your favorite girls from Beverly Hills are back in an all-new adventure! It’s senior year and Cher, Dionne, and Tai find themselves in a bit of a crisis of self… Where are they meant to go, and what are they meant to DO after high school? Luckily, they have all year—and each other’s help—to figure it out!

Divinity III: Stalinverse By Matt Kindt and Trevor Hairsine Valiant – 9781682151914, $14.99 Release Date: 05/16/2017 Earth has a new god. The world you know is gone. Welcome to the Stalinverse, comrade. The Soviet Union has spent decades as the world’s reigning superpower and the Iron Curtain now encircles a planet riddled with war, strife, and oppression. Freedom is a thing of the past in the Stalinverse… So why can’t Russian intelligence officer Colin King shake the feeling that something has gone terribly wrong?

Ex Libris: Stories of Librarians, Libraries, and Lore By Paula Guran Prime Books – 9781607014898, $15.95 Release Date: 05/30/2017 Portals to all the knowledge in the world, libraries are also created universes of a multitude of imaginations. Librarians guide us to enlightenment as well as serving as the captains, mages, and gatekeepers who open the doors to delight, speculation, wonder, and terror. Both inspire writers of speculative fiction to pen wonderful tales woven around them.


Summer 2017

The Big Bad Fox By Benjamin Renner First Second – 9781626723313, $15.99 Release Date: 06/20/2017 The fox dreams of being the terror of the barnyard. But no one is intimidated by him, least of all the hens―when he picks a fight with one, he always ends up on the losing end. Even the wolf, the most fearsome beast of the forest, can’t teach him how to be a proper predator. It looks like the fox will have to spend the rest of his life eating turnips.

Courtney Crumrin Volume 1 By Ted Naifeh Oni Press – 9781620104194, $10.00 Release Date: 06/14/2017 Courtney’s parents have dragged her out to a high-to-do suburb to live with her creepy Great Uncle Aloysius in his spooky old house. She’s not only the new kid in school, but she also discovers strange things lurking under her bed.

Doctor Who: Plague City By Jonathan Morris Penguin Group (UK) – 9781785942709, $11.99 Release Date: 07/18/2017 The year is 1645, and Edinburgh is in the grip of the worst plague in its history. Nobody knows who will be the next to succumb – nobody except the Night Doctor, a masked figure that stalks the streets, seeking out those who will not live to see another day. But death is not the end. The Doctor, Bill and Nardole discover that the living are being haunted by the recently departed.

Fissure By Tim Daniel and Patricio Delpeche Vault Comics – 9781939424174, $15.99 Release Date: 09/05/2017 El Sueño, Texas was a single street town withering under the shadow of the Mexico—U.S. Barrier. Then the pavement split, and a massive crack spread from one end to the other, rapidly swallowing El Sueño whole. Young couple Avery Lee Olmos and Hark Wright fight to escape the mysterious sinkhole and the malevolent force that beckons from its depths.

YOUNG ADULT SUMMER READING LIST 2017 U PCO MIN G GRA P H IC NOVE L S F OR T H E S U M M E R Giant Days Volume 5 By John Allison, Lissa Treiman and Max Sarin BOOM! Box – 9781608869824, $34.99 Release Date: 06/20/2017

God Country By Donny Cates and Geoff Shaw Image Comics – 9781534302341, $14.99 Release Date: 08/08/2017

Their freshman year is finally ending and Daisy, Susan, and Esther say goodbye to Catterick Hall forever. Literally forever. It’s being bulldozed and re-purposed as a luxury dorm next semester. But as one door closes, another opens and between end of semester hookups, music festivals, and moving into their first home together, the life experiences are just getting started.

Meet Emmett Quinlan, an old widower rattled by dementia. Emmett isn’t just a problem for his children—his violent outbursts are more than the local cops can handle. When a tornado levels his home—as well as the surrounding West Texas town—a restored Quinlan rises from the wreckage.

Hero-A-Go-Go By Michael Eury, Ralph Bakshi, Ramona Fradon and others TwoMorrows – 9781427856944, $10.99 Release Date: 07/18/2017 Celebrating the camp craze of the Swinging Sixties, Back Issue magazine and former DC Comics editor MICHAEL EURY authors this all-new collection of nostalgic essays, histories, and theme song lyrics of classic 1960s characters like Captain Action, Herbie the Fat Fury, Captain Nice, Atom Ant, Scooter, ACG’s Nemesis, Dell’s super-Frankenstein and Dracula, the “split!” Captain Marvel, and others!

Home Time Book One By Campbell Whyte Top Shelf – 9781603094122, $24.99 Release Date: 07/04/2017 The last school bell has rung and it’s finally HOME TIME! Even though they’re twins, Lilly and David don’t agree on much... except that the last summer before high school is the perfect time for relaxing with friends. But their plans for sleepovers, fantasy games, and romance are thrown out the window when the whole gang falls into a river and wakes up in a village of fantastic creatures.

Jim Davis’ Garfield: The Original Sunday Archives By Jim Davis, Eileen Sabrina Herman and others Hermes Press – 9781613451335, $95.00 Release Date: 08/08/2017

Miraculous: Lucky Charm By ZAG Entertainment Action Lab – 9781632292766, $9.99 Release Date: 08/29/2017 Hawk Moth continues to terrorize the citizens of Paris by using his akumatized victims to wreak havoc. Ladybug and Cat Noir take on Princess Fragrance, who uses her magical perfumes to brainwash people. Then they face off against Darkblade, who creates his own army of knights and tries to take down City Hall. Finally, the duo spends a day at the zoo fighting Animan, who can shapeshift into any animal he chooses.

Jim Davis’ Garfield: The Original Art Daily and Sunday Archive: Regular edition – ISBN: 978-1-61345-133-5; $95; Archival reprint — using the rare original art printed in full color (to show blue and red pencil indications, white out, and production details unseen in the printed strips) compilation of the Garfield daily and Sunday strips by Jim Davis; Introductory essay by Jim Davis.

Murder Ballads By Gabe Soria and Paul Reinwand Z2 Comics – 9781940878102, $24.99 Release Date: 07/11/2017

Monstress Volume 2: The Blood By Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda Image Comics – 9781534300415, $14.99 Release Date: 07/11/2017 Set in an alternate matriarchal 1900’s Asia, in a richly imagined world of art deco-inflected steam punk, MONSTRESS tells the story of a teenage girl who is struggling to survive the trauma of war, and who shares a mysterious psychic link with a monster of tremendous power, a connection that will transform them both and make them the target of both human and otherworldly powers.

A meditation on music, race, obsession, and how far someone will go to see their vision become real, Murder Ballads follows the fall and reinvention of Nate Theodore, the dead-broke and deadbeat owner of a failed record label who is on a crosscountry drive in the dead of winter with his wife Mary, fleeing the wreckage of their business and heading towards the destruction of their marriage. But Nate is given an unexpected chance to redeem himself when, during an unscheduled detour, he “discovers” Donny and Marvell Fontweathers, two AfricanAmerican brothers who play a singular version of doom-laden country blues.

Summer 2017


YOUNG ADULT SUMMER READING LIST 2017 U PCO MIN G GRA P H IC NOVE L S F OR T H E S U M M E R Ninjak Volume 6 By Matt Kindt, Marc Laming and Stephen Segovia Valiant – 9781682152119, $19.99 Release Date: 07/25/2017 Master Darque – the sadistic lord of death and resurrection – yearns to be free once again, but first he must fight for his life. Darque is a target, he’s weak and his enemies know it. Now, Darque’s own former pupil and Ninjak’s ruthless arch-nemesis have gathered the Shadow Seven together again for the sole purpose of putting Darque down for good. And the only thing holding their uneasy alliance together is a mysterious benefactor from the shadows… someone who also goes by the name Darque

Five young friends invent a candy-making machine for their school’s annual science fair, but when their candy creation comes to life and escapes, they’ll have to work together to find a solution before it destroys the entire city!

