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Graphic Novels Are Books, Too!

A few weeks ago, I told a few teenagers, who had expressed disinterest in reading, that graphic novels are books, too.   I mean, you have to read them to understand the story, though not in the same way that you would traditionally think about reading.  Part of the experience of reading isn’t just reading the words.  Sure, words are important.  Bad writing can lead to disinterest and frustration; and beautiful writing can elevate the reading experience.  However, there is a something else going on as you process the words on the page – you’re discovering the narrative, analyzing character motivations, and becoming emotionally involved.

Image of a young woman reading a book on a chair. Text: Book hangover: Inability to start a new book because you're still living in the last book's worldGraphic novels have fewer words, but the words they do have  – often in the form of thought and speech bubbles – are important in developing the story and giving insight into the characters.   The artwork, including decisions on how to organize and frame the panels, informs mood and emotions that must be interpreted through a different sort of process – a visual one that “reads” the images.

In the past 10 years, I’ve seen an explosion in the popularity, variety, and availability of graphic novels in the US.  Rather than a genre, it has become more of a format and a more widely acceptable one at that.  Graphic novels used to take up about half a shelf in bookstores and in public libraries; now there are multiple bookcases worth in these places.  Graphic novels have helped reluctant readers to more positively engage with reading and develop literacy skills.  They have also become a teaching tool in the classroom.

Shelves of graphic novels

Photo by Morebyless (CC BY 2.0)

Here are some graphic novels available at Wheelock:

American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang ; color by Lark Pien. Three stories about the problems of young Chinese Americans.

A + E 4ever : A Graphic Novel by I. Merey. Coming of age story about two lonely gender non-conforming teens who meet and form a friendship.

Monster by Walter Dean Myers.  A story of a teenage boy on trial for his supposed role as lookout in a murder.

Rapunzel’s revenge by Shannon Hale and Dean Hale ; illustrated by Nathan Hale.  In this Old West retelling, Rapunzel saves herself and gets of out sticky situations using her hair as a lasso.

Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson.  Story of a young girl who signs up for roller derby camp and is struggling with spending the summer apart from her best friend.

Images of 5 book covers. From L to R: 1. a boy and girl sleeping facing each other 2. a lone young black teenager 3. a chinese boy with a robot 4. A boy and a girl with very long hair 5. A girl with blue hair on skates

Looking for more?  A fan of English-translated Japanese graphic novels like I am?  The Wheelock community has access to the Boston Public Library and its many branches and to the Brookline Public Library.  Just bring in your Wheelock ID and they will hook you up.  I recommend Attack on Titan by Hajime Isayama for those interested in bleak yet compelling post-apocalyptic stories and Fruits Basket by Natsuki Takaya for lighter fare.
Cover of the first volume of Fruits Basket. Cover features a high school girl with long brown hair surrounding by orbs containing the 12 animals of the Chinese zodiac

For those interested in how graphic novels work in the classroom, check out our blog post from 4 years ago and the below books:

An cover image inspired by Superman; a man peeling open his white shirt to reveal the words, "The Graphic Novel Classroom".

The Graphic Novel Classroom POWerful Teaching and Learning with Images. Available online at Wheelock.

Image of a teacher standing in front of a blackboard pointing a stick to the dialogue box: Class, Please Open your Comics

Class, Please Open Your Comics : Essays on Teaching with Graphic Narratives / Edited by Matthew L. Miller. Available online at Wheelock


What is an ILL?

ILL is a term that we use a lot here in access services and it means interlibrary loan, which refers to an item that you borrow from a library other than Wheelock College Library through our increasingly popular ILL service.What is ILL.svg

Through several partnerships, Wheelock College Library is able to offer you access to books, articles, media, and more from nearby libraries like Simmons College Library and from far away libraries in places like California or Alaska.  The best part is the library generally does not charge you for these loans, so we can literally and affordably provide you access to resources from anywhere in the United States.

To make use of our ILL service, you can use our online catalog to see if a book you need is available in FLO.  If it is, you can follow these steps to place the request yourself.

