Category Archives: Graphic Novels

The Great British Bump Off

When she enters her country’s most beloved baking competition, Shauna Wickle’s goal is to delight the judges, charm the nation, and make a few friends along the way. But when a fellow contestant is poisoned, it falls to her to apprehend the culprit while avoiding premature elimination from the UK Bakery Tent…and being the poisoner’s next victim!

When an uptight and unpopular contestant in the UK Bakery Tent ends up in intensive care can amateur baker (& sleuth) Shauna Wickle unmask the culprit and prevent rising temperatures in the tent from causing the entire show to melt down.

Gently poking fun at one of Britain’s remaining cultural institutions and those that participate in it, The Great British Bump Off is a joy to read again and again. Fans of Agatha Christie will notice nods to the Queen of Crime’s novels and lovers of The Great British Bake Off will recognize the tropes and types that have become synonymous with the show.

Will Shauna and her friends be safe from elimination long enough to unmask the culprit, are the contestants safe or will the poisoner strike again before filming wraps on the latest season of UK Bakery Tent?

Written by John Allison and illustrated by Max Sarin, better known for their collaboration on the award winning series Giant Days, their latest series, is a gingham-wrapped murder mystery set under the canvas of Britain’s favourite baking show.

Highly recommended for readers of all ages!

Nervosa by Hayley Gold

Unflinchingly honest and darkly humorous, Nervosa is a graphic memoir about disordered eating, chronic illness, and a profound relationship with hope.

Anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder. It is not a phase, a fad, or a choice. It is a debilitating illness, manifested in a distorted relationship with food, but which actually has more to do with issues of control. It is often a puzzle for doctors, therapists, parents, and friends. And so those who suffer from it are belittled, or tragically misunderstood, not only by society but by the healthcare system meant to treat it.

Nervosa is a no-holds-barred, richly textured portrait of one young woman’s experience. In her vividly imagined retelling, Hayley Gold lays bare a callous medical system seemingly disinterested in the very patients it is supposed to treat. And traces how her own life was irrevocably damaged by both the system and her own disorder. With brutal honesty and witty sarcastic humor, Gold offers a remarkably candid exploration of the search for hope in the darkness.

Reading Nervosa was akin to probing a gap in my jaw where a tooth was just removed, it hurt but I was unable to resist poking the hole with my tongue until the sensation of pain overwhelmed me.

God, I don’t know what to say really, this book is so good, I cried, I got angry and I put the book down one less time than I picked it up to read because I felt compelled to witness Hayley’s story. If you have had experiences with mental health, dysfunctional family relationships, run-ins with doctors and the medical world in general then this book may trigger you (remember that it is ok to put the book down if this happens).

Nervosa is important, it is the story of a life so far and as bleak as it gets it is still hopeful and as I get older I cherish hope wherever I find it!

So yes this is a short review, Nervosa is good – great even but it is painful and yet hopeful too. I think you should read it carefully. It is out now wherever you get your books.

Thanks to Street Noise Books who provided the review copy I read.

Street Noise is publishing some of the best non-fiction graphic narratives that I have ever read, I think you should check them out if you haven’t already!

Hayley Gold is a comic book writer and artist. She studied cartooning at the School of Visual Arts in New York. Her first graphic novel, Letters to Margaret, published in 2021, is an exploration of culture wards through crossword puzzles and humor. Her work has been published in such anthologies as The Strumpet and World War 3 Illustrated. Hayley lives in New York City. She loves rabbits and the color cobalt blue.

Speak Up by Rebecca Burgess

Twelve-year-old Mia is just trying to navigate a world that doesn’t understand her true autistic self. While she wishes she could stand up to her bullies, she’s always been able to express her feelings through singing and songwriting, even more so with her best friend, Charlie, who is nonbinary, putting together the best beats for her. Together, they’ve taken the internet by storm; little do Mia’s classmates know that she’s the viral singer Elle-Q! But while the chance to perform live for a local talent show has Charlie excited, Mia isn’t so sure. She’ll have to decide whether she’ll let her worries about what other people think get in the way of not only her friendship with Charlie, but also showing everyone, including the bullies, who she is and what she has to say.

Harper Collins

Rebecca Burgess draws comics about their experience of autism and sexuality (check out HOW TO BE ACE as well), honestly and unpatronisingly for younger readers. There’s also a sharable comic available on their contact page called UNDERSTANDING THE SPECTRUM that should be read by any adult that works with autistic young people. I asked a few questions about SPEAK UP!

