Young Hoosier Graphic Novels

The Young Hoosier Book Award is given yearly to one of twenty books nominated for each of the three categories (Picture Books, Intermediate, and Middle Grades) in the state of Indiana. I recently read two popular graphic novels that have been nominated for the Young Hoosier Book Award: El Deafo by Cece Bell and Sisters by Raina Telgemeier, which have been popular among the younger patrons of the Aurora Public Library District. Both of these graphic novels are autobiographical, or true stories that happened to the authors. These books are perfect for intermediate readers.

El Deafo follows the story of Cece, who contracts meningitis when she is four and subsequently loses her hearing. She grows up during the 1970’s, before much was really known about Deaf culture, and so her doctors and parents try to help Cece be as “normal” as possible. She is fitted for “behind-the-ear” hearing aids as well as the “Phonic Ear,” which has cords and is attached to a device Cece wears on her chest that amplifies her hearing even more for school. However, Cece is self-conscious about her deafness as well as her Phonic Ear because people treat her and talk to her differently. Throughout the novel, Cece struggles to make and maintain friends who will treat her like a regular girl, often feeling lonely and out of place. To cope with being different and feeling alone, Cece creates an alter-ego superhero who uses her deafness and Phonic Ear as a way to be respected and included by her family and peers. This is a great read for anyone who has ever felt out of place, lonely, or who wanted a friend. You can find this book in the juvenile biography section at the Dillsboro and Aurora branches of the Aurora Public Library District.

Sisters is the companion novel to Smile, chronicling the story of Raina further. Raina, her mother, sister, and brother take a week-long road trip in a van for a family reunion. During the car ride, Raina and her sister, Amara, argue, fight, and dance around something ominously titled “The Incident,” which has something to do with why Raina won’t ride in the front seat of the van. Through a series of flashbacks interspersed throughout the road trip, the reader sees how the relationship between Amara and Raina has grown and changed over the years. Raina and Amara fight as hard as any siblings because they are polar opposites. Neither one has tried to understand the other until the last few pages of the book. This is a wonderful depiction of how sibling relationships change as they mature and age, as well as how those relationships can strain when siblings are trapped in a car together for long stretches of time. You can find this book in the juvenile biography section, as well, at the Aurora Public Library. However, the book can be placed on hold and brought to the Dillsboro Public Library if needed.

Fantasy Fiction

If you’re looking for a fantastic world to escape into, then Fantasy Fiction is the genre for you. This type of fiction uses supernatural elements within the narrative to tell a story. It is typically written serially because usually an epic, detailed, in-depth story is involved. Fantasy Fiction is probably my favorite genre because anything is possible. The forefathers of Fantasy Fiction (such as C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien) would be proud of how far their genre has come in the last few decades. Here are some of the top Fantasy writers you can find on the shelves of the Aurora Public Library District.

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George R. R. Martin is probably most well-known for his series A Song of Ice and Fire, which has been made popular by the television series “A Game of Thrones.” Another series by Martin is Dreamsongs, which is available through the Indiana Digital Download Center.  Martin is known for his simple language and driving action that holds the reader’s attention and keeps them begging for more.

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Terry Goodkind is known for his Sword of Truth series. This series features epic quests for the more mature reader, including violence, torture, and murder. Start with Wizard’s First Rule. Other titles are also available through the Indiana Digital Download Center.

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Robert Jordan (my favorite) is best known for his epic series The Wheel of Time. His novels are intricately detailed and filled with connections you might have missed on your first read-through. Since he passed away shortly before this series was finished, fellow fantasy writer Brandon Sanderson finished the series from Jordan’s notes he left behind. These authors are also available through the Indiana Digital Download Center.

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Terry Brooks is a great author for readers who are just discovering Fantasy. He is most well-known for his Shannara novels, epic serials that take place within the same foreign land with different characters. We have several titles available in print format and also through the Indiana Digital Download Center.

If you’re just getting into Fantasy Fiction, I suggest you start with some Juvenile and Young Adult Fantasy Fiction. Some notable authors include Orson Scott Card, Marion Zimmer Bradley, Tamora Pierce, Brian Jacques, Philip Pullman, and John Flanagan. All of these authors have titles available in regular print and as downloads from the Indiana Digital Download Center.

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Who is your favorite Fantasy writer? Stop in the Library today and let us know! Happy reading!