I like Luz' changing perspective in the book - coming from not understanding why it's important to conserve energy and change our behavior to understa...moreI like Luz' changing perspective in the book - coming from not understanding why it's important to conserve energy and change our behavior to understanding the need and then acting on the need. Told realistically and expresses real problems/obstacles that come up when trying to change long-term habits and behaviors.(less)
Love the distinct voices of the plants. Here's Belladonna: "Roses, I think they were. How I hate roses. All day they talk of bees, nothing but bees. H...moreLove the distinct voices of the plants. Here's Belladonna: "Roses, I think they were. How I hate roses. All day they talk of bees, nothing but bees. How pleasant it is to watch their empty heads being snipped off and left to die in vases..."
Their personalities and how excited they get over their deadly capabilities is quite fun. The illustrations are gorgeous; I especially love the full 'secret garden' double page panels and some of the personified plants are amazing, like Castor.(less)
Turns out this is two versions of one man's graphic novel, the one he wrote and illustrated himself and the other a 'transliteration' of what another...moreTurns out this is two versions of one man's graphic novel, the one he wrote and illustrated himself and the other a 'transliteration' of what another man interpreted for the translation to the word associations of the text and using the same graphics. This information was sandwiched into the middle of the two. I liked them both with their exploration of war and identity though not a favorite genre for me.
This could be a great idea for getting students into engaging with literature written in other languages. Either having enough copies of a particular graphic novel or picture book to compare and discuss each interpretation or go for a varied approach to access a wider part of a collection.(less)
Abanzis brings the story of the Sputnik II launch emotionally alive chronicling the life of stray dog Laika, or Kudryavka, her handler, and the ambiti...moreAbanzis brings the story of the Sputnik II launch emotionally alive chronicling the life of stray dog Laika, or Kudryavka, her handler, and the ambitions of the Soviet space program. Heartbreaking really, this tale of survival and complete trust of our most loyal domesticated animal.(less)
Kimberly Keiko Cameron, nicknamed Skim because she is not, is an introverted, gothic outsider in the graphic novel Skim by cousins Mariko and Jillian...moreKimberly Keiko Cameron, nicknamed Skim because she is not, is an introverted, gothic outsider in the graphic novel Skim by cousins Mariko and Jillian Tamaki published in 2008 by Groundwood Books in Toronto, Ontario. Kim goes to a private all girls’ school with her best friend Lisa. Together they smoke, seek to practice the Wicca religion, and make sarcastic digs at the school-wide frenzy following the suicide of a classmate’s boyfriend.
Skim succeeds in what would otherwise be considered typical high school story plot territory by creating authentic beauty and humor from the confusion of teenage life. Kim begins to explore her sexual preferences when she falls in love with her English teacher, Mrs. Archer. Kim questions her friendship with best friend Lisa as she starts to move away from one identity and towards another. Other complex subjects tangentially woven into Kim’s life also include: the intolerance she has experienced as a mixed race girl, being a child of divorced parents, and trying to find spirituality in her exploration of the Wicca religion.
The story isn’t strictly linear; much like life it changes focus, moving from the external to the internal as shown in the back and forth between the characters’ dialogue and Kim’s internal narration and the diary entries that form the structure of the story. The artwork enhances these changes of focus and brings in multiple layers of meaning as panels direct the reader’s attention to nuisances of detail to create distinctive tones and irony in the story. Even the book’s design is layered as removal of the dustcover shows that the word “journal” is imprinted on the spine, like the one Kim writes in.
Jillian Tamaki’s drawings are rendered in a combination of pencil and black ink. The story is laid out in a combination of small frames, full pages to begin and end chapters, and one double page illustration that emphasizes the importance of the moment depicted. Both dark space and white space are utilized to depict different times of day and season as well as enhance the mood and emotional content of the story.
The characters personalities are developed not only by Mariko Tamaki’s foundation of dialogue and interaction, but they also become more fully fleshed out through Jillian Tamaki’s illustrations. Her portrayals of the characters in this story are highly emotive, from Kim’s hunched shoulders and her friend Lisa’s know-it-all facial expression, to Mrs. Archer free-spirited but secretive countenance and classmate Katie’s face pinched in internal pain.
Skim has already won a few awards: the Doug Wright Award for Best Book 2009 and the Ignatz Award for Outstanding Graphic Novel 2008. It is on YALSA’s Top Ten Best Books for Young Adults 2009 as well as their Top Ten Great graphic Novels for Teens 2009. Skim was also on NY Times’ Best Illustrated Books list in 2008. There are a number of nominations pending for Skim including four Eisner Award Nominations including Best Publication for Teens/Tweens, Best Graphic Album–New, Best Writer, and Best Penciller/Inker announced later in July at Comic-Con International. Skim is also nominated for a Joe Shuster Award for Best Writer announced later 2009.
Lovely reoccurring imagery of lemons, and later characters as the storyline shifts like a dream where people you know are present but with completely...moreLovely reoccurring imagery of lemons, and later characters as the storyline shifts like a dream where people you know are present but with completely different personalities. Touches on the boredom that teens deal with in small, rural towns as well as absence of birth parents, interpersonal relationships, and a bit of rock 'n' roll thrown in for fun.(less)