Showing posts with label kids. Show all posts
Showing posts with label kids. Show all posts

Saturday, 17 September 2016

Mini-Review! (Comics Edition!) - The Sun Dragon's Song #1










Title: The Sun Dragon's Song #1

Author: Joyce Chng, Kim Miranda

Genre: Kids, Fantasy

Series: The Sun Dragon's Song

Release Date: 21 September 2016

Amazon: UK - USA





Verdict:

I received a free digital review copy of this book from the publishers, Rosarium Publishing, via NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.

I know I normally write full reviews instead of mini-reviews when I have an ARC, but this is only a single comic issue, so I figured a mini-review would give me enough time to talk about it. :)

This is the first issue in 'The Sun Dragon's Song' series - and it's a promising start.

First off: the artwork. THE ARTWORK. SERIOUSLY, THE ARTWORK.

It's stunningly beautiful. I would frame any page from this book and put it on my wall. Wow. Just... WOW.

I also liked the slow pace to this first issue, it's very gentle, but not at all boring - which I really like.

Pretty much the only criticism I can make of this book is that some of the dialogue felt a little overly-exposition-based, and perhaps a little forced...?

But overall, that really wasn't a big problem. And I'm being a little nit-picky now, I know; but that was really the only thing that I could criticise.

I just hope the rest of the series is this beautiful! Seriously, it's hard to exaggerate just how stunning this comic was visually.

(And dragons! I mean... dragons!!!!!)

Hopefully our little hero will get closer to his dream of being a Sun Dragon Rider, and prove the a**-holes who make fun of his disability wrong! (Yes, I'm invested in this... very much so!)














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Tuesday, 13 September 2016

Graphic Novels With Latinx Main Character/s

I was talking to Naz @ Read Diverse Books the other day, and we kind of had a lightbulb-type moment.

We both love graphic novels, and Naz was interested in reading graphic novels with Latinx main characters.

If you've read this blog before, you'll be aware that I'm a complete comics/superheroes/graphic novels nerd... but we struggled to think of any.






Now, as the major English-language graphic novel publishers are American, you'd think that there would be a little more Latinx representation then there currently is.

Still, I was sure that Latinx main characters must exist out there somewhere - so decided to track them down.
















After a lot of research and much SCREAMING AT THE DAMNED COMPUTER, these are the books I could find (I have no idea whether they're any good, but I found them dammit!):








Fábio Moon and Gabriel Bá

The first of two sets of brothers on this list, Fábio Moon and Gabriel Bá are from São Paulo, Brazil.

Gabriel Bá is also the artist on Gerard Way's Umbrella Academy (I love that series! SO BAD!) So you can be damn sure that these books are now on my TBR.




-Daytripper

Brás de Oliva Domingos is the child of a famous Brazilian author, he dreams of being one himself, but is stuck writing the obituaries of famous people.

Goodreads describes this as  'a magical, mysterious and moving story about life itself.'

Amazon: UK - US


- De:Tales : Stories from Urban Brazil

These are short stories told in comics form - and according to Goodreads are 'Brimming with all the details of human life, their charming tales move from the urban reality of their home in São Paulo to the magical realism of [the authors'] Latin American background.'

Amazon: UK - US

















The Hernandez brothers

Gilbert, Mario, and Jaime Hernandez seem to be the veterans of USA Latinx graphic novels, and have literally decades of work under their belts.




-Love and Rockets

This is a series about (according to our old pal Goodreads) 'three Southern California Mexican-Americans armed with a passion for pop culture and punk rock' which started in the 80s, going on to span many volumes and spin-offs.

(Seriously, I think it's possible to read nothing but this series, and it's related series, for the rest of your life.)

The first volume is 'Music for Mechanics.'

Amazon: UK - US








Marble Season

By Gilbert Hernandez, one of the above creators of Love and Rockets, this is a coming-of-age story about Latinx brothers growing up in 1960s America.


Amazon: UK - US















Julio's Day

A sort-of spin-off from Love and Rockets, Julio's Day is a stand-alone graphic novel from Gilbert Hernandez which shares some of the settings and themes of the Love and Rockets world.

Julio's Day follows Julio from his birth in 1900 to his death in 2000 - 100 years over 100 pages (and yes, I've totally added this to my TBR.)

Amazon: UK - US







Roller Girl

This an 'all-ages' (i.e. kids & people (like yours truly,) who are not ashamed to read kids' books,) graphic novel about Astrid Vasquez, a 12-year-old who has always done everything with her BFF Nicole.

So when Astrid signs up for roller derby summer camp, she figures Nicole will too - except Nicole goes to dance camp with another friend. What will roller derby camp be like on her own?

Amazon: UK - US








City of Clowns

This is a graphic novel version of Daniel Alarcón's story of the same name.

Our protagonist here is Oscar 'Chino' Uribe - a Peruvian journalist who begins documenting the lives of Lima's street clowns, while coming to terms with the realities of his late father's life.

Amazon: UK - US













Anita Blake

This is a graphic-novel-fication (shhh! It's a word now!) of the Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter series by Laurell K Hamilton.

