Carnegie Library seeks volunteers to review graphic novels

Published Apr 3, 2013 at 10:41 am (Updated Apr 3, 2013 at 10:41 am)

Are you a teenager looking for something to do over the summer? You can help out the East Liberty branch of the Carnegie Library by volunteering to read and review newly published graphic novels.

The library gets new graphic novels every month, and the volunteer positions are available year-round. Volunteers sign up and visit the library to checkout books that have not yet been put into circulation. Once the books have been read, volunteers must fill out a form detailing their thoughts on the novel. If the book garners enough positive feedback from the volunteer book reviewers, it may be incorporated into the library system.

All novels that are up for review have been nominated by the Great Graphic Novels for Teens committee, part of the Young Adult Library Services Association, a division of the American Library Association.

I recently checked out two books from the system to review. “Philosophy: A Discovery in Comics” by Margreet de Heer is an informational book. Originally published in Europe, it is an abridged history about philosophy and famous philosophers like Aristotle and Socrates. Since this book is about philosophy, it was a little confusing to me and I often had to re-read pages. Fortunately, the cartoon-like graphics made the book more appealing. The book isn’t bad, but it appeals to a certain audience, and I’m not included in that group.

The other book, Robert Louis Stevenson’s “Kidnapped,” is part of a series of adaptations of classic stories. “Kidnapped” outlines the adventures of a Scottish man named David Balfour in the 18th century who is kidnapped by his uncle because he is the rightful heir to his estate. David teams up with a stranger named Alan Breck Stuart to escape. The characters “speak” with accents, making it hard to read. It progresses too quickly and I could barely comprehend anything that was going on before it completely lost me. I know it’s an abridged version, but there’s a fine line between that and Spark Notes.

Books currently available for review are:

• “Blue Bloods” by Melissa de la Cruz and Alina Ursov

• “War Brothers” by Sharon McKay and Daniel Lafrance

• “Haganai: I Don’t Have Many Friends” by Yomi Hirasaka and Buriki

• “Peanut” by Ayun Halliday and Paul Hoppe

• “Wonder Woman 2, Vol. 2: Guts” by Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang

To become a volunteer book reviewer at Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh’s East Liberty branch, contact Librarian Tessa Barber, also a committee member for Great Graphic Novels for Teens, at or 412-363-8232.

In the past, I have done other volunteer work that was not as enjoyable. Being a volunteer book reviewer is a unique opportunity that may appeal to many different types of teenagers.

Jeremy Farbman is an eighth-grader at Jefferson Middle School in Mt. Lebanon.

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