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Updated: 17 hours 17 min ago

History Comes Alive in Graphic Novels!

Thu, 03/19/2015 - 07:00

I am loving all the graphic novels that are being published that focus on moments in history.  They are not just doing a textbook coverage of historical events, but they are personalizing the events and making them more real to readers.  Maybe that is the benefit of reading a graphic novel?  Things seem more real when they are represented both by text and by art.  Check out some of the graphic novels below that will take you on a trip, back in time!

Ancient History/Pre-Industrial Revolution (up to 1800s)

Evolution: the Story of Life on Earth by Jay Hosler, Kevin Cannon, and others (2012 Great Graphic Novels for Teens)

Industrial Revolution (1800-1900)

Around the World by Matt Phelan (2012 Great Graphic Novels for Teens)

The Magical Life of Long Tack Sam by Ann Marie Fleming (2008 Great Graphic Novels for Teens)

American History (1700-1900)

Lewis & Clark by Nick Bertozzi

One Dead Spy: the Life, Times, and Last Words of Nathan Hale, America’s Most Famous Spy by Nathan Hale (2013 Great Graphic Novels for Teens)

The United States Constitution: a Graphic Adaptation by Jonathan Hennessey, Aaron McConnell (2009 Great Graphic Novels for Teens)

Gettysburg: the Graphic Novel by C.M. Butzer (2010 Great Graphic Novels for Teens)

Grant vs. Lee: the Graphic History of the Civil War’s Greatest Rivals During the Last Year of the War by Wayne Vansant

Best Shot in the West: the Adventures of Nat Love by Patricia C. McKissack, Fredrick L. McKissack Jr., Randy DuBurke

Donner Dinner Party by Nathan Hale (2014 Great Graphic Novels for Teens)

Houdini: the Handcuff King by Jason Lutes, Nick Bertozzi (2008 Great Graphic Novels for Teens

World War I (1914-1918) through the 1920s

Above the Dreamless Dead: World War I in Poetry and Comics edited by Chris Duffy (2015 Great Graphic Novels for Teens)

World War One: 1914-1918: the War to End All Wars written by Alan Cowsill, Lalit Kumar Sharma

The Harlem Hellfighters by Max Brooks, Caanan White

Big Jim: Jim Larkin and the 1913 Lockout by Rory McConville, Paddy Lynch

Shackleton: Antarctic Odyssey by Nick Bertozzi (2015 Great Graphic Novels for Teens)

The Great Depression (1930s)

The Great American Dust Bowl by Don Brown (2015 Great Graphic Novels for Teens)

World War II (1939-1945)

The Boxer: The True Story of Holocaust Survivor Harry Haft by Reinhard Kleist (2015 Great Graphic Novels for Teens)

Bombing Nazi Germany: the Graphic History of the Allied Air Campaign that Defeated Hitler in World War II by Wayne Vansant

Trinity: a Graphic History of the First Atomic Bomb by Jonathan Fetter-Vorm (2013 Great Graphic Novels for Teens)

Showa: a History of Japan, 1926-1939Showa: a History of Japan, 1939-1944; and Showa: a History of Japan, 1944-1953 by Shigeru Mizuki

Post-Modern Era (1950-2000)

The Silence of Our Friends by Mark Long, Jim Demonakos, Nate Powell

March: Book 1 and Book 2 by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, Nate Powell (2014 Great Graphic Novels for Teens)

Malcolm X: a Graphic Biography by Andrew Helfer, Randy DuBurke (2008 Great Graphic Novels for Teens)

The Warren Commission Report by Dan Mishkin, Ernie Colón, Jerzy Drozd

21: the Story of Roberto Clemente by Wilfred Santiago (2012 Great Graphic Novels for Teens)

T-Minus: The Race to the Moon by Jim Ottaviani, Zander Cannon, Kevin Cannon

The Photographer by Emmanuel Guibert (2010 Great Graphic Novels for Teens)

Hip Hop Family Tree, Vol. 1: 1970s-1981 and Vol. 2: 1981-1983 by Ed Piskor

The Wall: Growing Up Behind the Iron Curtain by Peter Sis (2008 Great Graphic Novels for Teens)

21st Century (2000-present)

Pyongyang: a Journey in North Korea by Guy Delisle (2007 Great Graphic Novels for Teens)

A.D.: New Orleans After the Deluge by Josh Neufeld (2010 Great Graphic Novels for Teens)

The 9/11 Report by Sid Jacobson, Ernie Colon (2007 Great Graphic Novels for Teens)

–Colleen Seisser, currently reading The Girl With All the Gifts by M.R. Carey

Jukebooks: We Can Work It Out by Elizabeth Eulberg

Wed, 03/18/2015 - 07:00

Now that the Lonely Hearts Club has expanded to almost thirty girls, Penny Lane finds her enthusiasm for the club waning. Sure, it would never had happened if Penny had not started the club herself, building on the successful theme of girl empowerment. Who needs a guy to make them happy? Then Penny meets Ryan. Things get awkward. No longer lonely, Penny’s clout with her girls diminishes.

