Celebrate LGBTQIA+ Pride Month!

Graphic Novel Discussion: Beetle & the Hollowbones by Aliza Layne
Monday, June 17th at 5:30 p.m.
For 3rd to 6th Graders
Location: Galaxy Hall

To celebrate LGBTQIA+ Pride Month, we will be discussing the graphic novel, Beetle & the Hollowbones by Aliza Layne, and playing Book BINGO. Refreshments will be served at this celebration! We will be giving out copies of the graphic novel to the first 8 registrants. Please include your name, phone number and email when you register for this program. Pick up your free graphic novel to keep, and read beforehand to be prepared for the conversation and game!

About the Graphic Novel, Beetle & the Hollowbones:

In the eerie town of ‘Allows, some people get to be magical sorceresses, while other people have their spirits trapped in the mall for all ghastly eternity. Then there is twelve-year-old goblin-witch Beetle, who's caught in between. She'd rather skip being homeschooled completely and spend time with her best friend, Blob Glost. But the mall is getting boring, and B.G. is cursed to haunt it, tethered there by some unseen force. And now Beetle's old best friend, Kat, is back in town for a sorcery apprenticeship with her Aunt Hollowbone. Kat is everything Beetle wants to be: beautiful, cool, great at magic, and kind of famous online. Beetle's quickly being left in the dust.

But Kat's mentor has set her own vile scheme in motion. If Blob Ghost doesn't escape the mall soon, their afterlife might be coming to a very sticky end. Now, Beetle has less than a week to rescue her best ghost, encourage Kat to stand up for herself, and confront the magic she's been avoiding for far too long. And hopefully ride a broom without crashing!

Other Great Reads to Celebrate LGBTQIA+ Pride!:

The Real Riley Mayes by Rachel Elliott
For Grades 3-7
Library Catalog

“‘Fifth grade isn't my kinda vibe,' admits Riley at the start of Elliott's debut graphic novel, an exploration of self-identity that is both LOL funny and touching. Riley struggles in school, preferring to crack jokes and doodle on her assignments. And she doesn't have a crush on anyone in Eleventy-One, the boy band that is the frequent subject of her classmates' discussions. But she starts to suspect she might have a crush on Joy Powers, a celebrity comedian who is her idol and the intended recipient of a letter for a school assignment — if Riley can only figure out how to narrow her questions (‘Do you ever love stuff that other people think is weird?'). Riley finds a true friend in new — kid Aaron but accidentally outs his parents as gay. When a classmate calls her a ‘lesbo,’ Riley (who thinks of herself as a ‘dude-ish girl’) struggles to come to terms with her own identity. With the help of a few friends, her tight-knit family, Aaron's dads, and even Joy Powers, Riley realizes that ‘it's worth it to find the few people who truly get you.’ Elliott brings readers crisp linework, a bright palette, expressive body language, rich narrative details, and (bonus!) kitty comics. Best of all is inimitable Riley, who endears herself to readers with her budding self-awareness and undeniable moxie.” –Horn Book Magazine

A-Okay by Jarad Greene
For Grades 3-7
Library Catalog

“A middle school boy deals with the trials of growing up. When a disastrous case of pimples strikes, 13-year-old Floridian Jay starts suffering from a negative body image. On top of that, his school schedule this year separates him from his good friend Brace. Driven to take action, Jay seeks medical solutions for his acne, but with no improvement, his doctor starts him on Accutane. With this harsh new medication come side effects and a restricted diet for Jay to deal with. Meanwhile, at school Jay is feeling abandoned by Brace, and he seeks out new friends in fellow teaching assistant Mark and art classmate Amy even as school bully Aaron does his best to make Jay’s life terrible. Tying these plotlines together is Jay’s journey to find and define himself, from coming to terms with his ace/aro identity to changing up his wardrobe. Jay’s story is genuine and compelling, immersing readers in his world. The art style is uncluttered and keeps key events clear and easy to follow; purple-toned panels indicate flashbacks. Liberal amounts of comedy interspersed with drama make this an enjoyable read, while the ace/aro protagonist and depiction of a teenage boy’s poor self-image keep the otherwise familiar storyline fresh. Jay and his family read as White; there is ethnic diversity in the supporting cast. A compelling depiction of teenage uncertainty.” –Kirkus Reviews

The Breakaways by Cathy G. Johnson
For Grades 4-8
Library Catalog

“This jam-packed graphic novel featuring diverse girls tackles friendship, identity, and more.When black fifth-grader Faith is recruited to the girls soccer team on the first day of school, she hopes to be welcomed into the popular older crowd. But Sodacan and Marie, two cynical but welcoming white seventh-graders, inform her that the three of them are firmly at the bottom of the C team. At night, Faith draws and then dreams of a mysterious brown-skinned knight named Mathilda who whisks her away on magical adventures that help her navigate her waking surroundings. Each team member has life issues that they bring onto the field: Crushes, sexual harassment, rivalries, and cliques provide enough distraction to keep the team from winning. It's an exciting portrayal of young characters exploring their sexual and cultural identities, but there is an awful lot going on. With so many characters and storylines it becomes difficult to grasp any singular theme or connect with all of the personalities. Hijabi MVP Nadia helps rescue the season; vegan Sodacan recruits teammates into her all-girl band; Latinx Yarelis takes the game super seriously; Vietnamese-American Huong's busy parents are unable to attend her matches. In one of the many sensitively handled moments, one player comes out to a teammate as a trans boy during a sleepover. Happily, though it's stylized, Johnson's art successfully individuates the many characters, aided by Czap's soft pastels. Readers will be sorry there are no additional volumes planned to flesh out these characters further. Groundbreaking and as complicated as middle school.” –Kirkus Reviews

