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Bite-Sized Comics Review: RELISH by Lucy Knisley

Comics and MangaKristina PinoComment
relish lucy knisley cover.jpg

Relish by Lucy Knisley

This is the sort of bits and pieces, slice of life memoir that stirs up all kinds of fond memories of food in my family's kitchen growing up. Being Cuban, that meant lots of plantains, pork, beans, and rice, and delicious desserts like arroz con leche, flan, and torrejas, among other things. In Relish, Lucy shares stories of her childhood and beyond which relate to food. In some cases, she shares stories that revolve around family meals, and in others, discovering great foods in places like Mexico (and what was going on in her life at that time). Sprinkled in between chapters, she shares excellent recipes that'll have your mouth watering. Seriously, depending on how you organize your bookshelves, you might be equally tempted to sort this in with your comics or your cookbooks. If you have a "the best [insert dish here] I've ever tasted in my life was at...." story, then this book is for you. If you have a "when I was a kid, I used to love eating [insert fun and possibly gross food memory here]..." story, then this book is for you. Basically, if you like food, this book is for you. 

Bite-Sized Book Reviews: DEAD WEIGHT: MURDER AT CAMP BLOOM and BINGO LOVE

Comics and MangaKristina PinoComment
dead weight murder at camp bloom cover.jpg

Dead Weight: Murder At Camp Bloom by Molly Muldoon, Terry Blas, and Matthew Seely

To be released April 2018. 

If you enjoy a good murder mystery, this book is definitely for you. Served with body positivity, diverse characters, and beautiful art and coloring. A group of teenagers at a weight-loss camp witness a murder at the hands of a counselor, but can't identify exactly which one. Now they can't trust any of the adults, but they still intend to find the killer and bring them to justice. Great characterization and design really make this story shine. Great for fans of Lumberjanes or any other away camp setting in their comics.

cover by Genevieve FT

cover by Genevieve FT

Bingo Love by Tee Franklin, Jenn St-Onge, Joy San, et al. 

Released Valentine's Day 2018. 

Hazel and Mari met as young teens, become instant best friends, and fall in love at exactly the wrong time. Their families don't accept their love, and they go their separate ways, start "traditional" families of their own, and begin to grow old. Decades later, they meet again at the same place they met the first time around - church bingo. Is it fate? This beautiful romance spanning a lifetime explores love at different stages of life, the needs and desires of older women which are frequently under-represented, and how attitudes and conventions have changed over time. 

Bite-Sized Book Reviews: EL DEAFO and ONE CRAZY SUMMER for raising compassionate kids

BooksKristina PinoComment

El Deafo by Cece Bell

El Deafo is a somewhat autobiographical graphic memoir starring a cast of bunnies telling the story of a childhood dealing with deafness. Some of the events of the story come from Bell's own memories, others are more of a generalization of the sort of experiences children with hearing difficulties might have. It has its funny and sad parts, but most importantly, it tells a story at a young reader's level without talking down to them. Bell's character's thoughts: her frustrations communicating with people as well as her own delightful imagination of having super powers, are generally expressed through thought balloons. I'm including this in my...collection? Of books for raising kind and compassionate kids because it shows readers what sort of struggles come with some kinds of disabilities. Folks who read Wonder might find some similarities between Cece's equipment and experiences and Auggie's.

One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia

Delphine serves as the sensible, big sisterly voice to the story of her and her siblings' journey to California to meet their mother and spend a summer with her. Vonetta and Fern have big, vividly expressed and unforgettable personalities, just as any mischievous pair of little sisters do off the page. The three girls travel to Oakland and are not greeted with hugs and kisses, but with stern warnings to stay out of her mother's way. With nowhere to go but the neighborhood's community center, the girls join the local Black Panthers, who teach them about activism and advocacy. I found myself wanting for more by the end of the story, which is the kind of joyful ending readers cheer for (and perhaps shed a little tear, for us sensitive types). Great for mid-4th grade and above, this novel brings an important point in history to life through three sassy, funny, happy girls. 

 

February 2016 Reading Wrap-Up

Kristina PinoComment

Wow, it's March already! Alrighty, so here's a look at how I read in February (that extra day actually came in handy, too). For those of you just now following along, I'm tracking my reading for diversity and participating in Book Riot's 2016 Read Harder Challenge. If you're wondering why I'm categorizing things so much and keeping such meticulous track of what I read, it's partially because I like stats, but also because being deliberate and seeing the information in front of ya is the first step in affecting change. I want my reading life to be naturally diverse, but that isn't enough by itself. Time to face the music!

Books read in February: 8

Creators of color: 4/10 (40%)
LGBT+ rep. in creators: 0/10 (0%)
LGBT+ rep. in books: 1/8 (13%)
Lady creators: 8/10 (80%)
Translated works: 2
Works in Spanish: 0

Alright, so February differs from January in that I did a bit worse on LGBT+ and better on ladies in general. I've got to keep working on that. On the bright side, I read a couple of translated works (manhwa title Bride of the Water God) which is two more than last month's zero.

