Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Having not been a big super hero comic book reader as a kid I wasn't too sure how I would respond to The Green Lantern graphic novel I received to review for Library Media Connection. I did enjoy the story line, but I was more fascinated with the creator - Judd Winick. I had just revised the required reading list for the Young Adult Literature course I teach and decided to add his graphic biography of Pedro Zamora, an AIDS educator. Until I received The Green Lantern to review I had not made the connection between Winick's Pedro and Me: Friendship, Loss, and What I Learned and the fact that Winick was also an award winning creator of super hero comics/graphic novels. I was looking for a title in graphic format that has high teen appeal and Winick's book was it. I almost went with an ElfQuest title because these fantasy graphic novels have been around since I was a high school librarian in Wasilla, Alaska in the late 1980s, but I wanted a contemporary title relevant to what teens are facing today. Pedro and Me was my choice. After reading it again last night, I am even more convinced that this was the perfect choice.

Winick and Zamora had been roommates on MTV's The Real World. I have never seen the show so I can't attest for how accurate this graphic bio is in relation to the show, but it certainly had my attention from the moment I picked it up. What a testament to both a wonderful human being and an incredible friendship.

Speaking of friendship. I finished reading Private Peaceful by Michael Morpurgo yesterday afternoon and I was stunned by the ending. I am not going to give it away, but the bond between these two teenage brothers who were forced to enlist in the British Army during WWI is incredible. After I finished it I just sat and waited for the lump in my throat to go away and the tears to dry up. Then I got angry about how pointless it all was when I read the Author's Note. There are many YA historical titles out there on WWII but few on WWI. This is the best I have read.