Saturday, April 25, 2015

Free Comic Book Day Again

May 2nd is Free Comic Book Day and there are about 50 books to collect this year.  It's amazing.

The momentum behind this day gets bigger every year.  Here are some of the comics that I will be checking out.

This is the one that I am most excited about.  It contains comics from both Kate Beaton and Jillian Tamaki.

Beaton's comics are related to her upcoming book Step Aside, Pops!  So it could be about history, literature or  something random.  She's wonderful and I cannot wait for this or her new book.

Tamaki will be showcasing her webcomic SuperMutant Magic Academy, which she has been working on since 2010.  A collected edition of the comics in that series will be released April 28, 2015.  It features stories about students at a school for mutants and witches and addresses the more emotional and human aspects of their lives.  It doesn't focus on the powers or spells of the characters.

*****Good for all ages.

The All-New and All-Different Avengers 
written by Mark Waid
drawn by Mahmud Asrar

What drew me to this comic was the team members: Sam Wilson as Captain America, the new Thor, Vision, Nova, Kamala Khan as Ms. Marvel, Iron Man, and Miles Morales as Spider-Man.

What a team!  You got a mix of the experienced and the inexperienced here.  You also have characters that we're still learning about like the new Thor.

***** E for everyone.

This one is really cool because it collects so much.

It features 10 little stories from 10 different titles including: Lumberjanes by Noelle Stevenson, Grace Ellis and Shannon Watters; Adventure Time with Fiona and Cake by Jen Wang and Britt Wilson; Garfield; Regular Show and even a story inspired by Jim Henson's Labyrinth.

***** Perfect for all ages.

This is also a comic made up of other little comics presenting a bunch of great artists and writers in the world of comics today.

Really excited for these stories:
The Boss by Mariko Tamaki & Gillian Goerz
Superhero Girl: The Death of Kevin by Faith Erin Hicks
Once Upon a Pony by Svetlana Chmakova

*****Recommended for Teens

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Sunday, April 19, 2015

Spotlight: Jackaby & Rook Investigations

Beastly Bones by William Ritter finally has a cover.  I like that it follows the style of the first novel and connects them.  It's expected release date is September 22nd, 2015.

The story this time around is:

Back in New Fiddleham, New England, life continues to be interesting for Abigail Rook as she joins her employer on his cases involving the supernatural.

But soon, an old friend in Gad's Valley is reaching out for help with a mystery that is impossible to resist.   First, dinosaur bones from a recent dig go missing.  Then a monster begins butchering the animals and people of Gad's Valley, leaving its victim's bodies completely mutilated.


I'm excited and looking forward to this novel.  It sounds a lot darker this time around and I hope that will come through in the writing with tone, atmosphere and suspense.  Also looking forward to meeting the characters again and finding out more about them.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Black History Going Strong: Part 2

The second part of my Black History Month posting frenzy and I am happy to share some interesting picture books.  I hope you find something really great to share with the kids in your life.

Henry's Freedom Box
by Ellen Levine
illustrated by Kadir Nelson

After being torn from the family he was born into and the one he formed when he became an adult, Henry Brown decides to mail himself to the North, to freedom. 
Let Freedom Sing
written and illustrated by
Vanessa Brantley Newton

In this picture book, pieces of civil rights history are set to the sound of the song This Little Light of Mine.  The stunning illustrations remind readers of the stark inequality that African Americans faced during the 1950s and 1960s.

The Amazing Age of John Roy Lynch
written by Chris Barton
illustrated by Don Tate

This picture book follows the events in the life of John Roy Lynch, who grew up a slave in Mississippi but found opportunity through the Emancipation Proclamation.  Read about his journey from being the justice of the peace to becoming an elected congressman in the United States government.   This biography also offers a rare look into a period of great change and reconstruction in American history.

The Story of Ruby Bridges
written by Robert Coles

illustrated by George Ford

Watch the powerful story of Ruby Bridges unfold in this 32 page picture book, which illustrates her amazing courage in the face of racism as she becomes the first African American to attend an all white school.