As for the Read Harder Challenge, I fulfilled three more tasks. I covered "read a middle grade novel" with Drama by Raina Telgemeier (my review here). For "read the first book in a series by a person of color" I read the aforementioned Bride of the Water God. I'm going to keep reading it throughout March - it's so pretty! And for "read a non-superhero comic that debuted in the last three years" I went with Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson (my review here). I'm up to 6 tasks (out of 24), which is great pacing in case I slow down around summertime.

My Book Riot pick for February is How to be Black by Baratunde Thurston. My PANELS pick for February is Drama by Raina Telgemeier. Check out those links to see what my colleagues' best reads were for the month, too!

And now, for a little something extra.

Books read to date: 17

Creators of color: 9/24 (38%)
LGBT+ rep. in creators: 1/24 (4%)
LGBT+ rep. in books: 2/17 (12%)
Lady creators: 15/24 (63%)
Translated works: 2
Works in Spanish: 0

Keep up with what I'm reading on Twitter or Instagram as well as on this blog, and feel free to drop in with suggestions or chat with me any time about books and comics. Did you set any reading goals this year? How are you doing?

Bite-Sized Comics Reviews: DRAMA and ROLLER GIRL

Comics and Manga, BooksKristina PinoComment

Drama by Raina Telgemeier (2012)

Drama follows middle schooler Callie and her friends in stage crew and drama putting on a production of Moon Over Mississippi. The overarching plot is how Callie's into set design and she wants the show to look Broadway-worthy, but more than anything this story is about friendships, working hard, and the trials and tribulations of middle school life. Telgemeier really shines here in her realistic portrayal of kids and young teens, and her depictions of a diverse range of characters. Great read with something to say about working hard, evaluating self worth, empathy, acceptance, and doing what makes you happy.

 

Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson (2015)

In Roller Girl, we see just how much it matters to surround yourself with an amazing and diverse support group (read: girl gang), especially if you're a young girl whose identity has basically revolved around one friendship. Astrid watches a roller derby bout for the first time and decides then and there she wants to go to her local team's roller derby camp. Her best friend decides to go to dance camp instead, and she's left to navigate all these new experiences alone. Astrid makes new friends, learns new skills, and most importantly, learns a lot about herself. This all-ages read is all about girl power, teamwork, resolving conflicts, and celebrating differences, and it's absolutely brilliant. Also, I definitely want to go watch some roller derby for real, now.

January 2016 Reading Wrap-up

BooksKristina PinoComment

I'm tracking my reading for diversity (gender, orientation, language, ethnic, etc) as well as taking on Book Riot's 2016 Read Harder challenge, so in the spirit of that I thought I'd do a monthly little check-in here of what my progress looks like. If you're into that sort of thing, anyway.

Books read in January: 9

Creators of color: 5/14 (36%)
LGBT+ rep. in creators: 1/14 (7%)
LGBT+ rep. in books: 1/9 (11%)
Lady creators: 7/14 (50%)
Translated works: 0
Works in Spanish: 0

At a glance, it looks like I'm on target for gender and ethnic diversity, but not with LGBT+ (yet) or my translated works/Spanish language goals. The good news is, I'm not woefully behind, so I hope there'll be better numbers to show soon.

As for the Read Harder Challenge, I've completed 3 tasks so far. For "read out loud," I've put down An Orange in January by Dianna Hutts Aston and Julie Maren, which I read in a classroom to young kids. I've read other books to kids, and it's always loads of fun, and I totally recommend it. For the "over 500 pages" read, I've selected The Marvels by Brian Selznick, which is delightful. I wrote about that for PANELS recently. And the third is "historical fiction before 1900" for which I selected The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace & Babbage by Sydney Padua. I wrote about this already on this blog, but suffice it to say it's super informative while also being made up.

As always, you can keep up with what I'm reading (or most of it, anyhow, as I don't necessarily talk about every single book I read) on social media or in my bite-sized reviews/thoughts on this blog. Of course, I'm still looking for suggestions for reads I should pick up for the Read Harder Challenge and also for my LGBT+ diversity goal. Let me have 'em anywhere I can see 'em.

Also, I've got more pics of that sweet ThreeZero Tyrion you can browse, if you like.

Bite-Sized Book Reviews: THE THRILLING ADVENTURES OF LOVELACE & BABBAGE, and X: A NOVEL

Books, Comics and MangaKristina PinoComment

The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace & Babbage by Sydney Padua

This book, which comprises approximately 40% comics, 40% footnotes, and 20% straight up notes, copied letters/documents, and illustrated references, begins with a short biography of the lives and works of Ada Lovelace and Charles Babbage, followed by an alternate history series of comics as if they had successfully build the first computer and continued to live long, healthy lives full of adventures and successfully solved mysteries. While the alternate history (named the Pocket Universe) is all in good fun and sort of made-up, many of the events and characters are absolutely grounded in real history, all of which is explained in footnotes and appendices. I've learned more about the era Lovelace and Babbage lived in and other pioneering writers, inventors, mathematicians, and scientists, especially ladies who are so often erased from this history, reading this "(mostly) true story of the first computer" than I ever did in history lessons. Give it a try. Read it slowly. Read all the footnotes. Super clever - appropriate for anyone into history, or computers, or math, or general nerdery.

