Graphic novels are real books

My friend Michael says Raina Telgemeier’s books grow with age. He’s referring to the spines that crack and pages that expand with each reading.

Her graphic novels are reread because they are that good! She shares stories of her own childhood/teen years that are relatable and entertaining. Challenges with siblings, friends, dentists…it’s all there.

Calvin and agree that Ghosts, is our favorite. It  deals with moving, ancestors and a delicious Day of the Dead story.

We recently saw Raina when Joseph-Beth Booksellers brought her to town to discuss her new book Guts. Calvin had been anticipating the release of this book for months.


Calvin and our friend, Iris. (Her dad is Michael and he introduced Raina at the event.)

Hearing her talk about her journey and books was a treat ­– for me. I think Calvin liked it. He had his head in the new book most of the time. I would nudge him from time to time but since he was content, I mostly left him alone. He was too busy devouring the book.

I loved what Raina had to say to her young fans (and old) about books.

“Graphic novels are real reading,” Raina said. “They have all the elements of a book.”

She also mentioned that reading makes you feel less alone – so true!


We went to the event with our friend, Stella! She’s a connoisseur of graphic novels and told us about Raina’s visit.

A few weeks later, my niece Margot and I had a great discussion about Guts and Raina’s other books. It was like an aunt-niece book club!

It’s not the first time Calvin and Margot have enjoyed the same books – revisit one of my old blog posts, Kissing cousins and being weird is cool.

And check out Raina Telgemeier!


Batman serves barbeque out of a truck

I’ve been craving art projects since the boys arrived. When they were about 20 months old, I loaded them up in their wagon, wheeled them down to CVS and bought crayons and paper. We got home, set up shop on the front porch, and they chewed on the crayons.

Mark Todd's Bubba Q truck in Food Trucks!

Mark Todd’s Bubba Q truck in Food Trucks!

Now they like art and crafts but not always when I suggest/demand/beg to do it. You know when you daydream about something but the reality is different? That’s parenting. In my fantasy life, it was making pancakes on the weekends, cuddling, reading books, and making art. These things do happen but in between a lot of crying, whining, gross things having to do with the bathroom, and fights. And I’m just talking about myself.

You can imagine my delight when Food Trucks! by Mark Todd inspired an art project. My boys got it at the library, finding it an awesome combination of transportation, food, and signs.

We talked about the food trucks we visited during our Michigan vacation. (Petoskey/Walloon Lake/Paradise) Then we discussed how Dada loved barbeque. This evolved into a lovely Saturday morning, “let’s make a craft in our PJs” event. Using a superhero shoebox, we made a barbeque truck. Calvin was in charge of the signs – open, order, cash only, pick up – Max got out the superheroes for workers. Check it out – Batman is working it.

Batman gets to work.

Batman gets to work.

Each page of the book focuses on a different truck and includes trivia about food. The crazy facts appeal to my boys. They like being amazed by the size of things, for example, “the biggest falafel in the world was over 155 pounds.”

Of course they fought over the ownership of the truck later. And there was a skirmish among the workers. Superheroes and Lego people can’t work together. I guess it’s a different union.


This customer is getting impatient.

This customer is getting impatient.

Where to find the book and other info
We got our copy at the Clifton Branch of The Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County. Cincinnati bookseller Joseph-Beth sells it. Powell’s City of Books sells it.  Mark Todd sells it and other cool books on his website. Try Cincinnati bookseller Blue Manatee Children’s books and decafe.

This is my first post. Find out more about me in the About section of this blog.