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Monster: A Graphic Novel

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A stunning black-and-white graphic novel adaptation of Walter Dean Myers's Michael L. Printz Award winner and New York Times bestseller Monster, adapted by Guy Sims and illustrated by Dawud Anyabwile Monster is a multi-award-winning, provocative coming-of-age story about Steve Harmon, a teenager awaiting trial for a murder and robbery. As Steve acclimates to juvenile detent A stunning black-and-white graphic novel adaptation of Walter Dean Myers's Michael L. Printz Award winner and New York Times bestseller Monster, adapted by Guy Sims and illustrated by Dawud Anyabwile Monster is a multi-award-winning, provocative coming-of-age story about Steve Harmon, a teenager awaiting trial for a murder and robbery. As Steve acclimates to juvenile detention and goes to trial, he envisions the ordeal as a movie. Monster was the first-ever Michael L. Printz Award recipient, an ALA Best Book, a Coretta Scott King Honor selection, and a National Book Award finalist. Now Monster has been adapted into a graphic novel by Guy Sims, with stunning black-and-white art from Dawud Anyabwile, Guy's brother. Fans of Monster and of the work of Walter Dean Myers—and even kids who think they don't like to read—will devour this graphic adaptation.


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A stunning black-and-white graphic novel adaptation of Walter Dean Myers's Michael L. Printz Award winner and New York Times bestseller Monster, adapted by Guy Sims and illustrated by Dawud Anyabwile Monster is a multi-award-winning, provocative coming-of-age story about Steve Harmon, a teenager awaiting trial for a murder and robbery. As Steve acclimates to juvenile detent A stunning black-and-white graphic novel adaptation of Walter Dean Myers's Michael L. Printz Award winner and New York Times bestseller Monster, adapted by Guy Sims and illustrated by Dawud Anyabwile Monster is a multi-award-winning, provocative coming-of-age story about Steve Harmon, a teenager awaiting trial for a murder and robbery. As Steve acclimates to juvenile detention and goes to trial, he envisions the ordeal as a movie. Monster was the first-ever Michael L. Printz Award recipient, an ALA Best Book, a Coretta Scott King Honor selection, and a National Book Award finalist. Now Monster has been adapted into a graphic novel by Guy Sims, with stunning black-and-white art from Dawud Anyabwile, Guy's brother. Fans of Monster and of the work of Walter Dean Myers—and even kids who think they don't like to read—will devour this graphic adaptation.

30 review for Monster: A Graphic Novel

  1. 5 out of 5

    David Schaafsma

    Monster: The Graphic Novel is a companion to (RIP) godfather of African American Children’s and YA literature Walter Dean Myers’s classic and still wildly popular tale of juvenile justice and representation, Monster, and it is not, as are some recent comics adaptations of books taught in American schools such as Speak, To Kill a Mockingbird, or The Handmaid’s Tale are, an instant classic artistic rendition of the original, but it is good and especially useful as a way of helping visualize the st Monster: The Graphic Novel is a companion to (RIP) godfather of African American Children’s and YA literature Walter Dean Myers’s classic and still wildly popular tale of juvenile justice and representation, Monster, and it is not, as are some recent comics adaptations of books taught in American schools such as Speak, To Kill a Mockingbird, or The Handmaid’s Tale are, an instant classic artistic rendition of the original, but it is good and especially useful as a way of helping visualize the story. The question is whether it was really necessary to do a comics version, as the story is easily accessible and pretty “visual” in the original, as Steve Harmon, stuck in jail for the trial, keeps a journal and shapes his experience of events into a screenplay. In keeping with the continuing middle grades and YA fascination with multiple fonts and type sizes, it is (still, two decades after its initial publication) lively and visually interesting (for them) as a text as it focuses on the trial, giving kids ample opportunity to engage in their own “mock trials” and inquiry into juvenile justice in their vicinities. But the graphic adaptation just focuses on the trial, and not the representation of experience in a journal or screenplay with which Steve is engaged, so it is far more straightforward than the original. I read it with my Growing Up class in conjunction with other books on juvenile justice such as The Hate U Give, Neighborhood Girls, American Boys and the Poet X, with some poetry on related issues (including 1919 by Eve Ewing and Bloodstone Cowboy by Kara Jackson. I’ll say that most of my students who read this version of the book liked it quite a bit more than I did. I thought it was just fine but I’d never substitute it for the original.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Karen Rose Ginman