Persona 3 Volume 6 By Atlus and Shuji Sogabe Udon – 9781927925904, $13.99 Release Date: 07/26/2017

Pigs Might Fly By Nick Abadzis and Jerel Dye First Second – 9781626720862, $15.99 Release Date: 07/11/2017

This next thrilling volume of the Persona 3 manga series is all about revelations as the intrepid members of S.E.E.S. visit the Kirijou family cottage and learn some surprising truths from Mitsuru’s father about the events surrounding Tartarus, the Dark Hour, and their own continuing battle against the encroaching Shadows. The weight of these truths proves especially heavy for Yukari and Mitsuru, but if they can bear this burden, their shared struggle may give rise to new power.

All the sensible hogfolk in Pigdom Plains know that if pigs were meant to fly, they’d have been born with wings―but there’s no convincing Lily Leanchops. The daughter of renowned inventor Hercules Fatchops, Lily has watched her father’s flying machines fail time and time again. Working in secret, Lily is trying to build what her father couldn’t: an aircraft that actually works. And of course, she’s following his example and employing scientific principals alone―not magic.

Pix Volume 2 By Gregg Schigiel Image Comics – 9781534301566, $12.99 Release Date: 05/09/2017 It’s back to school for Pix - the superhero who claims she’s a fairy princess - where she’s not winning any popularity contests. Worried she’s causing more harm than good, Pix makes some BIG changes, like hanging up her cape, making a new friend, and questioning if maybe she’s not a fairy princess after all. Plus: monsters, bullies, mad science, confessions, magic, and the prom in the next chapter of this sensational suburban superhero saga!

Providence Act 2 By Alan Moore and Jacen Burrows Avatar Press – 9781592912926, $21.99 Release Date: 06/13/2017 The second arc of Providence is unveiled in this special hardcover-only edition. Robert Black came looking for a story but what he found is a world of misery and woe. He’s becoming a broken man, only beginning to accept the horrors of the Lovecraftian world are real and hiding in plain sight.


The Not-So Secret Society By Matthew Daley, Arlene Daley and Wook Jin Clark KABOOM! – 9781608869978, $9.99 Release Date: 08/01/2017

Summer 2017

Powerless By David M. Booher, Adrian F. Wassel and others Vault Comics – 9781939424242, $15.99 Release Date: 08/22/2017 Billy Bannister lives in a world without superheroes. Not because powers don’t exist. But because everyone has them. After the outbreak of PRV, a virus that rips away those abilities, Quarantine emerges to stop the spread. An elite agent, Billy is the last line of defense against contagion. But his loyalty is tested when the infection hits too close to home.

Real Friends By Shannon Hale and Leuyen Pham First Second – 9781626727854, $12.99 Release Date: 05/02/2017 Shannon and Adrienne have been best friends ever since they were little. But one day, Adrienne starts hanging out with Jen, the most popular girl in class and the leader of a circle of friends called The Group. Everyone in The Group wants to be Jen’s #1, and some girls would do anything to stay on top… even if it means bullying others.

YOUNG ADULT SUMMER READING LIST 2017 U PCO MIN G GRA P H IC NOVE L S F OR T H E S U M M E R Sherlock Holmes & The Green Lama: The Heir Apparent By Lance Adam Garcia and Mike Flyes Moonstone – 9781944017101, $10.99 Release Date: 07/11/2017

Science Comics: Plagues By Falynn Koch First Second – 9781626727526, $12.99 Release Date: 08/29/2017

After decades in retirement, a wave of kidnappings from London’s immigrant quarters brings Sherlock Holmes back to Baker Street. With a Tibetan symbol as the only clue, Holmes is joined by Jethro Dumont, an American recently returned from a decade in Tibet. But Holmes quickly discovers that the villain they are chasing has ties to both their pasts, and Dumont’s future.

In PLAGUES, we get to know the critters behind history’s worst diseases. We delve into the biology and mechanisms of infections, diseases, and immunity, and the incredible effect that technology and medical science have had on humanity’s ability to contain and treat disease.

Sombra By Justin Jordan and Raúl Treviño BOOM! Studios – 9781608869886, $19.99 Release Date: 07/18/2017

Slam! Volume 1 By Pamela Ribon and Veronica Fish BOOM! Box – 9781684150045, $14.99 Release Date: 08/08/2017 In the fast-paced, hard-hitting, super cheeky, all-female world of banked track roller derby, two young women must decide if their budding friendship is stronger than the pull of a team when a win is on the line.

Strawberry Shortcake Volume 3 By Georgia Ball, Tina Fransciso and others IDW Publishing – 9781631408847, $12.99 Release Date: 05/30/2017 When a film crew arrives to interview Berry Bitty City’s favorite baker, Strawberry Shortcake, what they find is a heated rivalry between her and the Purple Pieman that might be the award-winning film documentary the crew was looking for! Collects issues #6-8.

Conrad Marlowe was a respected DEA agent when he disappeared in Mexico while investigating the ruthless drug cartels. Years later, he has resurfaced as a cult leader who has made it his mission to out-brutalize the cartels terrorizing the country.

Street Angel: After School Kung Fu Special By Brian Maruca and Jimm Rugg Image Comics – 9781534300415, $19.99 Release Date: 05/02/2017 Jesse ‘Street Angel’ Sanchez is the deadliest girl alive - a teenage homeless orphan skateboarder, fighting ninjas and trying to pass 7th grade! She likes food, hanging out with her friends, Bell (a robot girl), Lilith (Satan’s daughter), and Emma (a zombie), saving the world, fighting, and food. However, there’s still the pesky matter of having a regular life, having to go to school and contend with friends that want her to go to an after-school dance. They mean well, but there is another little matter of a showdown with the Ninja Kid to attend to after school that may change things.

Tom Boy Volume 3 By M. Goodwin and Michelle Wong Action Lab – 9781632291448, $14.99 Release Date: 06/06/2017 Addison’s hunt leads her ever closer to a confrontation with the notorious Irene Trent, and the truth behind her mysterious powers. Fate finally pulls the Brody family back together, but the curse of their bloodline guarantees there are no happily ever afters for monsters. The exciting and epic conclusion to the twelve-issue series!

Summer 2017

The Woods Volume 7 By James Tynion IV and Michael Dialynas BOOM! Studios – 9781608869893, $14.99 Release Date: 07/11/2017 Isaac’s premonitions have revealed the key to returning to Earth: The Black City. Karen, Sanami, and Ben must venture far beyond the reaches of the civilization they’ve built and into the heart of the alien wilderness in the hopes of finally going home. But in the center of the woods, they discover the truth behind the ancient fear of the forest for themselves.




raphic Novels have had a historic year in literary acclaim with John Lewis’ graphic novel memoir, March, winning the prestigious National Book Award. But even before this celebrated win, professors have been including graphic novels in their curriculum from elementary to higher education courses. BookShelf Editor, Ashley Kronsberg, talks with educators about their use of graphic novels in their classrooms and the benefits they have in their curriculum. In this addition, we speak with Katie Monnin, an Associate Professor of Literacy at the University of North Florida.

