School is back in session, and with that comes projects and, thus, increased demand for the classics. You know them. To Kill a Mockingbird, 1984, The Great Gatsby, Lord of the Flies, Brave New World, Animal Farm, Shakespeare with Hamlet, Macbeth, and R&J being ubiquitous. Etc. These have been staples in schools for decades*1. If you’re a data-driven person, this Ontario Book Publisher’s Association report will confirm many of the above titles.
I am a huge fan of superhero stories and comics but I’ve recently fallen out of touch with all of the new releases and keeping up with single issues. Instead, I have slowly started to become obsessed with the new line of DC and Marvel original graphic novels aimed at young readers and teens. These stories contain all of our favourite superheroes but they re-imagine our heroes as young teens. Whether you have been a fan of these superheroes for years and are looking for a fresh take on their origin stories or you are just looking for a quick introduction to some superheroes, here are some amazing books to get you started!
As always, the links below will take you the VPL catalogue where you can request the books for yourself.
While this novel doesn’t re-tell the story of more famous Green Lanterns such as Hal Jordan or John Stewart, it is a wonderful novel about family and legacy. In this graphic novel, 13-year-old Tai Pham inherits his grandmother’s jade ring when she passes away. He soon starts to realize that the ring is not just a ring and he is chosen to be a new Green Lantern of Earth. This is a wonderful story as it can be read both by fans of superheroes and those who know very little about them, as the novel mainly focuses on Tai’s connection with his grandmother and his relationship to his city and how to protect it using his new powers.
Manga can seem intimidating for new readers because of long series, such as One Piece that has over 100 volumes. It’s hard for readers to get into the form if you don’t know where to start. As an avid manga reader, I decided it would be great to recommend some series that are really short or even stand-alone volumes so any reader can pick them up! Despite some (untrue) preconceptions about how most series typically focus on high school drama or are way too sports-focused, there are so many great mangas that have hidden depth.
For the first recommendation, I have to recommend Yoko Nogiri’s Love in Focus series. It is one of my all-time favourites and only has 3 lovely volumes. It features Mako, an aspiring photographer who takes after her grandfather. Mako travels to the countryside and finds herself in a new dorm where she makes new friends who share her passion for photography. While there is a bit of a love triange in this one, I adored the art style and Mako’s thoughts and experiences with photography especially as it relates to her connection with her grandfather. It’s a series that’s ideal for binge-reading, so I recommend requesting all 3 volumes at once.