HOW MIRKA GOT HER SWORD

From the Hereville series , Vol. 1

Like all 11-year-old Orthodox Jewish girls, ebullient Mirka must face a six-armed troll to avoid becoming his dinner and obtain a dragon-slaying sword—wait, what? This utterly ingenious graphic novel spins the darling yarn of Mirka, who finds tasks like knitting dull and tedious. She keeps herself amused while stitching by conversing with her stepmother, Fruma, a top-notch debater who can adeptly argue her way out of any dispute. A magical encounter leads Mirka to discover a witch who sends her on a quest to acquire a sword perfect for a fledgling dragon-slayer, just the role Mirka envisions for herself. When Mirka must battle a fierce troll, the skills she’s learned from Fruma prove to be not so entirely useless. Deutsch creates a beautiful, detail-rich world with a muted, ethereal palette that masterfully blends faith and fantasy with astounding harmony. Each page conveys fluid motion through his panel layout and text-bubble placement; readers can easily grasp and empathize with Mirka’s feelings. Undoubtedly one of the cleverest graphic novels of the year; let's hope this isn't the last of Mirka. (Graphic fantasy. 10-14)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-8109-8422-6

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Amulet/Abrams

Review Posted Online: Oct. 1, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2010

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DRAMA

From award winner Telgemeier (Smile, 2010), a pitch-perfect graphic novel portrayal of a middle school musical, adroitly capturing the drama both on and offstage.

Seventh-grader Callie Marin is over-the-moon to be on stage crew again this year for Eucalyptus Middle School’s production of Moon over Mississippi. Callie's just getting over popular baseball jock and eighth-grader Greg, who crushed her when he left Callie to return to his girlfriend, Bonnie, the stuck-up star of the play. Callie's healing heart is quickly captured by Justin and Jesse Mendocino, the two very cute twins who are working on the play with her. Equally determined to make the best sets possible with a shoestring budget and to get one of the Mendocino boys to notice her, the immensely likable Callie will find this to be an extremely drama-filled experience indeed. The palpably engaging and whip-smart characterization ensures that the charisma and camaraderie run high among those working on the production. When Greg snubs Callie in the halls and misses her reference to Guys and Dolls, one of her friends assuredly tells her, "Don't worry, Cal. We’re the cool kids….He's the dork." With the clear, stylish art, the strongly appealing characters and just the right pinch of drama, this book will undoubtedly make readers stand up and cheer.

Brava!  (Graphic fiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-545-32698-8

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Graphix/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: July 22, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2012

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An engrossing, humorous, and vitally important graphic novel that should be required reading in every middle school in...

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NEW KID

From the New Kid series , Vol. 1

Jordan Banks takes readers down the rabbit hole and into his mostly white prep school in this heartbreakingly accurate middle-grade tale of race, class, microaggressions, and the quest for self-identity.

He may be the new kid, but as an African-American boy from Washington Heights, that stigma entails so much more than getting lost on the way to homeroom. Riverdale Academy Day School, located at the opposite end of Manhattan, is a world away, and Jordan finds himself a stranger in a foreign land, where pink clothing is called salmon, white administrators mistake a veteran African-American teacher for the football coach, and white classmates ape African-American Vernacular English to make themselves sound cool. Jordan’s a gifted artist, and his drawings blend with the narrative to give readers a full sense of his two worlds and his methods of coping with existing in between. Craft skillfully employs the graphic-novel format to its full advantage, giving his readers a delightful and authentic cast of characters who, along with New York itself, pop off the page with vibrancy and nuance. Shrinking Jordan to ant-sized proportions upon his entering the school cafeteria, for instance, transforms the lunchroom into a grotesque Wonderland in which his lack of social standing becomes visually arresting and viscerally uncomfortable.

An engrossing, humorous, and vitally important graphic novel that should be required reading in every middle school in America. (Graphic fiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: Feb. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06-269120-0

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 15, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2018

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