t Diamond BookShelf: First and foremost, could you give us a little background on yourself? How long have you been teaching college courses, what do you teach, etc.? Katie Monin: About teaching and how I never intended to do so: I started teaching after undergraduate school at Ohio University in 1999 (Bachelor of Arts in English, Creative Writing, & American History). I arrived at the University of Dayton in Dayton, Ohio in the fall of 1999 (Masters of Arts in Composition and Rhetoric & English Literature). At the University of Dayton I was offered a unique opportunity as a Master’s student to be thrown into “the teaching pool.” Head first, all alone, and immediately! I was horrified. I neither wanted to nor planned to teach. I didn’t have any experience teaching, other than teaching myself things that interested me since I was very small. I didn’t realize teaching myself and challenging myself from a very young age would cease to be so frustrating (because I could and never can seem to learn enough!). Teaching became liberating, a place for me to treat myself with kindness, the way I naturally treated others. Teaching is somewhat selfish for me. I feel like myself when I teach. I feel like a critic when I learn. Maybe after another 15 or 20 years of life I’ll know why that is. For now, I just know that that is truth. I am a kind, caring teacher. I am a hard-ass, intense, neversatisfied learner.


t When did you start incorporating graphic novels into your curriculum? That’s a really good question. Given the passion I can’t help but exude about graphic novels most people assume I’ve been reading comic books and graphic novels my whole life. I haven’t. In a lot of ways I have so much to do to catch up. I feel like a fake when I go to a Comic Con or sign my books. Yes, I am good at what I do. But I just started! Or so the secret goes… Tell no one! Actually, that whole catching up thing combined with the never-satisfied-and-self-critical-learner may be why I am so passionate. I’m so far behind in reality. Well, in my mind, anyways. I want to know everything and there’s just not enough time. Sorry, the question: I read my first graphic novels, a compilation of Maus I and II, in 1999. I was already 22 years old! Everyone else I seemed to meet at any Comic Cons had been learning about comic books and graphic novels since their parents decided to paint their nursery either red and white for Marvel’s Spiderman or black and yellow for DC’s ever-vigilant Batman. To make up for lost time my condo - TODAY - looks like a slew of heroes, villains, and every-other-cartoon-and-comic-bookcharacter rampaged through the place, kind of like if San Diego Comic Con just dumps all their cool, spare stuff on my living space at the end of each July. You should come over. It’s certainly unique. So it wasn’t for a long while that I tried to integrate a graphic novel into my curriculum to teach. First of all, I had to realize that I was, unbeknownst to me, a born teacher! I did indeed need to know the word curriculum, understand what it meant, and teach accordingly; those steps took years. Second, I had a questionable epiphany: Is it possible to integrate this love of teaching with a Peter Pan lifestyle of reading graphic novels all day? I dreamt about and searched the world for a high-quality, wellrespected, and progressive university that would share and encourage my vision. I was only 2 hours and 15 minutes away from all those global searches. Kent State University’s progressive and big, quotable names and research attracted me to some of the best and brightest readers in the world. Readers who studied reading! That’s what I’ve been doing my whole life, I posthumously seemed to realize. Now I just have to figure out what is so delicious about reading graphic novels and learning how to teach them. How do I bring my two loves together? While studying for my doctorate in literacy education I met Will Eisner. Not literally. But in spirit. Pun intended. Eisner wrote the first graphic novel (A Contract with

Summer 2017 God, 1978). He also wrote a plethora of brilliantly thoughtful handbooks on the graphic novel reading and writing processes. This was the solid grounding I needed to land on. I had found my place in the academic world, and I assigned my first graphic novel. With Eisner’s intellectual insight, in other words, I found the shoulders I could stand on. t Were you an avid graphic novel reader prior to teaching them in your classroom? And now that you have taught them, do you find yourself reading them more outside of the classroom? I wish I would’ve - or better yet could’ve - been an avid graphic novel reader. As soon as I learned about them I absolutely was. Indeed I was! I do find myself reading them more for pleasure. That’s because - especially due to Eisner’s work - I realized that they operated on such a complex, literary-level. In fact, the more I work with them the more I realize that high-quality literature should always have been, and will most certainly be in the upcoming century, both visual and textual. Two mediums through which to tell a literary level story are certainly better than one! I’m not sure why they have ever been in competition. Right? Why didn’t they just team up? Well, now they have. And we have the unique experience to be living during the time in history in which this global communication revolution is taking place. It’s quite fantastic if you think about it. t How has working with graphic novels evolved or changed your way of teaching? It changed everything. At 23, I would’ve bet my upcoming life’s income that I would be an English Literature Professor who wrote her own creative nonfiction about American history. When I read Maus, however, I realized that everything I thought made people so smart and a legitimate literary scholar was wrong. Literature is larger than print-text could ever hope to capture by itself. Literature can no longer be defined in a silo of understanding that singly places value on print-text literacies alone. Print-text literacies share the stage with visual literacies in the 21st century. As a matter of social justice in the literacy world I feel as though I can help play a role in how we define literature today and onward in 21st century classrooms. Literature is not bound by a certain expressive communication. It is a shared story we tell using the most expressive literacies of our own time and place in history. It is my hope that future generations of literacy scholars continue to redefine literature as they evolve and better understand how to communicate in their times and places in the world (and beyond) to come.

t Do you notice any differences among students’ interest or responsiveness to a topic working with a graphic novel as opposed to another literary format? I turned 40 this year and a few years ago I started noticing that with each school year that goes by I have more and more students in my courses at the university who read and respond to with corresponding enthusiasm - visual literacies as a natural preference. What’s happening is this: the phenomenon, the research and scholarly literature on new literacies predicted - following the visually-horrific-awakening we were forced to face on September 11th, 2001 during the American school day - is coming true. We are living during the second greatest communication revolution of all time, a “new media age” as Gunther Kress’ refers to it, and although second historically to the first communication revolution (the 15th century invention of the printing press) its global impact is seismically more impactful. Today, a host of inventions, technologies and countless other expressive and communication-based literacy vehicles are changing the way we read and write, globally. So, yes, as I continue to assign graphic novels over time the resistance gets less and less each year, and the enthusiasm and coming-of-age familiarity becomes greater and greater. It’s a phenomenon I’ve been collecting data on for a few years now. Now that we talk about it I really should write an article or more about it, for it’s really inspiring that today’s next generation of readers and writers (millennials in particular) may be reading and writing differently than we did. Difference is

Summer 2017

29 often assumed to be bad, for it challenges the status quo and the familiar. It changes what feels safe. With literacy, however, we must be careful not to react too negatively to change; the history of literacy-learning is that learning to read and write has always evolved and changed. For instance, Abraham Lincoln’s father chastised him relentlessly about his choice to move away from learning farming-based literacies and toward print-text literacies. Thomas Lincoln thought the print-text literacies of his time in history were radically offensive. Being literate as a farmer is what would make Abraham Lincoln a successful American, his father thought. I think it’s safe to say we can all see he was wrong. And this is just one example of a never-ending list of resistance to literacy progression throughout history. Thus, living during a time in history when we see the responsiveness to a new literacy change is epic and exciting. I’m super-stoked to be living, teaching and studying this second (yes, only second!) great communication revolution. I want to know the past in order to better understand what is happening in the present and most likely in the future. Our future is in the future. Hard to argue with that. t What has been your favorite graphic novel to teach?

about how well, or not so well, we teach social studies and civic-minded education. Persepolis is one of the most organic and pure platforms from which we can broaden our students’ understandings of their place in the greater world, especially in reference to the historical significance behind issues still influencing Middle East politics and life. t For college professors looking to start using graphic novels in the classroom, which titles or publishers would you recommend as a starting point? Depends on the discipline and unique area of specificity. If I were to think about some of the most common areas in which graphic novels are starting to make an impact on discipline specific curricular needs I would recommend … 1. In Literacy Education: I would recommend early reading instructors start with titles from Toon Books and First Second. For middle and high school reading instructors I would recommend First Second again, as well as Scholastic Graphix, Image, Pantheon, and UDON. 2. Social Studies: I would STRONGLY recommend Pantheon first and foremost. Along with Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis (the Islamic Revolution), Pantheon publishes Maus I and II (the Holocaust). Another few titles that stick out in my mind are Superman: Red Son (the Cold War), Stuck Rubber Baby (Civil Rights). 3. In Math and Science: Capstone has an excellent third grade and up Science-based graphic novel series entitled Max Axiom. First Second also offers many scientifically enlightening graphic novels: Laika by Nick Abadzis, for one, and anything by Jim Ottoviani. For all disciplines I would recommend reading Will Eisner and Scott McCloud’s titles first; both men have written a number of books unpacking and repacking all of the key terminology involved in reading and writing graphic novels.

