Alphabetical Index of First Second

Shattered Warrior

Shattered Warrior is an affecting portrait of life during wartime occupation, a story of a young woman fighting the alien race who’ve stolen her world that demonstrates real emotional depth in life-and-death situations. Colleen was the privileged daughter of a great estate until the aliens came. They destroyed the city and her home and killed her family (and stole her Bible! just kidding, Romancing the Stone fans). Now, she works a tiring, assembly-line job sorting minerals for the occupiers to […]

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Science Comics: Flying Machines: How the Wright Brothers Soared

First Second’s Science Comics line combines the best of everything: fascinating stories, entertaining education, and talented creators who know how to make good comics. Flying Machines: How the Wright Brothers Soared is no exception. (Previous titles include Bats, Volcanoes, Dinosaurs, and my personal favorite, Coral Reefs.) Alison Wilgus wrote and Molly Brooks illustrated this brief history of powered flight by heavier-than-air constructions. I was charmed from the beginning, with the choice to have the story narrated by Katharine Wright, sister […]

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Tetris: The Games People Play

It’s astounding what fascinating graphic novels can be made from the most unexpected subjects! Box Brown (Andre The Giant: Life and Legend) demonstrates that with Tetris: The Games People Play, which starts out as a history of the immensely popular, deceptively simple video game. As it continues, though, we see ruminations on the nature and history of art and sport. Games develop analytical skills and pleasure people’s brains with fun. Tetris was created in 1984 by a Russian programmer with […]

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The Amazing Crafty Cat

My preconceptions of The Amazing Crafty Cat led me down the wrong path. I thought I’d get a craft-focused story of an animal who made things. Instead, this is a lightweight tale of a girl struggling to recover from a bad birthday at school. There are a few crafts included, with templates in back, but most are just gluing bits of paper together. I expected more, and more imaginative, things to make. The simplicity of Charise Mericle Harper’s book is […]

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The Time Museum

The Time Museum is an enjoyable, rollicking adventure story that I couldn’t put down. Matthew Loux captures the same sense of summertime exploration and amazing discoveries that he portrayed in the Salt Water Taffy series, but now, his group of characters is more inclusive and wide-ranging. Delia Bean is too smart for her classes. She’s expecting to be bored over the summer, until she finds out that her favorite uncle Lyndon is secretly a time-traveling curator of the Earth Time […]

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Decelerate Blue

Decelerate Blue brings the popular dystopian YA genre of a young rebel finding her people to comics. Adam Rapp writes and Mike Cavallaro draws the story of Angela, a fifteen-year-old living in a world that emphasizes speed and hyper-consumption. All sentences end with the word “go”. Using too many adverbs will draw the wrong kind of attention. Everyone has a tracking chip implanted in their arm. Movies last under fifteen minutes. But Angela has found a copy of the banned […]

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Science Comics: Bats: Learning to Fly

The next Science Comics release (after volumes educating us about Coral Reefs, Dinosaurs, and Volcanoes) tackles those misunderstood mammals, Bats, as written and illustrated by Falynn Koch. There’s not much story in this volume, to make more space for a thorough visual overview of all kinds of bats and their methods of nutrition. The loose framing structure features a Little Brown Bat who’s injured by humans during a night wildlife hike. He’s taken to an animal hospital with a vet […]

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Science Comics: Volcanoes: Fire and Life

First Second launched its Science Comics line this past spring with Dinosaurs: Fossils and Feathers and the excellent Coral Reefs: Cities of the Ocean. Now comes a new installment, Jon Chad’s Volcanoes: Fire and Life, and it’s fun and exciting, using a science fiction story to convey its lessons. Aurora lives in the future, on an Earth where the surface has completely frozen. She’s part of a learning group trying to find sources of fuel among the abandoned houses and […]

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