2015 Thumbs Up award from the Michigan Library Association winner

Every year the Michigan Library Association gives out the Thumbs Up award that recognizes books that offer an outstanding contribution to young adult literature. This years winner is Through the Woods by Emily Carroll.
The book has 5 graphic stories in it each one a complete "fairy tale" type story. The artwork is just phenomenal and the stories gave me chills. Th stories included in the book are Our neighbor's house - A lady's hands are cold - His face all red --My friend Janna - The nesting place and each one creates a great feeling of the "weird" that really works great in tandem with the artwork.

So if you are interested in a great series of short weird graphic stories then give the 2015 Thumbs Up award winning Through the Woods a read!

NPR's Best Books of 2015

NPR recently released its Best Books of 2015 list, an in depth yearly endeavor where critics and NPR staff choose their favorite books of the year and compile them into a genre-spanning list of several hundred titles. I love that, along with the expected books on the list that are getting accolades from numerous publications and organizations, NPR’s list always contains more obscure titles that many readers likely missed over the course of the year.

You can view all of the titles from the list that we have available in our catalog here.

So what’s on this list of nearly 300 books? Here’s a preview:

In Speak, by Louisa Hall, a young Puritan woman travels to America with her unwanted husband, while in other time and place Alan Turing writes letters to his best friend’s mother and a Jewish refugee tries to reconnect with his distant wife. Elsewhere in time and space, a lonely young girl speaks with an intelligent software program and a formerly celebrated Silicon Valley entrepreneur is imprisoned for making illegal lifelike dolls. How does Hall tie all these characters together? As they all try somehow to communicate across gaps, Hall connects their stories, creating an amazing book that is a blend of historical fiction, science fiction and fantasy.

V is for Vegetables offers more than 140 simple recipes for cooking vegetables in unique and unexpected ways at home. Author and chef Michael Anthony has cleverly divided the chapters of the book by vegetable, so if you ever find yourself staring at kohlrabi or tomatillos in the grocery store, curious about how one cooks such things, this is the book for you! And even expert cooks will be refreshed by Anthony’s new ideas for ways to use common vegetables like broccoli, tomatoes, carrots and squash.

The Battle of Versailles tells of a little-known event that took place at the Palace of Versailles: as a fundraiser for the restoration of the palace, the world’s elite gathered in the grand theater there for a “fashion competition” of sorts: five American designers (including Oscar de la Renta and Anne Klein) faced off against five French designers considered to be the best designers in the world—Yves Saint Laurent, Hubert de Givenchy and others. The American clothes were expected to be a laughingstock but instead, the garments and the energy of the models who wore them wowed the crowd. By the end of the evening, American fashion in the world had transformed from a footnote to an enormous influence, not only on style itself but also on the way race, gender, sexuality and economics were treated in fashion in the years to come.

Crossover Graphic Novels- December edition special TV/Movie tie-in edition!

This month we're going to take a look at some of the great comics that have TV or movie tie-ins. Sometimes watching a show or a movie just isn't enough and you want more. Thankfully we live in a wonderful time where comic book companies have realizes this and provide us with sometimes hundreds of issues of our favorite movies and shows in comic form. So without further ado here are some great graphic novels that are wonderful for kids and adults alike!

With Star Wars Episode VII:The Force Awakens just a mere 10 days from release now is a great time to catch up on the Star Wars universes wonderful comics. From comics that are humourous (such as the Star Wars Jedi Academy series), to the continuation of the Star Wars Clone Wars Adventures, and even Manga style Empire Strikes Back. So while you count down the days until The Force Awakens why not read some excellent graphic novels.

The longest running animation in US history is The Simpsons and it's no surprise that they have been making Simpsons comics for quite a while now (Bart even has his own series of comics if you can't get enough of his antics!). What is surprising is that the comics feel like the show and if you're familiar with the characters than it is entirely possible that you will read the comics in their voices! The comics keep the feel of the show without duplicating the actual episodes, so if you have seen all the episodes and still want more (or even if you haven't seen them all) then The Simpsons Comic is for you!!!

Teen Titans is a great show for fans of the DC comic world and their latest series "Teen Titans Go" is wonderful as well, but now in a move that turns your favorite comic book turned TV stars back into a comic you can read the first volume of the newly release Teen Titans Go comic. The artwork is identical to the cartoon and so if you need more Teen Titans in your life then Teen Titans Go Voume 1: Party Part! is just the comic for you!