Persepolis is probably my favorite graphic novel to teach. It’s more than rewarding to share the enormously heavy yet still-real-world perspective Marjane Satrapi shares not only about the Islamic Revolution, but also about a child’s intimate experiences while living through it. During a time in history when the United States is changing, we need to think more in the education world


About the Professor Dr. Katie Monnin is an Associate Professor of Literacy at the University of North Florida. Besides the joy that comes with reading comic books and graphic novels, Dr. Monnin enjoys a Peter Panish life of researching and writing her own books about teaching comics, graphic novels, and cartoons: Teaching Graphic Novels (2010), Teaching Early Reader Comics and Graphic Novels (2011), Using Content-Area Graphic Texts for Learning (2012), Teaching Reading Comprehension with Graphic Texts (2013), and Get Animated! Teaching 21st Century Early Reader and Young Adult Cartoons in Language Arts (2014); Teaching New Literacies in Elementary Language Arts (2015). When she is not writing (or sitting around wondering how she ended up making an awesome career out of studying comics and graphic novels), Dr. Monnin spends her time with her three wiener dogs, Samantha, Max, and Alex Morgan Monnin.

Summer 2017




s the popularity of young adult graphic novels continue to skyrocket, creators such as Raina Telgemeier and Alison Bechdel have become household names for the young adult audience, making it clear that the demand for creators with talent in young adult storytelling and illustration has become significant. Diamond BookShelf interviewed writer and comics illustrator Natalie Riess (Space Battle Lunchtime, Snarlbear) about the increasing demand for young adult graphic novels and how working with the format has continued to shape her work as an author and illustrator. t Diamond Bookshelf: How has working in the young adult format shaped how you read and write your comics? Was it always your intention to write for this audience? Natalie Riess: I think a good story is a good story, regardless of who it’s for. However, once I realized Space Battle Lunchtime (SBL) was going to be mostly an all ages title, there’s some visuals I decided to tone down from some of the original sketches; specifically, in Volume 2 there’s some space fantasy violence and I didn’t want it to be too much for a younger reader. Some color/shading choices I think can really help with this - implications/suggestions versus actually having gratuitous alien guts onscreen. I think from the start my work was fairly friendly and approachable, so I didn’t need to change this to appeal to an all ages audience. I like using bright colors, sweet character relationships and cute characters, so YA is a great fit for this project!

t Can you give us a little insight into your creative process? What was the inspiration around your friendly and approachable art style? I’ve always liked drawing cute things, so I guess my style lends itself to that. Even if what I’m drawing isn’t necessarily “cute,” I like to try and make it appealing or interesting to look at… I’m going to have to draw it a hundred+ times, I may as well like it! SBL was done almost entirely digitally, and I wanted to use a lot of tasty looking colors/shapes and crisp lineart to make it look as candy-like as possible to match the tone of the story. Coloring digitally gives me the ability to experiment and be more flexible with bright, rich colors, which I love! I’m very interested in and attracted to color, and I think it’s the best part of my comic. t As a creator, would you say there was a specific turning point that led to the rise in popularity for young adult graphic novels? In the past decade or so books like Kazu Kibuishi’s Amulet, all of Raina Telgemeier’s work, Faith Erin Hicks, Jeff Smith’s Bone being collected in paperback, etc. etc. have been really popular, and I think publishers took notice of the fact that kids like comics that are maybe a little longer, more interesting and more accessible than issue superhero comics. I don’t know about a specific turning point, but it seems like there’s been a gradual realization that there’s a big market for this kind of work, so more and more are being published and read.

Summer 2017

31 t Do you believe having an expanded variety of young adult fiction and non-fiction books is beneficial to the comics industry? Definitely! I think the more diversity in titles the better – the more there is to choose from, the more accessible it will be for different kinds of people to want to pick up and read a graphic novel. Also, different kinds of comics being published means there’s more room to develop unique stories and artistic approaches and more room for folks with different experiences and backgrounds to get into creating and publishing stories, which I think strengthens the medium as a whole. t How do you think having these types of graphic novels available might attract new readers? Kids like comics, but don’t all like the same things. More variety allows them to find stuff that they’re directly interested in. Also, the accessibility of a graphic novel, as opposed to having to track down 4-6 issues, makes picking up comics a lot more doable for someone younger. I remember being able to get all of Bone was a huge deal for me as a kid who really liked fantasy and animation and wanted to get into comics, but didn’t know a whole lot about them. t The second volume of Space Battle Lunchtime is scheduled to release June 2017. Without giving too much away, what can fans expect from Peony and her fellow chefs?

Space Battle Lunchtime Volume 2 (9781620104040, $12.99) is a lot of fun! The story shifts more into a sci-fi/ action-adventure mode with some mystery and intrigue, but there’s still some cute and delicious cooking involved, with a dash of comedic space horror and a sprinkle of romance… plus, some fun extras in the back! I saw some proofs recently and it looks… good enough to eat! t What are some of your favorite young adult graphic novels in the market now or upcoming? If you’re looking for more cooking comics, I recently read and really enjoyed Eric Colossal’s Rutabaga the Adventure Chef, which is a really sweet fantasy cooking adventure. I also love Katie O’Neil’s Princess Princess Ever After. The first issue of Sarah Graley’s Kim Reaper was really sweet and funny too, and I’m excited to read the rest of it! Sam Bosma’s Fantasy Sports series is YA too I think, those are really gorgeous. About the Creator Natalie Riess is a comics writer and illustrator living in Pennsylvania. She has been creating comics for the majority of her life. She is currently working on her five-year-old webcomic Snarlbear, a story about a girl that punches monsters and learns about the power of friendship in a brightly colored yet unforgiving dark fantasy setting, as well as her comic series with Oni Press Space Battle Lunchtime, the story of pastry chef Peony cooking her way through an intergalactic culinary competition.


Summer 2017


Animal Jam Written by: Fernando Ruiz and Eric Esquivel Illustrated by: Fernando Ruiz Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment Format: Hardcover, Full Color, 6.5 x 9.5, 104 pages, $12.99 ISBN: 978-1-5241-0386-6


ational Geographic’s Animal Jam, the online playground for kids to adopt and play with wildlife, is one of today’s fastest-growing multiplayer games, with a millions of players worldwide! Now, Dynamite Entertainment is proud to welcome comic book fans of all ages to the fictional world of Jamaa, where zoological adventure awaits!


n the graphic novel debut of Animal Jam, Clover Greenleaf, a cheery and curious rabbit, arrives in the colorful new habitat of Jamaa. During a celebration of her arrival, Clover accidentally stumbles across Graham the Monkey’s scientific equipment... and opens a portal to a fearsome new realm! Can the Alphas, the animal guardians of Jamaa, save the beleaguered bunny? And what other awesome adventures will Clover’s creature friends embark on?

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GRAPHIC NOVEL TEACHER’S GUIDES B Y D R. K A TI E M ONNIN Aware of each others’ strengths and weaknesses, they must navigate their way from one adventure to the next adventure, not only in order to earn badges, but also in order to survive. Problem-solving, relationship building, and trust take center stage in this gap novel.

