Graphic Novelist Alison Bechdel Wins MacArthur “Genius” Award

September 18th, 2014

As we are in the midst of our Graphic Novel Symposium and our One Book Program on Giovanni’s Room, an artist who touches themes of both events was awarded the prestigious “Genius” award from the MacArthur Foundation.

Alison Bechdel, author of Fun Home, has received critical acclaim for her work as a cartoonist and grpahic novelist. She explores issues of identity, family, and sexual orientation (among many topics). You can checkout a copy of Fun Home here in the MVCC Library.

Here are a couple of articles about Bechdel:

NPR: Book News: A Q&A With Alison Bechdel, Cartoonist And MacArthur Winner

PBS Newshour: From marriage equality advocate to materials scientist, MacArthur Foundation names 21 new ‘geniuses’

Here’s an excerpt of the biography provided by the MacArthur Foundation.

“Alison Bechdel is a cartoonist and graphic memoirist exploring the complexities of familial relationships in multilayered works that use the interplay of word and image to weave sophisticated narratives. Bechdel’s command of sequential narrative and her aesthetic as a visual artist was established in her long-running comic strip, Dykes to Watch Out For (1983–2008), which realistically captured the lives of women in the lesbian community as they influenced and were influenced by the important cultural and political events of the day.

Garnering a devoted and diverse following, this pioneering work was a precursor to her book-length graphic memoirs. Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic (2006) is a nuanced depiction of a childhood spent in an artistic family in a small Pennsylvania town and of her relationship with her father, a high school English teacher and funeral home director. An impeccable observer and record keeper, Bechdel incorporates drawings of archival materials, such as diaries, letters, photographs, and news clippings, as well as a variety of literary references in deep reflections into her own past.”

Graphic Novel Series: Ender’s Game

September 18th, 2014

Today I’m featuring a graphic novel by Orson Scott Card called Ender’s Game. This novel was recently made into a movie, but before it was a film or a graphic novel or even a novel, it was a short story published in a magazine in 1977.

In the collection, we also have Speaker for the dead, which is the sequel to Ender’s Game and the graphic novel version as well.

I’m also including a preview to the film Ender’s Game, which came out in 2013. This film stars Asa Butterfield who was also starred in the film Hugo Cabret as Hugo in fact. Ender’s Game also starred many other notable actors such as Harrison Ford, Ben Kingsley (who was also in the film Hugo Cabret), Viola Davis (The Help), and Abigail Breslin (Little Miss Sunshine)

Learning from a Classroom Lecture: Handwritten Notes v. Laptops

September 17th, 2014

A typewritten page is a highly desirable product and it would seem that taking notes in class with a laptop would help us learn better.

But a recent article in the Washington Post shows that more effective learning occurs with the old fashioned hand-written note-taking process. (In addition, I have to wonder about the sound of the typing and how very annoying it can be in a classroom setting. Then, too, with WiFi there is a temptation to go on line and not pay attention to what is happening in the lecture.)

Read the article here and see if you agree.

Graphic Novel Series: Arab in America

September 17th, 2014

Today we’re featuring another  non-fiction graphic novels. Arab in America is a semi-autobiography based on Toufic El Rassi experiences growing up in the United States. As you can imagine, many parts of his story are quite sad. Rassi shows the readers what it’s like to grow up in an increasingly hostile nation and how he manages to form an Arab identity.

Looking for more information? In 2013, Moraine Valley’s Arab Student Union hosted a student panel discussion on this very same topic. We have it available to stream and as a podcast. We also have many books in the collection about first generation Arab Americans such as:

Be sure to check out more information about our upcoming Graphic Novel Symposium happening in the library Thursday, Sept. 18 and Friday, Sept. 19, 10 a.m.-3:30 p.m.

Getting Information in Your Students’ Hands: Reserves at MVCC Library

September 16th, 2014


^^MVCC Reserve Materials^^

  •     Do you own a book or other media that you’d like for your students to have access to in a safe and monitored environment?
  •     Do you want to make sure that something in the library can be assured to be available to all of your students?
  •     Do you suspect that some of your students don’t have access to the text for your class?

These are just a few reasons to use the library’s reserve system, but there are many others.  With this system, the library can set aside items for your students that you want them to use outside of class.  If you have books, DVDs, Blu Rays, or other media you want your students to have access to, fill out the form below and bring those items, along with the form, to the library.  Our shortened loan periods make it easier for your students to have equal access to sparse resources, and help students get the things they need to be successful.  You can find more information at the link below:

To place items on reserve for your class, you will need to fill out and bring the Textbook and Reserve form to the library for each item to be put on reserve.  The form can be found here:

Graphic Novel Series: Joey Fly, Private Eye in Creepy Crawly Crime

September 16th, 2014

Today I’m featuring a graphic novel called Joey Fly, Private Eye in Creepy Crawly Crime. This one is for audiences of a younger nature, but that doesn’t mean adults can’t enjoy the parody. Have you ever wished you could be a fly a wall? Welcome to Joey Fly’s life. He’s a private eye on a case.

