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Happy August to all of you! Many of you will be headed back to school soon (I start August 7th!) and may be in need of a weekend read after all the craziness at school. I know I will. Let me introduce you to our guest contributor for this month Alicia Burnette Whitley.
Alicia is PhD Student in Literacy and English Language Arts Education at North Carolina State University. Prior to entering the PhD program, she taught high school English (9th Grade, African-American, YA, and British Literature). Her passion is culturally relevant and critical pedagogies, with a particular interest in multimodal texts and inclusive literary practices.
She also wasn't sure if she should include that following, but I think you'll agree it's necessary information. She is also passionate about Star Trek, videogames, graphic novels, cartoons, and podcasts. Our interests are what makes us us!
Alicia is going to be diving into all the YA Graphic Novels that have been on her "must-read" list for some time and share them with us, which will inevitably be added to all of our lists (am I right?!).
Welcome Alicia, we can't wait to read all your picks!
Usually, when we think about comics and graphic novels for young adults, we tend to think of books that come from the Comic Big Two - either Marvel or DC. However, my goal this summer was to read a few brilliant graphic novels that are off the beaten graphic novel path. In the Shadow of the Throne from Maverick, the new young adult imprint of Mad Cave Studios, is one such. The story that effectively calls on familiar fish-out-of-water tropes when older brother Jordan wanders off from his wild siblings and annoying parents during a museum trip (What eldest sibling among us hasn't had this experience?) and stumbles into a fantasy land filled with elves, magic, and sword-wielding knights.
Jordan embodies the true epic hero. His outsider perspective and ingenuity come in handy as he navigates political intrigue, dodges mysterious assassins, and falls in love with the handsome prince with a dark secret of his own. Of course there is action, adventure, revenge, and betrayal. Although many of these tropes have been explored before, and the plot will seem familiar to readers who love Dungeons and Dragons, writer Kate Sheridan brings their own perspective and twists to the well-worn and familiar beats of The Hero's Journey. Unlike many of the heroes that dominate these types of stories, Jordan is Filipino American and gay, two facts which don't define his character but do inform his actions. What's more, the stunning art from Gaia Cardinali and the creative team's fantastic use of light and layout make this queer romance, epic fantasy, adventure an absolute pleasure to get lost in for a weekend.