Lumberjanes Volume 1: Beware the Kitten Holy Written by: Noelle Stevenson and Grace Ellis Illustrated by: Brooke Allen

Major Characters: Jo, April, Mal, Molly, Ripley, Jen, Rosie, Yetis, Possessed/Zombie Boy Campers Major Settings: Miss Qiunzella Thiskwin Penniquiqul Thistle Crumpet’s Camp for Hardcore Lady Types, Roanoke Cabin, Wilderness / Woods, Rosie’s Cabin, the River, Caves Themes: Bravery and Courage, Compassion, Friendship, Secrets and Truth, Animals and Humans, Quests, Supernatural Occurrences, Nature

Publisher: BOOM! Studios Format: Softcover, 7 x 10, 128 pages, Full Color, $14.99 ISBN: 978-1-60886-687-8 REVIEW This middle-level graphic novel series, beginning with Lumberjanes: Beware the Kitten Holy, is a story I could only have dreamt of reading when I was in junior high school. Diversity and commonalties, conflict and resolution, adventurous risky rulebreakers and subsequent camp counselor disappoint dominate the storyline. Everso-familiar to young adults, Lumberjanes offers the perfectly enticing setup and storyline to appeal to any middle-level reading audience.

READING RECOMMENDATIONS USING THE COMMON CORE STANDARDS FOR YOUNG ADULT READERS Key Ideas and details 1. Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text.

A group of girls with variously individual skills, strengths, and equally strong weaknesses and insecurities create a unique friendship circle where they must work together in order to solve the problems and phenomena they encounter while attending Miss Qiunzella’s Thiskwin Penniquiqul Thistle Crumpet’s Camp for Hardcore Lady Types. Sneaking out at night to figure out why there are supernatural foxes surrounding the camp, rowing canoes that face dangerous waterfalls and aggressive river monsters, and many more adventures (like the navigation they must face after wandering into a cave and then falling into the caves mythical bottoms) await the girls and their individual skills. Afraid of writing anymore about this wonderful storyline focused on the bond a unique set of friends create in order to survive each challenge they encounter while at camp I must end this review by reiterating a similar piece of advice found on the back cover: If this graphic novel’s storyline piques your interest buy an extra copy, for you will most likely want to share it with someone. In short, its storyline is so intriguing you will want to not only share it with another reader (regardless of age), but also anxiously await their reading of it… so that you may then discuss and admire it together. ENGLISH LANGUAGE ARTS ELEMENTS OF STORY Plot: A misfit group of unlikely friends attending a camp for Hardcore Lady Types must come together as one united front in order to face all of the adventures in this graphic novel.


*The number(s) referenced above corresponds to the number used by the Common Core Standards (www. LESSON IDEA FOR YOUNG ADULT READERS Directions: The characters in Lumberjanes must make many logical inferences as they experience one adventure after another while attending Miss Qiunzella Thiskwin Penniquiqul Thistle Crumpet’s Camp for Hardcore Lady Types. Thus, it is important that each of the Lumberjanes not only know each other’s strengths and weaknesses, but also recognize evidence to support their conclusions about which Lumberjane’s strengths will best address each challenge. As the Lumberjanes make logical inferences about each other readers need to analyze why and/or how the LUMBERJANES reach conclusions about each other. For this lesson plan readers need to read one chapter at a time, stopping at the end of each of the four chapters to identify the following: 1. The adventure at the center of each chapter 2. The logical inferences made by the Lumberjanes 3. The text and/or images that support the Lumberjanes’ inferences/decisions 4. The resulting conclusion from the Lumberjanes inferences/decisions

Summer 2017

Little Tails in the Forest Written by: Frederic Brremaud Illustrated by: Frederico Bertolucci Publisher: Magnetic Press Format: Hardcover, 9 x 9 in, 32 pages, Color ISBN: 978-1-94236-725-3 REVIEW Journey with your tour guide Squizzo through the forest. With a wealth of forest knowledge on his mind, Squizzo shares everything he knows about each forest animal they encounter and its environment. From a caterpillar to a boar, Squizzo and his friend Chipper escort readers on an exciting journey to meet with Squizzo’s cousin and her new baby squirrel. An aesthetically pleasing early reader comic, Little Tails offers educators a solid nonfiction foundation from which to teach students about the forest and its animal inhabitants. So solidly engaging, I would personally recommend that early reader Language Arts and Science teachers adopt this story in both classroom settings, for it easily lends itself to teaching both the elements of story and scientific classification. LANGUAGE ARTS ELEMENTS OF STORY Plot: Squizzo and Chipper journey through the forest and meet a host of animals along the way. Major Characters: Squizzo, Chipper, Squizzo’s cousin and baby Major Settings: forest, pond, field of flowers Themes: Friendship, Animals and Nature, Overcoming Fears, Identity, Curiosity, Safety LESSON PLAN RECOMMENDATIONS USING THE COMMON CORE STANDARDS FOR EARLY READERS Integration of Knowledge and Ideas CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.3.7: Explain how specific aspects of a text’s illustrations contribute to what is conveyed by the words in a story (e.g., create mood, emphasize aspects of a character or setting).* * The number(s) referenced above corresponds to the number used by the Common Core Standards (www.

GUIDED WRITING LESSON PLAN FOR EARLY READERS 1. Plan - Ask students to organize into groups of three. Once grouped together, ask them to take a picture book walk through the text, being sure to place most of their attention on the images. When they are done

doing a picture book walk ask students to predict what they think may happen in the story when they read it in its entirety with both images and words. Write their responses on the board and save them for the “share” part of this guided writing lesson plan. 2. Teach - While reading the book, ask students to read to each other, with one person playing the role of Squizzo, another student playing the role of Chipper, and, finally, a third student playing the role of the narrator. While reading students should have a worksheet with each of the characters names/roles in the story, followed by a large blank space. As they read students can take notes on each of the three main characters/roles. When they are done reading students should collaborate to write a paragraph or two summary about each of the three characters/roles. •

A total of 3 - 6 paragraphs, 1 - 2 paragraphs for each character/role

3. Conference - As they write their paragraphs teachers can move from group-to-group to discuss student writing and answer any questions students may have. 4. Share - When students are done writing in their groups ask the entire class to share their responses. Record student responses visually in front of the class (including fine details mentioned in their paragraph summaries) in order to create an entire class collaboration about each character/role in the story.

Dr. Katie Monnin is an Associate Professor of Literacy at the University of North Florida. Besides the joy that comes with reading comic books and graphic novels, Dr. Monnin enjoys a Peter Panish life of researching and writing her own books about teaching comics, graphic novels, and cartoons: Teaching Graphic Novels (2010), Teaching Early Reader Comics and Graphic Novels (2011), Using Content-Area Graphic Texts for Learning (2012), Teaching Reading Comprehension with Graphic Texts (2013), and Get Animated! Teaching 21st Century Early Reader and Young Adult Cartoons in Language Arts (2013); Teaching New Literacies in Elementary Language Arts (in press, 2014). When she is not writing (or sitting around wondering how she ended up making an awesome career out of studying comics and graphic novels), Dr. Monnin spends her time with her two wiener dogs, Sam and Max.

Summer 2017




Grace skillfully articulates the struggles of depression and anxiety through his panel pacing, color palette and imagery. While detailing his unique experience juxtaposed with his physical health, he has created a work that strikes deeply with readers going through a similar life path and those with little relatable experience. Grace’s choice of pencil art brings a more compelling and honest grittiness to his panels. Without sacrificing any artistic value, the sketched and shaded nature of pencil work serves to emphasize the struggles and imperfections Grace deals with throughout the story.

Written by: Sina Grace Illustrated by: Sina Grace Publisher: Image Comics Format: Softcover, 176 pages, Full Color, $14.99 ISBN: 978-1-5343-0183-2

Nothing Lasts Forever is an unflinching exploration of selfcare and finding hope when everything seems to be going wrong. This graphic memoir is a must read for fans of Fun Home, Ghosts, Blankets, or readers looking for a refreshing and authentic look into self-reflection and human growth.

