What a week for mother nature! First an earthquake that was felt all the way to New York City, prompting the evacuation of City Hall and many other buildings throughout the city. Now Hurricane Irene is bearing down on the East Coast—a hurricane that, forecasters say, will match the characteristics of both hurricanes Gloria (1985) and Floyd (1999).
We East Coast GC4K bloggers have stocked up on water, food essentials, first aid kits, and of course reading materials! What comfort books should you have packed in your “go bag” in case the worst case scenario strikes? Brigid Alverson, Kate Dacey, and I have thrown together a few titles to consider while you hunker down and wait out the storm.
Luz Sees the Light. By Claudia Dávila. Kids Can Press.
Some people would be terrified by a power outage; Luz and her neighbors see it as an excuse for a block party. This book, with its cheerful 12-year-old protagonist, is about making do with less once we reach peak oil, but the emphasis is on creativity and building community. The preaching is done with a light touch and plenty of humor, and the optimistic tone will help you face whatever Nature decides to dish out. (Snow liked it too!) (Brigid)
Howtoons: The Possibilities are Endless. By Saul Griffith. HarperCollins
Another great activity/comic to keep busy in a storm. Kids can learn how to make kid-friendly projects with materials available in the house. As Eva pointed out in her original review, some adult supervision might be required. But where are the adults going in a hurricane anyway? (Esther)
Chikyu Misaki. By Yuji Iwahara. 3 volumes. CMX.
Long out of print (but still available on Amazon), Chikyu Misaki may be the coziest manga ever made. It’s about a little girl who moves out to the country and finds a strange creature living in the local lake—a creature that sometimes turns into a little boy. Iwahara’s wonderful art takes us into cozy cabins and snowy landscapes, and all the kids are just so cuddly! But this story isn’t all sweetness and light—there’s a fairly complicated caper story in there as well. It’s the manga equivalent of a classic kids’ movie, and adorable to boot. (Brigid)
Chi’s Sweet Home. By Konami Kanata. 6+ volumes. Vertical.
There’s nothing like a cute cat to take your mind off your troubles. When the wind is howling and the rain is drumming on the roof, adorable Chi and her perpetually flummoxed family will distract you without making you think too hard. Any volume will do, as it’s a compilation of short stories. A kid-friendly manga printed in full color (and left to right), Chi’s Sweet Home is guaranteed to lower your blood pressure. (Brigid)
Dark Rain: A New Orleans Story. By Mat Johnson and Simone Gane. Vertigo.
In this gritty, entertaining heist story, a soldier fallen on hard times agrees to help his cellmate break into the Banque du Congo, located in New Orleans’ Lower Ninth Ward. Hurricane Katrina complicates their mission, transforming it from a simple heist to a Homerian odyssey through the flooded neighborhoods of New Orleans. Crisp artwork, crackling dialogue, and a thoughtful use of recent history make this a great choice for older teen readers. For ages 14 and up. (Kate)
Sidekicks. By Dan Santat. Arthur A. Levine.
Have you ever wondered what your pet does when you leave the house? If so, you’ll enjoy this funny adventure story about a quartet of house pets who miss their absentee owner so much that they hatch a scheme to join him at the office. The twist: their owner is Captain Amazing, a professional superhero! Dan Santat pulls off the difficult trick of poking fun at comic-book cliches while writing a classic superhero story, which means that Batman fans and animal lovers alike will enjoy this book. For ages 10 and up. (Kate)
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by Eric Shanower. Marvel
So we’ve had an earthquake and possibly a hurricane all in one week. So a tornado is probably not at all out of the realm of possibility. But I prefer to read about one. This adaptation of Frank L. Baum’s classic Wizard of Oz made (what I thought) was a boring novel come to life. The artwork is magnificent. The pacing is wonderful. And everyone will be cheering for Dorothy, the Tinman, Lion, and Scarecrow. (Esther)
Adventures in Cartooning. By James Sturm, Andrew Arnold, and Alexis Frederick-Frost. First Second
The Adventures in Cartooning Activity Book. By James Sturm, Andrew Arnold, and Alexis Frederick-Frost. First Second.
After all, it starts with the premise of really bad weather. What is there to do when the cable goes out and your parents have confiscated all your video games? Well, draw of course! Not only are these books a great read, the potential for family activities overflow here. Cartoon your own hurricane preparedness tip sheet. Or cartoon your own original story. The possibilities are endless. (Esther)
Amazing Greek Myths of Wonders and Blunders. By Mike Townsend. Penguin.
Greek mythology is still all the rage with middle schoolers, so Michael Townsend’s take on the classic Greek myths will keep readers giggling and rapt as they read about mostly well known stories. (Esther)
Twisted Journeys. Various Authors. 18 volumes. Lerner/Graphic Universe.
This bright, colorful series takes the classic Choose Your Own Adventure format and brings it into the twenty-first century with an appealing mixture of sequential art and straight prose. Readers find themselves in a variety of supernatural situations: fighting aliens, thwarting grave-robbers, and running away from zombies. Best of all, every book offers readers enough options for navigating the text to keep them engrossed for hours. For ages 8 and up. (Kate)
The Best of Archie Comics. Various Authors.
This is the book to have if you’re hunkering down for a long stay indoors. Packed with a variety of comics about the Riverdale crowd and other Archie properties, it’s a solid brick of a book, and at 400 pages for $9.99, it’s a good bargain, too. And the compact size makes it easy to read by candlelight! (Brigid)
About Esther Keller
Esther Keller is the librarian at JHS 278, Marine Park in Brooklyn, NY. There she started the library's first graphic novel collection and strongly advocated for using comics in the classroom. She also curates the Graphic Novel collection for the NYC DOE Citywide Digital Library. She started her career at the Brooklyn Public Library and later jumped ship to the school system so she could have summer vacation and a job that would align with a growing family's schedule. On the side, she is a mother of 4 and regularly reviews for SLJ and School Library Connection (formerly LMC). In her past life, she served on the Great Graphic Novels for Teens Committee where she solidified her love and dedication to comics.
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