For more information on the graphic novel, I’m adding a book trailer below. Be sure to check it out!

And don’t forget about our upcoming Graphic Novel Symposium happening in the library Thursday, Sept. 18 and Friday, Sept. 19, 10 a.m.-3:30 p.m.

Banned Books Week and Graphic Novels

September 15th, 2014

BBW2014Banned Books Week is scheduled for September 21-27, 2014, and has a comic book and graphic novel focus this year. Every year the American Library Association (ALA), along with the national book community, celebrates the freedom to read and raises awareness of censorship and banned/challenged books by celebrating Banned Books Week. With MVCC’s Graphic Novel Symposium happening this Thursday and Friday (September 18-19) I thought this article, by Ian Chant from Library Journal, was apropos.

MVCC Library has many of the challenged graphic novels in its collection:

Check them out as we defend your right to read! To see a list of more banned/challenged comic books and graphic novels check out the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund’s (CBLDF) list here. To find out more about Banned Books Week and how you can help prevent censorship check out the CBLDF’s Banned Books Week Handbook, where you can also contribute to the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund.



Graphic Novel Series: Palestine

September 15th, 2014

Today I’m featuring a very different kind of graphic novel. Like its name would suggest, Palestine by Joe Sacco is about life in present day Palestine (book was published in 1993 so I’m using present day loosely, although the same problems in this region still unfortunately exist today). Joe Sacco is often called the first comic book journalist and sometimes even a “war junkie.”  He often travels to far places like Palestine, Sarajevo and Bosnia and immerses himself with life in that region to create his graphic novels.

His most recent graphic novel is The Great War (published in 2013), which we unfortunately don’t have in the collection. However, you can read an interesting review of the novel here. You can also find some interviews with Joe Sacco by clicking on the following:

Be sure to check out more information about our upcoming Graphic Novel Symposium happening in the library Thursday, Sept. 18 and Friday, Sept. 19, 10 a.m.-3:30 p.m.

My Spaceship is a Graphic Novel

September 14th, 2014

The other day I went to Mars.  It was an eerie and confusing place.  Martians were not tiny green men with large black eyes but beings that look similar to ourselves.  Martians and humans travel across the sands in large ships that glide with the power of wind.  There is even a hotdog stand to feed the hungry new inhabitants of the planet with food that reminds them of home.  As Earth humans slowly take over the planet I saw it change from a well established Martian civilization to a planet of small towns made to look like the ones we live in here.  Entire cities built by the Martians become ruins that Earth children play in, it leaves a somber feeling.  They are running around an abandoned city that was once bustling with commerce, lively hoods and the sound of a different species of children laughing. My means of seeing all these intriguing sites was not a NASA top secret new spaceship but a graphic novel I found right here at MVCC.

Ray Bradbury’s The Martian Chronicles: the authorized adaptation  is a graphic novel version of Bradbury’s book of short stories, The Martian Chronicles.   Bradbury was one of the most critically acclaimed American writers of the last century. Many of you may have read his book Fahrenheit 451, a novel about a dystopian civilization were books are outlawed.  This graphic novel was approved by Bradbury, he even wrote the introduction which gives us the reader insight to his fascination with Mars starting at a young age.  With the colorful panels, and easy flow from story to story, its no wonder why he approved of this stunning adaptation of his beloved stories of Mars.

Other works by Ray Bradbury that we have in our collection are below:

Novels: Dandelion wine: a novel, A graveyard for lunatics : another tale of two cities

Short Stories: The Stories of Ray Bradbury, The vintage Bradbury: Ray Bradbury’s own selection of his best stories

Poetry: When elephants last in the dooryard bloomed : celebrations for almost any day in the year

Don’t forget the Graphic Novel Symposium September 18th and 19th!

Vaccines–Calling the Shots (video)

September 12th, 2014

This week NOVA released a new special on the spread of preventable diseases due to vaccines. This is one of the topics we discussed in last year’s One Book program on World War Z. Public health was one of our themes, so I thought I’d share this along with one of the panel discussions from last year. The videos are posted below.

NOVA: Vaccines–Calling the Shots
Program Description: “Diseases that were largely eradicated in the United States a generation ago—whooping cough, measles, mumps—are returning, in part because nervous parents are skipping their children’s shots. NOVA’s “Vaccines—Calling the Shots” takes viewers around the world to track epidemics, explore the science behind vaccinations, hear from parents wrestling with vaccine-related questions, and shed light on the risks of opting out.”

The Truth about Vaccinations and Herd Immunity
Event Description: The Internet is full of information and misinformation around the safety of vaccines. The medical community does not debate vaccine safety, but a vocal communities keep the debate alive. How safe are vaccines? What information is available to make decisions about vaccine safety? This faculty panel will discuss some of the issues and present valuable information. This event is part of our One Book, One College programming on World War Z.