Emilia Van Buskirk, Nederland. So, it’s the middle of summer break. It’s hot, boring, and you have a whole day ahead of you. School doesn’t start for forever, and vacation is beginning to feel like a curse. What on earth can you do?
Try the Library! We have iPads, WiFi, graphic novels, and an array of magazines including Sports Illustrated and Seventeen (you know you need to catch up on the latest Brangelina scandal). There are even cool classes like Video Game Design, where you create your own games. While you’re there, you could even read a book!
If you’re interested in art, illustration, or you just like looking at pictures, graphic novels may be the thing for you. Once, nobody above the age of thirteen read comics because they were branded as childish and silly. However, that’s simply not true! Graphic novels are a unique, insightful way to tell stories ranging from hilarious to extremely poignant.
An example of the latter is Stitches, by David Small, which details the author’s childhood in Detroit and the unspoken feelings and resentment riddling his family life.
Colored in shades of grey, Small’s illustrations are shadowed and austere, mirroring the bleak atmosphere of the world he grew up in. The blunt, matter-of-fact narration of his life compliments Small’s naturalistic illustrations peppered with impossible dreams and scenarios. Stitches allows readers to be momentarily submerged in the author’s head, later leaving them with a new perspective.
Persepolis is another autobiography, created with conflict in mind. The first of two books, it is a memoir of author Marjane Satrapi’s life in Iran during the Islamic Revolution. Satrapi struggled to fit into society as a child. Forced to choose between radical Westernization and extreme fundamentalism, she fought her role as a docile young woman in strict Muslim society.
Persepolis tells the story of violence, political upheaval, and death through the eyes of a child, lending humanity to the massacres leading up to the Iranian shah’s overthrow and the war that followed.
A story about an unforgettable summer, This One Summer covers the adventures of Windy and Rose at their cottages by Awago Beach. They’ve been meeting there every year since forever to swim, rent horror movies, and deal with the drama of summer crushes. This year, however, Rose’s mother is harboring a secret, and Rose and Windy find themselves caught up in a romantic mess with a handsome stranger. A cute and memorable book, it’s a perfect read for a lazy summer day.
While not strictly a graphic novel, Tales from Outer Suburbia by Shaun Tan is an intriguing series of short stories accompanied by haunting illustrations. Tan weaves tales that make readers re-evaluate aspects of their lives that most take for granted. Our own streets, yards, and neighbors may seem safe and familiar, but who knows when we’ll find a rare herbivorous marine animal lying in front of our house, or a curious exchange student from another world?
Masterfully composed, Tales from Outer Suburbia will push the limits of your imagination and leave you bewildered but eager for more.
Manga, Manhua, and Manhwa, respectively Japanese, Chinese, and Korean comics, represent a huge portion of the global graphic novel selection. The Color of Earth is the first in a beautiful Manhwa trilogy about a young girl’s awakening to adulthood.
Turning from frivolous to deeply touching in less than a page, Kim Dong Hwa keeps the reader engaged from beginning to end. He focuses his flowing illustrations on single characters and their thoughts about the novel experience of aging. After reading this, you will feel as if you’ve discovered a little more about yourself, not to mention a culture still foreign and mysterious to many Americans.
If you’re looking for a captivating read this summer, head over to the Young Adult fiction and graphic novel section of Nederland Community Library. Each book is inspired and will leave you thinking long after you put it down.
Friends don’t let friends read bad books.