    Wonderfully illustrated but lacks some clarify in the narrative in the opening scenes for those unfamiliar with the story.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Rachel Bea

    Very moving and beautifully drawn. I have to read the novel now.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Connor

    Steve Harmon has been accused of being in a robbery on December 22nd. Go along with Steve during the court trial and find out if he had a role in the robbery. Is Steve guilt like everyone else or is innocent like he says he is.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Ms. Yingling

    Myer's 1999 novel is a favorite class discussion novel for our 8th grade, so it was interesting to see it adapted into a graphic novel. Steve Harmon is an African American teenager who is very interested in film, and the book is presented as if it is the screenplay for a movie Harmon is making for class. Steve is on trial because he is accused of being the lookout for a robbery that ended in a drugstore owner being shot. Steve protrays his neighborhood, the people he knows, and his perception of Myer's 1999 novel is a favorite class discussion novel for our 8th grade, so it was interesting to see it adapted into a graphic novel. Steve Harmon is an African American teenager who is very interested in film, and the book is presented as if it is the screenplay for a movie Harmon is making for class. Steve is on trial because he is accused of being the lookout for a robbery that ended in a drugstore owner being shot. Steve protrays his neighborhood, the people he knows, and his perception of the events. The lawyers at the trial bring up doubt concerning many of the events, and Steve, while he knows he is not guilty, begins to doubt the actions that caused him to be in this situation. This is a timely book, given the current events in the news this summer. The graphic novel makes the characters seem very immediate and real, whether it is the arrogant swagger of Bobo, or the grief and disbelief of Steve's father. The difficulties that Steve faces in his neighborhood are not glossed over, and there are elements in the novel and in this graphic version that make this more suitable for young adult readers. It is a good book for springboard discussions about how innocent people can be accused of crimes when they are in the wrong place at the wrong time. This version stays true to the novel, although the beginning lacks some of the background information that helps readers to understand the situation in the novel. The pictures capture the gritty, inner city feeling of the setting, and will make this story more accessible to readers who find pictures easier to process than paragraphs of description. Monster: A Graphic Novel is a must have for readers who are being introduced to this story for the first time, or who have read the novel and want to see the story told in a different way. Teachers will find that using these books for a compare/contrast exercise could be very interesting. I, sadly, am not one who likes pictures, and since this book (given the original screenplay format) has always been confusing for me, I didn't much care for it personally. Will have to buy a copy, though!

  6. 5 out of 5

    April

    With listening to Serial, watching Making Murderer and reading All American Boys, I cannot get enough of media that explores the American justice system, flaws and all. My full review With listening to Serial, watching Making Murderer and reading All American Boys, I cannot get enough of media that explores the American justice system, flaws and all. My full review

  7. 4 out of 5

    Nicole

    A powerful visual representation about social welfare in today's society and how African American youth are viewed by the justice system.

  8. 4 out of 5

    ♥️ Kate ♥️

    We read this book in my literacy class (Along with Monster) to study graphic novels. We also acted it out (I played Briggs), so . . . I'm not really sure how to review this book. It was good, and I think I would've liked it more had I not had to read it in sections and write paragraphs on it. Overall, it was a great book. Hopefully I get a chance to re-read it in the future without all the pressure of soaking up every detail to write a report on. 4 stars. We read this book in my literacy class (Along with Monster) to study graphic novels. We also acted it out (I played Briggs), so . . . I'm not really sure how to review this book. It was good, and I think I would've liked it more had I not had to read it in sections and write paragraphs on it. Overall, it was a great book. Hopefully I get a chance to re-read it in the future without all the pressure of soaking up every detail to write a report on. 4 stars.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Kara Belden

    Underwhelmed... maybe I would have preferred the original to the graphic adaptation?