Gruesome folk(ish) tales in comic form.

The Saint's Eyes and other stories by C.Frakes is a collection of stories that all share one thing in common, they are all weird in the original sense of the word. They have something out of the ordinary, something slightly mystical and sometimes gruesome to them. My favorite of the stories is a woman talking about her life and the curse that she's been placed under. At first you don't notice anything strange but as the panels progress you get a better understanding of just who the woman was.

The artwork is simple, but it works with the style of stories that are being told. The simple lines and lack of shading in the comics give it a whimsical feel that plays well with the stories and creates something that is great.

If you enjoy short stories told in comic form and folk tales then The Saint's Eyes and other stories is definitely for you!

Fantastic Fantasy Graphic Novels!

There's a lot of great fantasy graphic novels being published and the library has a lot of great trades, but sometimes you want more than just "great" you want to read a fantasy graphic novel that is, well fantastic. So here's some of the most fantastic fantasy trades that the library has for you to check out.

Telos follows Young Jarek and his companions, an anthropomorphic Tiger named Koj, a swashbuckling pirate named Serra, an anthropomorphic fox thief named Rikki, Rikki's companion Hawke an Elf and .a Genie that is bound to protect only Jarek. Read as the companions try to discover the mystery behind Jarek's origin. The artwork in this is very vibrant with lots of bold color choices. The character development in the story is wonderful and you really get a feel for the fantastic world that these companions live in.

Pretty Deadly is a hard comic to describe, it's a western, fable, fantasy, adventure, mystery, art piece. It starts off with a butterfly and a bunny talking about the day they met, the day that bunny was afraid and the day that a young woman, Sissy, shot him. Fantasy westerns are not that common and so when one comes along that is lyrical, in the sense that it focuses on symbols rather than plot to develop the story, and beautifully illustrated. You can tell that each page, each panel is carefully drawn with great attention to the small parts that make a greater whole more solid. If you are at all intrigued by the idea of a western fantasy narrated by a bunny and a butterfly then this is most definitely the graphic novel for you.

The Mouse Guard are a group of mice who protect their lands in a world where almost everything else is their enemy. The story has an epic feel and often deals with subjects such as fate, destiny and what it is to be a hero. The artwork in this is deeply moving and unlike many other fantasies with animals as the protagonist the mice are not overtly anthropomorphized but instead still look and feel like mice, even if they walk on two legs. This is not the first time I've recommended this series and it won't be the last it is a fantastic graphic novel series and worth every minute it takes to read them!

Here's three of the most fantastic fantasy graphic novels that we have at the library. Keep watch for more fantastic fantasy blogs for even more fantastic fantasy!

There's nothing more Exquisite than a good graphic novel.

French graphic novels translated into English are beginnning to become more popular with titles such as Blacksad taking the comic world by storm. It's not surprising then that Exquisite Corpse has found its way across the Atlantic.

The story follows Zoe, a promotional model for motor shows and other such industry events, as she expresses disinterest in her life and the direction that it's going. One day, on her lunch break, she notices a man looking out at the world from his apartment, and needing to use the bathroom, she barges into his life. The man turns out to be a famous author Thomas Rochard who supposedly died several years earlier. Zoe must navigate living with a "dead" man, as well as his former wife and current editor Agathe.

The artwork is exquisite, if you'll excuse my use of the word to describe this book, and lush with meaning. Whilst reading it you can almost forget that this was originally French, the translation is that good, and you might find yourself shocked when a city scene that is so obviously French appears.

This book is a fascinating read, from the subject matter to the almost meta nature of a book about an author, and it's well worth adding to your "to read" list.

New Yorker Cartoonist Bruce Eric Kaplan Discusses His New Memoir "I Was A Child"

Wednesday November 11, 2015: 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm -- Downtown Library: Multi-Purpose Room

This event will be recorded

Bruce Eric Kaplan, the renowned New Yorker cartoonist, visits AADL to discuss his critically praised illustrated memoir I Was a Child. This event, cosponsored by AADL and the Jewish Community Center of Greater Ann Arbor as part of the 2015 Jewish Book Festival, will include a book signing and books will be for sale.