As a follow-up to Eulberg’s The Lonely Hearts Club, this novel is also brimming with references to Beatles songs. Sections are introduced with a Beatles lyric, such as, “If I love you, please don’t hurt my pride,” from “If I Fell,” a beautiful example of Fab Four harmony. But the Beatles went in so many interesting directions with their music that I was reluctant to highlight one more pretty song. So instead, we’ll go with a song from Abbey Road, “Carry That Weight.”

The song is part of a long medley that constitutes the flip side of Abbey Road. The songs, bits and pieces that have little relation to each other, are melded together wonderfully by the Beatles’ long time producer, George Martin. “Carry That Weight” was recorded along with the song that precedes it on the album, “Golden Slumbers.”

Below is a recording of “Golden Slumbers,” “Carry That Weight,” and the final song on that side of Abbey Road, “The End,” set to a photographic montage of the Beatles.

Diane Colson, currently reading an advance readers copy of Cuckoo Song by Frances Hardinge.

YA Lit with an Irish Connection

Tue, 03/17/2015 - 07:00


Slemish Mountain, the legendary home of St. Patrick. Photo by Flickr user Identity Chris Is

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day! It is the feast day of the patron saint of Ireland. Patrick was not born in Ireland, but was taken captive by Irish pirates and made a slave. Although he eventually made his way home to Britain, he return to Ireland as a Christian missionary and is thought to have converted thousands of people. Using a shamrock as an illustration of the Christian Holy Trinity, “banishing” all snakes from the island, having his walking stick turned into a tree; the folklore and tales surrounding him forever tie Saint Patrick to Ireland. So on this, his celebratory day, how about considering some excellent Irish YA fiction? These books are set on The Emerald Isle and most are by Irish authors; try one or two to get a taste of great Irish literature.

Long Story Short by Siobhan Parkinson
Jono and Julie’s alcoholic mother is mostly useless when it comes to actually parenting, but Jono feels he and Julie are not doing too badly all in all. But when their mother hits Julie one day, Jono knows he must get the two of them out of there, away from the abuse and neglect, and far from child services who will separate them. Parkinson was Ireland’s first laureate for children’s literature. Her writing is exquisite and her storytelling masterful. Jono is not the most reliable of narrators; as he spins his tale, readers will be kept on their toes, and not just with worry for these two vulnerable kids.

The New Policeman by Kate Thompson (Best Books for Young Adults 2008)
There never seems to be enough time to do all the things you want to do. This seems especially true in Kinvara, Ireland where JJ lives with his family. After his mother wishes for more time, JJ learns about a portal to Tír na n’Óg, the Land of Youth, where time stands still. Could this be where all the lost time goes? JJ wants to make the journey there, but he learns that venturing into the faerie realms can be fantastic, but also dangerous. This novel is drenched in Irish culture and folklore. Pro tip: listen to the audio book if you can. The chapters are interspersed with bits of music from Irish folk songs!

The Carnival at Bray by Jessie Ann Foley (2015 Printz Honor Book)
When her mother marries her boyfriend, Maggie is uprooted from her Chicago home and transplanted to Bray -a small seaside town in Ireland. She is far from everything she knows and loves, waiting for care packages of Americana from her uncle back in the states. Maggie struggles with her feelings of loss, with first love, with how much and how far to rebel. When her favorite band, Nirvana, comes to Europe, Maggie runs away to see them; away from family, and from Bray, and she runs away at the exact wrong time.

A Swift Pure Cry by Siobhan Dowd (Best Books for Young Adults 2008)
A beautifully written, heartrending book. After Shell’s mother dies, her father turns more and more to alcohol than to his family. Left to care for her younger siblings, Shell seeks consolation with both the new young priest in town and with a childhood friend, Declan. When Declan leaves for America, Shell discovers she is pregnant and as her fellow townsfolk are more want to gossip than help, she has no one to turn to. Readers may think they know where the story is heading, but Dowd is a talented, clever writer and she will surprise you.

Into the Grey by Celine Kiernan
A ghost story, a thriller, a very spooky horror novel, set in the 1970s Ireland. When their home and all they own burn in a fire set by their Nan, twins Patrick and Dom move to their family’s small, seaside vacation cottage with their parents and young sister. Everything is topsy turvy to begin with, but then the twins are haunted and Dom becomes possessed by a ghost. Patrick soon realizes this is not just trauma affecting his family’s emotions, this is a life or death situation that he and Dom must survive on their own.