  10. 4 out of 5

    Katherine

    ”Sometimes I feel like I have walked into the middle of a movie. Maybe I can make my own movie. The film will be the story of my life. No, not my life, but of this experience. I’ll call it what the lady prosecutor called me: Monster.” While I’m not 100 percent proof positive, I think I might have benefited from reading the novel first. Steve Harmon is sixteen years old and being tried as an accessory to murder. Supposedly, he’s been accused of being the lookout to a robbery that resulted in th ”Sometimes I feel like I have walked into the middle of a movie. Maybe I can make my own movie. The film will be the story of my life. No, not my life, but of this experience. I’ll call it what the lady prosecutor called me: Monster.” While I’m not 100 percent proof positive, I think I might have benefited from reading the novel first. Steve Harmon is sixteen years old and being tried as an accessory to murder. Supposedly, he’s been accused of being the lookout to a robbery that resulted in the murder of a local store owner. He claims he’s innocent, but in the eyes of the public he’s nothing more than another messed up black teenager from the wrong side of the tracks. As the trial proceeds, Steve begins to think of his experience akin to a movie and writes it down in the form of a screenplay, partly to let the truth come out and partly to keep himself from going insane. ”’We lie to ourselves in here. Maybe we are here because we lie to ourselves.” Interspersing his prison experiences with the trail and the events leading up to the trial, Monster is a portrayal of how even though we are led to believe that justice is color-blind, it might not always be the case. The original novel was published in 1999, but I was struck by how relevant its themes of racial injustice, prejudice and police brutality are. Especially considering the Black Lives Matter movement, this graphic novel couldn’t have come at a better time. I think the author touches on these subjects with a frank honesty many other authors are afraid of using, and it shows in both the character’s actions and observations by Steve. I also think the black and white illustrations by Dawud Anyabwile set the right tone of the novel and how dark and despondent the characters seem to be, and the human emotion he creates on the character’s faces simply leap off the page. That being said, when it came to the writing and overall execution of the graphic novel, it fell flat for me. I think a lot of the material was lost in translation when it came translating the novel’s original content to graphic novel format. And since the author Walter Dean Myers didn’t adapt the novel himself (he passed away the year before this was published), I think that maybe some of the material may have been overlooked or omitted to make it shorter, which I think is a shame. Maybe it would have made more sense to me if I had read the book first and I could see what might have been omitted, but I feel that a lot of side characters got too much time and the main character himself got too little time. The narrative format of the book also threw me off, and not in a good way. Not only was more time given to the side characters and not on Steve Harmon himself, the time jumps between the crime and the events of the trial were mumble jumbled within one another. The defendants' POVs were interspersed with Steve’s, making it occasionally hard to discern who was talking and whose POV we were listening to. And to be perfectly frank, some of the information given seemed to be fluff in order to fill in the plot gaps, and not relevant to the original story. It made me lose interest in the story and made it harder to connect with the characters. While the flaws of the justice system and the racial prejudices of minority youths is explored and examined thoroughly and in a respectful matter, the messages could be occasionally marred by a choppy narration style and too much time given to side characters. Still, the message of this novel could far outway the cons, given the right reader. However, if you’re considering reading this, I would recommend reading the novel first to gain a better understanding of what is going on, and to get deeper inside Steve’s head. Recommended with reservations.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Dolly

    This adaptation of the award-winning novel by Mr. Myers is very faithful to the novel’s narrative. With over 150 pages of illustrations, dialogue, and internal monologue by Steve Harmon, the story captures the essence of life for a young man on the streets of Harlem, the terror of an adolescent who is experiencing being inside the prison system for the first time, and the changing perspectives of those in the court room, from the attorneys and court officers to the jurors, from family members an This adaptation of the award-winning novel by Mr. Myers is very faithful to the novel’s narrative. With over 150 pages of illustrations, dialogue, and internal monologue by Steve Harmon, the story captures the essence of life for a young man on the streets of Harlem, the terror of an adolescent who is experiencing being inside the prison system for the first time, and the changing perspectives of those in the court room, from the attorneys and court officers to the jurors, from family members and witnesses to the defendants, all observing the testimony and the court proceedings that will determine the fate of two young men’s lives. Using Photoshop to create black and white digital illustrations, the illustrator focuses primarily on the faces and the intense emotions experienced by the people in the story. By deliberately using variations of head position, gaze direction, and body language, the illustrator is able to convey much of the meaning of the story beyond the words and dialogue that are written on the page. The reader can, for example, see that the very sharp professionalism and cold detachment of Steve Harmon’s lawyer contrasted sharply with the rumpled, less polished demeanor of James King’s lawyer, which corresponds to their performance in defending their respective client. In addition, the shifting focus in various frames to depict just part of a face or reflecting the image of one character against another or even to zoom out or in on a scene really helps to capture the emotions of those whose lives will be dramatically changed by the final verdict. “After we had won the case…what did she see that caused her to turn away?” (p. 153) One of the best aspects of this medium, I believe, is the ability to relate more to the characters, see each of them as a flawed human being, and understand more about the dehumanizing effects of long-term imprisonment. I loved the fantastical film class images that transition the reader from the intensity of the plot and depict the scene as merely part of a movie, a figment of Steve’s imagination, an absurdity that relates to Shakespeare’s quote from As You Like It, “All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players”.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Hannah

