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This summer, Columbia librarian Karen Green has been teaching an interesting class: Comic Books and Graphic Novels as Literature, meeting twice a week for six weeks. It’s a recognition of the literary value of the format, and an expert like Green is the perfect teacher for it. We talked with her to get an inside look at the class, which includes some first-rate required reading (like Derf Backderf’s My Friend Dahmer; Gabrielle Bell’s The Voyeurs; Will Eisner’s A Contract with God; Peter Kuper’s Sticks and Stones; Scott McCloud’s Understanding Comics; Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns; Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ Watchmen; Art Spiegelman’s Maus; and Chris Ware’s Jimmy Corrigan, The Smartest Kid on Earth).
There's a new site devoted not only to comics, but also to the people who read them and want to raise kids who read them. It's a fun place to visit called, and they've just unveiled a listing I think you'll like. The 15 Best Sci-Fi/Fantasy Graphic Novels list covers books for family reading, meaning adults and kids can enjoy them together.
The artwork for the upcoming New York Comic Con (October 10-13) was unveiled today, and it's a beauty (albeit a beauty that takes some liberties with New York City geography --- but that's nothing to quibble over, especially when the poster is clearly a reverent tribute to the city). French artist Stephen Roux created the art. Nicely done.
Ah, Comic-Con. What magic you wield.
The Most Challenged Comics Alan Moore is the undisputed “Leader of the Banned,” as Charles Brownstein, executive director of the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund (they're a great organization; please support them!), noted at his San Diego Comic-Con panel “CBLDF: Banned Comics!” It seems virtually anything Moore has ever written gets challenged in libraries across the country for some reason. Brownstein went on to name some of the other comics most challenged in the past decade or so. Some of the names on the list may surprise you --- including this little tidbit: One of the books on this list was the second most challenged book of 2011 (not just the second most challenged comic; the second most challenged book). Can you guess which one?
The winners of the 2013 Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards were announced at a gala ceremony held during Comic-Con International: San Diego, at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront, on Friday, July 19.
Congratulations to Julia Simpson (Auburn Public Library in Georgia), Jude Shanzer (East Meadow Public Library in New York), and Beth Adcock (Middlebury Community Public Library in Indiana)! These three lucky librarians won $6,000 worth of graphic novels this past weekend at the American Library Association conference in Chicago. The prizes were given to the winners of a special drawing on Sunday.
Real Simple asked 31 authors to share their favorite books, and Jamie Ford (who is the author of Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet) picked a graphic novel for his selection. Blankets by Craig Thompson was cited by Ford as being "An expressive, ingenious graphic novel that also happens to be an unforgettable memoir about first love.” Couldn't agree more!  
Carrie Rogers-Whitehead contacted us recently using the Teachers/Librarians Contact Form, and this is what she had to say: "I order the majority of graphic novels for my library system and use them all the time in teen programs. Recently I have found other uses for them, giving them to refugee teens. I have started doing outreach to a refugee center in our community and have found that the teens really respond to them. These teens do not speak English as their native language and graphic novels help them understand the story better. I have also used them with autistic kids, teens in detention, and others who may not read on their grade level. It's a wonderful way to encourage a love of reading in those who find it hard to read." We were so intrigued by her work that we had to learn more.
Capstone and DC recently announced the winner of a grade-school contest winner that I think a lot of our readers will appreciate. See below for the press release.