I was drawn to this slice-of-life science fiction manga as soon as I saw the beautiful cover art by author/illustrator Hisae Iwaoka. The series is a glimpse into the daily life of Mitsu and the other inhabitants of the Ring System, a man made structure that floats above the long abandoned Earth. The ring itself is divided into three levels, which indicate social status. Mitsu resides in the overcrowded lower level, inhabited mainly by laborers. At the beginning of the series, Mitsu has finished his schooling and begins work as a window washer donning a space suit to clean the outside of the Ring. It is a dangerous job and claimed the life of Mitsu’s well-loved father, Aki, five years prior (though Iwaoka drops clues that lead readers to question the details surrounding Aki’s death).
The first few chapters in the series introduce us to the people Mitsu encounters in his work. Window washing is expensive so Mitsu often finds himself working in the upper levels, interacting with the quirky inhabitants. Most in the ring don’t get to wander beyond their own level, so Mitsu has a unique look at life throughout the ring. Often his viewpoint is from outside the ring as he cleans windows, looking into apartments as if they’re dioramas.
Most science fiction series lean toward action, so I enjoy that Iwaoka allows us to explore the Saturn Apartments and meet its characters, without a sense of impending doom. I adore Iwaoka’s exterior landscapes outside the ring as well as the wide views of the interior levels. The contrast between the crowded lower level and the sparseness of the exterior ring make me feel both claustrophobic and weightless; a sensation I imagine one would encounter living in space. As the series progresses, Iwaoka hints at some exciting narrative possibilities and questions about what is left of planet Earth. Perhaps we’ll soon get to visit our old home world and see what the future holds for humanity. In the meantime, I have enjoyed learning about day to day life in the Ring.
This series is not just for hardcore manga fans. If anything, it may be more appealing to those who enjoy indie comics and offers an easy introduction into reading Japanese style comics.
To find a copy near you: Click here
-Ruth Houston, Teen Services, Teen Underground, Main Library
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It is a simple fact of life that at some point you will need to feed yourself. Now, you can always go with the old standbys of peanut butter and jelly or Ramen. Or, you could check out some of the cookbooks the library has just for teens, and cook yourself a feast.
At first glance cooking can be a bit scary, especially if you haven’t done much of it. One of the best things about teen friendly cookbooks is that they assume you haven’t done much cooking, and so they tend to cover some pretty basic skills. A good book to start with is a lovely little book called How to Cook . If you’ve only ever made food in the microwave, this is the book for you.
So, no more peanut butter and jelly sandwiches! Get out there and get cooking!
-Stephani, Teen Services, St. Matthews Branch
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Beauty and the Beast comes on. And I LOVE Tangled. While you are waiting for the next episode of Once Upon A Time to air or just want to try a different take on an old classic, these books will get you started!
Try these Re-tellings of Classic Fairy Tales
- Towering by Alex Flinn
- The Fairest Beauty by Melanie Dickerson
- A Kiss in Time- Alex Flinn
- Beast - Donna Jo Napoli
- Rapunzel Untangled - Cindy Bennett
- Cloaked - Alex Flinn
- The Merchant’s Daughter - Melanie Dickerson
- Cinder - Marissa Meyer
What was your favorite fairy tale as a kid? Do you have a favorite book retelling of a classic story? Why was it your favorite? Share in the comments below.
-Mallory Marshall, Teen Library Assistant, Bon Air Branch
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Drop by any one of the Louisville Free Public libraries and check out a Star Wars book. I personally recommend starting with The Truce at Bakura by Kathy Tyers which takes place directly after the events in Return of the Jedi or The Courtship of Princess Leia by Dave Wolverton. Also, the Thrawn trilogy by Timothy Zahn was a favorite of mine as a teen, the first in the series being Heir to the Empire.
If you want something a little more updated, try a Star Wars graphic novel, like Star Wars: Darth Vader and the Ghost Prison by W. Haden Blackman. LFPL carries graphic novels and fiction spanning the entire timeline of the franchise, from the Clone Wars and on past Return of the Jedi to include Leia and Han’s children! Here is a great list of Star Wars books separated by Star Wars history.
You could also check out a nonfiction book like the Star Wars Character Encyclopedia by Simon Beecraft and hone up on your Star Wars trivia. Or if you want a hilarious take on Star Wars try Darth Vader and Son by Jeffrey Brown.
For a fun craft try these snowflakes. Decorate your room or house for the holidays, Star Wars style.
The official Star Wars website is filled with fantastic games, activities, crafts and info.
You could also check a Star Wars movie at the library, have some friends over and make some death star popcorn balls.
May the Force be with you!
-Heather Lee, Children's Librarian, St Matthews Branch
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Once you have, you can even work your way up the tree, and you’ll never run out of entertainment.
Percy Jackson & the Olympians Family
Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson & the Olympians books represent the latest in a long line – stretching back over 2500 years – of adaptations of Greek Mythology. Although Riordan wasn’t around to hear the Greek Myths told, himself, he certainly read adaptations, going back to Greek and Roman sources.
It doesn’t have to be complicated, though. A direct adaptation is a relatively faithful re-telling of another work. A book being remade as a movie is an example of a direct adaptation: the movie might leave some things out, or make some changes, but it will pretty much follow the original plot. An example of a direct adaptation is Grant Morrison’s 18 Days series by Graphic India. (Published on YouTube.) 18 Days is a retelling of the Mahabharata – one of the epic myth cycles of Hinduism, along with the Ramayana. Although both Percy Jackson and 18 Days are based on a source, the Percy Jackson series isn’t a straight re-telling of the Greek myths, but rather uses them as an artistic inspiration. 18 Days, however, follows the same plot as the Mahabharata, even though it chooses to tell the story in a different style (kind of like a sci-fi shadow puppet show).
You can do this with authors, artists, or directors, as well as books or movies! If you went to see a horror movie this Halloween season, it could probably trace its roots back to Charlotte Brontë or Edgar Allan Poe.
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