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Winding Oak's Bookology Magazine

Tag Archives | Zita the Spacegirl

The Shadow Hero Companion Booktalks

A 12-pack to get you started on the Bookstorm™ Books …

bk_100_5Minute5-Minute Marvel Stories, by Disney Book Group, Marvel Press, 2012. Ages 3 and up.

  • Perfect read-aloud length for younger fans
  • Nice introduction for newcomers to Spiderman, Ironman, the Hulk, the Avengers, the X-Men, Captain America
  • Other than a few swinging fists, little violence

bk_100_BoysSteelBoys of Steel: the Creators of Superman, by Marc Tyler Nobleman, illustrated by Ross Macdonald, Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers, 2008. Ages 8 and up.

  • How two high school outsiders created the most famous super hero
  • Picture book format but text and illustrations will appeal to independent readers
  • Back matter includes the story of the writer and artist’s super struggle to be acknowledged and compensated fully for their creation

bk_100_BrothersBrothers, by Yin, illustrations by Chris Soentpiet, Philomel, 2006. Ages 8 and up.

  • The story of Ming, a Chinese immigrant who arrives in San Francisco’s Chinatown in the 1800s
  • A friendships story develops when Ming defies an older brother’s orders and ventures past the Chinatown border
  • Beautiful, detailed wide-spread water color illustrations on every page 

bk_100_CompleteGuideComplete Guide to Figure Drawing for Comics and Graphic Novels, by Dan Cooney, Barron’s Educational Series, 2012. Ages 10 and up.

  • Every page has multiple tips and examples with very readable text and clear illustrations.
  • Emphasizes classic comic book action poses and character
  • Back matter includes advice on submitting portfolios and a glossary 

bk_100_DragonwingsDragonwings, by Laurence Yep, HarperCollins, 1977.

  • In the early 20th Century, a young boy travels from China to America to meet a father he doesn’t know.
  • Part of the Golden Mountain series consisting of 10 books
  • Newbery Honor book 

     


bk_100_FoiledFoiled by Jane Yolen, illustrations by Mike Cavallaro, First Second, 2011. Ages 8 and up.

  • Aliera’s ordinary life changes when she meets a new guy, acquires a new sword (she’s into fencing) and one day heads to Grand Central Station
  • Manga-style illustrations alternate between two-tone (ordinary world) and full color (the fantastic), occasionally merging
  • Details of fencing skills and equipment provide unusual background and good character development

bk_100_MarvelWayHow to Draw Comics the Marvel Way, by Stan Lee and John Buscema, Touchstone, 1984. Ages 8 and up.

  • Author Stan Lee is the creator of many comics legends, Buscema is the illustrator of many current comics
  • Many examples begin with stick figures and develop step by step—perfect for novice and experienced illustrator
  • Includes glossary

bk_100_LittleWhiteLittle White Duck: a Childhood in China, by Na Liu and Andres Vera Martinez, illustrations by Andrés Vera Martínez. Graphic Universe, 2012. Ages 8 and up.

  • Graphic memoir about Na Liu’s childhood in 1970s China; wife/husband collaboration
  • Divided into 8 short stories
  • Includes glossary of Chinese words and at-a-glance timeline of Chinese history

bk_100_PowerlessPowerless, by Matthew Cody, Knopf, 2009. Ages 8 and up.

  • Daniel is the new kid in a town—and the only one his age without a superpower
  • A Sherlock Holmes fan, Daniel decides to unearth the mystery behind the superpowers his new friends have—and why they disappear at age 13
  • First in series of three

bk_SharkKing_extendedShark King by R. Kikuo Johnson, TOON Books, 2013. Ages 4 to 8. Asian Pacific ALA’s Literary Award.

  • Child-friendly version of a Hawaiian myth
  • Clean layout—no sensory overload from text or illustrations
  • Includes discussion material for teachers and parents

     


bk_100ABCSuperHero ABC, written and illustrated by Bob McLeod, HarperCollins, 2008. Ages 3 and up.

  • An alphabet book, not a primer on superheroes, with comic-like illustrations
  • Humorous original heroes and heroines, such as Bubbleman and Firefly
  • Good prompt for individual or group superhero writing or drawing project

bk_Zita100Zita the Spacegirl, by Ben Hatke, First Second, 2011. Ages 8 and up.

  • Graphic novel with a Wizard of Oz storyline: young girl is transported to a strange world
  • Though Zita is trying to save an abducted friend, and though the planet is about to be destroyed, the text and art are more about fun than fear
  • How many weird creatures can you find?

 

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Graphic Novels: A source of inspiration and mentor texts

by Maurna Rome

Slacker illustrationFlashback to the first week of school … we were passing the microphone around our large circle of 29 third-graders. It was easy to see that many students were shy and nervous, but one young man was apparently looking for some shock value. He began with “My name is Michael” then nonchalantly added, ”I’m a slacker.” Huh? Most of the class mumbled and murmured about that intro. Many were obviously not familiar with this unique adjective.

