A lighthearted tale with black and brown characters, matter-of-fact Brooklyn bilingualism, and a solid message of creating...

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SCI-FU

Graphic novelist Mercado celebrates the joy of hip-hop.

This fun, candy-colored Afrofuturist saga set in 1980s Brooklyn introduces 13-year-old budding DJ Wax; his ice cream truck–vendor uncle Rashaad (he swears in ice cream flavors); his pizza-deliverer–turned–best-friend, Cooky P; and his brainy, truth-telling little sister The D, the tale’s real hero. The story opens as Wax produces a colossal sonic disaster (according to his family) for his crush, Pirate Polly. The lovingly honest criticism spurs Wax to try again—and, in the process, he transports them all to a Blade Runner–inspired world called Discopia, accidentally kills King Chug Chug, its ruler, and calls forth a mentor, Kabuki Snowman, who teaches the teenager Sci-Fu, described as “a mix between a martial art and a musical instrument…to manipulate and modulate the sound waves around you” in order to defeat the king’s son Choo Choo and his mixed-gender crew, the Five Deadly Dangers. This trippy, psychedelic adventure, with chapters labeled like album tracks, is as much a call and response to Vijay Prashad’s Everybody Was Kung-Fu Fighting (2002) and a riff on astrophysicist Neil de Grasse Tyson’s comment that all of the universe is literally made of stardust as it is a not-so-subtle visual reference to Samurai Jack’s villain Aku and a nod to Get Out’s lifesaving-friendship trope.

A lighthearted tale with black and brown characters, matter-of-fact Brooklyn bilingualism, and a solid message of creating through failure and love. (Graphic science fiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: March 13, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-62010-472-9

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Oni Press

Review Posted Online: Jan. 22, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2018

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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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This winning paranormal uses witchcraft to explore adolescent rebellion.

THE OKAY WITCH

It is Halloween when Moth Hush finds out she is descended from a line of witches.

Her mother reveals the story of their witch origins going back to 17th-century Europe, which Moth’s maternal grandmother, Sarah, fled along with her order for supposed safety in Founder’s Bluff, Massachusetts, only to find persecution there. Led by Sarah, the witches escaped the wrath of the Puritans through a blood ritual that opened a portal to Hecate, a spiritual realm that provided safety. Moth’s mother rebelled and broke away from the coven to live in the real world, ultimately as a single parent to Moth in the 21st century. After a talking black cat (the spirit of a deceased neighbor) appears and befriends Moth, Moth peeks at her mother’s diary—which opens a portal to Hecate, and Moth secretly begins to practice spells unsupervised and to connect with her family there. Moth and family sort through a complicated lineage whose legacy reveals itself to be very much alive in present-day Founder’s Bluff. In Steinkellner’s graphic panels, Moth and her family have brown skin and puffy dark hair, and the 17th-century coven is shown to be multiracial. The complex history provides a mechanism through which Moth sorts through her own coming-of-age as a modern girl of color, and it’s the loving, oftentimes humorous rapport among the Hush women that grounds this graphic novel.

This winning paranormal uses witchcraft to explore adolescent rebellion. (Graphic fantasy. 10-14)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5344-3146-1

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Aladdin

Review Posted Online: May 12, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2019

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