Are you as passionate about music as Mia?

I do really enjoy singing, I take part in a local show choir every week! I also, similarly to Mia, use music and headphones to get through noisy situations, such as travelling or shopping.

Mia’s Mum has found the worst kind of “advice” online and her telling Mia to, for example, hide her stimming, made me very sad & angry. I hope plenty of parents like her read this book, but have you any advice for young readers on how to respond with that (wrong) approach?

I think the first response is to really, not let any shaming from others get to you. Be proud of yourself, and if something is making you feel calm and happy then it is a good thing, no matter how much an adult might try to convince you it’s not. On a more practical level, if a younger reader is able to communicate their own feelings about something, I think they should try and share with a caregiver about how they’re feeling- most parents use behavioural therapy because they’ve been told by others its helpful. If they knew it was making their child unhappy I think most wouldn’t use it. If a young reader is not taken seriously or cannot communicate very well, trying to find other voices that can communicate what you want to say- such as books or articles from autistic adults might be helpful.

Have you had any feedback from young readers or done any live events?

I haven’t had any direct feedback from younger readers, but I’ve had lots of happy parents telling me that their kids are loving the book and reading it all in one sitting, which is amazing to hear! I’m hearing especially good feedback from parents of autistic kids (this has been my experience with all of my books and my web comic). I think other autistic people probably feel the same as me, and so barely see our own personal feelings in a story, that when we do see something we genuinely relate to we just end up becoming obsessed with it!

What do you want neurotypical readers to take from the book?

There’s a lot of stereotypes around autism, and also a general belief that our lives are somehow ‘sadder’ than other people’s and that our lives need to be ‘fixed’. I want neurotypical readers to get a broader idea about the autistic experience, and also have a chance to read a happy fun story about being autistic rather than a sad serious one!

Will we meet Mia & Charlie again?

Yes! I’m currently writing and sketching out the second book, which will explore more issues around being an autistic teenager and just a teenager in general! It’s scheduled to be published in 2024.

What are you reading at the moment and who would you recommend it to?

I normally have several books on the go at once haha! Right now I’m reading ‘Neveda’ by Imogen Binnie, ‘Tokyo Revengers’ by Ken Wakui, and just read last night ‘Margaret’s Unicorn’ by Briony May Smith.

Neveda is a very inward looking drama about being a trans woman, I think I’d recommend to anyone wanting a very personal, honest sharing on some more common experiences within the trans community, or if you are just looking for very clever writing!

Tokyo Revengers has all the key storytelling elements that makes Japanese comics so popular and influential the world over, and I would recommend it to anyone wanting an insight into this specific style. Its pacing and art is cinematic, the story is a page turning thriller, and the characters are full of heightened emotion. I keep gasping out loud in dread/anticipation at the end of each volume and then immediately ordering the next volume, which is essentially what all good Japanese comics are hoping you will do.

Margaret’s Unicorn is a beautiful picture book. I love everything by this author/artist and can’t get enough of her work. I recommend this to anyone who wants to cultivate in their kids a love and appreciation of nature and the British countryside, or just wants to stare at some beautiful art for hours on end!

Thank you Rebecca for answering some questions for TeenLibrarian.

SPEAK UP! is out now from HarperCollins.

The Curie Society

The Curie Society

From the amazing nerds at MIT (well MIT Press actually) comes a phenomenal graphic novel celebrating Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math, teamwork and foiling the plots of evildoers with science!!

In 1903, Marie Curie founded a clandestine society where brilliant women could pursue the furthest reaches of their intellect. The Curie Society still covertly exists today in secret chapters at dozens of universities worldwide!

When Simone, Maya, and Taj arrive at Edmonds University, they think they’re simply starting their coursework, but after a strange night of puzzles and coded communications, they are introduced to The Curie Society. Almost immediately, they are deployed on their first urgent mission! A mysterious criminal network has stolen research data from a top-secret Curie de-extinction lab, and if no one intervenes, it will soon be sold to some of the world’s worst elements.

These new recruits will have to use all their specialized scientific skills to protect the Curie Society and save the world – or their first mission may be their last!