I made note of the kid’s attitude and advanced vocabulary, and put him at the top of my list for a one-to-one reading conference. A few days later, I discovered that Michael devours books, has excellent comprehension and is actually a very motivated reader. He became quite animated when telling me all about Greg, the main character from Diary of a Wimpy Kid (who no doubt was Michael’s current role model). In the weeks to come, my classic under-achiever proudly and often proclaimed to his peers how much he enjoyed being lazy. I was determined to help Michael find a new identity by figuring out how to tap into his obvious love of reading.

cover imageThanks to an insightful book called Of Primary Importance by Anne Marie Corgill (Stenhouse, 2008), I am committed to immersing my students in authentic literacy learning. Publishing “real” hard cover books in my 1st grade classroom proved to be a successful strategy. However, now that I was beginning my first year in a 3rd grade classroom, I knew I needed to change things up a bit. Finding the best mentor texts and simply getting kids to want to read voraciously was the first order of business.

I quickly learned that this group of 8- and 9-year-olds could be reeled in by reading graphic novels. Since our classroom inventory of graphic novels mainly consisted of Squish, Bone, and Lunch Lady, I did some research and over the next few months added more titles to our classroom library. Baby Mouse, Zita the Spacegirl, Cardboard, Knights of the Lunch Table, The Lightening Thief, and Sea of Monsters (graphic novel versions) became all the rage. Library checkout of high demand titles has included Amulet, Smile, Sisters, and all of the titles from our classroom collection, since they are limited in number.

cover imageI’ve learned that a powerful approach to motivating kids to read is to be selective when suggesting a new book to students. Sometimes, I share whole-class “book talks” but, more often, I pull a student aside and confide that I thought of him (or her) the minute I turned the first page. I am sincere when I say that I am interested in his opinion, and would really appreciate hearing if he would recommend the book after reading it. Kids care much more about what their peers are saying or thinking, so it makes sense to drum up business for specific book titles in this way.

Giving kids access to what they want to read and finding ample time for independent reading during the school day (usually 30-40 minutes daily) was just the first half of my strategy to convert my smug slacker and inspire the rest of the class as well. The discovery of blank comic books on the Bare Books website ($15 for 25 books, just 60 cents each); was the golden ticket. Offering choice and no judgment (or at least very little) about what kids are reading combined with encouragement to explore their own interests in writing, became the perfect combination.

Kids were eager to create their own version of graphic novels and soon, our classroom library grew to include such interesting titles as The Day Lady Liberty Came to Life and Bacon Man and Pig Guy, both of which became series, each with 5 volumes! The adventures continued with a line-up of Pigeon titles; Don’t Let the Pigeon Ride a Unicorn and Don’t Let the Pigeon Play Five Nights at Freddy’s along with a fun and frolicking set of books entitled Party in the USA!

Here is one of the graphic novels created in the class, Bacon Man and Pig Guy, by Ian Clark.
Click on the four-headed arrow symbol to view in full screen mode.

No flipbook found!

 

Students in my class are encouraged to use literacy choice time to continue reading or writing independently, with a partner or a collaborative group. This type of peer modeling and mentoring has led to an explosion of self-published graphic novels and short stories in 3MR. Kids actually cheer when I announce that we will have time to write in both the morning and afternoon. They are “publishing” their own graphic novel series, asking each other to write reviews of their books and they are waiting patiently for their turn to read a classmate’s latest offering. Best of all, they are signing up in droves to do a “Book Share” on Fridays, a new addition to our “Book Talk, Book Shop, Book Swap” Friday activities (see my previous article on that topic!).  

cover imageFast forward to the end of December. Students were once again introducing themselves, this time to a visitor in our classroom. However, when it was time for my “slacker” to take center stage, he offered this: “Hi, my name is Michael and I’m a cartoonist.” My heart did somersaults! To really seal the deal, this same student recently approached me with a delightful idea. Taking the lead from our “Cardboard L.I.T. Club” – an afterschool book club designed to Link Imagination Text, he proposed a “Cartooning L.I.F.T. Club”, adding “F” for FUN to the acronym! This one-time slacker had actually jotted down all the information needed for the invitational flyer, complete with a catchy explanation about the club’s purpose, a schedule, and contest ideas. Despite the craziness of the last few weeks of the school year, how could I say no? 20 aspiring “Cartooning L.I.F.T. Club” members will be diving into our newest mentor text, Adventures in Cartooning, for three after-school sessions in May.

