To whet your appetite for guest artist Scott McCloud's upcoming presentation and workshop on graphic novels, this week's column is devoted to new graphic novels for kids and adults at the Juneau Public Libraries. If you are interested in the creation and background of graphic novels and sequential art, look for McCloud's own books, "Making Comics" and "Understanding Comics," and browse in the 741.5 area for more books, including Roger Sabin's "Comics, Comix, and Graphic Novels: a History of Comic Art," and Matt Madden's "99 Ways to Tell a Story: Exercises in Style."
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"Oddly Normal," by Otis Frampton. Written for all ages, this is the story of Oddly, a half-witch 10 year-old girl living miserably in the human world. Everyone feels like an outcast sometimes, but Oddly, with her pointy ears and green hair, feels like one all the time. When an unfortunately-timed wish makes her parents disappear, Oddly is taken in by her great-aunt, who lives in the realm of Fignation. Oddly is hopeful that she'll fit in at last and that she and her aunt will be able to re-appear her parents, but since this is volume 1 of a series, guess what happens!
"What's Michael?" by Makoto Kobayashi. This series of stories featuring a cat named Michael flips between cats as furry animals who sit on human laps and cats as cartoon beings who live on cat planets, wear clothes, and capture humans for their circuses. Kobayashi melds feline and human traits in his cat characters, and creates a nice variety of human characters, too. Some references will go over kids' heads, but mostly, this is fun reading for any age.
"Kampung Boy," by Lat. Malaysian Lat writes about growing up in a small village in a close-knit Muslim family with two younger siblings. This delightful book details the big life rituals like births, marriages, going to school, and circumcision, along with the smaller childhood events of making friends, learning to swim, and passing exams. Lat's exuberant "cartoony" drawings and friendly voice will draw readers of all ages right in and leave them eager for the second installment.
"Barefoot Gen," by Keiji Nakazawa. These first four parts in a proposed 10-part series tell the story of Nakazawa's life in Japan after the United States bombed Hiroshima in stark black and white drawings. Gen is just 7 years old when his world is changed forever. First there is the immediate destruction caused by the bomb, then the radiation poisoning and scarcity of food and water. The worst, though, is that when Gen leaves Hiroshima with his mother and his baby sister in search of a safe place to live, they discover that others think the radiation poisoning is contagious. Written for mature readers: by the end of the fourth volume, Gen has lost and regrown his hair, witnessed the birth and death of his sister, and lost friends to guns, bombs, and starvation.
"Glacial Period," by Nicolas de Crecy. Glaciers have formed over much of the world and a team of explorers with a very, very old map and the help of several genetically-modified animals are wandering the ice in the dream-like graphic novel. When Hulk, one of the modified dogs, falls into a pit, he finds himself in a surreal realm: he's landed in the Louvre, and it is alive with the spirits of the paintings, sculptures and artifacts so long forgotten that they have developed personalities and wander the halls. While Hulk and his human companions don't quite know what to make of the Louvre, the Louvre certainly knows what to make of them in this beautiful full-color science fiction story.
Graphic artist and analyst Scott McCloud is on a 50-state tour and will be in Juneau this week. Join us at the Silverbow from 7 to 9 p.m. on Thursday, June 7, for an all-ages presentation, "Exploring Sequential Art." Picking up a free ticket at any public library guarantees you admission to what promises to be a popular program.
On Saturday, June 9, from 1 to 4 p.m., come to the Douglas Library for a workshop on creating sequential art. Registration is required. Contact Carol at 586-0434 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Summer Reading is here, and Toddlertimes and Storytime Plus! start up again on Monday, June 4. Check our Web site or call us for more information on times and locations.
As always, placing a hold on our material is easy: Call the Juneau Public Library at 586-5249, or go online to www.juneau.org/library.
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