The Curie Society takes the adventure tropes of a group of brilliant individuals that seem not to like each other much at the beginning and then get molded together into a kick-ass team under the guidance of a jaded mentor that has suffered betrayal and loss! This may be a work of fiction but the history and science wrapped up in the story is all too real! Honestly I spent hours reading up on everything referenced in the story (and I am not even half way done learning!) This is my favourite type of story, one that you can read again and again and discover something new each time you pick it up!

My enjoyment of this story was heightened by the short biographies of several scientists at the end as well as the glossary explaining the facts and scientific concepts behind many important parts of the story.

Created by: Heather Einhorn & Adam Staffaroni; written by Janet Harvey; with art by Sonia Liao & edited by Joan Hilty The Curie Society was published by MIT Press and is available now!

You can discover amazing scientific facts and more at thecuriesociety.com and use the STEM guides to create science experiments at home!

Legendary Comics Forms New Young Adult Imprint

Launching with a slate of five original graphic novels created for the young adult space, Legendary Comics announced a new imprint, Legendary Comics YA, dedicated to telling original and character-driven stories across a wide array of genres. With a commitment to amplify new voices, spotlight diverse perspectives, and seek out passionate talent telling authentic stories, the imprint gives emerging and veteran artists a platform to share stories never told before and retell classics from a new point of view, in hopes to transport readers to other worlds that span a range of genres, from fantasy to historical fiction, and beyond.

“We’ve identified the young adult genre as an opportunity to expand and invest in our audience growth. Legendary Comics YA is the beginning of our long term commitment to this category and the diverse stories we want to tell,” said Robert Napton, Senior Vice President of Legendary Comics.

“The YA genre is known for telling groundbreaking, innovative, and unique stories. By working with exciting new talent and comic book veterans in the YA space, we have been able to acquire books where emotional and personal journeys are at the forefront. Legendary Comics YA is our chance to focus on fresh character-driven stories that reflect the diverse voices of young adults all over the world,” said Nikita Kannekanti, Senior Editor at Legendary Comics.

The Legendary Comics YA slate includes:

  • Championess (in stores now) – based on the true story of Elizabeth Wilkinson, a female bare-knuckle boxer in 18th century London. Elizabeth, reimagined as half-Indian, and her sister Tess struggle to make ends meet and cover Tess’s debts. While Elizabeth works odd jobs at the local newspaper, the only way she knows how to make enough money to help them survive is her true passion, bareknuckle boxing. With Tess’s support, Elizabeth trains at the boxing facility of one of the most famous retired boxers and the only real fight promoter of any notoriety, James Figg. As Elizabeth trains with Figg and James Stokes, she confronts her personal demons of what destroyed her family and comes to terms with being the first half-Indian female boxer in a white male world. Writers: Tarun Shanker and Kelly Zekas. Arist: Amanda Perez Puentes.
  • The Heart Hunter (August 3, 2021) – set on the cursed island of Envecor, where everyone is doomed to wear their heart outside their body and are immortal—unable to die, to change, to have children — until they find their soul mate. Paired soul mates are then turned mortal, freed from the curse, and able to leave. But all fairy tales have a dark side: those who don’t want to lose their immortality pay “Heart Hunters” to find their soul mates and kill them so they may remain immortal. Psyche, a Heart Hunter, is hired by the king to kill his soulmate. As she sets out on her quest, she begins her own journey of mending her broken heart and learning to trust again. Writer: Mickey George. Artist: V. Gagnon.
  • Lupina (September 9, 2021) – a six-part captivating saga about a young girl on a journey of revenge with her wolf companion. In the coastal town of Kote, recently brought under the yoke of the Addalian Empire, four-year-old Lupa spends her days getting bullied by her older sister and hiding behind her mother’s skirts. But when tragedy strikes, Lupa finds herself alone in a new world… alone until she’s found by the she-wolf, Coras, and sets off on a journey of discovery… and revenge. Writer: Eisner Award-nominated writer James F. Wright. Arist: Li Buszka.
  • The Witches of Silverlake (October 1, 2022) – the story of Elliot Green, who moves across country to start high school in one of Los Angeles’ most prestigious private schools. He’s quickly taken in by the school’s outcasts: the scholarship kids; the queer kids; and the ones who just don’t really fit in with the glossy trust fund babies of SJTBA. They quickly let him in on their little secret…they are witches. Elliot joins them in their world among the crystal stores and occult shops of Silverlake and ends up joining his new friends’ coven. During one of their magical experiments, they accidentally release a bloodthirsty demon that starts murdering their classmates and teachers. Elliot and his coven realize that the fun and games of playing with crystals and candles is over, that magic is powerful, real, and that it might be more dangerous than they’d ever imagined. Writer: Simon Curtis. Arist: Stephanie Son.
  • Tragic (April 18, 2022) – a retelling of Shakespeare’s Hamlet from a queer lens and told through the eyes of 17-year-old Harper Hayes. After her father Hamilton dies a mysterious and tragic death, Harper is convinced that he was murdered, and her first suspect is her uncle, who has been sleeping with her mother. With the help of her ex-girlfriend Talia and her best friend (sometimes with benefits) Holden, Harper is determined to find her father’s killer. But when Caius, Talia’s father and Hamilton’s business partner, is also found dead, Harper realizes the answer to Hamilton’s murder is more complicated than she had initially realized. As Harper begins to see her father’s ghost in the form of a teenage Hamlet everywhere and starts slipping into hallucinations of his murder that end with blood on her hands, one thing becomes clear—in order to uncover the truth about what happened to her father, Harper has to confront her own demons and ones that haunt the Hayes family. Writer: Dana Mele. Artist: Valentina Pinti. Colorist: Chiara Di Francia.

