November 17, 2017

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Review: ‘Secret Coders’

Can a good story really be told while trying to teach kids how to code? With the push for more STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) learning and higher STEM standards in our country’s public schools, it’s no surprise that someone out there is trying to incorporate good storytelling and science. But a story about […]

Interview with Maris Wicks

It’s been a few years since I was able to attend New York Comic Con, but not only did my principal release me for the day, I got to sit on a fantastic panel about STEM Graphic Novels. There was a wonderful array of creators on the panel, including Maris Wicks, the creator of Human […]

Review of the Day: Human Body Theater by Maris Wicks

Human Body Theater By Maris Wicks First Second (a imprint of Roaring Brook and division of Macmillan) $14.99 ISBN: 978-1-59643-929-0 Ages 9-12 On shelves now. I gotta come clean with you. Skeletons? I’ve got a thing for them. Not a “thing” as in I find them attractive, but rather a “thing” as in I find […]

Review: ‘Human Body Theater’

Human Body Theater Writer/artist: Maris Wicks First Second; $20 In addition to being a cartoonist, Maris Wicks is a program educator at the New England Aquarium, and some of her best-known and most-read comics have managed to marry her talent for cartooning with her interest in education. Think, for example, of her 2013 collaboration with […]

Maris Wicks Cover Reveal: Coral Reefs

The other day I wrote the following on Facebook about my four-year-old: “We’re reading my daughter a graphic novel for 9-12 year olds every night (her insistence) called Human Body Theater by Maris Wicks. Basically it goes through all the different parts and functions of the body. Well, tonight she was once again swallowing her […]

First Second Announces Science Comics, ‘The Prince and the Dressmaker’

We had two interesting announcements from First Second Books in the past few days. First of all, Jen Wang’s The Prince and the Dressmaker was announced on the Diversity in YA Tumblr: The Prince and the Dressmaker is about a young 19th Century prince named Sebastian who secretly loves to wear dresses. He hires an […]

Review: Dragons Beware

If you haven’t met Claudette, the spunky redhead, from Giants Beware, you should take a trip to your local library or bookstore to check her out.  Of course, if you stumble upon Dragons Beware first, don’t worry about not having any back story; this is an entirely stand-alone story.  But whichever book you pick up […]

Review: ‘Princess Decomposia and Count Spatula’

Princess Decomposia and Count Spatula By Andi Watson First Second; $15 In the highly-abstracted, black-and-white cartoon underworld of Andi Watson’s latest original graphic novel, signified by a stark white castle before black clouds, young Princess Decomposia is a reluctant regent. She’s running the underworld for her bed-ridden father, the manipulative, prune-faced king who spends all […]

Review: Stratford Zoo Midnight Revue Presents: Macbeth

The Stratford Zoo is like any other zoo…until closing time! That’s when the animals come out of their cages to perform Shakespeare’s greatest works. They might not be the best actors, but they’ve got heart. (Also fangs, feathers, scales, and tails.) Review: Stratford Zoo Midnight Revue Presents: Macbeth Written by Ian Lendler; Art by Zack Giallongo All […]

In Brief (at length)

We’re called “Someday My Printz Will Come” for a reason; we kiss a lot of frogs. Which is necessary if we want to read widely — and we do, because that gives us the best sense of the year. The Printz is, after all, an award for literary excellence in the publication year — wider […]

Writing Comics: John Green on ‘Hippopotamister’

Today we have a special treat for you: A process essay by comics writer John Patrick Green. John is the artist for Teen Boat, which is a GC4K favorite, and he is now working on a new book, Hippopotamister, which will be published by First Second in spring 2016. Hippopotamister is the story of a […]

Review In Real Life

In Real Life Written by Cory Doctorow Drawn by Jen Wang First Second; $17.99 The story of a young woman who is also an avid gamer, In Real Life is a rather timely graphic novel—but not for the reasons you might expect (or dread), if you’ve been following the depressing news over the course of […]

The Shadow Hero

The Shadow Hero, story by Gene Luen Yang & art by Sonny Liew First Second, July 2014 Reviewed from final copy I don’t review graphic novels here that often, although I read most of them, because I always worry that I don’t know enough about art. But I know enough to know that this is […]

The Undertaking of Lily Chen

The Undertaking of Lily Chen, Danica Novgorodoff First Second, March 2014 Reviewed from final copy I almost didn’t write this review. Not for a lack of quality in Danica Novgorodoff’s graphic novel–it has quality bursting out of the pages. No, I almost abandoned this one because of that pesky eligibility question. It’s an issue I […]

Ghost Stories

Two ghost stories today, both more atmospheric than scary. We begin with the first adult novel from YA phenomenon Lauren Oliver. Before I Fall is one of my go-to recommendations, and was a huge hit with my high school bookgroup a couple years ago. And of course, there’s the Delirium trilogy, so I was quite […]

This One Summer

This One Summer, Jillian Tamaki and Mariko Tamaki First, Second, May 2014 Reviewed from final copy In my head, as I’ve written this post, it’s mostly been a series of exclamation points and the word “squeeeeeeee” interspersed with pictures from the book’s pages. I mean, that’s legit Printz discussion, no? With 6 starred reviews, gorgeous […]

Cover Reveal: Anna Banana and the Chocolate Explosion

Earlier this year, First Second published Sleep Tight, Anna Banana, a cheerful picture book/comic hybrid by Dominique Roques and Alexis Dormal, and now, here’s a first look at the cover for the second book in the series, Anna Banana and the Chocolate Explosion. Anna Banana is a mischievous girl with a large coterie of stuffed […]

Interview: Luke Pearson Illustrates a World War I Poem

With the 100th anniversary of the beginning World War I, we have seen a flurry of books, including graphic novels, about the War to End All Wars. Above the Dreamless Dead, edited by Chris Duffy and published by First Second, is a remarkable anthology of what came to be called “trench poetry,” poems by soldiers […]

An Interview With George Pratt

On Wednesday, we reviewed Above the Dreamless Dead, edited by Chris Duffy, a graphic novel comprised of poems by the Trench Poets of World War I, and illustrated by contemporary graphic novelist. As promised in that post, today we have an interview with one of the illustrators of that collection, George Pratt. Pratt is a […]

Illustrating the Poetry of World War I, One Hundred Years Later

There are various dates given as the first day of World War I, from the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand on June 28, 1914, to the first shots fired by Austro-Hungarian soldiers on July 28 to the August 4th declaration of war by the British Empire, signalling the truly world-wide stretch of the conflict. Whatever […]