The Reading Pile – November 1
We’re starting off the new month with a roundup of what everyone is reading. Check it out, and feel free to share your own recent discoveries in the comments section.
Esther Keller: I started, but didn’t finish, vol. 1 of Chi’s Sweet Home. After reading so much about it, I had to see it for myself. The first thing that struck me was the color. I was not expecting it, but I liked it a lot. It added a very light feel to the manga as of course does the sweet story. The kitten does capture youth—and much of the feelings that young people have. In comparison to Binky
the Space Cat, I didn’t like it as much. I enjoyed the humor in Binky much more, but I do want to sit down and read the rest and see where it goes.
Lori Henderson: I read the first volume of Story of Saiunkoku from Viz. It’s based on a novel series, and is a historical romance set in a country that looks very much like ancient China. Shurei Hong has been asked to become the Emperor’s Noble Consort, and try to convince him to start governing on his own. It’s filled with great characters, especially Shurei. She’s smart and strong. The story is well written and builds nicely. The art is beautifully drawn, both the characters and the intricate costumes they wear.
Eva Volin: This week I had a chance to read Yummy: The Last Days of a Southside Shorty, by G. Neri and Randy DuBurke, a dramatization of the shooting of a 14-year old Chicago girl by an 11-year old gang member. The author has his fictional character Roger try to understand the real Yummy, both the child who loved sweets and catching frogs as well as the gangster who carried a gun, stole cars, and was a member of the Black Disciples. It’s an interesting look at inner-city life, at children who are “left behind” and at society as a whole. The story and art are at times heavy handed, but the questions asked by the narrator are universal: Who is to blame when children become killers and how do we keep the cycle from continuing?
Brigid Alverson: I haven’t read any of James Patterson’s prose works, but I’m slowly becoming familiar with his stories through their comics adaptations. This week I read Witch & Wizard: Battle for Shadowland, which is set in the universe of his Witch & Wizard series, between the first and second books. The story was clear enough that I could jump in pretty quickly, and the book is action-packed—the kids move quickly from one encounter to another. I often find battle scenes confusing, but the art was really clear, and I really found the story compelling.
It’s a little embarrassing to admit this, but the other kids’ book I’m reading right now is the Papercutz parody Harry Potty and the Deathly Boring. It won’t be winning any literary awards, but needless to say, my 10-year-old nephew gobbled it up. It actually reminded me, in both concept and execution, of the Mad Magazine parodies I used to read as a kid—and I absorbed a lot of popular culture that way, and it often made the real thing easier for me to understand. So as juvenile as it is, I say, bring on the toilet plungers!
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About Brigid Alverson
Brigid Alverson, the editor of the Good Comics for Kids blog, has been reading comics since she was 4. She has an MFA in printmaking and has worked as a book editor and a newspaper reporter; now she is assistant to the mayor of Melrose, Massachusetts. In addition to editing GC4K, she writes about comics and graphic novels at MangaBlog, SLJTeen, Publishers Weekly Comics World, Comic Book Resources, MTV Geek, and Good E-Reader.com. Brigid is married to a physicist and has two daughters in college, which is why she writes so much. She was a judge for the 2012 Eisner Awards.
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