Snapdragon by Kat Leyh
For Grades 3-7
Library Catalog

Lumberjanes comic books collaborator Leyh expertly blends fantasy and realism in her energetic debut solo middle-grade graphic novel. ‘Our town has a witch. She fed her eye to the devil. She eats roadkill and casts spells with the bones.’ Snapdragon knows the rumors, but after the ‘roadkill witch’ rescues Snap's beloved dog and agrees to foster abandoned possum babies, Snap starts to think all may not be as it seems. And it's true: The town's ‘witch’ is actually Crocs-wearing, white-haired, one-eyed Jacks. Gruff but nurturing, Jacks takes Snap under her wing, teaching Snap her work of using bones from roadkill to build and sell anatomically correct skeletal systems. But it also turns out that Jacks is a witch, using magic to release the souls of roadkill back into nature, and Snap is desperate to find out if she can also channel magic. Leyh's characters are fully realized, from Snap's simultaneously overflowing skepticism and enthusiasm to her dynamic with her single working-while-in-school mom, from Jacks' quiet history with Snap's grandma to Snap's new best friend's transition to wearing skirts, loving nail polish, and being called Lulu. Their world isn't perfect: Snap and Lulu are bullied at school, economic struggles are apparent, and Snap's mom's abusive ex-boyfriend shows up more than once (including in a finale that has a twinge of deus ex machina). Jacks is white while Snap, her family, Lulu, and most secondary characters are coded as black – all, refreshingly, presenting with a realistic variety of skin tones and hair colors and textures. Sweet and fierce, this is a must-have.” –Kirkus Reviews

The Golden Hour by Niki Smith
For Grades 3-7
Library Catalog

“After witnessing a brutal attack against his art teacher, young Manuel Soto struggles to cope with the trauma and anxiety that shadow him. Bouts of panic attacks and moments of disassociation afflict Manuel, especially when reminders of the attack crop up unexpectedly. To manage these flashes of great unease, he uses his love of and skills in photography to anchor and ground himself. One day, he’s paired with Sebastian and Caysha, a couple of classmates, for a school project. As Manuel becomes fast friends with them, he learns more about his newfound friends’ plans to participate in the summer county fair. Spending time on Sebastian’s family’s cattle farm outside of town, as well as with Sebastian’s newborn calf, Manuel finds the space and quiet he needs to experience relief and engage in reflection. Slowly, he begins to open up to his friends about his trauma, joining in with their joyful preparations for the fair (Caysha’s fancy chickens are a hoot) and forging a deeper, more affectionate relationship with Sebastian in particular. Employing artwork that expresses sobering realism with hints of softly colorful catharsis, Smith provides a compassionate, gentle look at a young boy in the grip of PTSD and his hard-won path to recovery. Lightness lingers among the tightly paced, evenly formed panels, broken only by the dynamic, sometimes slanted, lines used to characterize Manuel’s panic attacks. Strong, good-natured characters and an endearing representation of young queer love round out a mighty sweet tale. Manuel is cued as Latinx; Sebastian reads as White and Caysha as Black. Exceptionally graceful and delightful.” –Kirkus Reviews

The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang
For Grades 5-8
Library Catalog

“Frances, a seamstress living in Paris at the turn of the century, causes quite a stir when she designs a daring, avant-garde ballgown for a count's daughter, who blithely asks to be dressed like the devil's wench. Though the countess is displeased, her daughter is enchanted, and so is the crown prince, Sebastian, who immediately hires Frances with an unusual request: he wants her to make him a wardrobe of bold, glamorous gowns. Secrecy, of course, is paramount, but Frances loves having the freedom to design the dresses of her dreams, which are making quite a name for the prince's au courant alter ego, Lady Crystallia. Wang's buoyant, richly colored artwork beautifully envisions Frances' designs against an already captivating background. It's not that the de rigueur fashions are ugly or boring; rather, everything is beautiful but Frances' ensembles stand out stunningly. As Lady Crystallia gains notoriety, and Frances gets closer to meeting her idol, a designer of ballet costumes, elements of Frances' designs trickle subtly into the wider fashion world. But fame brings attention, and Seb's worries about being exposed surpass his loyalty to his friend. Though the conclusion is perhaps too rosy given the suggested time period, that's an easy quibble to forgive, thanks to the gorgeously dense artwork, lively sense of movement, effervescent fashions, sweet romance, and heartwarming denouement.” –Booklist

Séance Tea Party by Reimena Yee
For Grades 3-7
Library Catalog

“Ghosted by friends, Lora Xi, 12, befriends a ghost in this middle grade debut. While her pals have begun caring about ‘who’s popular or what’s trendy,' Lora remains fascinated with ‘all weird stuff'—the Bermuda Triangle, Bigfoot, ghost hauntings, and the like. Alone on her Halloween Eve birthday, Lora performs a séance tea party. Though not expecting results, Lora draws the attention of Alexa, a spirit who haunts Lora’s home, boasts various supernatural powers, and was Lora’s imaginary friend growing up. Together, they embark on a joint journey of self-discovery: Lora examines why she’s afraid to mature like her peers, and Alexa, without memories, investigates her past and reflects on why she befriended generations of children. As they work through their emotional obstacles together, Alexa encourages Lora to explore her identity, which gives Alexa room to realize her own need to grow. Strong sequential panels in lineless, full-color art convey expressive characters and keep a consistent pace, while tender, picturesque splash pages slow things, allowing cathartic moments to breathe. With her middle grade debut, Yee creates a moving tale that emphasizes the importance of embracing one’s quirks—and finding friends who do the same.” –Publishers Weekly


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About Raquel Cavalcanti, Children's Librarian

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