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Summer Reading Contest: Recommended Reads

Friday, June 9th, 2017

by Laura Scott 

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From June 12th to August 25th, the Buffalo & Erie County Public Library will be conducting our 2017 Online Summer Reading Contest!  This year’s theme is “Build a Better World!”

The contest will be broken down into three age categories and is open to all Erie County residents. For those interested in competing, here are a few recommended graphic novel reads:

Kids’ Graphic Novels:

1. The Complete Chi’s Sweet Home (Grade 3+) by Konami Kanata

Pet-loving readers will enjoy the lighthearted adventures of Chi the kitten, her human family, and their animal friends in this all-ages comics collection.

2. The Drawing Lesson (Grade 5+) by Mark Crilley

The Drawing Lesson is perfect for middle schoolers looking to improve their artistic skills. This Eisner-nominated instructional comic tells the story of David, a boy who learns about drawing techniques from an artist named Becky.

3. The Nameless City, & The Stone Heart (Grade 4+) by Faith Erin Hicks

The first two parts of this planned trilogy transports its readers to an Asia-inspired fantasy world, where a pair of young heroes struggle to overcome class divisions and social upheaval. 

Teen Graphic Novels:

1. Anya’s Ghost by Vera Brosgol

Teenage misfit Anya Borzakovskaya finds a new friend from beyond the grave in this Eisner Award-winning graphic novel.

2. March by John Lewis and Andrew Aydin

March is a multiple award-winning trilogy based on Congressman John Lewis’s young life as a member of African-American Civil Rights Movement.

 3. Your Lie in April by Naoshi Arakawa

This poignant manga series deals with themes of abuse, recovery, love and loss as seen though the eyes of two teenage musicians.

Adult Graphic Novels:

 1. Astro City by Kurt Busiek

In Astro City, Eisner and Harvey award-winning author Kurt Busiek pays homage to the Silver Age of Comic Books. This series is great for those who want a more literary take on “old-school” superheroics.

 2. A Contract with God and Other Tenement Stories by Will Eisner

Will Eisner rawly depicts the lives of Jewish tenement dwellers in this classic four-story collection.

3. Monster by Naoki Urasawa

In this dark psychological thriller from master storyteller Naoki Urasawa, Dr. Kenzo Temna must clear his own name by pursuing a serial killer across post-reunification Germany. 

Laura Scott is an adult and teen Outreach Librarian at the Buffalo & Erie County Public Library. 

Teen Tech Week Reads

Wednesday, March 8th, 2017

by Laura Scott

 

March 5-11 is Teen Tech Week, brought to you by the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA). You can celebrate this nationwide event by checking out these five tech-related graphic novels:

 

1. The Imitation Game: Alan Turing Decoded by Jim Ottaviani

Alan Turing was a brilliant mathematician and World War II code-breaker whose computational theories led to the development of the modern-day computer. However, his life as a gay man in 1950s England was far from easy. Jim Ottaviani’s graphic biography presents the historically accurate details of Turing’s career and personal life.

2. In Real Life by Cory Doctorow

Anda is a female online gamer who tries to stop gold farmers from exploiting her favorite MMORPG. But when she starts to communicate with a young Chinese gold farmer named Raymond, she gains a new perspective on the world.

3. Pluto by Naoki Urasawa

Naoki Urasawa’s Pluto re-imagines the classic robot manga Astro Boy as a high-tech thriller. Can Detective Gesicht uncover the truth behind a string of robotic murders before it’s too late?

4. Steve Jobs: Insanely Great by Jessie Hartland

In this graphic biography, Jessie Hartland explores the illustrious career of Steve Jobs, from its humble beginnings to his rise to power as Apple’s CEO. Through his life, readers can witness the evolution of the home computers and other forms of consumer technology.

5. The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage by Sydney Padua

During the nineteenth century, Charles Babbage and Ada Lovelace shared plans for a calculating machine the likes of which the world had never seen. This graphic novel offers readers a humorous alternate history in which Lovelace and Babbage actually succeed in building their machine: the world’s very first computer.

 

To find out more about Teen Tech Week activities near you, please check with your local library or visit the Teen Tech Week website at teentechweek.ning.com

Laura Scott is an adult and teen Outreach Librarian at the Buffalo & Erie County Public Library.

The World of Webcomics

Friday, January 27th, 2017

 by Laura Scott

If you are a comic book fan but you aren’t familiar with webcomics, you may be missing out on some great reads!

Webcomics are comic strips or pages that have been published online. They are usually produced independently, by either a single person or a small team. Both professional and amateur creators of every age have contributed to this vibrant medium.

I recommend that webcomic newcomers start off by reading one of the outstanding series listed below:

1. The Adventures of Dr. McNinja (Grade 9+) by Christopher Hastings: www.drmcninja.com

This satirical take on superheroes follows a medically-trained ninja as he tries to fight evil and cure all manner of unusual maladies.  The series ended recently on January 19th, but it is still available to read online for free. 

