Graphic Novels

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Title of book: Terrorist: Gavrilo Principe, the Assassin who Ignited World War I

Author(s) & Illustrator(s): Henrik Rehr

Genre: non-fiction

Publisher, place & date of publication: Lerner Publishing Group, INC.; Minneapolis, MN; 2015

Themes/Topics: history, World War I

Summary: This graphic novel follows two stories that were connected by fate: Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Habsburg, and Gavrilo Princip, the man who assassinated him. Though the pages you will uncover the events that led to the devastation of the first World War that claimed 15,000,000 lives. Both men had friends and families of their own, but were slaves to their political destiny and the countries that they served. Who was the real terrorist? As the reader, you get to decide. 

Response: This book is loaded with factual information on the events leading up to WWI. I only knew that the assassination of the Archduke caused the war, but I did not know that it was the Serbs who were behind it all because they had felt that Austrians were severely oppressing them. I also didn’t know all of the political alliances that were formed before the war began, such as Serbia with Russia, the latter which caved to political pressure from Germany and ultimately betrayed the alliance. It was interesting that the man who was the focus of the book, Princip, who got the credit for the assassination, was younger than me and therefore not eligible for execution. However, he died from maltreatment and his tuberculosis. This was a quick-read, but also a great medium to learn the historical information.

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Title of book: Roller Girl

Author: Victoria Jamieson

Genre: realistic fiction

Publisher, place & date of publication: Dial Books for Young Readers; New York, NY; 2015

Awards: Newbery 2016

Themes/Topics: becoming-of-age, friendship, identity, perseverance 

Summary: Astrid and Nicole are best friends. So naturally, when they go to see a roller derby and Astrid completely falls in love with the sport, she assumes that Nicole does too, and will sign up for roller derby camp with her that summer. Nicole, however, decides to go to dance camp, with none other than Astrid’s sworn enemy and bully, Rachel. Astrid feels hurt and betrayed, and on top of it, she discovers that roller derby may be a whole lot harder than it looks. Her whole body is now bruised, along with her hopes and dreams. Can she stick with it and get better? Will Nicole ditch her for Rachel? Astrid’s summer will be one that will change her life forever. 

Response: Astrid, during this summer before junior high, is experiencing what many girls her age do. Her best friend is starting to show interests in things like clothes, boys, and make-up, but Astrid is just not there yet. She wants to be true to herself and play rough with the roller derby girls. But she doesn’t want to lose her best friend and be the laughing stock of middle school. She is embarrassed by all these feelings, and the fact that she tried something new and is terrible at it at first. Many adolescent girls will definitely find a “mirror” in the character of Astrid, and hopefully this book will encourage them to just be themselves, no matter the pressure to conform. 


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