If the book you need is not in FLO or if what you need is an article, then you can use our ILL request forms.  We have one for books and one for articles.  Once you submit your request, a library staff member will find a library somewhere in the country that owns the item and is willing to lend it or scan it.

Physical ILL items generally arrive in 3-5 business days depending on where the library sending the item is located and you will get an email when they arrive directing you to the 1st floor service desk to retrieve the item.  Scans can arrive as early as 24 hours and are directly delivered to your Wheelock College email.  We always recommend placing requests early in case they take longer than usual.

So, the next time you need an item to complete your research or even if you are looking to get your hands on a good summer read, remember you have access to library resources that extend beyond Wheelock’s campus and even beyond Massachusetts!

Have you used our ILL service before?  Share your experience in the comments below.


Style By The Book: Percy Jackson and the Olympians

With only 9 days left in the semester, I bet most of you are spending every second dreaming of your fun upcoming summer adventures.

(For those of you who are in fact Demigods trying to pass yourselves off as normal college kids, this is the time of year that you are secretly packing up your things to return to Camp Half-Blood. Feel free to skim over this next paragraph, and check out the photos below for some fashion inspiration as you plan your first-day-of-camp outfits.)

For the rest of you, let me recommend that you add Percy Jackson and the Olympians to your summer reading lists! The five-book series follows a group of entirely fictional Heroes and Demigods who spend their summers training to fight completely made-up monsters at a definitely fabricated place called Camp Half-Blood. This “Style by the Book” is inspired by the story’s two main protagonists, Percy Jackson and Annabeth Chase.

Percy
Annabeth

Do you have a favorite book that you want to see featured on Style by the Book? Share your suggestions in the comments!

 


Open eBooks: Books for Low-Income Children

On February 24th  2016 Open eBooks, an initiative to make thousands of books freely available to children in need, was launched nationwide.

Open eBooks is an app containing thousands of new and popular reading titles that can be accessed digitally by low-income children who may not have access to materials at home, in school, or in their communities. This app will empower children to expand their knowledge, improve their reading skills, and develop digital literacy.

open ebooks

Open eBooks in the App Store

President Obama first announced the Open eBook initiative in April of 2015. Since then, literary
organizations from around the country have worked tirelessly to make the project a reality. The app was developed and curated by the Digital Public Library of America, The New York Public Library, First Book, and digital book distributor Baker & Taylor. It received funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, as well as contributions from many major publishers, including Bloomsbury, Penguin Random House, HarperCollins, National Geographic, and Candlewick.

At the Wheelock College Library, we are excited about this new advancement in digital access to children’s books, not only because it goes a long way towards improving the lives of children and families, but because it supports one of the core values of all libraries. After all, aren’t libraries the original open eBooks? Providing public access to information is hugely important to our society, as is summed up by this quote from the America Library Associations’ website:  “Libraries help ensure that Americans can access the information they need – regardless of age, education, ethnicity, language, income, physical limitations or geographic barriers”. Projects like Open eBooks create additional opportunities to reach communities that are geographically isolated from a public library system.

Are you involved with an organization that serves low-income children and are interested in getting access to the Open eBooks app? Learn more about eligibility requirements HERE.


Go on a Blind Date with a Book!

Tired of wasting your time with the wrong books?

Hate being led on by a fancy cover, just to find out there’s not much inside?

Maybe you’re still a little caught up on that book from your past? (*cough Harry Potter cough*)

If you’re ready to take a chance on literary love, then stop by the Wheelock College Library and go on a Blind Date with a Book! We guarantee that every book in this display has the potential to make it to the top of your Amazon wish list.

BDWAB

How it Works:

  • Each wrapped book has a catchy (ok, cheesy) pick-up line which also hints to the book’s contents.
  • Browse the pick-up lines on each library book and select your perfect reading match—NO PEEKING!
  • Take the book to the Library Service Desk to check it out
  • When you get home, unwrap your blind date to meet the book of your dreams
  • READ AND ENJOY!

The best part is, if things don’t work out, just bring your failed fling back to the library and drop it off. No waterworks, no messy public breakups, and no getting dumped via text message at 4 am. These literomeos will only be around through Valentine’s Day, so come in soon so you’re not left wondering what could have been.