Skim by Mariko Tamaki
So, I picked up this graphic novel specifically for my almost 13 year old daughter. She's been going thru a rough patch this year: middle school seems to be a very stressful and dramatic environment. I struggle to understand what she is going thru: I was a late-blooming tomboy who was homeschooled thru those years. My daughter on the other hand, has dated boys, girls, and gender-neutral individuals,she's had her heart broken, she's started anti-bullying clubs, she's had friends commit suicide or engage in self-harm, she's gotten in trouble at home and at school, and thru it all has remained a kind, helpful sibling, a loving and bright soul, a champion of the downtrodden and weak.
Skim is about a 15 year old high school student who is dealing with a lot of stuff too. A classmate commits suicide, and in the after-wake of that it comes out that he was gay and unable to reach out for the help he needed. Kim herself is dealing with first love, teacher crushes, her own sexual identity, depression, weight, bullying, and the ebb and flow of friendships and family. The book is very non-judgmental and not preachy; in fact, this book feels like a wise older girl wrapping her arms around you and saying, "Hey, yeah, this shit is real. And hard. And you are going to figure it out, I promise." I recommend it for middle- and high-schoolers of all genders. The art and lovely storytelling are a bonus perk.
Skim won the NYTimes Book Review Best Illustrated Children's Book award.
Calexit Issue 1
Whoa, this comic is hardcore. For anybody who thought that the idea of liberal California seceding from the US would be kinda like a peaceful, roll a joint and watch the show protest march, that is not how the writer Matteo Pizzolo sees things going down. This comic is brutal and bloody, the words scathing and inflammatory, the politics relevant. I only hope this comic isn't prophetic. Proceeds from the sale of this comic go to SuperPACs that support progressive political candidates. I recommend this comic for the left-leaning rebel readers who like their comics dark and gritty. Recommended for all readers, however, are the interviews published in part at the end of the issues with grassroots activists, and in full on the comic books website: hmmm, the website seems to have been taken down...verrryyyy interesting... stay tuned!
Black Panther: World of Wakanda by Roxane Gay
So, with the much anticipated Black Panther movie coming out soon, I've been doing a little reading to get up to speed. This collection was a nice little treasure to stumble across in that quest. Black Panther: World of Wakanda tells the story of Ayo and Aneka, two members of the Dora Milaje Guard. The story goes in and around the events of Infinity and Ultimates, focusing on their developing love story, and providing another window into the Black Panther world. I give it 5 for storytelling, and a 10 for LGBTQ representation. This run was cancelled prematurely, and so the ending is rushed and forced. I do believe this story was cancelled despite its representation, not because of it. Still, I would have enjoyed more.