The Seasonal Reading Challenge discussion

GROUP READS > March : Book 1

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message 1: by Sandy (new)

Sandy | 15879 comments Mod
This is the discussion thread for the Fall 2015 Group Read March: Book One. Please post your comments here. This thread is not restricted to those choosing this book for task 20.10, feel free to join in the discussion. Warning- spoilers ahead!

The requirement for task 20.10: You must participate in the book's discussion thread below with at least one post about the contents of the book or your reaction to the book after you have read the book.

message 2: by Jennifer W (new)

Jennifer W | 471 comments I read this book when it first came out, and I just read Book 2 for the summer challenge. I really enjoy them, and I look forward to Book 3 when it is published.

message 3: by Michele (new)

Michele | 131 comments I always think I don't like graphic novels, but then I read one and usually am amazed at how much I enjoyed it. This GN was the same. A very thought provoking and informative read. I am going to have to read the next one. Which is one of the reasons I love the Challenge-it just opens up an entire new library of books to enjoy!

message 4: by Papermaker (new)

Papermaker | 146 comments I don't read many graphic novels, but this one should be read by everyone. The beginning of the movement is often forgotten, but framing it against the inauguration of President Obama makes it all the more poignant.

message 5: by Megan (new)

Megan Anderson (ms_anderson) | 1481 comments I feel like this ends at a weird place in the history, but I could definitely see this on a high school classroom shelf. Not the best I've read, but good.

message 6: by Judy (new)

Judy | 861 comments I enjoyed this book more than I thought I would. This is only the second graphic novel I have read, but I did enjoy this much better than the first. The story is truly inspirational, and I think the medium would appeal to younger readers. I'm going to get the second volume from the library, and will continue with the 3rd when it is released.

message 7: by Jessica (last edited Sep 03, 2015 05:21AM) (new)

Jessica (bookwrm526) | 1343 comments Bookwrm526 - I have read graphic novels and comics for as long as I can remember, but this was my first one that was biographical or historical. I wasn't sure how it would work, but I think it was great. I could have done without the parts about the dead chickens, but otherwise I really enjoyed it.

message 8: by Morgan (new)

Morgan (faeriesfolly) | 971 comments Graphic Novels can be amazing. They can transport you just as much as traditional novels, and sometimes hit those emotional buttons even harder because it's not just pictures in your imagination. You can actually see them before you. Look at fear, determination, hatred, joy and so many other emotions right there in black and white or full color.

Some people push them aside as being "lesser" or for "kids", but they really are a medium that can reach so many ages -- especially those who don't usually take to traditional novels. (I like to think of them as a gateway drug of sorts. ;) haha. They can really give you an opportunity to suggest more things that might interest -- librarian/bookseller can't be turned off.)

Interesting deeper look at an important point in history. I knew some parts of it, but there were a number of surprising bits. I didn't realize that they did the playacting to test how they might react to various situations and types of confrontation to ensure they would be able to maintain the non-violent protest. I honestly don't know that I would have been able to do it. With things directed at me maybe, but at friends, family, loved-ones? Yeah....

I wouldn't have chosen this one in particular on my own. It wasn't even on my radar before it was in the voting for a group read this time, and it wasn't what I voted for, BUT in the end I'm glad that it won and that I got the chance to read it. Will keep my eyes open for the others to be at my library.

(Funny enough, and slightly unrelated, I was not able to find it in MD physical/digital, so searched my WV digital library on a whim and there it was! Good job, home state! They also have the Lumberjanes #1 comics. Gauntlet thrown, Maryland. Gauntlet thrown.)

message 9: by Fandury (new)

Fandury | 975 comments This was an interesting read for me. I do not know much about the history of the American segregation, and the only person active in this that I know is Martin Luther King. So it was interesting for me to see others who have been involved in this fight for acceptance and equality and what they had to bear to change their nation.