2. Atomic Robo (Grade 5+) by Brian Clevinger: www.atomic-robo.com

The story of Atomic Robo takes place in an action-heavy, retro-styled science fiction setting. The series’ protagonist is a wise-cracking robot who recounts the dangers he has faced throughout his exceptionally long life. 

3. Digger (Grade 9+) by Ursula Vernon: www.diggercomic.com

This completed Hugo award-winning comic about a levelheaded wombat draws upon several global folktale traditions to weave a complex fantasy world. 

4. Gunnerkrigg Court by Tom Siddell (Grade 7+): www.gunnerkrigg.com

Once recommended by author Neil Gaiman, this fantasy tale takes place in a technological advanced boarding school and the magical forest that grows along its borders. Fans of the Harry Potter series may enjoy this comic’s young protagonist, Antimony, and the colorful assortment of classmates, teachers, and creatures she meets on her adventures. 

5. xkcd by Randall Monroe (Grade 10+): www.xkcd.com

This humorous series of strips is one of the most popular comics on the web and addresses a wide variety of scientific, mathematic, and other “geeky” topics. 

Additional webcomic recommendations for children and teens can be found here on the Library School Journal’s website. The parents of minors should take caution when allowing their child to read comics on social media and other online platforms, since many of these do not reliably screen out age-inappropriate content.

Laura Scott is an adult and teen Outreach Librarian at the Buffalo & Erie County Public Library.

10 Great Superhero Stories for Teenage Girls

Saturday, December 3rd, 2016

by Laura Scott 

In an age when comic book movies dominate the Hollywood box office, the number of super-powered heroines one finds on the big screen remains startlingly low.  Fortunately, there are many graphic novels and comics that feature female heroes with which young women can easily identify. Here are 10 great superhero stories for teenage girls:

1. The Adventures of Superhero Girl by Faith Erin Hicks

This slice-of-life story with a plucky young heroine began as a web comic before being published in full color by Dark Horse Books. It differs from most other stories in its genre by focusing on the silly and sometimes embarrassing aspects of having superpowers. The black-and-white version of this comic can still be read for free at www.adventuresofsuperherogirl.com.

2. Batgirl Volume 1: Batgirl of Burnside by Cameron Stewart

Stepping out of the shadow of her famous mentor, Barbara Gordon, A.K.A. Batgirl, fights crime in a new neighborhood while simultaneously navigating the worlds of college and social media.

3. Captain Marvel Volume 1: Higher, Further, Faster, More by Kelly Sue DeConnick

Fans of the hit TV show Supergirl or Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy may enjoy this tale of outer space action told from the perspective of a high-powered superheroine. In this volume, Carol Danvers (Captain Marvel) meets up with the Guardians of the Galaxy as she carries out an escort mission to a distant planet.

4. Faith by Jody Houser

This series takes the classic superhero formula and updates it with the inclusion of a protagonist who defies mainstream beauty norms. By day, Faith Herbert works as an online journalist charged with writing clickbait articles for her difficult boss. But when trouble arises, she transforms into her heroic alter ego, Zephyr.

5. Gotham Academy by Mary Cloonan, Brendan Fletcher, et al.

Equal parts Batman and Harry Potter, this story takes place at an elite boarding school in Gotham City, home of the Caped Crusader. Olive Silverlock and best friend Maps work to unlock numerous mysteries surrounding their school and Olive’s mysterious past.

6. Ms. Marvel Volume 1: No Normal by G. Willow Wilson

This series follows the adventures of Kamala Khan, a Muslim American teenager who suddenly develops super powers and takes up the mantle of “Ms. Marvel,” a title once held by the current Captain Marvel, Carol Danvers.

7. Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon by Naoko Takeuchi

Starring a clumsy yet endearing protagonist, Sailor Moon is a classic in the Japanese “magical girl” genre. 14-year-old Usagi Tsukino works tirelessly to defend the earth with the help of her many friends. In the process, she learns more about herself and her own destiny.

8. Runaways by Brian K. Vaughan, Joss Whedon, et al.

Written by some of the biggest names in contemporary comics, Runaways features a diverse group of teenage characters and includes a particularly strong female cast. It follows Nico Minoru and her friends as they struggle to escape the influence of their supervillain parents.

9. Spider-Gwen by Jason Latour

This what-if story takes place in an alternate universe where Peter Parker never became Spider-Man. Instead, Peter’s friend Gwen Stacy confronts a radioactive spider that transforms her into Spider-Woman.

10. The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl by Ryan North

For those who prefer a hero that doesn’t take herself too seriously, The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl provides plenty of laughs along with its action. Doreen Green (Squirrel Girl) fights evil with a combination of optimism and self-awareness that one rarely sees among her Avenger colleagues.

Laura Scott is an adult and teen Outreach Librarian at the Buffalo & Erie County Public Library.

Start a Comic Book Club Handbook

Tuesday, November 10th, 2015

Learn how to start and make the most of book clubs for comics and graphic novels with the Comic Book Club Handbook, a new resource produced by Comic Book Legal Defense Fund in collaboration with Comic-Con International! Designed for librarians, retailers, and individuals alike, the Comic Book Club Handbook goes inside the how’s and why’s of creating a graphic novel book club

Down Load your copy here