Thursday, December 17, 2015

Oops, has it actually been this long since my last post?

Yes, I'm alive, and because I didn't post for a year and because I don't feel like making up for that time, I've decided to list a few of my favorite graphic novels I haven't already mentioned. Just a heads up: my selection process was completely random. None of these really have anything in common, except for the fact that they're all graphic novels (They'd also make great gifts, hint hint!).

A Cartoon History of the Universe (all volumes) by Larry Gonick
Who would love it: History buffs and history novices alike will love this series. The writing is the perfect mixture of punny and sophisticated, the illustrations silly while clever as they recount the history of the world from the time of the dinosaurs to ancient civilizations. I've read each of these volumes too many times to count on two hands.
Blurb I'd put on the back of the book: "Smart as well as hilarious, this will obviously become a graphic classic."
Ages: 13+

The Giant Beard That Was Evil by Stephen Collins
Who would love it: Anyone with a heart, really. It takes place in a futuristic society known as 'Here', where everyone looks exactly the same, walks the same route to work, has the same routine after coming home, and, above all, has a secret fear of 'There', an island across the sea, a place that requires journey no one has come back from and those who attempt or confess a desire to take on this quest are scorned from 'Here' forever.
Blurb I'd put on the back of the book: "A story told tentatively with an overwhelmingly powerful meaning."
Ages: I don't really have a recommended age for this book. However, your age will probably determine the depth of your understanding of the events taking place.

The Sandman (link to volume 1) by Neil Gaiman
Who would love it: Fans of stories like Coraline or The Walking Dead (AKA any shows you can't watch alone with the lights off) could get really into this series. A warning though, NOT for the squeamish or the easily disturbed.
Blurb I'd put on the back of the book: "Eerie...brings forth ugly questions about the human mind."
Ages: 12+

Apollo (volume 7 in The Olympians series)
Who would love it: Mythology nerds, Marvel/DC nerds, and general comic book nerds will absolutely love this series (if they don't already know about it!). Yes, I am, in fact, aware of the number of times I've reviewed George O'Connor's books on this blog. But you have to understand that he is a capital G Genius in the comic book/mythology field. Kind of like a modern Edith Hamilton. If you want to get someone hooked on reading or convince them of the power of the graphic novel, I strongly recommend this series.
Blurb I'd put on the back of the book: "Holy smokes, he did it again."
Ages: 9+

The Sculptor by Scott McCloud
Who would love it: You get the sense you're watching a movie as you read this book. It's the story of a struggling artist who is given the choice to either live a normal life and abandon his craft or receive a strange power that allows him to mold stone with his bare hands, but live within numbered days. It's both realistic and imaginative.
Blurb I'd put on the back of the book: "Somehow entirely different from any other graphic novel I've read."
Ages: 13+ (some mature scenes)

Nimona by Noelle Stevenson
Who would love it: It's sort of a mixture of Adam Gidwitz's Grimm series and Adventure Time by Liz Prince, with that kind of ironic, unique humor delivered by 3D looking characters with either completely rounded or pointed edges. Definitely worthy of its National Book Award Finalist medal.
Blurb I'd put on the back of the book: "There's this hidden darkness that dawns on you the last couple pages. It's excellent, as well as strange."
Ages: 9+

Flight (link to 7 volumes...the 8th isn't included in the set for some reason) edited by Kazu Kibuishi
Who would love it: Though I think that anyone who is currently alive should read this book, I have to say that you might appreciate it more if you were a slightly avid graphic novel reader. Not that you won't like it, but you won't be quite as psyched about it as someone who is. It's basically a collection of graphic short stories written by a few well-known graphic novel authors (including Raina Telgemeier, Dave Roman, Vera Brosgol, Kazu Kibuishi and others). The quality of the actual book should be enough to get you hooked. I mean, seriously. Look at that cover. But the best aspect of this series is the fact that not only are they beautifully illustrated, but they're powerfully thematic. There's a much deeper side to every one of these stories that will keep you thinking for a while.
Blurb I'd put on the back of the book: "This series should be worshipped as the Holy Grail of Graphic Novels. A masterpiece."
Ages: 11+

