BIBLIOGRAPHY : RIYL the Bone graphic novel series by Jeff Smith

     (Pssst! "RIYL" stands for Recommended If You Like.)
     Here are some middle school to junior high-appropriate graphic novels, with fantasy and/or adventure elements. At both school libraries I've worked in, the students are CRAZY for Jeff Smith's Bone series. Before Scholastic started releasing the new full-color versions of them, I had already collected and read the entire original (black & white) series myself, and loved it.
     When the kids finish all the Bone books, they're hungry for something in the same genre. Amulet is the most popular one, but there are others out there. These books are all selected from my library's shelves, which means there are plenty more great titles out there, but these are just the ones we happen to have available for our students.

Rapunzel's Revenge by Hale, Hale, and Hale
Amulet by Kazu Kibuishi (#1 in series of same name)
Explorer: the Mystery Boxes anthology edited by Kazu Kibuishi
Pinky & Stinky by James Kochalka
The Royal Historian of Oz by Tommy Kovac and Andy Hirsch
Wonderland by Tommy Kovac and Sonny Liew
The Sons of Liberty by Lagos, Lagos, and Walker (series)
Mal and Chad: the Biggest, Bestest Time Ever! by Stephen McCranie (series)
Prince of Persia by Mechner, Sina, Pham, and Puvilland
Mouse Guard by David Petersen (series)
The Unsinkable Walker Bean by Aaron Renier
Crogan's Vengeance by Chris Schweizer (series)
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by Shanower and Young (series)
Jellaby by Kean Soo (series)
Ghostopolis by Doug TenNapel
Kid Gravity by Walker and Jones (series)
Pandemonium by Chris Wooding and Cassandra Diaz

Also a possible fit for this list are graphic novel incarnations of some popular fantasy book series, like Pendragon by MacHale, Redwall by Jaques, and Percy Jackson by Riordan. The kids seem to like these okay, but they don't LOVE them. At least in my library, they seem to prefer the original novels. :)

Bonus "alternative format" titles (part novel, part comic)
Bone: Quest For the Spark by Sniegoski, Smith, and Hamaker (series)
The First Escape by G.P. Taylor (#1 of the Doppleganger Chronicles)
Malice by Chris Wooding and Dan Chernett (series)

DISCLOSURE: I put two books written by ME on the main list (Royal Historian of Oz and Wonderland) because I really think they fit. I don't normally do that kind of shameless self-promotion. But there it is. And isn't Andy Hirsch's cover art for Royal Historian of Oz beautiful?


The answer is yes.

          Our Back To School night is tonight, and just yesterday my principal emailed me to say, “The library will be open for Back To School Night, right?”
          I thought, “Crap...” But I wrote back, “Does that mean you’d LIKE it to be open?”
          So of course she wrote back, “Yes, I think that would be nice.”
          I sarcastically referred to myself as “Your Humble Library Servant,” and she responded by signing off as my, “Grateful Master.”
          The trade-off is that I get to leave early on Friday, which is a nice carrot to dangle before my scabby pink nose.
          But today I will have spent THIRTEEN HOURS at work by the time I leave. Hello, Baby Jesus? Are you watching? I hope so.
          So here I sit.
          Back To School is when the parents have to go class-to-class, meeting all their kids’ teachers, so there’s not really free time left for the library. But having said that, I’ve already had about 20 kids in here (mostly 7th graders), and several parents, and it’s not even half over. I’ve even been checking books out. So... you know, whatever. I guess being here won’t KILL me.
          I’m processing new books. A bunch of Kerouac one of the teachers donated. That was exciting because being a college prep school with some angsty philosophers, I’ve been asked for Kerouac before, and been empty-handed.
          Just had a chatty father in here. He’s a nice guy, and came to my last signing at a local comic shop (promoting issue #1 of The Royal Historian of Oz) with his daughter and son. His daughter is now my 3rd period Library Aide. He wanted to tell me he read my graphic novel, Skelebunnies, and thought it was really funny. That happens to be my filthiest work to date, and I WARNED him when his daughter came up to me at the signing with it, but he said it was okay. I signed it, “I’m terribly sorry for all the horrible things you’ll see in this book.” For example, my parody of Hello Kitty/My Little Pony, which is called “My Little Penis.”
          And now that poor girl is my Library Aide. But she’s cool enough not to be scared. Or scarred.
          Her father said she was excited to get to be my Library Aide. I had her doing non-fiction inventory today for a full hour, which is tedious, and she didn’t even complain. She gets bonus points for that.
          45 minutes left of Back To School Night.  Sigh...
          One of my teacher friends is telling her new little 7th graders that I’m a writer/artist, so they’re coming in and asking me about it. Since I’m not in self-promotion mode when I’m at work, and I’ve been at work for ALMOST 13 HOURS STRAIGHT, I’m kind of slow to respond. I’m like, “Oh, well, yeah. I write and sometimes illustrate comics.”
          The tiny 7th graders stare expectantly while I continue methodically putting clear contact paper covers on the new paperbacks. I finally catch on.
          “Oh! Did you want to see some of them?”
          So I show them Wonderland and Royal Historian, which are the only 2 school library appropriate things I’ve done. We do NOT have Skelebunnies in the school library.
          I notice a kid reading my hand-made poster explaining the “spine label” and “call number” of a library book. Good. Every child should learn what a call number is.
          The attendance clerk just called me, and apparently two of our parents' cars were broken into this evening, right across the street.  This shit just got real.  Is Back To School Night over, yet?!