Bruce Eric Kaplan, also known as BEK, is one of the most celebrated and admired cartoonists in America. I Was a Child is the story of his childhood in suburban New Jersey, detailing the small moments we all experience: going to school, playing with friends, family dinners, watching TV on a hot summer night, and so on. It would seem like a conventional childhood, although Kaplan’s anecdotes are accompanied by his signature drawings of family outings and life at home-road trips, milk crates, hamsters, ashtrays, a toupee, a platypus, and much more. Kaplan’s cartoons, although simple, are never straightforward; they encompass an easy irony and dark humor that often cuts straight to the truth of experience. Brilliantly relatable and genuinely moving, I Was a Child is about our attempts to understand the mysteries that are our parents, our families, and ourselves.

Bruce Eric Kaplan is an American artist whose single-panel cartoons frequently appear in The New Yorker. He also has a whole other life as a television writer and producer, currently for HBO’s Girls.

The Jewish Book Festival runs November 4–15. For more information about the Jewish Community Center of Greater Ann Arbor or the Jewish Book Festival, visit jccannarbor.org.

Comic artist spotlight: Marguerite Debaie

Marguerite Debaie is a Palestinian-American artist who has been writing comics about the Palestinian-American experience and they are great. Her first book, in two volumes, The Hookah Girl and other Stories are humorously poignant observations from someone who has grown up as a Christian Palestinian in the US. These two volumes manage to capture what it was like for Marguerite growing up. The art is beautiful and at times it manages to capture in time a moment of great importance for us to share with the artist. So check out Volume 1 and Volume 2

Her second book A Voyage to Panjikant is a beautiful piece of historical fiction that follows a family from 7th Century Sogdiana (now known as Uzbekistan) who are in the midst of the silk road. This first volume is short, but you can see the time and care that went into making it. The coloring is by far some of the most beautiful work I’ve seen in some time, Debaie really captures the vibrancy of the culture. If you are interested in historical-fiction comics then you need to read A Voyage to Panjikant.

Crossover Graphic Novels November Edition!

We've got a whole bunch of great crossover graphic novels for you this month and these ones are amazing!

First up this month we have Gryphon's Aren't So Great by James Sturm of Adventures in Cartooning fame. This story follows The Knight and his best friend Edward (who is his horse). Like all friendships this one is troubled by a gryphon (what your friendships don't have gryphon troubles? Must just be me). The Knight meets the Gryphon and starts riding him instead of Edward, and talking to Edward about how great Gryphon is. So just what will Edward do when Gryphon turns out to be more perilous than a pet? Read Gryphon's Aren't So Great and find out.

The second crossover graphic novel this month is Fable Comics which has a variety of artists but was edited together by Chris Duffy. These are not your normal every day fables. Nope these ones include ninja grapes (that may or may not be sour), ironic stepping on people, and leopards who really know how to rock! First Second, the published of this collection, really brought their A game to the table. The art is all great and the stories will make you chuckle, if not laugh out so loud that people wonder what's funny.

The third and final crossover is an adaptation of a wildly successful book series Warriors. Follow Ravanpaw, Tigerstar, Sasha, Graystripe, and Scourge amongst others as these graphic novels take you through new stories set in the world of Warriors. The art work in the books captures the feel of the novels, and its interesting to see what someone else imagines your favorite cats to look like! Those of you who are not already fans of the Warriors series (or who think you're too old for them) the stories in the novels are often captivating and any cat lover could enjoy the antics of these wonderful cats!

That's it for this month, but keep your eyes open for other great graphic novels that we blog about in the next month!

Lawbreakers Beware! Judge Dredd is in the Building!

The British comic 2000 AD has had a huge impact on the world of comics and graphic novels with such great comic book geniuses as Alan Moore, Peter Milligan and Neil Gaiman having worked for the comic, but none of the stories to come out of 2000 AD are quite as well known as Judge Dredd, spawning hundreds of issues of comics and 2 major motion pictures as well as a slew of video games.

Now in almost 400-page volumes, you can read the exploits of Judge Dredd in Mega-City One for yourself in "The Complete Judge Dredd Case files". The comics have a dark and gritty feel that now might be commonplace amongst certain genres of graphic novels, but at the time was truly revolutionary!

If you've ever seen the movies or played the games and wanted to know more about Judge Dredd and the world that he lives in, then now is the perfect chance to check out the many volumes that the library offers.

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