About Jesse Karp

Early Childhood and Interdivisional Librarian at LREI - Little Red School House and Elisabeth Irwin High School, Booklist Reviewer, Guys LIt Wire Blogger, Serving on ALA's Great Graphic Novels for Teens Committee

Tell Us Which Graphic Novels Are Great

Did you know that the Great Graphic Novels for Teens committee discussions are open to the public?  Our discussions and final votes are happening at Mid-winter in Boston (at the Fairmont Copley Plaza from Saturday through Tuesday, to be exact).  If you drop by, you can listen to our discussions and say your own piece about what was nominated (or even what should have been but wasn’t).  The list of final nominations is right here, so have a look, make up your mind and come tell us all about it.

A Graphic Novel By Any Other Name

My colleagues, my editor, my friends, my students and (especially) their parents have all bemoaned on one occasion or another the term “graphic novel”.  Problem 1: They’re not always novels.  Problem 2 (mostly from parents of students): the word “graphic” suggests adult and/or extreme content.  Well, I’ve made my peace with the fact that the name refers to the physical form of the object (it has a similar appearance to that of a standard novel) rather than the contents, and at this point we maybe too far gone to replace it anyway.  However, this has not come up on the Great Graphic Novels for Teens Committee and I’m interested in a rough general consensus.  Should there be a change?  And to what?  I’ve heard graphics novel, graphics, graphic book, graphic format, sequential book and GN (which sort of avoids the issue and faces it both at the same time), plus plenty of others I won’t labor through here.  Please, tell me: where do you stand and what’s your suggestion for a name change, if you’ve got one?

Graphic Novels: A Top Five

Howdy. I’m Jesse Karp, librarian, reviewer and Great Graphic Novels for Teens committee-member. Since I work with ‘em and love ‘em and this is my first post, I figured I’d throw out my top five favorite graphic novels list. What better way to give you a sense of my tastes and (hopefully) inspire some more interest the form?
Here goes:

1. The Arrival by Tan (Beautiful, insightful silent tale of being a stranger in a strange land — pushes the art form to a whole new level)
2. The Storm in the Barn by Phelan (Powerful, folk tale-ish coming-of-age story and deep, moving homage to the art of storytelling in any form)
3. Superman for All Seasons by Loeb and Sale (a retelling of the big guy’s early years that gives it the feeling of real American mythology)
4. Tales of Colossus by Andrews (Medieval action/adventure . . . with a robot!)
5. Selina’s Big Score by Cooke (Catwoman goes for a huge heist — Cooke’s art is peerless).

There ya go. Hope there are a couple you don’t know about yet and that you’re curious enough to take a look.