Review of Graphic Novels for Children and Young Adults: A Collection of Critical Essays ed. by Michelle Ann Abate and Gwen Athene Tarbox. Children’s Literature Association Quarterly, Vol. 2 (2018): 228-231.

The full review can be found online via Project MUSE.

Here’s the table of contents, for a brief glimpse into the book:

Introduction: Gwen Athene Tarbox and Michelle Ann Abate

Graphic Novels As Comics Storytelling: Word And Image, Form And Genre

Chapter 1 by Annette Wannamaker: “This Is a Well-Loved Book”: Weighing (in on) Jeff Smith’s Bone

Chapter 2 by Karly Marie Grice: “What Is China but a People and Their (Visual) Stories?” The Synthetic in Narratives of Contest in Gene Luen Yang’s Boxers & Saints

Chapter 3 by Sarah Thaller: Comics, Adolescents, and the Language of Mental Illness: David Heatley’s “Overpeck” and Nate Powell’s Swallow Me Whole

Chapter 4 by Catherine Kyle: Not Haunted, Just Empty: Figurative Representation in Sarah Oleksyk’s Ivy

Hybrid Comics, Transmedial Storytelling, and Graphic Novels in Adaptation

Chapter 5 by Rachel L. Rickard Rebellino: “Are You an Artist like Me?!” Do-It-Yourself Diary Books, Critical Reading, and Reader Interaction within the Worlds of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid and Dork Diaries Series

Chapter 6 by Joseph Michael Sommers : Parodic Potty Humor and Superheroic Potentiality in Dav Pilkey’s The Adventures of Captain Underpants

Chapter 7 by Aaron Kashtan: Multimodality Is Magic: My Little Pony and Transmedia Strategies in Children’s Comics

Chapter 8 by Meghann Meeusen: Framing Agency: Comics Adaptations of Coraline and City of Ember

The Pedagogy of The Panel: Comics Storytelling in The Classroom

Chapter 9 by Gwen Athene Tarbox: From Who-ville to Hereville: Integrating Graphic Novels into an Undergraduate Children’s Literature Course

Chapter 10 by Christiane Buuck and Cathy Ryan: Looking beyond the Scenes: Spatial Storytelling and Masking in Shaun Tan’s The Arrival

Chapter 11 by Michael L. Kersulov, Mary Beth Hines, and Rebecca Rupert: When Young Writers Draw Their Voices: Creating Hybrid Comic Memoirs with Sherman Alexie’s The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

Representing Gender and Sexuality in the Comics Medium

Chapter 12 by Mariko Tamaki, Jillian Tamaki, and Marni Stanley: Unbalanced on the Brink: Adolescent Girls and the Discovery of the Self in Skim and This One Summer

Chapter 13 by Eti Berland: The Drama of Coming Out: Censorship and Drama by Raina Telgemeier

Chapter 14 by Rachel Dean-Ruzicka: “What the Junk?” Defeating the Velociraptor in the Outhouse with the Lumberjanes

Chapter 15 by Rebecca A. Brown: Engendering Friendship: Exploring Jewish and Vampiric Boyhood in Joann Sfar’s Little Vampire

Chapter 16 by Krystal Howard: Gothic Excess and the Body in Vera Brosgol’s Anya’s Ghost

Drawing on Identity: History, Politics, Culture

Chapter 17 by Lance Weldy: Graphically/Ubiquitously Separate: The Sanctified Littering of Jack T. Chick’s Fundy-Queer Comics

Chapter 18 by David E. Low : Waiting for Spider-Man: Representations of Urban School “Reform” in Marvel Comics’ Miles Morales Series

Chapter 19 by Joanna C. Davis-McElligatt: “Walk Together, Children”: The Function and Interplay of Comics, History, and Memory in Martin Luther King and the Montgomery Story and John Lewis’s March: Book One

Chapter 20 by Anuja Madan: Sita’s Ramayana’s Negotiation with an Indian Epic Picture Storytelling Tradition

Coda by Joe Sutliff Sanders: Whether We Want Them or Not: Building an Aesthetic of Children’s Digital Comics

If you’d like to buy the book, here’s the link.

 

Review of Amina’s Voice by Hena Khan. Reading Inspires Success in Education: A Children’s Literacy Journal, Winter/Spring (2017).

As this review cannot be found online, here are my brief thoughts on the book (though not my actual review from the journal):

In this middle-grade novel, Amina Khokar is a young girl trying to deal with the various unexpected changes that have entered her home, school, and community life at the beginning of a new school year. The story is told in first person, and it includes some realistic depictions of issues middle-schoolers can have  when dealing with family and friends. This book also offers many readers a “window” into the lives of a Muslim family living in the U.S., so that they can see the struggles that Amina and her community experience due to living in a mostly white, middle class community. The ending is a bit too utopic, in my opinion, but overall it can be a good book to bring into the classroom or just recommend to the young readers in your life.

Here’s the link to Khan’s website, and a link to the book on Amazon.