Henni Written by: Miss Lasko-Gross Illustrated by: Miss Lasko-Gross Publisher: Z2 Comics Format: Softcover, 168 pages, Black and White, $19.99 ISBN: 978-1-940878-02-7

Cartoonist Sina Grace is quickly becoming one of the most prolific creators in comics through his work at Marvel, but more compellingly through his creation of intimate autobiographical comics and graphic memoirs including Not My Bag and Self-Obsessed. Now, Grace is expanding his growing library of reflective memoirs with his strongest and most compelling tale to date in Nothing Lasts Forever. The graphic memoir begins with Grace going through the motions of his “con-life” from interviewing for a feature article to taking photos with fans to not having enough time to use the bathroom. Between his internal struggles and the hectic world around him, Grace introduces his readers to the gritty reality of his physical illness. After a less than reassuring doctor’s visit, Grace honestly and masterfully articulates where his physical illness and mental illness meet, orchestrating every panel with precision to walk readers through the painful experience of uncontrollable vomiting and weightloss paired with the anxieties of his unknown illness and his already established struggle with depression. The tale revolves around the struggle of “playing cool” while figuring out this journey of life.


Miss Lasko-Gross returns to the graphic novel format with her latest coming of age story, Henni. Set in a fantastical world of cute humanoid animals where old traditions and religion govern every aspect of life, the story focuses on Henni. After briefly witnessing her father being assaulted by the religious guard for being a free-thinker, the story fast forwards to the eve before the village’s wedding ceremony. Henni’s mother sends her to the temple with a food offering for the gods to bless their family with a proper husband for Henni. Although Henni obeys, she finds herself struggling with her village’s faith and sneaks back to the temple only to find the elder’s counting money and giving the most suitable husbands to the families that contributed the most. Deciding to test the beliefs she was taught throughout her life one last time, Henni ventures across the “Circle of Death” that is believed to kill any villager whom attempts to cross. With her sister as a witness, Henni successfully breaches the circle, but is immediately exiled by her sister and the villagers. With some help from an unlikely ally, Henni travels to another town where she is met with more religious radicals. Her inability to obey and “let herself by filled with knowledge” gets her in trouble again when she is caught looking upon secular art created by a deviant

Summer 2017

Our Cats Are More Famous Than Us: A Johnny Wander Collection Written by: Ananth Hirsh and Yuko Ota Illustrated by: Yuko Ota Publisher: Oni Press Format: Hardcover, 6 x 9, 416 pages, Full Color, $39.99 ISBN: 978-1-62010-383-8

dubbed “The Disruptor;” however, she manages to escape a brutal beating by manipulating the town into thinking clubbing “a savage” such as herself would raise her to be equal to their kind. Upon an overwhelming disgust at the notion, the judge is forced to banish Henni, allowing her to escape once again. The tale concludes with Henni meeting the Disruptor who gives her a journal that used to belong to her father. Rejoiced, Henni contemplates her options, wondering if “obeying but not agreeing” and living a life where she might be cared for and loved is worth sacrificing her instincts to fight against the religious laws set upon her. Henni is a beautiful eloquent commentary on religion, coming of age, and being yourself. This thought-provoking story of rebellion and self-worth not only explores the idea of blind acceptance, but also the role of women within a patriarch and the importance of reflection and independent thought. While these concepts are present throughout the narrative, Miss Lasko-Gross brilliantly underlines the chilling reality in subtle ways from having all the young unmarried woman be naked until they are wed to Henni being scolded for knowing how to write her name. Henni is a refreshing story for young readers (13+) who enjoy fantasy, social commentary, and coming of age tales.

In 2008, Ananth Hirsh and Yuko Ota launched their auto-bio web comic Johnny Wander. Chronicling eight years, four cats and three moves, Our Cats Are More Famous Than Us collects their web comics in a gorgeous hardcover omnibus with a foreword from Raina Telgemeier. The telling and revealing illustrations of post-college adulthood are supported throughout the volume by funny text and friendly neighborhood cats. The omnibus is separated into four volumes depicting different times in Hirsh and Ota’s lives from finishing college to moving (three times) to travelling between conventions to finally beginning their lives as a married couple. Each individual story functions on its own while also expanding the overall themes of adult anxiety, family, friendship, and love throughout the collected omnibus. Hirsh and Ota balance the boring aspects of adulthood (like doing dishes and vacuuming) with the little excitements in life (like getting awesome nerd toys from cereal) in a meaningful and passionate way that makes putting the 400+ page book difficult to put down. Written for readers 13 and up, this graphic collection of honest human experiences is perfect for anyone interested in graphic memoirs or comic slice of life stories.

For more reviews, visit Summer 2017


CORE LISTS BookS h elf p resents a l i s t of s e l e ct e d e s s e n tia l title s f o r d if f e re nt a g e ra ng e s.

Titles for Kids (Age 6+)

Little Tails in Prehistory

Betty Boop

By Frederic Brremaud Lion Forge - 978-1942367390

By Roger Langridge and Gisele Lagace Dynamite Entertainment - 978-1524103187

Adventures of Superhero Girl

Miraculous: Tales of Lady Bug and Cat Noir: Akumatized

Blood Feud

By Faith Erin Hicks Dark Horse - 978-1506703367

By ZAG Entertainment Action Lab Entertainment - 978-1632292674

Anne of Green Bagels

Pix Volume 1: One Weirdest Weekend

By Jon Buller and Susan Schade Papercutz - 978-1629914657

Aphrodite: Goddess of Love By George O’Connor First Second - 978-1596437395

Angry Birds: Game Play By Paul Tobin, François Corteggiani, and Janne Toriseva IDW Publishing - 978-1631409738

Brave Chef Brianna By Sam Sykes and Selina Espiritu KaBOOM - 978-1684150502

Bravest Warriors Volume 6 By Kate Leth and Ian McGinty BOOM! Entertainment - 978-1608867943

BroBots By J. Torres and Sean K. Dove Oni Press - 9781620103067

Cleopatra in Space #3: Secret of the Time Tablets By Mike Maihack Graphix - 978-0545838672

Dinosaurs Graphic Novel Boxed Set By Arnaud Plumeri and Bloz Papercutz - 978-1629911632

Disney Elena of Avalor Cinestory Comic By Disney Joe Books - 978-1772754629

Disney Gravity Falls Cinestory Comic Volume 3 By Disney Joe Books - 978-1988032924

Disney Kilala Princess Volume 5 By Rika Tanaka and Nao Kodaka Tokyopop - 978-1427856692

Hyper Force Neo By Jarrett Williams Z2 Comics - 978-1940878126

Just Princesses

By Gregg Schigiel Image Comics - 978-1534301405

Princeless Volume 5: Make Yourself Part 1

By Bob’s Burgers Dynamite Entertainment - 978-1524102128

BubbleGun Volume 1 By Mark Roslan, Mike Bowden and David Curiel Aspen MLT - 978-194151112

Civil War II

Recess Warriors 2: Bad Guy Is a Two-Word Word

Cloudia and Rex

Marcus Emerson Roaring Brook Press - 978-1626727090

Tea Dragon Society By Katie O’Neill Oni Press - 978-1620104415

The Amazing Crafty Cat By Charise Mericle Harper First Second - 978-1626724860

The Super-Duper Duo: Easter Eggscapade By Henri Meunier and Nathalie Choux HMH Books - 978-1328766793

The World of Chub Chub By Neil Gibson and Ness T Pub - 978-0992752361

Sesame Street: A Comical Comic Collection By Jason Burns and Dustin Evans Ape Entertainment - 978-1627820530

