Category Archives: Graphic Novels

Celebrate Comic Con + Black History Month with Legend of the Mantamaji

In honor of Black History Month and Hill Top’s annual Comic Con (this Saturday!), here’s a new addition to our comics and graphic novel collection by award-winning African- American television director and author, Eric Dean Seaton, called Legend of the Mantamaji: Book 1. This action-packed adventure series follows Elijah Alexander, an ambitious New York City Assistant District Attorney, who learns that he is the last of the Mantamaji, an ancient race of warrior-knights who protected humanity from evil. Sydney Spencer is a brilliant detective chasing a mysterious gang that nobody else believes exists. Naturally, their worlds collide as both are drawn into an epic war with the fate of the world in the balance. Just like our world, the world of comics is becoming increasingly diverse, with women and people of color taking leading roles – and that’s a good thing. In Seaton’s words, books like these prove that “Everyone can be a hero.” Check out the display in the Hill Top library for a selection of awesome contemporary comics as you get your Comic Con on.



March: Book Three and 2017 YALSA Nonfiction Awards

Today’s featured library book is March: Book Three, the recently released concluding volume of the graphic memoir trilogy by John Lewis, co-authored by Andrew Aydin and illustrated by Nate Powell. The trilogy tells the riveting true story of Congressman Lewis’ fight for justice alongside civil rights heroes like Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The book is a finalist for YALSA’s 2017 Nonfiction Award. Check it out!

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Author Event and Reading Without Walls Challenge Update

On Friday, December 2nd at 4 pm, local author Matt Phelan will read from his new graphic novel, Snow White, at Main Point Books in Wayne. Set in New York City during the Great Depression, this fairy tale retelling imagines Snow White as a dispossessed yet independent young woman, and the seven dwarves as a ragtag band of street urchins. Fans of film noir will appreciate the dark, moody, atmospheric style of the watercolor illustrations. Watch the official film trailer here.


Also, this week is your last chance to sign up for the “Reading Without Walls” Challenge! See Ms. Murphey in the Library to sign up by Friday, and mark your calendar for Thursday, 12/15. We’ll have a party and book discussion in the Library during mentor period and lunch, with prizes and donuts for everyone who successfully completes the challenge. PS: Please bring your book so I can take your picture for our Reading Without Walls “All-Stars” wall of fame!


Welcome Back! An intro and two new titles for back-to-school

Dear Students and Families,

It’s a beautiful day on the Hill as we approach the end of our first full week of classes. I’ve always loved this time of year: the still-warm days and cooler nights, and the excitement, anticipation – and yes, craziness – of a new school year, new schedules, new friends…and new books!

For those of you who don’t know me yet, I’m Anna Murphey. I’m thrilled to be back at Hill Top for a second year as the Librarian after assisting Ms. Gillespie in the library last year (thankfully, she’s still literally just around the corner in the Reading Room, making awesome things happen in her expanded role as Director of Post-Secondary Transitions).

I look forward to seeing some familiar faces and meeting many of you for the first time at today’s Back to School Night. In the meantime, here are two new books with back-to-school themes. Come check ’em out!

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Parts One and Two by John Tiffany and Jack Thorne (based on an original new story by J.K. Rowling)

Some of you Harry Potter fans gobbled up this much-anticipated eighth installment to the series immediately after the book was released on July 31st. As you probably know, it’s the script to the new stage play which is being produced in London. Set nineteen years after the Battle of Hogwarts, the book follows Harry (now a middle-aged bureaucrat at the Ministry of Magic) and his reluctant son, Albus, who as the story opens is just starting his first year at Hogwarts.

Complex father-son dynamics, adolescent angst, and Time-Turners…all your favorite themes, characters, and magic are here. But it’s a play, not a novel, which makes for a unique reading experience. Once you get used to navigating the clunky-looking dialogue and stage directions, you may find your imagination is filling in the blanks – like a movie sequel playing in your head. Make some popcorn, find yourself an air-conditioned room, dim the lights, and read. It’s as good as going to the movies.


SuperMutant Magic Academy by Jillian Tamaki

This book is weird and wonderful. Though it’s technically a graphic novel, there’s little in the way of linear story-telling here from the brilliant author of This One Summer. The book takes place at a private school that’s a little like Hogwarts – that is, for kids who have some kind of special magic ability and are, well, mutants. And they’re also typical teenagers grappling with crushes, class projects, and the existential question of what to do after graduation. I loved these characters and the dreamy artwork in each comic strip. Recommended for mature readers with an absurdist sense of humor.


Mrs. Gillespie’s Book of the Week – Peanut

Have you ever told a lie that you thought was no big deal? It was just a little story to make things easier. No one was hurt by it. But then it started to creep into other parts of your life and you had to remember to hold all of the pieces of that little lie together and hope no one caught you?


This is the premise of the graphic novel Peanut by Ayun Halliday and Paul Hoppe. Sadie is starting at a new high school. Looking for a conversation starter, she decides to tell people about her peanut allergy. She even writes about it for one of her classes. The only problem. Sadie doesn’t have a peanut allergy. But now she has to remember all of the time to act as if she does.

The illustrations in this book are wonderful and the story is just great. I felt really anxious for Sadie as things started to unravel for her (there’s lots of avoiding the school nurse who wants to know why she hasn’t dropped off medical forms and an epi-pen…she manages to lie her way out of that, briefly). This was probably one of my favorite books that I read this summer.

Friday’s Featured Books

Since I wasn’t here on Wednesday, I decided that today I’d feature two books that are new to the library. And if you’re a junior, the topic should be one in the forefront of your brain right now.

harlemTwo new books about 369th Infantry Regiment, also known as the Harlem Hellfighters. This was one of the first African-American regiments to serve during World War I and changed many American’s opinions regarding African-Americans serving in the armed forces. They were known as “the regiment that never lost a man captured, a trench, or a foot of ground.” They were honored by the French and got their nickname from the Germans.

Not only were the Harlem Hellfighters tenacious fighters, they also had a marching band that performed all over the world.

So, there are two very different books available. The first is Harlem Hellfighters by J. Patrick Lewis and Gary Kelley. This is a short, illustrated history of the regiment with beautiful illustrations. If you’re not familiar with them at all, this book is a good place to start.

The second book is The Harlem Hellfighters by Max Brooks, of World War Z fame. This is a graphic novel. It’s a fictionalized account of their battles as well as the discrimination they faced.

Grab a Book Thursday – Wordless Edition

Over the last few years, I have grown to have a real appreciation for graphic novels. I was moved by Maus, learned a lot from Persepolis and Boxers & Saints, and LOL’d at Nothing Could Possibly Go Wrong and Chickenhare. But I will admit, that I sometimes skim graphic novels. I concentrate on reading the words instead of synthesizing the words and the pictures for the full story.


That’s why these two books are so cool. They are wordless graphic novels. You might think that this means you can “read” them really quick, because all you need to do is glance at the pictures, but it’s not that easy. To really appreciate the story, you need to take you time and really “read” each panel, look at the detail in each scene.

Robot Dreams tells the story of a friendship between a dog and his robot. But after a trip to the beach when the robot becomes rusty, the dog abandons him there. He then spends the next year trying to find a friend as good as the robot. Robot, meanwhile, spends his time daydreaming of better places.

The Arrival is about a man who leaves his family to begin building a life for them in a new country. The images are beautiful sepia toned drawings of his journey to a place where he does not speak the language, and therefore cannot communicate with words. There are some fantastical features in the new land, which are meant to emphasize how strange a foreign country can be when you are alone and know no one.