Boxer & Saints vs. A Corner of White judged by Yuyi Morales
Off come the gloves (pun intended) because I do have a preference for this round.
I stumbled across this while looking for graphic novels for an elementary reading group. Unfortunately, it was not appropriate for 5th graders, but I was so intrigued that I had to read it for myself. In Boxers, the year is 1898 and the story focuses on Little Bao, who is creating an army to fight against "foreign devils." In Saints, we follow Vibiana, a Christian convert, through the rebellion. Seeing the same events from two different perspectives is enlightening for readers. We live in a diverse world and being able to view things in the eyes of others is essential. History can be a a dry subject that students don't often enjoy. How much would 9th grade students enjoy reading something like this in world history instead of reading a textbook? If anyone still believes that graphic novels are "junk reading," these two books will disavow them of such a notion.
A Corner of White takes place in two different worlds. In our world, lives Madeline Tully. She and her mother (who is separated) have recently moved to Cambridge. Madeline is home schooled along with new friends, Jack and Belle. Madeline misses her old life, especially her father, and is worried about her mother's health. One day, she finds a note in a parking meter from Elliot Baranski, who is from the world of Cello, where colors sweep across like storms and can kill you. Elliot's uncle was killed by a violent purple and his father is still missing. My biggest criticism of this book is the length. The plot slowed so badly at times, that I thought I was not going to finish it. There is a sequel, but it is 100 pp. longer! Also, Madeline annoyed me. She reasonably thinks Elliot is lying to her about Cello, but she is so snarky in her responses to him that I wanted to throw the book across the room (it was a library book, so I resisted the urge).
So Boxers & Saints is definitely my choice for this round. We will see if Ms. Morales agrees!
Be sure to check out http://blogs.slj.com/battleofthebooks/ tomorrow to find out the official results!