But I admit I especially liked the part where he preached to the chickens...

message 10: by Kristina Simon (new)

Kristina Simon (kristinasimon) | 10917 comments Mod
Graphic novel are really hit or miss for me. Watchmen and Ms. Marvel, Vol. 1: No Normal? Complete misses. I can easily say I disliked both of them with a passion. The Complete Maus, Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood, and Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic? I loved, loved, loved. So, I was excited that a graphic novel memoir won this Group Reads category and not a superhero one!

What I was really hoping for was a graphic novel as complex and heartfelt as The Complete Maus to shed some light on the history of the Civil Rights movement in the US. Unfortunately, I didn't love March: Book One. I'm not even sure I liked it very much. Maybe because it's just the first volume and it didn't seem like a complete story. Perhaps I should have waited for all volumes to be published and read them all at once. Or, maybe, because March: Book One sounded like it was written for children, to me. I found it very simplistic in both language and in detail. It certainly didn't fulfill my craving for complexity, nor did it quench my thirst for details about the time period. It sounds like March: Book Two might get more into the meat of things but I'm not sure I'll pick it up after my experience with Book 1. I think I'd rather read a different biography or, if I could find one, a graphic novel that goes much more in depth..............

message 11: by Jennifer W (new)

Jennifer W | 471 comments Kristina, I agree this isn't quite up there with Maus or Persepolis. I think book 2 comes closer to that level (particularly because of how it ends!), so if you can stomach it, I'd say you should persevere with the series. Though, John Lewis has written full length books about his experiences in the Civil Rights Movement, so maybe that'll be more satisfying.

I'm glad to see people like graphic novels (non-fictions?). They really can be quite wonderful.

message 12: by Julia (new)

Julia (julia103) | 1691 comments I had seen this on a library display last month and thought it looked interesting but didn't take it out at the time, so I was very glad to see it as an SRC challenge. I borrowed it from the library and plan to read Book 2 as well. (FYI to Morgan: this was in Cockeysville in Baltimore County, so I don't know why you couldn't find it in MD.)

I haven't read many graphic novels, and found it interesting and well done. The end came as a surprise - it didn't seem like an ending. And because the March on Washington wasn't part of the book, although the march in Selma was shown at the beginning.

I hadn't realized that John Lewis' first civil rights protests were in Nashville, because I think of him as from Georgia (the state he now represents in Congress).

message 13: by Deborah (last edited Sep 07, 2015 10:43PM) (new)

Deborah | 1352 comments I rather enjoyed it. I can see it on a classroom shelf as an introduction to the Civil Rights Movement, inspiring students (especially the reluctant reader) to pick up other books about it. I'm glad these books are being written.

message 14: by Lacy (new)

Lacy | 106 comments I agree with Deborah, this book definitely has a place on the Civil Rights Movement bookshelf. It is an accessible work that could provide an entry point for students (and adults) into the literature and history of Civil Rights.

That being said I'm a frequent graphic novel/comic reader and I thought it was very well done. I liked the flashback format as it added a bit of depth to the story. I'll have an opportunity to hear a lecture by the authors later this month so I'm glad to have read this one and I'll pick up the next before the lecture.

message 15: by Bekka (new)

Bekka (froydis) | 524 comments I am a fan of graphic novels, and I thought this one was quite well done. The artwork is great, and I particularly loved how the artist depicted the crowd noises and radio broadcasts as basically background noise. It really heightens the importance of the conversations and narrative. I definitely need to read the "Book 2" to see how they tell more of the story.

I think this is a great way to introduce people, kids especially, to the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 60s. I liked very much that it was told from Congressman Lewis' point of view - showing what a remarkable man he is, and letting us all appreciate his wisdom and contributions to our society at such a young age. His life is truly that of dedication and service, and is an inspiration for all Americans, regardless of race or background.

message 16: by Donna (new)

Donna | 1110 comments Of the three Group Read books chosen, this is the only one I haven't read. Graphic Novels....hmmmm. I don't spend a lot of time reading these. But when I do and I'm done with it, I am usually always impressed.

Again after reading this one, I walk away impressed. I really liked this. I liked that this is non-fiction and an interesting approach for an autobiography/memoir regarding the Civil Rights Movement. I loved the chickens and that the chicken coop was a pulpit.

