Category Archives: Books

Great Expectations

Classical Comics is releasing their second title by Charles Dickens – Great Expectations. As with most of their books it is available in two versions:

Original Text: The classic novel brought to life in full colour. The original text is set within a graphic novel format using as much of the text and dialogue as possible given the space allowed.

Quick Text: The full story in quick, modern English for a fast-paced read. This uses the same artwork as the Original Text version, but with fewer and simpler words to allow reluctant, younger and/or emerging readers to enjoy the book.

I am a fan of the books produced by Classical Comics, their graphic novels do not look out of place on the graphic novel display shelves in my library. The original and quick text versions are both incredibly popular with students, people looking to improve their level of English and people who generally enjoy graphic novels.

Skim by Mariko & Jillian Tamaki

Winner of the 2008 Ignatz Award for Best Graphic Novel, and appearing on the New York Times Best Illustrated Children’s Book List, Skim is being published by Walker Books in the UK.

Skim The story, told in the form of a diary and comic strip is seen from the perspective of Kimberly Keiko “Skim” Cameron, an aspiring Wiccan and goth who is coping with a broken arm and separated parents when the suicide of (a possibly gay) ex boyfriend of a classmate throws hers and everyones’ lives into turmoil.

Having to deal with a guidance counselor who is concerned about her state of mind (goths being prone to self-harm and suicide) and the antagonism of the girls in the Celebrate Life club; she also has to cope with the growing realisation that she is falling in love with her Englsih teacher Mrs Archer and the fact that her Wiccan circle also serves as a branch of the local AA.

Skim is a brilliantly told and illustrated coming of age tale that will appeal to young readers and adults alike. This book deals with a number of themes that are relevant to teenagers (including suicide, parental separation, youthful alienation, the journey to finding oneself, love and many others) the story is told in a way that is hilarious and heart-breaking in equal measure. Skim is a likable (if sarcastic) protagonist who draws you in and makes you feel what she is feeling and at the end leaves you wanting to know what happens next.

It has been described by Paul Gravett as one of the best comics of 2008 and is truly deserving of that accolade!

Skim is due out in May and is highly recommended for all Graphic Novel collections!

Twilight: Supernatural Sweet Valley High?

That is how the Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer was described to me by a friend (who shall remain nameless lest his life be threatened by hordes of fangirls).  I have not read the series yet as the waiting list is over a month long in my local library, my name is down to receive the books when my turn comes round and I shall form an opinion once I have read them.  They are proving to be incredibly popular and as a colleague said in passing:  “Anything that gets teens to read has to be good for libraries!”

There is even a facebook site dedicated to girls who have decided not to wait for Prince Charming and instead are waiting for their Edward Cullen to arrive,  it has just under 50 000 members at present.  I have read that in America a number of bookstores and libraries have held Twilight midnight proms (to celebrate the release dates of the books).  Going by the level of popularity the movie version has been experiencing and by extension the book series, it should be possible to hold similar events in UK Libraries (pending health & safety checks of course).

Manga Genres

Bishojo: Japanese for ‘beautiful girl’, blanket term that can be used to describe any anime that features pretty girl characters, e.g. Magic Knight Rayearth.

Bishonen: Japanese for ‘beautiful boy’ blanket term that can be used to describe any anime that features “pretty” and elegant boys and men, e.g. Fushigi Yukgi.

Ecchi: Derived from the pronunciation of the letter ‘H’. Japanese for ‘indecent sexuality’. Contains mild sexual humor, e.g. Love Hina.

Hentai: Japanese for ‘abnormal’ or ‘perverted’, and used by Western Audiences to refer to pornographic anime or erotica. However, in Japan the term used to refer to the same material is typically Poruno or Ero.

Josei: Japanese for ‘young woman’, this is anime or manga that is aimed at young women, and is one of the rarest forms.

Kodomo: Japanese for ‘child’, this is anime or manga that is aimed at young children, e.g. Doraemon.

Mecha: Anime or manga featuring giant robots, e.g. Mobile Suit Gundam.

Moé: Anime or manga featuring characters that are extremely perky or cute, for example Little Snow Fairy Sugar.

Progressive: “Art films” or extremely stylized anime, e.g. Voices of a Distant Star.

Seinen: Anime or manga similar to Shonen, but targeted at teenage or young male adults, e.g. Oh My Goddess!

Sentai/Super Sentai: Literally “fighting team” in Japanese, refers to any show that involves a superhero team, e.g. Cyborg 009.

Shojo: Japanese for ‘young lady’ or ‘little girl’, refers to anime or manga targeted at girls, e.g. Fruits Basket.

Maho shojo: Subgenre of Shoujo known for ‘Magical Girl’ stories, e.g. Sailor Moon.

Shojo-ai: Japanese for ‘girl-love’, refers to anime or manga that focus on love and romance between female characters, e.g. Revolutionary Girl Utena.

Shonen: Japanese for ‘boys’, refers to anime or manga targeted at boys, e.g. Dragon Ball Z.

Shonen-ai: Japanese for ‘boy-love’, refers to anime or manga that focus on love and romance between male characters. This term is being phased out in Japan due to references to pedophilia, and is being replaced by the term “Boys Love”

Manga & Anime

Manga is the Japanese word for comics and print cartoons (the literal translation is “whimsical pictures”); outside of Japan, it usually refers specifically to Japanese comics. Manga developed from a mixture of ukiyo-e and Western styles of drawing, and took its current form shortly after World War II. It comes mainly in black

and white, except for the covers and sometimes the first few pages.