Three Comic Books from Street Noise Books

If I am being honest, each of these titles deserves their own post as they are all so different and beautiful and compelling. They also may never get written if I wait to do each one individually so with apologies to Street Noise Books who published them I am grouping them all together.

Street Noise Books, if you have never encountered them is a new kid on the publishing block, an independent publishing house specializing in graphic memoir and illustrated nonfiction for young adults.

First up is Crash Course by Woodrow Phoenix, the tag line caught my attention: If you want to get away with murder buy a car

I am a fairly reluctant driver at the best of times, this is not the best way to be in America, the land of the highway and byway where the distance between places that are considered local is often a barrier to walking there (and don’t get me started on the lack of sidewalks in many areas) this book did nothing to make me feel better about driving, it also heightened my nervousness at walking on the side of the road but on the plus side it also made me focus on being more aware of where I was as a driver ,passenger and pedestrian. As the author writes in the afterward:

I wrote this book to make you mad. the inadequate laws, the cash reports, the road raging, distracted, and hit-and-run drivers; the data is all appalling.

This book is a meticulously written and illustrated work about how easy it is to be killed while using the road, and not just by careless drivers in their vehicles. The sources used in the creation of this work are all listed and I have read through them several times since finishing this book.

Honestly Crash Course stressed me out and makes me feel anxious just by looking at it, but that is the point we are often not aware about how much we have sacrificed to keep our vehicles moving and how easy it is to become another statistic.

Read this book and you will never look at roads in the same way again. It may even save your life, or the lives of others!

Shame Pudding a Graphic Memoir by Danny Noble is a resonant tale of growing up surrounded by a weird and wonderful family, centered around the narrator’s beloved grandmothers.

Reading this book made me well up with tears – it made me think of my family and miss them (they are mostly in South Africa and I don’t get to see them often). Shame Pudding is a warm, beautiful memoir of growing up anxious, insecure and feeling like an outsider but being rescued by your family without even realizing it.

I hare Read Shame Pudding from cover to cover three times and opened it up at random several times just to enjoy the weirdness and beauty of the storytelling that is infused on each page. It also brought back memories of my protest activist days in London, it is funny how some images can just bring up thoughts of things that you have not consciously remembered in years!

Come Home, Indio is written and illustrated by Jim Terry.

I did not realize it but I have been a fan of his work since at least 2013, when I read The Crow: Skinning the Wolves, written by James O’Barr (it was the first Crow related graphic novel I had read since I discovered the original one in the early 1990’s). His art style is phenomenal and one that is well-suited to a black & white medium.

This is a beautiful, heart-breaking and awe-inspiring story that gives an intimate view of growing up an outsider in two communities and finding the will to survive a self-destructive spiral into drink and drug abuse.

Come Home, Indio is a wonderful reintroduction to an artist whose work I love and is my graphic novel pick for book of the year!

When Stars are Scattered

Omar and his brother Hassan, two Somali boys, have spent most of their lives in Dadaab, a refugee camp in Kenya. Separated from their mother, they are looked after by a friendly stranger. Life in the camp isn’t always easy and the hunger is constant . . . but Omar devotes everything to taking care of his young brother and pursuing his education.