Anita is half-Mexican on her mother's side, and is generally pretty awesome. The first volume (like the first novel) is Guilty Pleasures.

Amazon: UK - US






Mi Barrio

This is entrepreneur Robert Renteria's graphic memoir of growing up in LA, based on his prose memoir 'From the Barrio to the Board Room.'

Amazon: UK - US





Ghetto Brother: Warrior to Peacemaker

This is a biography in graphic novel form, telling the story of Benjy Melendez - a Bronx gang-leader from the 1960s who led the Ghetto Brothers. This is the story of a gang that promoted peace, instead of violence, and managed to bring a gang truce to their area.

I've added this to my own TBR, because the more I read about it, the more I wanted to know!

Amazon: UK - US












Exilia The Invisible Path Book 1

The only graphic novel by Cecilia Pego which I could find in English, Goodreads describes this as a 'dark fantasy and mystical thriller graphic novel saga, originally crafted in ink, watercolor and oil painting.'

It features Exilia - who is apparently expelled from her convent and ends up in a post-apocalyptic quest (as we've all done, at some point in our lives...)

Amazon: UK - US







Ghosts

This is a brand-spanking new all-ages (kids) graphic novel from Raina Telgemeier about two sisters - Catrina and Maya - who move to the coastal Bahía de la Luna because the coastal air is better for Maya's cystic fibrosis.

But Bahía de la Luna has a secret - it's a town full of ghosts. Maya really want to see one. Catrina? Not so much.

Amazon: UK - US


















Mr Mendoza's Paintbrush

Originally a short story, this graphic novel adaptation is about Mr Mendoza - the resident famous graffiti artist of Rosario, Mexico.

The residents of Rosario have a variety of opinions on Mr Mendoza and his satirical art, but rumours and speculation start to fly when a message is painted on the side of a pig: 'Mendoza goes to heaven on Tuesday.'

Amazon: UK - US















Awkward

This was actually already on my TBR. Another 'all-ages' title, this features young protagonist Penelope Torres - known as Peppi.

Peppi has just arrived at a new middle school, she has 2 cardinal rules for survival: don't get noticed by the mean kids, and join groups with similar interests to her own.

But a chance run-in with quiet Jaime Thompson leaves the mean kids calling her 'nerder girlfriend,' and instead of ignoring them, she treats Jaime very badly...

Amazon: UK - US

















Superheroes

You know I like me some powers and capes, so I had to find some Latinx superheroes for this list.

It was more difficult than it should've been - especially since Latinx characters, where they exist, seem to be part of superhero team rather than having their own titles.

I wanted to go with title-characters because there's a guarantee that their story will take centre stage and not be eclipsed by others.

I did find some, so take a look:






Blue Beetle (Jaime Reyes)

This is a DC series about teenager Jaime Reyes who has the powers imbued by a mystical Blue Beetle scarab. (Yeah... just go with it.)

This is technically a legacy character - i.e. another individual has taken up the mantle of a previous superhero - but there are very few people who remember the original 1930/40s character.

The modern Blue Beetle books start with the 2006 run - Vol 1, Shellshocked.

Amazon: UK - US
















Araña/Arana (Anya Corazon)

Meet Anya, a Marvel Latinx Spider-Girl who goes by the name of either Araña or Arana. In all honesty, this one was a surprise to yours truly - I'd never heard of her. Ever.

I don't know whether this is Earth-616 (the main universe/timeline for Marvel) or an alternate universe or timeline (there are a lot of them - hence the requirement to number them.)

The only book I could find for Anya was Arana Volume 1: The Heart of a Spider from 2005.

Amazon: UK - US







Ultimate Spider-Man (Miles Morales)

The Spider-Man of the 'Ultimate' universe (Marvel - multiple universes, gotta love 'em. So many Spideys that it's now known as the Spider-Verse. #TrueStory,) is Miles Morales - a black-Latinx teenager.

This is usually a Brian Michael Bendis (BMB) title, which y'know, usually means pretty good quality. I was disappointed by the small rant against diversity fans earlier this year though :/ I expect better of BMB.

I recommend starting with Miles Morales: Ultimate Spider-Man: Volume 1: Revival (Man, that's a long title!) because previous books in the ultimate series are kind of leading from the Peter Parker of that universe to Miles Morales, so there's crossover (as far as I understand it; really Marvel, if we could stop labelling everything as #1? That would be handy.)

(Yes, Miles Morales - one of the poster-boys for Marvel diversity - is both alternate universe AND a legacy character. Sigh.)

Amazon: UK - US















Nova (Sam Alexander)

Another legacy (i.e. takes up the name of a previous hero,) character, Nova is a dude who flies through space - often with the Guardians of the Galaxy - and also has his own title-series.

You can check him out in Nova, Vol 1: Origin.

Amazon: UK - US





















Ghost Rider (Robbie Reyes)

Yet another legacy character (but, y'know, being the Ghost Rider is basically just being the vessel of the Power of Vengeance, so I suppose that makes more sense,) Robbie Reyes' stint as Ghost Rider began in 2013/2014.