    Even though it won all the awards and was a common book in elementary schools, I never actually read Monster as a kid and picked this up as a way to get a deeper intro to the plot beyond "kid on trial for murder." 14-year old Stevie is facing 25-to-life after being accused of serving as lookout in a convenience store robbery. However, at 14, his mind is wandering throughout the trial and reframing everything as a movie. Not knowing the full plot ahead of time seems to be a key part of the book a Even though it won all the awards and was a common book in elementary schools, I never actually read Monster as a kid and picked this up as a way to get a deeper intro to the plot beyond "kid on trial for murder." 14-year old Stevie is facing 25-to-life after being accused of serving as lookout in a convenience store robbery. However, at 14, his mind is wandering throughout the trial and reframing everything as a movie. Not knowing the full plot ahead of time seems to be a key part of the book as many of the events have ambiguous interpretations and reader discovery is important. The graphic novel does a good job combining real life, Stevie's perception, and movie reel re-imaginings, and it makes me wonder how the formatting worked in print. The graphic novel itself is mainly harsh lines and entirely in black and white, playing on the book's themes of racial tension, guilt, and truth. Fun trivia: adapters Guy A. Sims and Dawud Anyabwile are apparently brothers.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Malachi Madrone

    This book was very interesting in the beginning it was a little hard for me to understand but progressively became more clear. I love how the court is connected with movies and acting whih is something I love and want to do so I can relate to the book. "That is why I take films of myself, I want to know who I am."(153) I love the ending I love how it cuts to the class watching the movie and I love the message of court and film it ties everything up very well.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Bunny Cakes

    This was a great read and very poignant!

  15. 5 out of 5

    Yawatta Hosby

    The graphic novel was great except sometimes the lettering was way too small, which got distracting.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Juwi

    3.5 stars I really liked the film aspect of the graphic novel. Intense read but an important one. Glad it had a hopefully ending! 👏🏽👏🏽👏🏽

  17. 4 out of 5

    Traci

    Pop Sugar Challenge 2019: book with no chapters I read the original when I started my job in alternative Ed and my students talked about it and I was excited to find the graphic novel version. I’m teaching this now and my students are thoroughly enjoying it and relating to it as well.

  18. 5 out of 5

    TheNextGenLibrarian

    Just as powerful as the novel #weneeddiversebooks #projectlitbookclub

  19. 5 out of 5

    Jessica

    Really really compelling. I wonder how the book was different now compared to this graphic novel. So much is captured within the time frame of one trial. And the end of the book almost feels like a cliffhanger of identity. I wonder if it's like that in the novel. Powerful stuff.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Camille Dent

    *3.5 The art style is really beautiful, and it does give a brutally blunt picture of some negative aspects of the judicial system. I have not read the original novel, but I'm betting pretty heavily that the novel format suits the narrative better than this adaptation does. The graphic novel definitely has its strengths and portrays a difficult narrative style better than I thought it would, but it does not feel nearly as inductive for discussion as the novel is reputed to be.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Adrienne