For being about a slice of American history, this was informative in a creative way. The art work was great.

message 17: by Hevabean (new)

Hevabean | 128 comments This is one of those books where the first thing you have to do is buy volume 2, and the second thing you have to do is tell everyone you speak to to read it.

It's interesting and educational and the art it stunning.

message 18: by Kim (new)

Kim | 652 comments None of the choices for this challenge's group read really interested me. I chose this one because it was the shortest. I don't really like graphic novels, and this one didn't do anything to change my opinion. I can see where it would be a useful tool to teach history to someone who doesn't like to read. I prefer a little more substance.

message 19: by Dana (new)

Dana (read60) | 301 comments READ 60

I have never read a graphic novel before and I am glad that I have now. This novel was a lot of history packed into a manageable size. It clearly explained some of the reasons behind the luncheon counter sit-ins which I really never understood before. I am definitely going to get March:2 when available and will stop thinking of graphic novels as comic books.

message 20: by Heather(Gibby) (new)

Heather(Gibby) (heather-gibby) | 868 comments This is the very first Graphic Novel I have ever read, thanks to the challenge for giving me a push in that direction. I have to admit that I was well into it before I realized I wasn't looking at the graphics at all, so I went back and started over, so I could enjoy it the way it was intended.

The story itself was interesting, a story with the author's personal insight into his involvement with the civil rights movement in the mid 60's. Intimate looks at the actions of a few individuals do so much more for making a story real, than reading about things in history books.

message 21: by Melissa (new)

Melissa (balletbookworm) | 947 comments I'm so glad March edged the win for this category, been on my TBR for a while. I really appreciated how John Lewis's story was contrasted with his journey to Barack Obama's inauguration ceremony.

It's so interesting that he wanted to be a preacher and I think all that preparation (the reading, the thinking, the oration, the faith) really prepared him for his involvement in forming SNCC. The scene where the students are practicing "being abused" (basically) because they had to be prepared for everything white society would throw at them. Staggering.

Definitely going on to read Parts 2 and 3.

message 22: by Pat (new)

Pat (peakles) | 161 comments Posted by Peakles

This is just my second Graphic Novel. I think it's a good format for this series about desegregation. Having been a child of the 60's in Alabama, I remember many of the images from that time, but had forgotten about the boycotts. I was aware of John Lewis from recent media coverage, but did not know any facts about his history. It was interesting to read about how he became such an effective leader.

message 23: by Jonquil (last edited Sep 17, 2015 11:20AM) (new)

Jonquil | 1059 comments This was my first graphic novel.

I worked at a Nashville "Historically Black College" for 13 years. Each year, people from Tennessee State University were joined by students and staff from Fisk University and by other Tennesseans to march from the universities to the downtown Woolworth's location where one of the original lunch counter protest veterans would talk about then and now. I must say that those accounts and the graphic novel seem different, but I can't figure how how they seem different. Perhaps it's the emotion that rapidly flies across the commemoration speaker's face when, for just a moment, they're once again sitting on that lunch counter stool as their loving Nashville neighbors scream righteous epithets into their ears. Then, their face changes, they're back in the here and now, and they share what they had prepared to say.

There was a disconnect for me between my recollection of all those commemoration speeches and the drawings and words in this novel. In these posts, others report that they plan to follow up with the next volumes. I hope that level of connection means that this book is an effective way to share history with younger folks who might not be interested in other types of media, but would be drawn to a graphic novel.

message 24: by Melanie (new)

Melanie Greene (dakimel) | 866 comments Jonquil, that's interesting about the discord between March & the speakers you heard.

Like others, I found the scenes of nonviolence training to be the most visceral and moving (well, the chickens were visceral - but all that seemed to be designed to pose an essay question to a room full of 7th graders: "In what way are Lewis's stories about the chickens he knew and couldn't eat versus the chickens he didn't know and could eat echoed in the nonviolent protestors's mandate to make eye contact with their abusers?") (Clearly I don't write essay questions, since I just answered my subject with my predicate.)