The video below is of the incredible Vanessa Brantley Newton performing her book Let Freedom Sing.

Black History Going Strong: Part 1

February was Black History Month.  It was a month to reflect on the past, think about the present and hope for the future.  

Posting this quite late in order to keep it going.  Here are some reading suggestions.  I am so excited to share this because there was so much amazing stuff out there to put into this list.   I wanted to cover the fuller spectrum of black history so I didn't limit myself to a specific event or time period.

There will be a part two  and three, which will cover middle grade/young adult, some  non-fiction titles and picture books.  I hope you enjoy it.

Graphic Novels:

I See the Promised Land
written by Arthur Flowers
illustrated by Manu Chitrakar

In this biographical graphic novel, readers will experience full colour moments from Martin Luther King Jr.'s life.   From his experiences with apartheid in the South to his involvement in building civil rights groups.  In his descriptions of events,  Arthur Flowers weaves his own musical writing style with pieces of King's actual speeches.  The book beautifully reveals the story behind the figure and gives readers a better understanding of the man that led the way for change. 

*****Recommended for teens and adults.

March: Book One
written by John Robert Lewis 
& Andrew Aydin
illustrated Nate Powell

In the first book of the trilogy, John Robert Lewis shows and tells readers his life in his own voice.  Follow him through his younger years spent in Alabama.  Watch him meet Martin Luther King Jr.  See him during the beginnings of the Nashville Student Movement.  Lewis paints an honest picture of his experiences that will resonate now and with future generations.

*****March: Book Two is already out.  This book is recommended for teens and adults.

Strange Fruit: Vol. 1
Uncelebrated Narratives from Black History
written &  illustrated 
by Joel Christian Gill

This graphic novel collects stories about nine figures in black history that are seldom discussed or celebrated for their triumphs.  One of them being Marshall "Major" Taylor, who was the first black champion in sports.  Another being a magician named Richard Potter.  Each individual is profiled and given unique treatment in this anthology. 

***** Recommended for teens and adults.

Canadian Content:

Harriet's Daughter
by Marlene Nourbese Philip

Margaret Cruickshank has the wildest imagination.  She spends her time with friends pretending to be Harriet Tubman, leading them to freedom on the underground railroad.  One day, she meets Zulma.  Recently emigrated from Tobago, Zulma is finding her new life in Canada difficult and longs to be back home with her grandmother.  As the girls become close friends, Margaret vows to figure out how to get Zulma back to Tobago.

I read Harriet's Daughter book for a Children's Literature class at Uni and man, does it stay with you.  It's a slice of diaspora in Canada.  It deals a lot with identity not just with someone who is new to a country but also with someone who is a 2nd generation Canadian.

The Kids Book of Black Canadian History
by Rosemary Sadlier

This book collects events and stories from the earliest recorded Black Canadians to the most recent inspiring African immigrants.   It contains timelines, fun facts and individual profiles of important figures.

A really exciting book that focuses on an important part of Canadian history.


The below video is about an exhibit at the Toronto Public Library that has photographs, historical documents, manuscripts and paintings from and about black Torontonians.   It is called Freedom City: Uncovering Toronto's Black History.

The below video is also from the Toronto Public Library and is presented by the historian Afua Cooper.  She discusses the beginning of the Underground Railroad.

Spotlight: When Marnie Was There

Today I am going to talk about When Marnie Was There, a novel and now a feature length animated film.

When Marnie Was There
by Joan G. Robinson

Anna is a lonely girl.  Adopted and friendless, she constantly feels like she is on the outside looking in.  Sent to Norfolk for the summer by her foster parents, she finds the Marsh House on one of her solitary explorations.

There she meets a strange girl named Marnie, who becomes her first true friend. Despite their close bond, Marnie and her family disappear without a trace.  When a new family moves into the Marsh House, Anna just might get the answers she's seeking about Marnie.

Studio Ghibli adapted the book recently and now the film is being released in North America on May 22, 2015.  It looks stunning and the music sounds beautiful.  Check out the trailer below.