October 1, 2009
Our tour through the library programs of schools (in relation to graphic novels) finishes here, with a discussion involving some high-school librarians talking about the problems they face, the solutions they’ve uncovered, and the issues they’ve successfully dealt with. Here’s a look at what goes on in some typical schools and how they handle the reading needs of a very diverse audience that is growing up rapidly—but is not quite made up of adults yet.
As usual, the good folks at School Library Journal have done an excellent job of explaining the importance and significance of Banned Books Week, beginning this Saturday, September 26, and going through October 3. Since 1982, this has been a pivotal week to celebrate not only the joys of reading, but the freedom of being exposed to ideas, themes, images, and words that challenge our beliefs, expand our knowledge, and give us the tools to grow. And while prose books face the most well known challenges in the public eye, comics, manga, and graphic novels still endure their rough history of censorship and banning.
Next week's New York Times bestseller list is out, and David Small's incredible memoir Stitches is making its debut at the top.
Ah, Persepolis. That great, great book. Marjane Satrapi's epic two volumes about her life growing up in Iran is one of the most readable and relatable graphic memoirs ever. It shared so much about Iranian culture, and it continues to teach. And now that it's been selected for Philadelphia's One Book, One Philadelphia literacy program, it will reach even further. Good. This work is one of those pleasures to read and savor, and it's completely deserving of this attention, which it achieved by winning out over other book selections to be named the selection of the 2010 One Book, One Philadelphia. Satrapi herself will be in the city to launch the program on September 23 at the Central Library there. Better yet, 5,000 copies of the book are being shipped in to local schools and libraries, and the city will hold dozens of lectures, discussion groups, and workshops for the book.
I’m caught up in three graphic novels that I’m loving right now, and I’m feeling a bit like Goldilocks with them: One I’m really late to discover, one I’m early, and one I’m just right on time. Let’s start with the late one.
September 20, 2009
With a lineup as diverse as First Second’s, you would expect an editor with equally mobile tastes. Calista Brill doesn’t disappoint. The publishing house’s editor took time out of her busy day to answer our profile questions.
Dr. Michael Bitz has been using creative media to help schools instill literacy, reading, and education for nearly a decade now. As the founder of comicbookproject.org, and later the Center for Educational Pathways, he has also subsequently written the recently released book Manga High, the story of a high-school comic-book club in New York City. Through the process of creating their own manga, this clubs’ members learned extensively about Japanese culture, which the book explores.
It was late afternoon in another city. It might have been the second or third day of the comic convention, I can’t really remember that. I was standing in my booth about 20 feet from the signing area, staring at a line of fans that easily trailed a half block or more. (No, they were not there for me. Sigh.)
I’ve been remiss about blogging about Disney’s recent buying of Marvel, mostly because, well, first, other business kind of got in the way, but then because I was waiting to see if the other coverage of the event would bring to light aspects I hadn’t thought of or considered. While there has been some excellent in-depth reporting on the deal, I still feel the same way I did when I first heard the news: a bit meh.