Saturday, April 5, 2008

Meme: High School Daze to Praise

My colleague and fellow blogger Paul C. who writes so eloquently on his blog quoteflections has started a meme. A meme is sort of like a blog chain letter but without the warnings of gloom and doom attached if you don't pass it on. This is the second meme in which I have participated (the first was a meme that asked bloggers to write about the most important learning that our students need).

Paul has asked us to recommend a book for use in English classes that will knock the socks off disengaged young adult readers. Since I've been working on some pd for teachers about the use of graphic novels in the classroom, I decided to chose a graphic novel for this meme. However, I have about 6 more books I'd like to add: there are so many great books that will engage students. However, when it comes right down to it, matching the book to the reader is the key to hook students into reading. One book will never do it for all students.
So here are the instructions:
1. Select and briefly review one teen novel, classic or modern, which is a sure antidote to the daze of high school.
2. Title your post Meme: High School Daze to Praise
3. Include an image with your post.
4. Tag four blog colleagues.

The book I've chosen is Maus: A Survivor's Tale, Volume 1 by Art Spiegelman. "A survivor of Hitler's Europe, and his son, a cartoonist, tries to come to terms with his father, his father's terrifying story, and history itself." (descriptor from Webcat, our online library catolog). The main characters in this graphic novel are humanoid, with different groups depicted as mice (Jews), cats (Germans), dogs (Americans), etc. The graphic novel format appeals to many readers and, unlike film, allows students to linger over images, move forward and back between panels and interact with the text at their own speed to understand the message. This book's subject is not easy - it is very 'graphic'. Among other themes, Maus illustrates how the effects of significant family tragedies can be passed on to subsequent generations. This book won:

1988 Angoulême International Comics Festival Awards - Religious Award: Christian Testimony & Prize for Best Comic Book: Foreign Comic Award (Maus: un survivant raconte).
1988 Urhunden Prize - Foreign Album (Maus).
1990 Max & Moritz Prizes - Special Prize (Maus).
1992 Pulitzer Prize - Special Awards and Citations - Letters (Maus). [1]
1992 Eisner Award - Best Graphic Album: Reprint (Maus II).
1992 Harvey Award - Best Graphic Album of Previously Published Work (Maus II). [2]
1993 Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Fiction (Maus II, A Survivor's Tale). [3]
1993 Angoulême International Comics Festival Awards - Prize for Best Comic Book: Foreign comic (Maus: un survivant raconte, part II).
1993 Urhunden Prize - Foreign Album (Maus II).


pc said...

Hi Sharon,
Your perspective on graphic novels is interesting and enriching. What an effective way to hook a reluctant reader with a powerful book of the genre. Thanks for your honoured selection.

Esther said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Esther said...

I'd love to hear what your other top picks were!

By the way, have you run across the Essex County series of graphic novels by Jeff Lemire? I've got a review of "Tales from the Farm" over on my blog somewhere. There is some profanity so they need to be introduced carefully to students, but I thought they were pretty cool both for the local interest and the acclaim they've received.