I like the framing with Obama's inauguration, too, and the humanizing touches of bedroom slippers, scarves and hats, nicknames - all ways to access Lewis as a person, not an imposing political figure. But I'm pretty sure the two boys would just see him as an imposing political figure (with chicken stories). That part of the framing device felt one-dimensional to me.

message 25: by Tara Bieck (new)

Tara Bieck | 433 comments I've read a few Graphic Novels before, but most of them havent really appealed all that much to me. In most cases, I was reading for a reading challenge (as I am now!) and i just found a specific book to filk the task. With this one, while it was a designated book, I'm glad someone else selected it as I honestly wouldn't have picked it myself. It was one of the few that I have read that I enjoyed and learned from. I was happy that i found this in my Scribd membership as well! I unfortunately dont have access to Part 2 unless i purchase it, but i would be interested in reading the rest and learning more about this time in American history.

message 26: by Cindy (new)

Cindy (cindyd) | 256 comments I don't usually read graphic novels, but I do think John Lewis is an interesting man, so that was why I choose this book for this task.

I didn't know much about his childhood and I liked that he started this narrative in his childhood instead of just starting with when he entered the Civil Rights movement. I also like that backdrop of President Obama's inauguration, cutting into Lewis's memories. I think this book would be a good tool for teachers to use to help teach the Civil Rights movement (I'm a teacher so I tend to look for traching tools everywhere).

While I understand the choice to be in black and white, but I would have enjoyed some color. Thankfully when I went to the bookstore to get this book, they also had Book 2 so I will be starting that one once I finish with my postings.

message 27: by Dlmrose (new)

Dlmrose | 17591 comments Mod
This book told an important story, and like others have said would be an accessible introduction to the "new generation" referenced on the flap. And maybe the school librarian Coreen Harvey would have encouraged it- "My dear children, read. Read everything" emphasizing the everything, but graphic novels usually leave me wanting. I wish the story continued in one volume. I thought it ended abruptly, maybe another transitional inauguration panel would lead to reader to the next volume.
I did think the reference to Martin Luther King and The Montgomery Story was interesting

message 28: by Donna Jo (new)

Donna Jo Atwood | 3157 comments I read this book with a divided mind; one part was reading the history and one part was reliving what I did (and didn't) do during that time period.
I don't usually read more than one or two GNs a year, but it is always a pleasure to read a well-done one.

message 29: by Bluemoon (new)

Bluemoon (bluemoon286) | 1839 comments Graphic novels are not really my favorite but thought I would give this one a try. I found it enlightened me to things that were going on in the Civil Rights Movement. I really knew the basics. But I thought the writing was too simplistic for my tastes. Not sure if I will pick up the second one.

message 30: by Christine (new)

Christine (christinemfruin) | 48 comments I only recently started reading graphic novels -- and these autobiographical tales (e.g. Maus, Fun Home) are by far my favorite within the genre. March is certainly no exception -- readers of all ages can learn several important lessons by engaging in this first volume of the graphic novel series retelling the story of John Lewis's life. Although I am familiar with his involvement in student activism (the sit-ins, etc) I did not know about his childhood and that was my favorite part of this volume -- I also liked the juxtaposition between his childhood (loved the preaching to the chickens!) and the modern day children paying a visit to his office on inauguration day 2009. Volume 2 is waiting at the public library for me -- I will likely devour it tonight!

message 31: by Bea (new)

Bea | 3926 comments OK, I admit to not being the most aware person on this planet when it comes to politics; but, I really was not aware that the author was a congressman from Georgia. So, that surprise added to my interest in reading this graphic novel. And, it lived up to my interest. However, it felt unfinished to me since it did not go further than lay the background of his life. I realize it is titled Book One. I definitely will need to look for "the rest of the story" as Paul Harvey used to say.

message 32: by Pamela (new)

Pamela (pamela3265) | 979 comments Pamela3265

This is my first graphic novel. This was an interesting introduction to the genre, but it just peaked my interest. I think I prefer books that can go more in-depth.

message 33: by Robin (Saturndoo) (last edited Oct 04, 2015 01:34AM) (new)

Robin (Saturndoo) (robinsaturndoo) | 1016 comments Being a big fan of graphic novels this one wasn't very impressive. Due to the subject matter I was hoping for a more detailed in-depth adult approach rather than the children's picture book approach. I must also agree that the execution was very simplistic. At best the graphics were very mediocre. At times they were rather dull as well as having very small print which made them difficult to read. With the very abrupt ending of this one I am contemplating on reading book 2.