    Before reading this graphic novel, I checked out Monster by Walter Dean Myers from the library. Monster came out in 1999 and I had never read it. Since this was an adaptation, I wanted to read the source material first. The novel is written in the form of a film. The graphic novel depicts the shots described in the novel, which saves some reading time. Although, if you weren't aware of what was going on, you might not realize that the framing of the panels is a direct translation of the book. I w Before reading this graphic novel, I checked out Monster by Walter Dean Myers from the library. Monster came out in 1999 and I had never read it. Since this was an adaptation, I wanted to read the source material first. The novel is written in the form of a film. The graphic novel depicts the shots described in the novel, which saves some reading time. Although, if you weren't aware of what was going on, you might not realize that the framing of the panels is a direct translation of the book. I wish the graphic novel had also put in the images that the book uses in some way. I appreciated that the graphic novel clarified some pieces I had not understood or missed in the novel. It also presented a few scenes with a different understanding than I had. In one case, it drastically changes the meaning of the scene from Steve's point of view. I prefer to go with my understanding. The graphic novel presents Monster quite well. If a reader preferred graphic novels to novels, it would be an okay substitute. However, the interesting manner in which the original novel is written is worth the read. I suggest reading both, if possible since neither is a very long read.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Rachelle

    Is Steve Harmon is a Monster? That's how the prosecutor sees him. Or maybe he's just a kid who likes to make movies. Whatever Steve is, he's on trial for armed robbery and felony murder. This trial determines whether Steve gets to live a free life. So it's up to the jury to decide whether Steve Harmon is a monster or not. I read the original book back in middle school for my English class, so when I saw the graphic novel version, I just had to pick it up. The story resonated with me long after th Is Steve Harmon is a Monster? That's how the prosecutor sees him. Or maybe he's just a kid who likes to make movies. Whatever Steve is, he's on trial for armed robbery and felony murder. This trial determines whether Steve gets to live a free life. So it's up to the jury to decide whether Steve Harmon is a monster or not. I read the original book back in middle school for my English class, so when I saw the graphic novel version, I just had to pick it up. The story resonated with me long after that middle school class, even if I hadn't remembered all the details. I love how Dawud Anyabwile handled the graphics. His style reminds me of the Boondocks in it's exaggeration of facial features and great attention to detail. Guy A. Sims did a great job in condensing the novel. The images and text flowed together really well.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Jamie

    3.5 stars because it adds a richness to an already wonderful novel; it would be great for young readers to compare the media and discuss what the graphic version provides (a deeper chance to "see" the characters, for one) and what it doesn't (smooth transitions between the screenplay, the case, and Steve's journal). As a standalone, though, those transitions are confusing in this version.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Tracey

    The original book is excellent, and so is the graphic novel. A powerful story.

  25. 5 out of 5

    FreeFormLady

    I enjoyed the actual novel a lot better. I found the graphic novel a little hard to follow. This is still an awesome story, but I would suggest reading the novel first.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Carrie

    Sooo, I read this in, like, two hours lol. I couldn't stop! Excellent artwork and a pretty solid story.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Tammy

    Monster tells the story of a young man who is accused of being involved in a murder. The graphic novel follows his trial and flashes between the trial process itself and his thoughts. I wanted to know what happened and was interested to read along as new characters entered the trial as witnesses. The story is excelled for addressing concepts of unreliable narrators. You can't really be sure who is telling the truth. The book cleverly bounces to flashbacks of the main character's high school movie Monster tells the story of a young man who is accused of being involved in a murder. The graphic novel follows his trial and flashes between the trial process itself and his thoughts. I wanted to know what happened and was interested to read along as new characters entered the trial as witnesses. The story is excelled for addressing concepts of unreliable narrators. You can't really be sure who is telling the truth. The book cleverly bounces to flashbacks of the main character's high school movie class, where he learns about how the audience of the movie is like a jury, making decisions about whether or not they like the movie before it's over. Although the graphic novel flashes to a picture of the jury in the story, the readers of the graphic novel are also making their own guesses about the mail character's innocence (and assessing the graphic novel itself). In another flashback, the main character learns that if a director gets too flashy with their camera work, it can show insecurities if their story. The next frame of the graphic novel is a giant frame at a dramatic angle. The text does a great job of using its form of media to convey information that a novel would not. This is extra impressive, considering that this graphic novel is an adaptation of a traditional novel. The artists and author deserve credit for the effective translation into graphic novel for. This would be a great book for a native speaking classroom. I especially appreciate the use of "standard" and non-standard English (I'm borrowing the graphic novel's terms for the Englishes used). The dialogue feels mostly natural. For non-native English speakers, the font itself might be challenging to read. However, some of the text effects do make tone of voice and volume easier to understand. I would use this text in a high-intermediate to advanced classroom with non-native speakers. There is a lot of legal language that even native speakers may be unclear about. What does it mean to have an objection sustained or overruled, for example? Seeing the law in action is culturally interesting and provides plenty of interesting content for classroom discussion. Students will be interested to make guesses about the guilt and innocence of various characters (prediction, yay!). There is an abundance of social justice content that can make for interesting conversation. And for teachers interested in discussing meta-level issues, such as narrator reliability, plot progression, and font/art choices, there is plenty to work with. Overall, a great classroom choice. Good option for high level non-native speakers, and a quick and interesting read for personal pleasure. Side note on my star rating: The art style itself was not to my personal liking (and occasionally confusing) and some of the language felt a little unnatural at times. Otherwise, I enjoyed the book and am curious to read the novel.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Summer (speaking_bookish)