Faber

This is set to be one of my favourite graphic novels of all time. You will laugh, cry, rage, and cheer many times over the course of the book, a study in empathy, as Omar and Hassan experience the ups and downs of life in a refugee camp with the dream of resettling in America hanging over their heads. It is based on Omar Mohamed’s account of real experiences of growing up, so obviously the relationships are real, but they are brought off the page so beautifully and in so few words, through the skillful work of Victoria Jamieson (brilliantly coloured by Iman Geddy).

Narrated by Omar, we see his perspective of the environment and people, and how it changes when he was feeling hopeful or down. Bad things do happen to them, as well as good things, and Omar talks them through and shares his feelings with the reader. One panel that really struck me was after Omar had been talking to a friend who’s family had been chosen to be resettled, he tries so hard to be positive all the time but can’t help but think “It’s not fair”. He tells us:

…Of course, thinking like this doesn’t do you any good. Somalis even have a word for it. BUFIS. It means the intense longing to be resettled. It’s almost like your mind is already living somewhere else, while your body is stuck in a refugee camp…

We first meet Omar and his brother Hassan once they have already been living in the camp for a long time (have a read of the first chapter in the extract) and the way their journey to the camp is told to us, as it recounted in Omar’s UN interview for potential resettlement, is really powerful. We follow them for years, until Omar is 18, and I was particularly moved by the relationship with Fatuma, how they came to be together, and how Omar realised more and more with age how lucky they all were to have one another.

Enjoy this exclusive extract of WHEN THE STARS ARE SCATTERED

It does have a happy and hopeful ending for Omar and Hassan, but doesn’t let you forget the thousands more people still stuck in the limbo of refugee camps. I think this is essential reading for, well, everyone aged 8+ frankly.

Huge thanks to Faber for sending me a copy for review and inviting me to join the blog tour. WHEN STARS ARE SCATTERD is out in the UK now!

No! Nobrow!

I have been a fan of Nobrow and their picture book imprint Flying Eye Books for a good few years now. I have reviewed a number of their titles (you can find the reviews here and here). I have written about them for the Federation of Children’s Book Groups here. I have interviewed their authors and illustrators and championed their books for years as they produce works of quality and beauty that catch the eye of readers of all ages. I have used them to turn reluctant readers on to the joys of reading many times over the years.

Over the past few days on twitter I found several threads accusing them of exploiting new and upcoming authors & illustrators and acting in a less than ethical manner against other small press publishers. Several years ago at a publisher event in London I was chatting to a publicist and mentioned that I was a fan of their work and the publicist (off the record) asked if I had heard the rumours about their low payment of creators and claiming rights to works created by authors and illustrators they published. I said that I had not and thereafter dug around but was never able to find anything about this so I marked it as unproven and moved on.

Below is a screenshot of an email allegedly sent by Alexander Latsis in 2013

Source: https://twitter.com/deadtreesanddye/status/1253762564032520195

Illustrator Lucy Haslam has been creating an epic twitter thread about ELCAF (the East London Comic Art Festival) and Nobrow. It is definitely worth a read for detailed background information about what has been happening for a number of years.

Illustrator Eleni Kalorkoti tweeted this about an offer from Nobrow in 2018:

This discussion was not a total pile-on, several creators spoke up positively about their interactions with Nobrow, including CILIP Kate Greenaway winning illustrator William Grill:

Astrocat creator Ben Newman:

Kellie Strøm:

and a few others.

Nobrow has also released an official statement that can be read here:

A Statement from Nobrow

It should definitely be read in full. In the statement they challenge the claims that their contracts are unfair and have promised to do research into comparative advances and royalties. They also go on to deny that they do not prevent their creators from working with other publishers and state that the screenshot of the e-mail was released without permission and out of context although it is hard to imagine what the context was without further information about that discussion as the e-mail alone appears to be pretty damning.

The full statement rather than allaying the fears and allegations seems to have inflamed opinion in more areas, with Paul Duffield‘s take being worth a read:

When this type of situation erupts it is not always easy to identify who is in the right, I support small publishers and creator rights but I think in this instance the number of dissenting voices that have been raised about unfair treatment as well as those raised in defense show that this situation is not clear cut to outside observers. I think that Valerie Pezeron‘s views as laid out in the thread below most closely match up with mine – they are definitely worth a read.