Being a graduate of Tennessee State University I have heard a lot of live speeches,lectures and read/studied about the lunch counter sit ins/Nashville Student Movement. Like Jonquil, something didn't connect/settle right between what I have seen/studied/heard to what was executed in the book. I think it is the lack of detail and emotion in the book as well as the very simplistic writing style.

Overall, I am going to rate this book 2 stars. It wasn't as great as it could have been but it wasn't terrible either. Would I recommend it? Probably not as there are much better historical/non-fiction graphic novels.

message 34: by Sirena (new)

Sirena (spthewife) | 343 comments I think this is an important subject, and I'm always impressed when graphic novels approach non-fiction. I expected more from the story, but I liked it overall.

message 35: by Ann A (new)

Ann A (readerann) | 887 comments I don't have much experience with graphic novels, but I did enjoy this one. Having recently watched the movie "Selma", it was interesting learning more about John Lewis's early life. I picked up Book Two from the library yesterday.

message 36: by Jacki (new)

Jacki | 34 comments Not one of my favorite graphic novels (I like my G.N.s a bit more fantasy-based) but I won't deny that this is well done. This is an EXCELLENT way to approach the subject of the civil rights movement and other historically significant events. I can see this novel and others being a great educational tool for classrooms. I read, greatly enjoyed and would recommend The Complete Maus, which is another history based graphic novel. I'm sure there are plenty more and I'm interested in exploring this subgenre a bit more.

My other dislikes for this book are largely just personal preference. I LOVE bright and bold colors - this unfortunately was black/white. Also, I was very much annoyed by the 'background noise' writing (I know others above liked it). It was a great way of representing the background noise but MAN did it bother me - gave myself a headache trying to read it.

Planning on renting the rest of the series from the library, but wouldn't buy.

message 37: by Stacie (new)

Stacie | 18 comments Monkeypox

This was my first graphic novel and certainly won't be my last. I went to school in Nashville and learned about the lunch counter sit-ins at that time. This put them in a new perspective and brought them to life. A very effective form of communication.

message 38: by Megan W (new)

Megan W | 185 comments I did enjoy this graphic novel and would like to read the next book. It's also made me interested in learning more about the specific practices of civil rights movements, both in the U.S. and around the world - especially those related to nonviolent philosophies, which seem so counter-intuitive yet have helped accomplish so much, as seen in this book.

message 39: by Daphne (new)

Daphne (daphnesm) | 486 comments Well, I do love these challenges because they push me out of my comfort zone, but they can't all be wins. I've never been one to enjoy graphic novels (heck, I don't even enjoy the comic section of newspapers), and this one didn't manage to change my mind.

I can see the value of it for children and YA though. It would be a worthwhile addition to a school library or classroom. I could dig that for sure.

message 40: by Book Concierge (new)

Book Concierge (tessabookconcierge) | 3668 comments I was well aware of the events depicted, having lived through them. Has anyone else seen the movie Selma? Very good!

Anyway, here's my take on this graphic memoir

March Book One (March, #1) by John Robert Lewis March: Book One by John Lewis and Andrew Aydin – 3***
This is a graphic novel depiction of Lewi’s memoir of coming-of-age during the 1960s and the impact of the Civil Rights Movement on him, and on the country. What he has to say about that period of history is important. I realize this format will bring the story to many young people that would not otherwise read the history books, but I really dislike graphic novels. I find the illustrations too dark and the type difficult to read.
Full Review HERE

message 41: by Adria (new)

Adria Having never read a graphic novel, I really enjoyed March, mostly because it was biographical and short. I found myself sometimes with the book right up to my nose, trying to read the tiny comments from the background. Apparently I wasn't the only one doing this, although I thought to myself, "This is probably not how you read a graphic novel."