~ Geri Diorio, currently reading Night Watch by Terry Pratchett

Is This Just Fantasy?: Celebrating The Hub’s Favorite Women In Fantasy Fiction

Mon, 03/16/2015 - 07:00

March is Women’s History Month. Woohoo! In that spirit, I wanted to dedicate this edition of Is This Just Fantasy? to the fabulous women of fantasy fiction and I asked my fellow Hub bloggers to join in the fun.  Here are some of The Hub’s favorite female characters in young adult fantasy fiction.

Alanna of Trebond from Song of the Lioness series by Tamora Pierce (2013 Margaret A. Edwards Award)

“The heroine who comes immediately to my mind (and no doubt others as well!) is Alanna.  So strong, brave, courageous and while in the first novel she must hide her sex and pretend to be a boy, I really loved how ultimately she embraced being a woman as the series evolved.” – Sarah Debraski

Princess Cimorene from Enchanted Forest Chronicles by Patricia C. Wrede

“After first encountering Cimorene in Dealing with Dragons, I was hooked. She is a princess who is bored with everything that goes with being a princess. She wants nothing to do with the not-very-bright princes she encounters and is so eager for more excitement in her life that she leaves her home to find a dragon to ‘capture’ her – the only acceptable alternative for a princess. Once she finds her dragon, she becomes the dragon’s chef and librarian (a fact I had forgotten until I recently reread this book). With Cimorene, Wrede turns princess stereotypes on their head and creates a funny, compelling, and exciting protagonist.” – Carli Spina 

Sabriel from Sabriel by Garth Nix

“My vote is for Sabriel! I am re-reading (listening to Tim Curry’s great narration in audiobook!) Sabriel by Garth Nix right now and I am remembering how great of a character she is. She’s smart but willing to learn; capable with a compassionate personality; and emotional in the best possible way. She – and Lirael in the next two books – are favorite female characters who are strong and well-drawn without being the one-note ‘strong female characters.’ ” – Anna Tschetter

Janet from Tam Lin by Pamela Dean

“Janet is smart, curious, confident. She’s unapologetically intellectual, as well as snarky, judgemental, and impatient, but she’s also very aware of her own shortcomings, and she’s honest, kind, and supportive. Janet forms believable and complicated friendships (especially with her roommates); navigates the complexities of boyfriends, libido, and 1970s birth control; keeps her grades up; and triumphs in a life-or-death struggle with the Queen of Elfland.” – Julie Bartel

Elisa from The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson (2013 YALSA Top Ten Best Fiction for Young Adults)

“The other fantasy heroine who I admire and find so amazing is Elisa from Rae Carson’s The Girl of Fire and Thorns. Having always been coddled and sheltered she really is thrown into adventure and danger unprepared and has to work to find her inner strength. I loved watching her become a fierce courageous leader (and loving woman as well) in this trilogy.”   – Sarah Debraski

Val from Valiant by Holly Black (2006 YALSA Best Books for Young Adults)

“Val is a runaway who gets mixed up in the faerie world and I really like her development from a confused runaway to a strong fighter in Black’s novel.  This character has resonated with me, even though I read the novel years ago.  There is something awesome about Val and her willingness to leave a bad situation and try to survive on the streets, and then, when she learns about the faerie world, her fight to survive and fight to protect her new family!  Just writing this makes me want to go back and read Val’s story again!” – Colleen Seisser

Rose Hathaway from Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead (2008 YALSA Teens’ Top Ten)

Rose is just kick ass and I love it! She has the fighting skills (some from her Dhampir training and some just instinct), strength of character, and sharp tongue that every female warrior should have.  Her development through the course of Mead’s Vampire Academy series is a fantastic one and makes her such an interesting character to read and relate to.” -Colleen Seisser

Katsa from Graceling by Kristin Cashore (2009 YALSA Teens’ Top Ten, 2009 Morris Award Finalist, 2009 YALSA Best Books for Young Adults)

“I’m sure I won’t be the only one to say this, but I LOVE Katsa from Graceling. Kristin Cashore created a character that lives in a fantasy world, but faces personal decisions that mirror real world situations. She is a strong, smart female who finds a way to balance her independence with her desire for friendships, family, and romance.”    – Jessica Lind

“I’m probably not alone in that I really liked Katsa in Graceling. I liked how the book had adventure, romance, special powers, a journey, survival — a bit of everything! I really felt Katsa’s internal dilemmas regarding her Grace and what is expected of women.” – Becky O’Neil

Bitterblue from Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore (2013 YALSA Best Books for Young Adults)