The Undertaking of Lily Chen by Danica Novgorodoff
Who would love it: Fans of Blankets and This One Summer will love this book. Though the storyline is certainly uncommon and interesting, the element that really sets this book apart are its illustrations. The watercolor adds this dreamy, poetic feel, and the characters become as ghostly and mysterious as their surroundings.
Blurb I'd put on the back of the book: "A fascinating story that will captivate its readers."
Ages: 12ish/13+

Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant? by Roz Chast
Who would love it: Roz Chast, as anyone who knows me will tell you, is my hero. Maybe you remember my post on her previous book (Theories of Everything), but I would be perfectly happy with becoming her disciple for the rest of my life. Her sense of humor is completely individual. She sees the world an entirely different way from the rest of us, transforming what you never thought was funny, like a hot dog stand, and somehow, with her drawing style and emphasis with capitals letters and multiple underlines, makes it sophisticatedly funny. Though this book take a more serious tone, it remains truthful to her creativity and wit.
Blurb I'd put on the back of the book: "Entirely unique while personal, Roz Chast continues to represent the world in ways no one must have ever considered."
Ages: 13+

Boxers and Saints by Gene Luen Yang (recognize this name? See my previous post: American Born Chinese)
Who would love it: I feel a little silly doing this series now, considering how much I loved it and how much it's grown in popularity since its publication, but I feel that it's my obligation as one who gives book recommendations to review this duology. This series gives a history of the Boxer Rebellion in China from the side of a Boxer and a Chinese Christian. It's a powerful reminder that war is never one-sided, that there are no 'good guys' or 'bad guys' in life or in any story, really.
Blurb I'd put on the back of the book: "Yang has a special ability to teach without giving the impression that he's teaching. An excellent portrayal of this historical event."
Ages: 11+


  1. these are fantastic recs! I LOVED Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant, and i'm curious to check out the others. have you read Persepolis? I bet you would love it, if you haven't read it already. also Cancer Vixen is amazing (although a weird title/cover, I thought). thanks again for this great post! xoxo

    1. Hi Joanna! Yes, I have read Persepolis, but I haven't heard of Cancer Vixen. I'll be sure to look for it. Thanks for the recommendation and for visiting Nerd Alert!

  2. Thanks, Phoebe! I am a children's librarian and I LOVE graphic novels. And so do my 9-year-old twins and my 5 year old. Thank you for the great reviews! Glad to see you back on the old internet.

  3. Thanks Phoebe! I just ordered the O'Connor box set for my son who loves Greek Gods and the complete Wizard of Oz for my daughter (we got the first actual comic book). Interesting reading recommendations, thanks for sharing. I love to see these great choices for girls, I find it hard to wade through books that are "merch"/product based or peer relationship based, to find great options like these, so thank you so much. -Kate

  4. Glad that you are back to posting! I've purchased many of your suggestions for my children.
    May I recommend a book for soccer players? 'Everything your coach never told you because you're a girl' by Dan Blank

    My 14 yo daughter refused to read it but my 12 yo son improved his game tremendously.

    1. Sounds interesting. I'll definitely look for it. Thanks for the recommendation!

  5. Thanks for posting -- there are a couple here I didn't know about. In addition to graphic novels, my sons also enjoy manga. My 13 year old just tore through the My Neighbor Seki books (5 as of now), in case you're looking for something new to try.

  6. I am not a major reader (as you know) so a little push to read, like this blog, is a great way to get me excited to find a new book! I am definitely going to be checking up on your blog for recommendations!

  7. Do you have any thoughts on a good graphic novel like smile or drama?

    1. Yes, definitely! Some graphic novels similar to Smile or Drama are Anya's Ghost, any books by Gene Luen Yang, and Skim. Be sure to comment your thoughts.

  8. If I only wanted to read a couple of these graphic novels, which 3 would you recommend?

    1. Probably A Cartoon History of the Universe, the Sandman series, and Flight (but you can't really go wrong).

  9. I have A Cartoon History of the Universe at home, although I've never read it. I will definitely pick it up when I get home.

  10. Since I love reading, I have been looking for new books to read. I will definitely be checking out some of your recommendations.