Overall, I'm happy to have read it. I don't know if I'll read the second, because it's not my genre, but it's definitely been my favorite group read in the last few challenges.

message 42: by Cindy (new)

Cindy | 178 comments SpiderMac

This was my first nonfiction graphic novel. I read it for the challenge and quite liked it. It was an easy read nestled among some more challenging ones. It also reminded me of the times when I was much younger lying on the floor at my grandfather's feet listening to him tell stories of growing up on the farm, away at war, etc. Mr. Lewis has important things to say. I would love to sit with him, listen to his stories, and pepper him with questions but reading his graphic novels will have to do.

message 43: by Jukka (new)

Jukka Särkijärvi (nitessine) | 505 comments This was interesting. I haven't read an autobiographical graphic novel before, and I would be curious to see Mr. Lewis's reasons for picking this format. Of course, the story he tells is an important one, and the more mediums it's available in, the better. Additionally, it's a fine story and well told. I'll have to pick up the second part.

message 44: by Sandi (new)

Sandi Barnes | 529 comments I tend to steer clear of graphic novels, but decided to read this since my copy of Wolf Hall is on loan to a coworker.

It was interesting to read (and see in story panels) the actions of the author, among others, to bring about changes dealing with segregation.

message 45: by Lola (new)

Lola | 287 comments This book had been in my TBR as my middle schooler was reading it as a required summer read this year. It was my first graphic novel and I really thought this format was an effective way to tell the story. I appreciated learning more about the sit-ins described in the book and also liked the device of going back and forth in time as John Lewis told his story. I found it interesting that the civil rights attorney mentioned, Fred Gray, shares the name of Freddie Gray, whose story was so prominent recently. I wondered if he was named after the attorney referred to the book. The book ended very abruptly and I was interested enough in this telling of the story that I borrowed March Book 2 from the library, which I will read soon.

message 46: by Beth (new)

Beth | 665 comments I don’t read a lot of graphic novels, but when I do it’s because of the SRC, and once again I am reminded that it’s a good thing to step outside of your usual comfort zone and try something different because I loved this. It exceeded my expectations and I will definitely be looking for a spot to fit the second book into the winter challenge.

message 47: by Sandy (new)

Sandy | 15879 comments Mod
Once again, I forced myself to read a graphic novel for an SRC task, and once again I was reminded why I dislike them. This one was just so oversimplified - I don't know that anyone would get any real feel for the Civil Rights movement from this. If it's designed for kids, I imagine that, as someone said, all the intro part about the chickens would be what stuck.

Perhaps part of the problem is that I grew up in Georgia during the 60s, and I was very political - so none of the overall context is new to me. Of course, I didn't know the chicken stories..........

message 48: by Amanda A (new)

Amanda A (carolinabookworm) | 614 comments I have only read a few graphic novels and I think they were all for challenges. I thought this book was ok, but the story seemed simplistic. This was probably because it is split into multiple books but I was expecting more. I do not see myself picking up the next book.

message 49: by Jamie (new)

Jamie | 467 comments I am glad to have read March: Book One although I did have some issues with the book itself. I thought some of the pictures were small and hard to see (maybe I need glasses). I did find the story simple but I can appreciate it as a story for children. I did think it is a great introduction to the Civil Rights movement and the importance of the passive resistance. It sounds so benign and yet as depicted here it was quite dangerous and violent for the resisters. I think this book does a good job of driving that point home. I also think it might be better to read all of the volumes at once since the ending is a bit abrupt.

message 50: by Marie-Anne (new)

Marie-Anne | 613 comments This was a good book to read on Thanksgiving Day. Since I did not grow up in the US, this was the first account I read about John Lewis and what happened in Nashville. I don't read many graphic novels, but it was an effective tool to get the main points and learn about these historical events. I will get and read book two also.

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