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21 posts from September 2011

September 30, 2011

Life Sucking Limericks


There once was a boy who worked in a store.

It was boring and unfun; life was a chore.

Though he was a vampire

And girls did aspire

To make him turn them into what they did adore.

(Who in the above cover do you think is the vampire?  That's right, the guy behind the convenience store counter.)

September 28, 2011


Where are we this week? 

Up in the wilds of White River Junction, talking to academics about what the state of current graphic novel publishing is and why it's important to know about it. 

If you're not there to hear us, here's the quick bullet-point explanation.

1. Academics, you're the ones who've chosen to spend your professional career studying the stuff that it's our professional career to produce. 

  • corollary 1: if you know what's going on in publishing, you can tell us when we're being stupid.
  • corollary 2: if you know what's going on in publishing, you can give us positive feedback when we do things right.  
  • corollary 3: if you know what's going on in publishing, you can get publishers to give you things (like books, authors for classroom visits, and even occasionally dinner).

All good things!

Here's the ICAF schedule for this year; can't wait to get there!

September 27, 2011

Give-Away for Banned Book Week


To celebrate Banned Book Week, we're giving away copies of Americus over at GoodReads!  Go check out this story about teens and censorship and fantasy novels. 

Best Office Snacks: Cupcake Stop


Cupcake Stop!

The #1 best thing about the Cupcake Stop is that they are ten feet away from our office door.  They are in a mobile form (as pictured, in a truck), so they are not always ten feet away from our office door, but when they are there, it's so close!  We can have almost-instantaneous-cupcakes whenever we need a mid-morning or lunch or mid-afternoon or late-afternoon or after-work snack!

And they even have flavors like carrot cake and pumpkin for when you want something not-so-sweet.

September 26, 2011

Books (Specifically Banned Ones)


I celebrated Banned Books Week (this week!) by reading Not in Front of the Children, by Marjorie Heins.  It's a really fascinating book that looks at legal policy -- in the United States and around the world -- that has to do with censorship, and the relationship between laws and opinions people have about banning books, and the laws and opinions people have about children.

One of the most interesting parts of the book for me was the thesis that children don't really need to be protected from things.  Well, okay -- children should probably be protected from things like rabid attacking bears, but they don't need to be protected in the same way from ideas. 

So -- when we think about books for kids, we think, 'well, a four year-old probably shouldn't be reading Alan Moore's Lost Girls.'  And this book doesn't debate that a four year-old's ability to comprehend and intellectually interact with a book like that is very limited.  But what it does say is that no one has ever done a study and found that it causes permanent harm for children (even four year-olds!) to come into contact with words and pictures that they don't understand, that might be scary, and that are meant for an older audience.

Because what that experience does is prepare kids for being adults -- if they come into contact with things that suggest that violence and sex (and everything else that people want to ban) exist, and are part of adult life, they become better prepared to encounter again these things in the coming years.  And they are also better prepared to deal with other things they don't understand -- and that might be scary and difficult -- next time they come around.

Interesting, right?

(Our salute to Banned Books Week is MK Reed and Jonathan Hill's Americus.  We recommend it!)

September 23, 2011

Explorers Limericks


There once were two men who set their sights on the west

They set off towards it; they could not rest.

Nothing went as planned

For the west was so grand

It was the most supreme ultimate quest.

Lewis & Clark is a fascinating story about all the ins and outs of the journey that Meriwether Lewis and William Clark took in 1804.  There's craziness!  You will be amazed. 

September 21, 2011

World War II Comics: A Book List

Here is a list of graphic novels having to do with World War II.  I am not altogether sure how this list happened, except that World War II was a terrible kind of thing that made an impact on a lot of peoples' lives: therefore, books!

Alans War_rgb

Alan's War is probably the most gentle book you'll ever read about World War II: its protagonist, Alan Cope, kind of fell into war accidentally and never had much to do with it on the way, spending most of his wartime experience falling off things and traveling from one place to another.  This is an honest, quiet account of World War II that's not full of guns and bombs, but that's instead about one man's intellectual journey and the way the war influenced it. 


City of Spies is a fun adventure that's set in World War II-era New York.  When Evelyn discovers that there are Nazi spies in New York City, it's up to her to stop them -- with the help of codes, water balloons, and occasionally even cake! 


Maus is the seminal graphic novel about World War II.  I probably don't have to say any more about it, do I?  Spiegelman is doing a companion volume, Metamaus, that comes out this fall. 


Moving Pictures is about Nazi art theft during World War II, which is an especially cool thing to do a comic about (as comics have pictures in them themselves).  As usual, Stuart and Kathryn Immonen do a great job telling this story about art and identity. 


Resistance won a Sydney Taylor Honor for its portrayal of kids helping the French Resistance during World War II.  This story follows an entire family, and the difficulties -- and dimensions -- of being part of an occupied population during wartime. 

The Search

A Family Secret

The Search and A Family Secret are two books published by the Anne Frank House (and FSG) specifically with a teaching mission.  The books were created to bring an immediacy to the history of World War II for kids today, who don't have the I-know-someone-in-WWII that everyone last generation had.  It's a fascinating endeavor!

We Are On Our Own

We Are On Our Own is an autobiographical story of WWII written by Miriam Katin, whose career as an animator brings life and depth to this narrative about her escape (with her mother) from the Nazi invasion of Budapest.  She was only a toddler at the time, and her black and white palette with flashes of red conveys a portrait of what the emotional intensity of the time must have been like for a very young child. 

Next book list: fewer wars.

September 19, 2011

Best Office Snacks: Van Leewen


(This may turn into a series, as I quite like snacks.  Now, if only I could find more of them that are amazingly delicious and that also exist in close vicinity to our offices . . . stay tuned.)

Every day from ten to four we have an ice cream truck.  It is courtesy of the folks at Van Leeuwen, who park across the street from the flatiron building and dispense ice cream and coffee (and I think that there is some other stuff too, but as it is currently still summer-ish, the ice cream is clearly the most important) to the masses in return for money. 

Last week I had basil-black pepper, which wins on novelty value alone.  (The mint chocolate chip was better, but not quite as filled-with-craziness.)

September 16, 2011

Video Game Limericks


There once was a boy who just wanted to play

No chemistry, no physics, no business; everything his way.

Then he went off to school

Learned every rule

And had to make a decision at the end of the day.

Level Up is a really interesting book about the decision whether to live your own life or your parents -- or whether there's some middle ground there.  You should check it out!

September 15, 2011

Brooklyn Book Festival


Some of our authors will be there this weekend.  So we'll be around as well.

Maybe you too?

The full slate of comics programming is here

The Brooklyn Book Festival always does a great job with their event; lots of authors, lots of books, and lots of great conversation.  How can you resist?

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