Popular manga is often adapted into anime, once a market interest has been established. Adapted stories are often modified to appeal to a more mainstream market. Although not as common, original anime is sometimes adapted into manga .Anime

Anime is a style of cartoon animation originating in Japan, with distinctive character and background stylings that visually set it apart from other forms of animation. While some anime is entirely hand-drawn, computer assistance in generating the animation is quite common.

Storylines are typically fictional; examples of anime representing most major genres of fiction exist. Anime is broadcast on television, distributed on media such as DVDs, or included in console and computer games. Anime is influenced by Japanese comics known as manga. Some anime storylines have been adapted into live action television programs.

What are Graphic Novels?

A graphic novel (GN) is a long-form comic book, usually with lengthy and complex storylines, and often aimed at more mature audiences. The term can also encompass a short story collection, or collected issues of previously published comic books republished in a single large volume.

Comics work created and published as a single narrative, without prior appearance in magazines, comic books or newspapers, are called original graphic novels (OGN).

The evolving term “graphic novel” is not strictly defined, and is sometimes used, controversially, to imply subjective distinctions in artistic quality between graphic novels and other kinds of comics. It is commonly used to disassociate works from the juvenile or humorous connotations of the terms “comics” and “comic book”, implying that the work is more serious, mature, or literary than traditional comics. Following this reasoning, the French term “Bande Dessinée” is occasionally applied, by art historians and others schooled in fine arts, to dissociate comic books in the fine-art tradition from those of popular entertainment.

In the publishing trade, the term is sometimes extended to material that would not be considered a novel if produced in another medium. Collections of comic books that do not form a continuous story, anthologies or collections of loosely related pieces, and even non-fiction are stocked by libraries and bookstores as “graphic novels” (similar to the manner in which dramatic stories are included in “comic” books).

Adult books for Teen readers

The following list is composed of adult books that are suitable for Teen readers. The list is dynamic and will grow as titles are added to it. If anyone has suggestions of titles that should be added please let me know at editor@teenlibrarian.co.uk

50 Cent From Pieces to Weight (Simon & Schuster, 2005)

Controversial? Maybe, but 50 Cent is still hot in hip-hop and one of the world’s biggest music stars. Dealing with his tough start in life, this autobiography presents some hard-hitting issues and is only suitable for older teens. Slick presentation and compact size make this a rare opportunity to provide an attractive autobiography that’s current enough to appeal to our younger customers.

Brooks, Max The Zombie Survival Guide (Gerald Duckworth, 2004)

This hilarious book guides readers towards developing the survival skills we’re all sure to need when that inevitable zombie invasion happens. Great for those into horror movies and/or satire, but references to firearms make this best for older teens.

Brown, Dan Angels and Demons (Corgi, 2003)

Not exactly new, but kids who got inspired by the publicity surrounding the Da Vinci Code movie release, may well want to check out Robert Langdon’s first adventure in this great novel.

de Mey, Jorgen The Action Hero Workout (Rodale, 2005)

A guide to looking great Hollywood style! This exercise manual is sure to appeal to teenage boys. Also listed in Bertram’s Pimp My Read promotion (best name for a reading promotion ever!)

King, Stephen Cell (Hodder, 2006)

Mobile phones and zombies – what other combo could get kids to grab a book this big? Add the clout Stephen King still carries as a world renowned horror author and you’ve got a great reason to buy an extra copy of this adult title for display to older teens.

Ross, Alex Mythology: The DC Comics Art of Alex Ross (Titan, 2005)

This lavish art book will grab the attention of creative teenagers or those that enjoy graphic novels. In fact this impressive, large format volume looks so good from cover to cover that it’s hard to resist a sneaky peak at it when its actually not on loan. Undeniably stylish, this book demonstrates a willingness to try something different.

Sparks, Nicholas The Notebook (various editions)

Got a copy of this that’s not issuing in Adult Fiction? Well – transfer it to your teens area where movie loving kids, especially girls, will snap it up. The film version was a big hit on DVD and remains popular with a young audience who are propelling it towards becoming a cult romance of Dirty Dancing proportions.

Books about Manga

<p>Add a little extra buzz to your manga collection with some books about the genre to complement the actual manga you provide!  Here are some suggestions!</p>

<p><b>The Art of Drawing Manga</b> by Ben Krefta (Foulsham, 2003)</p>

<p>This attractive large format book looks great on display shelves.  It also gives easy to follow step-by-step instructions that can get pretty much anyone drawing great manga style pictures!</p>

<p><b>Manga: Sixty Years of Japanese Comics</b> by Paul Gravett (Laurence King, 2004)

This in-depth exploration of manga is great for devout otaku who want to learn more, but the lavish artwork throughout makes this an attractive prospect for the manga-curious too.</p>

<p><b>The Anime Companion (volumes 1 and 2)</b> by Gilles Poitras (Stone Bridge, 1999/2005)</p>

<p>Part of what appeals to many manga readers and anime viewers is how uniquely Japanese the images and stories are.  These books help otaku decipher the cultural references that are predominant in most series and give everyone else a unique insight into why anime and manga appeal so much to so many!</p>

<p><b>Digital Manga Tecniques</b> by Hayden Scott-Baron (A&C Black)</p>

<p><b>Draw Manga</b> by Sweatdrop Studios (new holland)</p>

<p><b>Drawing Manga</b> by Selina Dean (harper collins)</p>