    >>2.5/5⭐️

  29. 5 out of 5

    Mermaid

      Sometimes I feel like I have walked into the middle of a movie. Maybe I can make my own movie. The film will be the story of my life. No, not my life, but of this experience. I'll call it what the lady who is the prosecutor called me. Monster.  - Walter Dean Myers, Monster I am left confused! How can a young adult novel be confusing?! The style of writing and lack of description makes it hard to follow. I also was lacking depth from the characters. They were so boring that I didn't care what ha   Sometimes I feel like I have walked into the middle of a movie. Maybe I can make my own movie. The film will be the story of my life. No, not my life, but of this experience. I'll call it what the lady who is the prosecutor called me. Monster.  - Walter Dean Myers, Monster I am left confused! How can a young adult novel be confusing?! The style of writing and lack of description makes it hard to follow. I also was lacking depth from the characters. They were so boring that I didn't care what happened to them. I just didn't understand what was accomplished by the end of it. This book had all the promise to be a great read but by the last page you simply had to close the book and say... "All of that over 5 packs of cigarettes?" She wanted to know who I was. Who was Steve Harmon? I wanted to open my shirt and tell her to look into my heart to see who I really was, who the real Steve Harmon was.   - Walter Dean Myers, Monster I didn't like Steve but I didn't hate him. While in jail he talks a lot about himself and how he feels. Steve does acknowledge all his mother does for him while he sits in jail (dress shirt, clean and pressed. Matching tie for the trail.) but the appreciation is not there. At 16 years old shouldn't he know right from wrong? I did not empathetic for Steve or the other young men on the trail due to how unlikable every, single person in this book was. That was if you could remember any of them! In the end, I would skip this graphic novel if you are looking for something that is different or if you are looking for something that has depth to it because you won't find any of that in this book. However, if you do decide to go ahead with reading this you will catch up on your cat naps!

  30. 4 out of 5

    Brandon Moore

    Monster is a gripping story about Steve Harmon, who is a teenager on trial for murder and robbery. The text is set up as a small film that Steve is making for his class. This format insures that the story is presented in the exact way that Steve wants us to see. At the end, the reader is made to critically think whether Steve is the "monster" that the prosecutor called him. I am on the fence on whether I think that Steve is guilty or not. I have the belief that every narrator has some bias in th Monster is a gripping story about Steve Harmon, who is a teenager on trial for murder and robbery. The text is set up as a small film that Steve is making for his class. This format insures that the story is presented in the exact way that Steve wants us to see. At the end, the reader is made to critically think whether Steve is the "monster" that the prosecutor called him. I am on the fence on whether I think that Steve is guilty or not. I have the belief that every narrator has some bias in their telling of the story. I am skeptical of Steve's involvement or lack thereof in the robbery- I just don't think that every witness would wrongfully accuse him for no reason on his being at the scene of the crime. Graphic novels are not my favorite to read. That's probably due to not reading superhero comics as a boy (yes, I know that I didn't have a childhood). This text is completely black and white, commenting on the matter-of-fact perspective that the graphic wants the audience to take on the whole matter. I would like to go back and read the original text because I honestly didn't like this book as a graphic novel. Monster highlights topics such as the American justice system, the school-to-prison pipeline, gangs, and prison life. I think this text would work as a selective reading for the classroom. This novel would spark a lot of conversation within the classroom. I will definitely keep this book in my classroom library. It may appeal to my students who find confidence and comfort reading multi-genre texts like graphics. Also, it is nice to have culturally and racially-diverse books in my classroom; some of my students may be able to identify with a character that looks like them.

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