Steven Universe & The Crystal Gems Volume 1 By Rebecca Sugar Boom Entertainment - 978-1608869213

Titles for Young Adults (Age 13+) AD After Death By Scott Snyder and Jeff Lemire Image Comics - 978-1632158680

Allen: Son of Hellcock

By Crystal Velasquez and Manuel Preitano Zenescope - 978-1942275343

Knights of the Lunch Table #3: The Battling Bands

Bad Machinery Volume 7: The Case of the Forked Road


Bob’s Burgers: Charbroiled

By Jeremy Whitley, Emily Martin, Brett Grunig, and Alex Smith Action Lab Entertainment – 978-1632291684

By Will Tracy, Gabe Koplowitz, Miguel Porto, and Kendra Wells Z2 Comics - 978-1940878089

By Frank Cammuso Graphix - 978-0439903189

By Cullen Bunn, Drew Moss, and Nick Filardi Oni Press - 978-1620103173

By John Allison Oni Press - 978-1620103906

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By Brian Michael Bendis Marvel - 978-1302901561

Ulises Farinas, Erick Freitas, and Daniel Irizarri Lion Forge - 978-1942367307

Faith Volume 3: Superstar By Jody Houser, Louise Simonson, Meghan Hetrick, Pere Perez, and Colleen Doran Valiant Entertainment - 978-1682151990

Flight of the Raven By Jean-Pierre Gibrat IDW Publishing - 978-1631407987

Goldie Vance Volume 3 By Hope Larson, Jackie Ball and others BOOM! Studios - 978-1684150533

I Am Not Okay With This By Charles Forsman Fantagraphics - 978-1683960621

Jim Davis’ Garfield: The Original Art Daily and Sunday Archive By Jim Davis Hermes Press - 978-1613451335

Karma Club By D.J. Milky Tokyopop - 978-1591822639

Lights of the Amalou By Christophe Gibelin IDW Publishing - 978-1631409165

Little Nightmares By Alex Paknadel, Dan Watters and Aaron Alexovich Titan Comics - 978-1785862854

Lucky Penny By Ananth Hirsh and Yuko Ota Oni Press - 978-1620102879

Lumberjanes Volume 7: A Bird’s-Eye View By Shannon Watters, Kat Leyh, Noelle Stevenson, Grace Ellis and others BOOM! Box - 978-1684150458 Mice Templar Volume 5

Bitch Planet Volume 2: President Bitch

By Bryan Glass, Victor Santos, Serena Guerra, and Michael Avon Oeming Image Comics - 978-1632155511

By Kelly Sue DeConnick, Valentine De Landro, and Taki Soma Image Comics - 978-1632157171

Monstress Volume 2

Brandon Sanderson’s White Sand Volume 2

By Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda Image Comics - 978-1534300415

By Brandon Sanderson, Rik Hoskin, and Julius Gopez Dynamite Entertainment - 978-1524103422

Titles for Adults (Age 18+) Battlestar Galactic Classic Omnibus Volume 1

By Meredith Gran Image Comics - 978-1534301818

Britannia Volume 2: We Who Are About to Die

By Rick Remender, Javier GrilloMarxuach, Marc Guggenheim, Carlos Rafel, and Cezar Razek Dynamite Entertainment - 978-1524101275

Paper Girls Volume 3

By Peter Milligan and Juan Jose Ryp Valiant Entertainment - 978-1682152133

Bloodshot Reborn Volume 4

Charmed: A Thousand Deaths

By Jeff Lemire, Mico Suayan and Kano Valiant Entertainment - 978-1682151679

By Erica Schultz and Maria Sanapo Dynamite Entertainment - 978-1524104139

Garth Ennis’ A Train Called Love

Empowered Volume 10

By Garth Ennis, Mark Dos Santos, and Russ Braun Dynamite Entertainment - 978-1524101688

By Adam Warren and Nate Lovett Dark Horse - 978-1506704142

Grimm Tales of Terror

Happiness 6

By Ralph Tedesco, Joe Brusha, and others Zenescope - 978-1942275619

By Shuzo Oshimi Kodansha Comics - 978-1632364838

James Bond Volume 2: Eidolon

By Seiichi Hayashi, Taro Nettleton, and Ryan Holmberg Drawn & Quarterly - 978-1770462120


By Warren Ellis, Jason Masters, and Dom Reardon Dynamite Entertainment - 978-1524102722

By Dave Chisholm Z2 Comics - 978-1940878157

Madballs Volume 1

Space Battle Lunchtime Volume 2: A Recipe for Disaster

James Bond: Hammerhead

By Brad McGinty and Brian Smith Lion Forge - 978-1941302255

Octopus Pie Volume 5

By Brian K. Vaughan, Cliff Chiang, and Matt Wilson Image Comics - 978-1534302235

Portugal By Cyril Pedrosa NBM Publishing - 978-1681121475

Princess Jellyfish 7 By Akiko Higashimura Kodansha Comics - 978-1632365057

Red Colored Elegy

By Natalie Riess Oni Press - 978-1620104040

By Andy Diggle and Luca Casalanguida Dynamite Entertainment - 978-1524103224

Table Titans Volume 1

Kaijumax Season Two: The Seamy Underbelly

By Scott Kurtz and Steve Hammaker Toonhound Studios - 978-0986277917

By Zander Cannon Oni Press - 978-1620103968

The Jekyll Island Chronicles (Book One)

Kim & Kim: This Glamourous, High-Flying Rock Star Life

By Steve Nedvidek, Ed Crowell, Jack Lowe, Moses Nester, and SJ Miller Top Shelf Productions - 978-1603093880

By Magdalene Visaggio, Eva Cabrera, Claudia Aguirre, and others Black Mask Comics - 978-1628751604

The Sound of the World by Heart

Mother Panic Volume 1: A Work in Progress

By Giacomo Bevilacqua Lion Forge - 978-1941302385

The Three Stooges Volume 1 By S.A. Check, J.C. Vaughn and others American Mythology - 978-1945205064

Titles for Older Teens (Age 16+) 1636: The Ottoman Onslaught By Eric Flint Baen Books - 978-1481482981

Adventure Time: Marceline Gone Adrift By Meredith Gran and Carey Pietsch BOOM! Entertainment - 978-1608867707

Batman Volume 4: The War of Joes & Riddles By Tom King and Mikel Janin DC Comics - 978-1401273613

Beowulf By Santiago Garcia and David Rubin Image Comics - 978-1534301207

By Jody Houser and Jim Krueger DC Comics - 978-1401271114

Night Trap Volume 1 By Cullen Bunn and JB Bastos Lion Forge - 978-1941302026

Saga Volume 7 By Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples Image Comics - 978-1534300606

Shade the Changing Girl Volume 1: Earth Girl Made Easy By Cecil Castellucci, Natalia Hernandez, Asher Power, and others DC Comics - 978-1401270995

Star Wars Volume 4: Last Flight of the Harbingers By Jason Aaron Marvel - 978-0785199847

The Doorman

Mangasia: The Definitive Guide to Pan-Asian Comic Art By Paul Gravett Thames & Hudson - 978-0500292433

Manara Library Volume 3: Trip to Tulum and Other Stories By Milo Manara, Federico Fellini and Silverio Pisu Dark Horse - 978-1506702643

Officer Downe By Joe Casey and Chris Burnham Image Comics - 978-1534301191

RE*PRO*DUCT Volume 1 By Austin Wilson and Logan Faerber Lion Forge - 978-1942367024

Reincarnate By Michael Moreci, Keith Burns, and Tim Daniel Heavy Metal Magazine - 978-1935351917

Rockstars Volume 1: Nativity in Black By Joe Harris and Megan Hutchison Image Comics - 978-1534301900