 

Review of The Critical Merits of Young Adult Literature: Coming of Age ed. by Crag Hill. Children’s Literature Association Quarterly, Vol. 41.4 (2016): 462-464.

The full review can be found online via Project MUSE.

Here’s the table of contents, for a brief glimpse into the book:

Chapter One by Crag Hill: Introduction: Young Adult Literature and Scholarship Come of Age

Chapter Two by Janey Alsup: More Than a ‘Time of Storm and Stress’: The Complex Depiction of Adolescent Identity in Contemporary Young Adult Novels

Chapter Three by Mark Lewis & Sybil Durand: Sexuality as Risk and Resistance in Young Adult Literature

Chapter Four by sj Miller: Hungry Like the Wolf: Gender Non-conformity in YAL

Chapter Five by Janine Darragh & Crag Hill: ‘The Worst Form of Violence’: Unpacking Portrayals of Poverty in Young Adult Novels

Chapter Six by KaaVonia Hinton & Rodrigo Joseph Rodriguez: ‘I was carrying the burden of my race’: Reading Matters of Race and Hope in YA Literature by Walter Dean Myers and Sherman Alexie

Chapter Seven by Christopher Arigo: Creating an Eco-warrior: Wilderness and Identity in the Dystopian World of Scott Westerfeld’s Uglies Series

Chapter Eight by Linda T. Parsons & Angela Rietschlin: The Emigrant, Immigrant and Trafficked Experiences of Adolescents: Young Adult Literature as Window and Mirror

Chapter Nine by Laura Powers: Annotated Bibliography

If you’d like to buy the book, here’s the link.

 

“Story Summaries and Author’s Notes and Reviews, Oh My!: The Activity System of Fan Fiction.” Grassroots Writing Research Journal 6.1 (2015): 73-86.

I wrote this article during my first semester at ISU, in our version of the “Teaching College English” class that helps new graduate assistants understand our Writing Program’s approach to teaching First Year Writing. At ISU, we design our WP classes using Rhetorical Genre Studies and Cultural Historical Activity Theory as our theoretical foundations. As a program, we publish a new journal every semester with articles written by students and instructors with freshman students in mind as our audience. I really enjoyed writing this article, due to both its casual tone and the opportunity I had to introduce freshman students to a personal favorite writing (and reading) genre: fanfiction.

Our back issues are available on our Writing Program website. I highly recommend looking through them, especially if you teach FYW. The full text of my article can be found via this link to the particular issue in which it was published. Just scroll down to the seventh article.

 

Review of Reading Like a Girl: Narrative Intimacy in Contemporary American Young Adult Literature by Sara K. Day. The Lion and the Unicorn, Vol. 38.3 (2014).

The full review can be found online via Project MUSE.

Here’s the table of contents, for a brief glimpse into the book:

Chapter 1: She Is a Creature Designed for Reading

Chapter 2: Opening Myself Like a Book to the Spine

Chapter 3: He Couldn’t Get Close Enough

Chapter 4: She Doesn’t Say a Word

Chapter 5: What If Someone Reads It?

Chapter 6: Let Me Know What You Think

If you’d like to buy the book, here’s the link.

 

Review of How to Cheer Up Dad by Fred Koehler. Reading Inspires Success in Education: A Children’s Literacy Journal, Vol. 2 (2014).

As this review cannot be found online, here are my brief thoughts on the book (though not my actual review from the journal):

The metafictive nature of this story really appealed to me as a reader and teacher. It calls for a strong ability to read not just words and pictures separately, but also in relationship to one another. I also appreciated that this story features a single father who is very involved in his child’s life. Mothers tend to be more heavily featured in picture books, so this was a nice change in representation.

Here’s Koehler’s page, via Penguin Random House.

If you’d like to buy the book, here’s the link.

 

Review of Again! by Emily Gravett. Reading Inspires Success in Education: A Children’s Literacy Journal, Vol. 1 (2014).

As this review cannot be found online, here are my brief thoughts on the book (though not my actual review from the journal):

Again! is probably my favorite book by Emily Gravett, though all her books are amazing examples of postmodern picture books. The portrayal of a young dragon wanting to hear a bedtime story again and again and his very tired mother just wanting to get to sleep will be quite familiar to anyone who’s interacted with a young child before their bedtime. I really enjoy picture books that provide young readers with additional reasons to interact with characters, plot, and settings, along with the illustrations and the physical book itself. This picture book is a great example of all these elements in one hilarious tale.

As a side note, Gravett’s Monkey and Me is required reading for my fall 2017 section of ENG 170: Foundations in Literature for Children. I highly recommend it to teachers, librarians, parents, family members, and others that are interested in improving the visual literacy skills of the young readers in their lives. Of course, it’s also a cute story of a girl, her favorite stuffed monkey toy, and their upcoming trip to the zoo, which is reason enough to enjoy it, as well.

Here is a link to Gravett’s website, in case you want to explore her bibliography for yourself.

Here’s a link, if you’d like to buy Again!.

Here’s a link, if you’d like to buy Monkey and Me.