X: A Novel by Ilyasah Shabazz and Kekla Magoon

Don't be fooled by this book's classification of "novel." Though the authors take some liberties when it comes to the general antics and conversations depicted within, all the events, and most of the people, definitely happened or existed. Its subject is Malcolm X, specifically his adolescence, that turbulent period of his life leading up to his arrest and his years in prison before emerging as a human rights activist. If you've read Malcolm's autobiography then you're already aware of the events of the novel, but it's presented in an entirely different way. X: A Novel gives his story so much life, and incredible intimacy. You spend the entire book in his head - really, it's a powerful read. At the end, Shabazz goes a little bit into some historical background, things or people she left out for brevity, and outlines exactly the few, inconsequential things that are entirely made up. This book is so gripping and so important. Appropriate for high school and above.

Friday Things: 06/05 - Balloon art and a TANGLED animated series

LinksKristina PinoComment

[Welcome to another week of links I saw and did around the net. I also realize that lately this is the only thing I'm posting on my blog. That'll change soon. Promise!]

The first teaser trailer for The Good Dinosaur is out! This looks like it'll be fun.

Super cool balloon art by Japanese artist Masayoshi Matsumoto. They're so detailed and amazing.

"We live in a culture that produces girls’ tops with narrower shoulder straps than boys’ tops, girls’ shorts that expose more leg than boys’ shorts, and then shames girls for wearing the clothes that are sold to them. We live in a culture that tells boys it’s OK to shed clothing in the heat in order to be more comfortable, but tells girls that their comfort is secondary to how others perceive them." I couldn't agree more.

"When he’s not singing or producing music, Akon is busy providing sustainable living options to people in African countries. The Senegalese-American singer’s initiative, appropriately called Akon Lighting Africa, aims to supply electricity to 600 million people in Africa who lack it with the launch of the Solar Academy." Amazing.

On Panels: "What the Flark? With GROOT, Less is More" (I take a look at Groot #1)

Wondering why Rapunzel has blonde long hair in this one promo image for the new Tangled series is making my head hurt. Especially when it states right in the article that it takes place after the film and before Tangled Ever After. Just... what?

Jon Stewart makes some smart points about Caitlyn Jenner's transitions (I pluralized on purpose there).

On Panels: Comics Fetish: Volume 34 (it was my turn again this week!)

I'll round things off here with this week's Friday Reads. What are you reading?

Friday Things: 05/28 - Grotesque ladies with power and clearing up misunderstandings

Kristina PinoComment

[Welcome to another week of stuff I saw and did around the internet. Enjoy!]

A thoughtful article about how (or why) Elizabeth I ends up being depicted as grotesque. Why, indeed? This isn't universal, of course. Meryl Streep didn't get this treatment after all. Well, not really. But it's an interesting thought.

On Panels: 12 rad comics artists to follow on Instagram. I might do a sequel to this one - really enjoy featuring cool art.

Cool Disney-inspired nail art roundup. I wish I had the patience for all this.

How to draw Fred from Big Hero 6.

Here's a cute article about the awesomeness that is Jillian Tamaki.

Great infograph/resource for folks who freelance and struggle with figuring out how much they should charge per hour.

Good read about misunderstandings and the way we communicate our feelings and intentions.

I'll wrap this up today with this week's #fridayreads video.

[Have a great weekend/week!]

Friday Things: 05/22 - One-Handed Piano Serenades and Manga for YA Fans

LinksKristina PinoComment

[Oh hey, the Friday Things column is.. back?! Maybe. I think so. Okay here are my links for this week!]

Here's a look at Inside Out-specific kanji created by Sisyu, a Japanese calligraphy artist. I love the way she applied different emotions to her strokes for their names.

How long and far did Frodo and Sam actually walk? Cool look at that, if you're into these things.

Apparently there's music composed for one hand with small children in mind, so you can hold your baby with one arm and play with the other until they fall asleep. Genius. And pretty!

I had never given it any thought, but there is a reason why baby Groot freezes mid-dance whenever Drax turns his head in the end of Guardians of the Galaxy.

The Japanese A Song of Ice and Fire book covers are gorgeous.

Take a tough Would You Rather quiz for book nerds.

Here's a cool recommendation list for folks who like YA and want to get into some manga. I've added a few titles to my TBR with this.

On Panels: this week's Comics Fetish was my turn, check it out.

[See ya next week!]