Quote of the Month

When love and skill work together, expect a miracle. John Ruskin

Monday, June 27, 2011

Beat The Heat #4--Give the Graphics Their Due

Having visited local bookstores in two nearby towns, combed through the shelves of our two school library media centers and the Charlevoix Public Library, I now sit surrounded by graphic novels of all shapes, sizes and genres, fiction and nonfiction.  I have completely immersed myself in this form for the past several days.  And I have to say that once again I am impressed.  Not only are the story lines engaging, the writing top notch but the artwork is outstanding. 

I have previously posted reviews of graphic novels; Red Moon by David McAdoo on May 5, 2011 and Ghostopolis  by Doug TenNapel on January 4, 2011.  After reading more than seven new ones in a couple days (with at least as many more to complete by tomorrow?), I am only going to highlight one at this time. I will post a new page on the left of this blog with a list of those that I have read and will be available in our library media centers.  I will note which ones can also be found at our public library.  Graphic novels build a bridge as all books do between authors, illustrators and their intended readers. 

As stated in the editor's note, Matt Dembicki, was visiting his local library when he started reading American Indian Trickster Tales by Alfonso Ortiz and Richard Erdoes.  He was so enthralled with the stories that he did some research in which he discovered that no book such as Trickster: Native American Tales--A Graphic Collection had been done to date.  His goal was---I hope this book serves as a bridge for readers to learn more about the original people of this land and to foster a greater appreciation and understanding among all inhabitants. 

Trickster tales are prevalent in all cultures.  A trickster is usually portrayed as an animal having been given human features.  They can be a hero or a scamp within humorous or serious stories many times playing a prank on those with less intelligence or those more powerful than themselves.  At times these narratives are also explanations for why something is the way it is today in the natural world.

Given the range of these twenty-one stories in Trickster: Native American Tales---A Graphic Collection, all by Native American tellers with graphic artists that each selected, this book far exceeds the wishes of Dembicki.  The combination of these authors with their chosen illustrators is rich and rare.  The medium and styles of each artist are as diverse as are the tone, words and delivery supplied by the authors. The various tricksters, Coyote, Raven, Rabbit, and Raccoon to name a few, from various cultures of the Native Americans give readers a peek into the soul of these people.  This collection is in a word, amazing, and destined to be the representative title. 

Follow this link to NPR where they conducted a Sunday edition radio discussion about Trickster:  Native American Tales---A Graphic Collection.  At the site is also a wonderful telling of one of the stories, How Wildcat Caught A Turkey, written and spoken by Joseph Stands With Many as a video is shown of the book's graphics.  This is just a hint of the treat in store for readers of the entire book.

Scholastic Summer Challenge Reading Update----
Middle School students have read 9,328 minutes.  This is outstanding.  They have risen in rank throughout the world 100 points.  Keep up the reading gals and guys.  Let's keep Charlevoix on the map.

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