Dragon Hoops was such a great read! I enjoyed it far more than I thought I would and I learnt so much. Not only is it the story of Gene Luen Yang following the season of the varsity basketball team at the high school where he works, it’s also a history of basketball (including the racism and sexism that led to changes in the sport). Gene gives back story to the coach and players in the Bishop O’Dowd Dragons, which gives some really interesting insight in to basketball in China and the Sikh religion.
The art is fantastic, especially the action of the games, where the characters are moving through the court or flowing towards the hoop. The difference between the past and present is very clear with the difference in colours and tones. It also has the coolest cover that looks and feels like a basketball.
It’s aimed at teens and adults but it would be a great addition to an intermediate school, especially if you’ve got basketball fans. I highly recommend it!
Go With the Flow is another really important graphic novel that encourages discussion. It encourages readers to talk about menstruation, a topic that has historically had a stigma attached to it. The story shows how important it is to talk about periods and to have proper support for those who menstruate, including making sanitary products readily available.
The story follows Sasha, the new girl at school, who unexpectedly has her first period at school. She is unprepared and gets mocked by other students, her call her Bloody Mary. Luckily for Sasha, not everyone is horrible and Abby, Brit and Christine come to her rescue. The friends bond over their period experiences and set out to make a change in their school. Abby writes a blog about menstruation called The Mean Magenta, and it’s through her posts that her fight for menstrual products in her school becomes a much wider issue.
This story works so well as a graphic novel because some of the impact comes from the visuals, especially Abby’s exhibition. The colour palette the creators have used is various shades of red, which matches the subject matter of the story. It’s not just the story that is fantastic though, the creators also give more information at the back of the book about periods and what is and isn’t normal, and how to be a period activist.
It’s aimed at teens but I’m going to purchase it for my Year 7/8s as I know some of them would enjoy it.