His title-series run begins with All-New Ghost Rider, Vol 1: Engines of Vengeance.

Amazon: UK - US








Vibe (Cisco Ramon)








Played by the amazing Carlos Valdes (I love him!) in the CW series The Flash, Vibe was also given his own DC comics title-series which so far only has one volume - Justice League of America's Vibe, Vol 1: The Breach.

Vibe uses vibrations and inter-dimensional physics to see through alternate universes and timelines (a handy talent in the comics world, let's face it,) and also to move objects, 'blast' stuff, and levitate.

Amazon: UK - US














Coming Up...

There's more good news for graphic novel fans later this year -

La Borinqueña, a new Marvel heroine, will be making her debut in November.

Bread and Butter (issue #1) by Liz Mayorga will also be out later this year (and yours truly will be doing a mini-review.)

And there's an anthology (La Raza Anthology) on Kickstarter which promises great things :)





Ok, my dearest nerdlets, I'm going to go take a long lie down now because you wouldn't believe how long this post took me... phew!




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Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Month In Review(s) - August 2016

August. Ahhhh, August.





(I can't resist a happy-dog-in-sunglasses pic!)




August was actually a pretty good month for me.

Despite how difficult my anxiety made it, I came out as sexually fluid; and that felt great ;)






Blog-wise, less impressive stats than last month. But they were still pretty damn good :)

Over 4k page-views this month, reaching over 25k page-views over-all!!!!!!!!!!! XD I mean - wow! 25k!!!!!! XD XD

(Actually I've now reached over 26k, but 25 is such a round and shiny number, lol!)

And I now have over 950 followers on Twitter.

Things've stagnated a little on BlogLovin' - but still trotting along with a handful of new followers this month :)



And shameless plug time!

The Bookish Diversity Link List 2016 is up and running.

Be sure to check it out, and let me know if you find anything I can add! (It's easier when people help me, lol.)




Kids




The Bone Sparrow by Zana Fraillon - contemporary, magic realism





Young Adult



Switched by Amanda Hocking - fantasy, paranormal* (*ish)





Adult









Graphic Novels




Limbo, Volume 1 - fantasy*, horror*, crime* (*ish)
Kilala Disney Princess, Vol 1 - young adult, fantasy, manga, fairy tale, media tie-in






Saturday, 27 August 2016

Review Time! - The Bone Sparrow by Zana Fraillon













Title: The Bone Sparrow

Author: Zana Fraillon

Genre: Kids, Contemporary, Magic Realism

Amazon: UK - USA






A few starting notes:

I received a free digital review copy of this book via NetGalley. NetGalley provides review copies from publishers in exchange for fair and honest reviews.

This book looked interesting and a little unusual - so I was like 'ooh! shiny!'

And you know what? Wow.






Premise:

Subhi was born in a refugee camp in Australia. He still lives there, with his mother and his sister.

Sometimes, the Night Sea brings Subhi gifts.

One day, it brings him a girl. A girl with a bone sparrow charm around her neck. A girl who can come and go as she pleases - an Outside girl.






Best bits:

I knew very, very little about the Rohingya before reading this book - I was aware that there were refugees from Burma/Myanmar in Australia, but that was about it.

While we're not given much background on the Rohingya here, other than that they're persecuted, the highlighting of their plight can only be a good thing.

Subhi is the crowning glory of this book. He is sweet, relatable, believable, and strong. He is incredible.












I also loved the way stories, memories, and the power of words, were treated in this book.

Subhi and Jimmie (the 'Outside' Australian girl,) bond over stories and a feeling that they can't create sense in the strange world that they live in.

So they create their own corner of calm, where stories seem more real than reality.

I liked that this book didn't shy away from that reality though - the poor conditions the Rohingya are living in, the way they both long for home and fear it, the feeling of hopelessness that pervades in the camp, turning slowly into anger...

I think it's important that books are bold enough to show the roughness of reality, while maintaining the hope and the heart that are shown here.







Not so great bits:

While I liked the story of Jimmie's persecuted Eastern European ancestors, I felt like it was a little unnecessary, and perhaps a tad constructed.

Do we really need to equate the Rohingya's suffering with that of persecuted white people in order to empathise? Perhaps so. But, if that's the case, we need to take a long hard look at what we're doing in this life.

I would've preferred the story of Subhi's mother - travelling with a small child and another on the way, not sure what was waiting ahead, but hoping that life would be better. Or the tale of Subhi's father, someone Subhi has never met, but hopes to meet one day.

I just feel like those stories would've felt more valid here.










The ending felt like it wasn't... well, ended enough.

There wasn't enough resolution of the various threads - at least, not for me, though I grant you that that's a personal thing.

I was also surprised - given that this is a kids' book - that the odd mild swear word sneaked in there. I don't have a problem with it - and it was perfectly acceptable in context, but I can see there being issues for some parents.

There's also some violence, mentions of 'suicide watch' etc. Again, totally understandable in context, but will be an issue for some.






Verdict:

This is a great book. A very human book about a little boy, and the stories he makes to make the world around him make more sense.











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