SEAL OF APPROVAL: DRAMA by Raina Telgemeier

Seal of Approval: DRAMA by Raina Telgemeier

Written by Grant Goodman, 4/29/2015

Raina’s first graphic novel, SMILE, is one of the most popular books in my classroom library. I have had two copies fall apart from being read so many times. When I saw her speak at the National Book Festival in DC two years ago, she did an amazing job of connecting with the audience and even invited some of the younger ones to help her in creating a comic on the stage. An all-around A+ person!

DRAMA has been out for a little while, but I didn’t get around to reading it until this week. It has all of the successful pieces that made SMILE so enjoyable:

  1. The main character is a girl who is trying to find her place in school. In this case, Callie is a member of the drama production team at her school, helping out with set design.
  2. Her issues are the everyday issues that teens run into. She’s got a crush on a guy who already has a girlfriend. Her little brother is annoying. The drama budget doesn’t allow her to make the stage props she dreams of making. She’s wondering if someone will ask her to go to the school dance.
  3. The art is clean, colorful, and clearly emotive.

At its heart, DRAMA is about a cast of young people learning about who they are. Cassie has her heart set on being a part of the arts. One of the boys she meets has realized that he likes other boys. It’s all about identity.

DRAMA is an all-around winner of a graphic novel. Add it to your shelves immediately.

Cassandra Clare on Strong Characters and Where She Gets Her Ideas

This interview from Cosmo Girl isn’t exactly new (it was done after City of Bones but before City of Glass) but it has some really great insights from one of YA’s most talented authors, Cassandra Clare.

My favorite part is:

I hope the fact that Clary is a smart, strong girl who faces down her fears will make readers think, She gets scared just like I would, but she still fights for what she believes in. And I hope it might even help them believe that they don’t have to be perfect to fight for what’s important to them.

Click that quote above for the link to the article!

My First Book is Out on May 4th!

Hello, readers!

On May 4th, 2015, my very first novel will be available on Amazon!

I cannot wait for you to be able to read Agent Darcy and Ninja Steve in…Tiger Trouble!

It’s a story about ninjas, secret agents, ghosts, robots, and adventure. You’ll find spin kicks, sword slashes, and sneakery. There are rivalries, old grudges, and romances.

I suppose it’s aimed at a 10-14 year old audience, but I honestly think it’s suitable for anyone who still remembers how to be an imaginative kid at heart. So, let’s say it’s for ages 8 to 800.

Head on over to my official website for more info AND a free 50 page sample!

Here are the cover images:

tiger trouble back cover author name on spine

Guest Post on Shannon A. Thompson’s Blog!

Hey readers! I wrote a piece for YA author Shannon A. Thompson’s blog. (And she wrote a super-awesome intro for me! Thank you, Shannon!)

How many of you out there read RL Stine’s Goosebumps books at some point in your life?

A lot of you?

Awesome. Then you’ll love this article.

Here’s a quick excerpt/link:

Most of R.L. Stine’s Goosebumps books left me terrified.

I remember how Night of the Living Dummy made me afraid to get up in the middle of the night because I knew that Slappy would be sitting at the top of the steps, waiting for me. I’ll never forget that moment when I hit the end of Stay Out of the Basement and the big twist made my stomach feel like it was full of ice. These books left me scarred, because even though I knew they were fiction, they took root in my mind and always threatened to crawl off the page and into reality.

For some reason, though, I kept reading them.

Know Your YA History: Lord of the Flies by William Golding

Written by Grant Goodman, 4/8/2015

Dark YA starts with William Golding’s Lord of the Flies, the tale of a plane full of boys that crash-lands on an island. The only adult (the pilot) is killed on impact and the kids are left to fend for themselves. What follows is a tale of adolescents torn between holding onto order and letting themselves become wild beasts.

If you enjoyed The Hunger Games for its starkly brutal critique of what war does to children, then you’ll find yourself swept away by Lord of the Flies.

The boys make early attempts at sticking together. They try to establish rules and they try to look out for the youngest kids of the bunch. But the longer they are there, the more they give in to their darker urges. Their clans split and they find themselves in a power struggle with one another.

Packs of boys become hunters and they are overtaken by bloodlust. They paint their faces for the hunt and in doing so, they change into catastrophically evil versions of themselves. The peaceful kids are trampled on (figuratively) or outright murdered (literally).

Like many popular YA stories, (catching) fire plays an important recurring role. First, fire is a way of signaling for rescue. Throughout the novel, though, the fire goes out or it burns too low, which is a fantastic symbol for the boys losing their connection to the rest of human society. At the very end, fire is turned into a destructive force, meant to force one of the boys out of hiding and into the waiting ambush of those who wish to kill him.

While Lord of the Flies isn’t necessarily classified as YA, it’s a novel about young adults and their tendencies and urges. When it was first published, it pushed the boundaries of violence and despair and decades later it remains as a milestone moment for books about young adults.