“Not as flashy as Katsa (whom I loved too), Bitterblue has a lot of responsibility for someone so young.  She has no parents and a pretty traumatic past.  Yet she is brave and moral and never gives up.” – Tara Kehoe

Blue Sargent from The Raven Cycle series by Maggie Stiefvater  (2013 YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults, 2014 YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults)

“I have been in awe of Blue and her fascinating matriarchal family since the first sentence of The Raven Boys. Blue is integral to the plot of the entire series; she is no mere tagalong. Blue’s ability to influence other powers still leaves her powerless at times. For her strengths  and her weaknesses, Blue is a heroine I’d proudly idealize. I also love her snarky dialogue as she verbally spars with other characters rather than passively float along in someone else’s story.” – Laura Perenic

Isaboe from Finnikin of The Rock by Melina Marchetta (2011 YALSA Top Ten Best Fiction for Young Adults)

“Isaboe is clearly the hero of Melina Marchetta’s Finnikin of The Rock.  While Finnikin tells the story and is important too, it’s Isaboe who saves Lumatere.  She is strong, smart, and has a sense of humor.   Isaboe isn’t afraid to be ugly (as she makes herself in the beginning of the book to hide her true identity), or to fall in love, or to talk about her period.” – Tara Kehoe

Princess Tilda from Handbook for Dragon Slayers by Merrie Haskell (2014 Schneider Family Book Award Winner)

“Princess Tilda is a fairly unusual type of princess, at least in modern popular fiction: she has a disability that has not only a physical impact on her life due to the pain she encounters on a regular basis, but also because of the way that it makes the people of her kingdom view her with distrust and suspicion. At the start of the book, Tilda wants nothing more than to be left alone to become a scribe copying books, but over the course of the story she gets swept up into a mission to hunt dragons and along the way comes to a new understanding of herself and her responsibilities.”    – Carli Spina

Who are some of your favorite women in fantasy fiction?

-Kelly Dickinson, currently reading Bone Gap by Laura Ruby

The Monday Poll: Alarming First Lines in YA Lit

Sun, 03/15/2015 - 23:40

Good morning, Hub readers!

In celebration of Teen Tech Week, last week’s poll asked you to choose your favorite YA lit title featuring current technology. 45% of you voted for TTYL by Lauren Myracle, and 19% of you voted for The Future of Us by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler. You can see detailed results for all of our previous polls in the Polls Archive. Thanks to all of you who voted!

This week, we want you to tell us which first line from YA lit has you on edge– which one grabs you and makes you feel absolutely compelled to read on? Choose from the options below, or suggest another title in the comments!

Note: There is a poll embedded within this post, please visit the site to participate in this post's poll.

2015 Hub Reading Challenge Check-In #5

Sun, 03/15/2015 - 07:00

Not signed up for YALSA’s 2015 Hub Reading Challenge? Read the official rules and sign up on the original post. Anything you’ve read since February 9 counts, so sign up now!

I was searching for something in WordPress, clicked on the wrong tag, and found myself reading a 2014 Hub Reading Challenge check-in post I wrote from just about this time last year.  In it I mostly talked about how much I’d loved the Marcus Sedgwick book I’d just finished, which is funny because I was totally going to use this post to explain how reading Sedgwick’s Ghosts of Heaven had pulled me away from challenge titles completely this week, in between gushing about how brilliant I think it is.  I’m not even sorry I picked it up, though it’s not on the list, of course.  Maybe next year?

In any case, the check marks on my list have not multiplied by much since my last check-in, but I’m up to 9 so I’m not too worried.  I did re-read Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki’s This One Summer so that I could argue about it on the Internet with the details fresh in my mind, and I liked it even more this time around.  I’m not the only one who does that, right?

Speaking of social media, don’t forget to use the hashtag #hubchallenge, and please join us over at the 2015 Goodreads Hub Reading Challenge group if you’d like to talk (or argue, or whatever!) about what you’re reading.

Remember, you have until 11:59 PM EST on June 21st to finish at least 25 challenge books.  These weekly check-in posts are a great place to track your progress, see how your fellow participants are faring, and get feedback on various titles, so don’t forget to read the comments and chime in!  If you haven’t already, don’t forget to post the Participant’s Badge on your blog, website, or email signature, and, as always, if you have any questions or problems, let us know in the comments or via email.

If you are a particularly fast reader and have already completed the challenge by reading or listening to 25 titles from the list of eligible books, be sure to fill out the form below so we can send you your Challenge Finisher badge, get in touch to coordinate your reader’s response and, perhaps best of all, to notify you if you win our exciting grand prize drawing! Be sure to use an email you check frequently and do not fill out this form until you have completed the challenge by reading 25 titles.