My love and I chose these books for the Ballou Senior High School Book Fair: Scarlet, by Marissa Meyer for me ; Infinite Kung Fu for my love; and somewhat randomly Juicy Central #7, just because high-low books are good to have, and a school of mostly African-American kids should have books with African-American kids on the cover.
Three Thieves Book One. Tower of Treasure. by Scott Chantler.
This is one I heard about in a recent webinar on graphic novels for schools and libraries. Rather than his publisher giving a rundown of all their new and hot books (useful but common) Chantler talked about how, in writing this book, he was inspired by the great action sequences in the old silent adventure films. All that in a fantasy setting sounded like it would be irresistible to my eight-year-old adventure-loving boy, so I went right out to the children’s graphic novel section at the library and got it for him.
Our heroine, Dessa, is working as an acrobat with a freak show, since her house was burned down and her brother kidnapped. She’s hoping that this tour of the country will help her find either her brother or the villain who kidnapped him. When they finally make it to the capital city, she runs in the middle of a show when she sees someone she thinks is the kidnapper. Naturally, this ruins the show, and she’s told to find dinner for the entire crew if she ever wants to be part of it again. If she weren’t in such a tight spot, she’d never have agreed to help Topper the goblin and the one-headed Ettin, Fisk, try to rob Queen Magda’s legendary treasury. At least doing so gets her in the castle, where she learns about the Queen’s Chamberlain, a secretive and powerful inventor who just might be responsible for her brother’s fate. We also meet a potentially sympathetic Captain of the Guard, and see the poverty that has come to the ordinary people of the city since Queen Magda’s reign began. My boy enjoyed this on his own just looking at the pictures, until I read it to him, when we both really enjoyed it. The action-movie love shows: the chase scenes are brilliant. But Dessa and her motivations are also given enough time that I cared about her as a person, and of course having a girl star in an adventure comic makes this a good choice to appeal to both genders. I’m really hoping Chantler shows up at Kids Read Comics again this year, so we can buy some of these for our home library.
[Edited 5/1/13 to add links.]