I'm writing and posting this before the Caldecott and Newbery awards are announced, so I can't talk about them, darn it all. Guess that's what Twitter is for...
Instead, I want to talk about another kind of award-winner. And it's something I rarely read: a graphic novel.
The Storm in the Barn by Matt Phelan (Candlewick Press, 2009, for ages 10 and up; Winner of the Scott O'Dell award for historical fiction)
Source: paperback purchased last summer from local bookstore (which, sadly, is now closed)
Synopsis (from Indiebound): In Kansas in the year 1937, eleven-year-old Jack Clark faces his share
of ordinary challenges: local bullies, his father’s failed expectations,
a little sister with an eye for trouble. But he also has to deal with
the effects of the Dust Bowl, including rising tensions in his small
town and the spread of a shadowy illness. Certainly a case of "dust
dementia" would explain who (or what) Jack has glimpsed in the Talbot’s
abandoned barn — a sinister figure with a face like rain. In a land
where it never rains, it’s hard to trust what you see with your own eyes
— and harder still to take heart and be a hero when the time comes.
Why I liked it: Well, it's certainly not just because Matt Phelan autographed it last summer when he visited the bookstore, and drew me a little picture of Jack in his cap! I normally shy away from graphic novels, but this one is compelling. It's a fascinating combination of historical fiction and fantasy. That sinister figure in the barn turns out to be something otherworldly. Phelan's imagination soars in this beautifully-illustrated book.
Do you like graphic novels? Which ones have you (or your kids) read?
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