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo – Millennium By Sylvain Runberg, Stieg Larsson, Jose Homs, and Manolo Carot Titan Comics - 978-1785861734

Turncoat By Ryan O’Sullivan and Plaid Klaus T Pub - 978-0992752385

By Eliot Rahal, Daniel Kibblesmith, and Kendall Goode Heavy Metal Magazine - 978-1935351955

Twisted Light

War Stories Volume 3

We Stand On Guard

By Garth Ennis and Tomas Aria Avatar Press - 978-1592912728

By Brian K. Vaughan and Steve Skroce Image Comics - 978-1534301412

Summer 2017

By Neil Gibson, Seb Antoniou and others T Pub - 978-0956943439


RESOURCES B O O KS ABO UT G RAPHIC NOV ELS Teaching Comics and Graphic Narratives: Essays on Theory, Strategy and Practice

By Lan Dong The essays in this collection discuss how comics and graphic narratives can be useful primary texts and learning tools in college and university classes across different disciplines. There are six sections: American Studies, Ethnic Studies, Women’s and Gender Studies, Cultural Studies, Genre Studies, and Composition, Rhetoric and Communication. With a combination of practical and theoretical investigations, the book brings together discussions among teacher-scholars to advance the scholarship on teaching comics and graphic narratives — and provides scholars with useful references, critical approaches, and particular case studies.

Going Graphic: Comics at Work in the Multilingual Classroom

By Stephen Cary Comics are a natural for second language development. Their unique mix of abundant, comprehensionbuilding visuals and authentic text readily engages learners, contextualizes language, and offers a window into the culture. Building on the latest brain-based research, second language acquisition theory, and progressive literacy principles, Stephen Cary offers twenty-five proven activities for comics-based instruction in all classrooms, especially TESL/TEFL settings, and for all grade and English-proficiency levels.


Reading with Pictures: Comics That Make Kids Smarter

By Josh Elder Uniting the finest creative talents in the comics industry with the nation’s leading experts in visual literacy to create a game-changing tool for the classroom and beyond, this full-color volume features more than a dozen short stories (both fiction and nonfiction) that address topics in Social Studies, Math, Language Arts, and Science, while offering an immersive textual and visual experience that kids will enjoy.

Graphic Novels in High School and Middle School Classrooms: A Disciplinary Literacies Approach

By William Boerman-Cornell, Jung Kim and Michael L. Manderino The ultimate guide for using graphic novels in any middle school or high school classroom, this book considers how the graphic novel format can support critical thinking and help reach disciplinary goals in history, English language arts, science, math, fine arts, and other subjects. Using specific graphic novels as examples, this book considers how to help students read, question, and write about both fiction and non-fiction. Whether teachers are new to graphic novels or have been working with them for years, this book will help improve instruction.


The Comic Book Project – Center for Educational Pathways

Good Comics for Kids (School Library Journal Blog) – Academic & Library Resources

Making Curriculum Pop

Eek! Comics in the Classroom! (Education World)

Maryland Comic Book Initiative recognition-partnerships/md-comic-book.html

Expanding Literacies through Graphic Novels (Members Only) EJ0956Expanding.pdf Building Literacy Connections with Graphic Novels: Page by Page, Panel by Panel GNLib: Graphic Novels in Libraries

No Flying, No Tights (Graphic Novel Review Site) Using Comics and Graphic Novels in the Classroom (The Council Chronicle, Sept. 05) YALSA’s Great Graphic Novels for Teens List

More Links maintains an ever-growing database of web resources for educators and librarians. Categories include official Publisher sites, resources for teachers, resources for librarians, graphic novel and comics review sites, resources for kids and more!

Summer 2017


HOW TO ORDER COMICS & GRAPHIC NOVELS Yo u ha v e man y o p tion s – c h oose th e o ne t hat w o rks bes t f o r yo u!



For a variety of reasons, your local comic book shop could be the best possible resource for your purchase of graphic novels. In fact, many local comic shops service both schools and libraries already with the latest comics and graphic novels.

Baker & Taylor, Booksource, Brodart, Follett, Ingram, and other wholesalers all carry a full line of graphic novels. Most schools and libraries already do business with one or more of these companies, and it’s easy to add in your order through these procurement channels. Why not add graphic novels to your next order?

3. BUY DIRECT FROM DIAMOND If there are no comic book stores in your area and your usual wholesaler doesn’t have deep stock on a variety of titles, Diamond does sell directly to educators and librarians. For more information, call Allan Greenberg at 443-318-8001 ext. 8864 or email or

A GREAT RESOURCE: YOUR LOCAL COMIC BOOK SHOP Quality comic book shops are a valuable resource for libraries and schools seeking graphic novels and graphic novel information. In the past, such partnerships have proven successful for all involved, with increased sales and circulation, as well as the satisfaction that comes with community involvement. As comic book and graphic novel specialists, comic shop retailers have up-to-date knowledge on the most recent and upcoming hits, and a great familiarity with what their customers are reading and enjoying. Many are more than willing to work together on cross-promotional events, reaching out to and expanding the audience of graphic novel fans. So, how do you go about finding and dealing with your local comic shop? Well, it’s easier than you think. By following these easy steps, you’ll be coordinating with your local comic shop in no time!

Find a Store. We’ve already done the work for you! To find your closest comic shop, all you have to do is use the Comic Shop Locator Service. Just log on to http://www. and enter your zip code. It’s as simple as that! Located on the store listings is the School and Library Partners icon above. Stores with this designation have told us they are willing to partner with schools and libraries to aid with selection, programming, purchasing, and more.


Research and Choose a Store. Once you’ve located a store, the next thing to do is find out more about it. If you used the Comic Shop Locator, many of the stores have posted brief profiles. The best way to find out more information about a store is to visit it in person. That way, you’ll have the opportunity to browse through the store’s collection and get personal advice from the knowledgeable experts on hand. All stores will have their own unique approach – find one that you feel comfortable with. Introduce Yourself. Going into any new environment can be intimidating, especially when you have preconceived notions. But there’s nothing to fear from comic shop retailers. Many of them are happy to welcome librarians and teachers into their stores because they understand the mutual benefit working together can achieve. Let them know you’re interested in using graphic novels and they will be more than happy to help!

Summer 2017

DIAMOND BOOKSHELF e-N ews le t t e r S i g n -u p • www.D ia m on dB o o kShelf .co m/s ubs cribe

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BOOKSHELF WANTS TO HEAR FROM YOU! What did you think of this issue of the Diamond BookShelf? Send your feedback, ideas and suggestions for future articles to: Diamond BookShelf 10150 York Road Hunt Valley, MD 21030 Email: We at Diamond have known for years that comic books and graphic novels are excellent teaching and learning tools…we’re pleased that so many educators are starting to agree! We hope you find this publication and our website a useful resource to convince others that comics can make a difference in helping to promote literacy, motivate readers and more. If you find Diamond BookShelf worthwhile, be sure to pass it on and tell your colleagues!

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The BookShelf e-Newsletter is designed to inform educators and librarians about the best graphic novels for their schools and libraries! Diamond Comic Distributors is the world’s largest distributor of English-language comic books, graphic novels and comics-related merchandise. We believe that comics are not only great fun and great art, but also have educational value and are terrific tools for promoting literacy. The BookShelf magazine and website are two of Diamond’s outreach initiatives to support the use of comics and graphic novels in schools and libraries.

BookShelf Issue #23  

Why YA? An Exploration of Young Adult Graphic Novels • Kid Savage Creators Discuss the Upcoming All-Ages Graphic Novel from Image Comics • S...

BookShelf Issue #23  

Why YA? An Exploration of Young Adult Graphic Novels • Kid Savage Creators Discuss the Upcoming All-Ages Graphic Novel from Image Comics • S...