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Lowriders in Space Companion Booktalks

 

To get you started on the Bookstorm™ books …

13 Planets13 Planets: The Latest View of the Solar System, by David A. Aguilar. National Geographic Children’s Books, 2011.  Grades 2-6

  • Report material galore, beautifully organized
  • Illustrated with a combination of photographs and digital art
  • Includes several hands-on activities

Car Science coverCar Science: an Under-the-Hood, Behind-the-Dash Look at How Cars Work, by Richard Hammond, DK Books, 2008. Grades 3 and up

  • Key physics concepts as they relate to how cars run
  • DK’s signature exploded diagrams, cutaways, and high-interest visuals
  • Material is divided into intriguing sections: Power, Speed, Handling, and Technology

Chato's Kitchen coverChato’s Kitchen, by Gary Soto, illustrations by Susan Guevara, Penguin, 1997. Preschool through Grade 3.

  • Mouse family vs Chato, a very cool cat
  • Good story for “prediction”
  • Spanish and English vocabulary

Draw 50 Cars coverDraw 50 Cars, Trucks, and Motorcycles: The Step-by-Step Way to Draw Dragsters, Vintage Cars, Dune Buggies, Mini Choppers, and Much More, by Lee J. Ames, Watson-Guptill, 2012.  Grade 1 through Adult.

  • From a Disney studios artist
  • Variety of drawing projects suitable for range of experience
  • “Step-by-step” is really layer-by-layer, showing how a drawing is “built”

Girls Think of Everything coverGirls Think of Everything: Stories of Ingenious Inventions by Women, by Catherine Thimmesh, illustrated by Melissa Sweet, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2002. Grades 3 and up.

  • Sibert-winning author, Caldecott-winning artist
  • Inventions from exotic to familiar
  • Inventors and inventions going back to 3000 BC

If I Built a CarIf I Built a Car, by Chris Van Dusen. Dutton Books for Young Readers, 2005.  Primary grades.

  • 2006 E.B. White Read Aloud Award
  • Classic Van Dusen illustrations: bold colors, cartoon-style (look for hidden references to a few other Van Dusen books)
  • Great discussion starter for all ages: What kind of car would YOU design?

Mr. Mendoza's Paintbrush coverMr. Mendoza’s Paintbrush, by Luis Alberto Urrea, illustrated by Christopher Cardinale, Cinco Puntos Press, 2010. Grades 7 and up.

  • Graphic novel about a graffiti artist and Mexican village life, with some magic realism
  • Narrative is a non-linear reminiscence—bold flashes of story to match the art
  • Richly-colored woodblock-style art

My Little Car coverMy Little Car, by Gary Soto, illustrated by Pam Paparone, Putnam, 2006. Preschool and primary grades.

  • Child-grandparent story
  • English and Spanish vocabulary
  • Just how do you make a car dance?

NicoVisitsNico Visits the Moon, by Honorio Robledo, Cinco Puntos Press, 2001. Preschool and primary grades.

  • Vivid, imaginative, art
  • Crawling baby, balloons, the moon—each page turn delivers a fantasy surprise
  • Bilingual in Spanish and English

Norther Lights coverNorthern Lights: The Science, Myth, and Wonder of the Aurora Borealis, by George Bryson, photographs by Calvin Hall and Daryl Pederson, Sasquatch Books, 2001. Grades 3 and up for looking at the photographs, grades 5 and up for the science.

  • Beautiful photographs that can be looked at again and again
  • Discusses the many myths and legends inspired by the lights
  • Concise explanation of geophysics behind the phenomenon

Remind coverRemind, by Jason Brubaker, Coffee Table Comics, 2011. Grades 5 and up.

  • Graphic novel with a great cast: Sonja, a young woman who is a mechanical genius; Victuals, her cat that may have received the brain of an exiled lizard man; an underwater colony of lizard people
  • Wonderful array of mechanical inventions (Discuss: what kind of gizmos would you like to invent?)
  • Crisp, uncluttered illustrations—at times suitably creepy

Shark King CoverShark King, by R. Kikuo Johnon, TOON Books, 2012. Grades 1 and up.

  • Child-friendly version of a Hawaiian myth
  • Clean, highly readable layout—no sensory overload from text or illustrations
  • Includes discussion material for teachers and parents

 


Zita coverZita the Spacegirl, by Ben Hatke, First Second, 2010.  Grades 3 and up.

  • Graphic novel with a Wizard of Oz storyline: young girl is transported to a strange world
  • Though Zita is trying to save an abducted friend, and though the planet is about to be destroyed, the text and art are more about fun than fear
  • How many weird creatures can you find?

 

 

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Return of Zita the Spacegirl

The Return of Zita the Spacegirl

Ben Hatke can’t conceive of, write, and draw these stories fast enough for me—and a host of other fans. Just released, this book follows Zita the Spacegirl (2010) and Legends of Zita the Spacegirl (2012). Doing the math, I know I won’t be reading the next installment until 2016. Whahhh. I’ve read so many stories […]

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