The vocalization of the long-term unhappiness of many of the authors and illustrators is an indication that people are no longer going to be quiet if they perceive themselves to be treated unfairly, this is good as it can act as a warning to others that may find themselves in a similar situation and can strengthen collective bargaining if enough creators band together. We may be witnessing the birth of unionisation in the author/illustrator world beyond what the Society of Authors and other groups that already exist.

I remain a fan of many of the authors and illustrators published by Nobrow, but this fandom is now tinged with a concern over what they may have experienced during the creation of their works for their publisher. Is it a fair and rational feeling? I don’t know, but it is human to have concern for the welfare of others and I am also concerned for those currently furloughed by the publisher and for everyone else impacted by the Covid-19 shutdowns across the world.

Comic Scene

Tony from Comic Scene kindly sent me copies of the first six months of this new magazine to have a look at, and I asked if he’d like to do an introductory post for the blog. Not only has he written a blurb about the fascinating range of articles, as well as reviews and original comic strips, he has also very generously included a special offer and prize draw for librarians who would like to encourage wider reading of comics and graphic novels, see below!

ComicScene Magazine is a new magazine which guides librarians, adults and children to what classic and contemporary comics to try, and what graphic novels from U.K., US and European publishers people should be reading.  It also introduces you to the exciting and eclectic work of independent and small press comics.  For those who love superhero movies and TV shows they go back to the original comic source of the films and TV.  Many of the original comics inspiring films, such as the Avengers, are over 30 to 40 years old, so a rich source of material to explore.  Did you also know publishers like Rebellion are publishing new Roy of the Rovers comics and bringing back girls comics like Tammy, Jinty & Misty? Comic Fans love the magazine – but the main aim of the title is to help those parents/carers who casually read boys and girls comics when they were younger to revist old friends or recommend comics to their children and grandchildren.   From the current issue they have also introduced some of the best comic strips being produced today with plans for a dedicated pull out comic section for adults to give to their children to encourage reading and improve literacy.  It’s the only monthly magazine dedicated to comics and comic culture being published today in the U.K. and Ireland and we’d recommend it as your guide. The magazine is available to buy in selected WHSmiths, McColls and Easons in Ireland, and it can be ordered in any newsagent or comic shop.  Just pop your postcode into the shop finder to check what local stores stock the magazine. Libraries can also subscribe monthly to the magazine or subscribe in print or digital from £2.50 a copy digital or £5.50 in print (with free digital copy).

On the ComicScene shop they have just added the first six months of the magazine in a £30 pack and if a library purchases a pack and/or subscribes before the end of July they will be put in a draw to get their subscription back for the year PLUS £100 of free Graphic Novels (email comicsceneuk@gmail.com when you have made your order).

With sales of graphic novels for children on the rise and University courses now available to study producing comics and comic history who knows – you could be inspiring the next comic writer or artist by introducing the magazine to your library!

Narwhal: Unicorn of the Sea!

The first two Narwhal books by Ben Clanton

These graphic novels are a brilliant introduction to the medium for young readers, written and drawn by Canadian Ben Clanton they are short and simple but wonderfully silly, about the adventures of best friends Narwhal and Jelly. The first two books are out in the UK now!

Narwhal and Jelly meet for the first time in the first story

I literally laughed out loud at the banter, the stories are just joyful and so much is said in very few words. I can’t imagine anyone of any age, from 5+, not loving this series (book 3 is due in September). They tackle friendship, embracing difference, and all sorts of emotions, and they’re totally adorable and really funny. For information lovers, there are pages of facts about creatures mentioned in the stories.

Yes, that is a narwhal and a jellyfish enjoying waffles on the other page!

When Egmont asked if I’d like review copies for the blog I jumped at them (thankyou for sending them to me), because the glimpse of the comic strip on the press release immediately brought to mind another underwater character that I love, who could really do with a Narwhal and Jelly in her life: Lucy the Octopus by Richy K. Chandler. He’s visited two of my schools to do comics workshops and all of the students have had a great time with him, I highly recommend getting him in. When he visited my current school a couple of years ago he gave us a couple of printed volumes of the webcomic (still available to buy), but there is now a hardback graphic novel you can buy for your library to bring cheer to the lives of all your anxious (& possibly bullied) faves (recommended to age 9+)