Sunday, August 25, 2013

Back to School: Digital Comics for the Common Core

Power Lunch

As students head back for the start of school, teachers and administrators have something new on their minds: The Common Core, a set of educational standards that are being rolled out in 45 states. There’s a lot of debate around the Common Core, but nonetheless, it’s the educational trend du jour and will be with us for a while.

Savvy teachers have been using comics and graphic novels in the classroom for a while now, and the folks at Diamond Comics Distributors have come up with a list of comics and graphic novels that tie in to the Common Core. Their list includes a downloadable spreadsheet that gives grade levels and subject tie-ins for each book. Here’s a sampling of what’s available digitally. (Links are for comiXology and Dark Horse Digital, but some of these are available in the Kindle, Nook, Kobo, and iBooks stores as well.)

Pre-K through First Grade

Power Lunch: First Course
Johnny Boo Does Something

Second Grade and Up

The Wonderland Alphabet
Mermin, Book One
Sketch Monsters, vols. 1 and 2
Pirate Penguin vs. Ninja Chicken

Third Grade and Up

Age of Reptiles Omnibus
The Mighty Skullboy Army, vols. 1 and 2
Xoc: Journey of a Great White
Discovery Channel’s Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Predators
Mankind: The Story of All of Us, vols. 1 and 2

Fourth Grade and Up

Scary Godmother
The Last Unicorn

Fifth Grade and Up

Cow Boy: A Boy and His Horse
I’m Not a Plastic Bag
Mouse Guard: Legends of the Guard

Sixth Grade and Up

The Last Dragon
Two-Fisted Science: Stories About Physicists
Fractured Fables

Seventh Grade and Up

The Adventures of Superhero Girl
Bone Sharps, Cowboys, and Thunder Lizards
Krishna: A Journey Within

Ninth Grade and Up

Nevsky: Hero of the People
Hatter M: The Looking Glass Wars
Wire Mothers: Harry Harlow and the Science of Love

Tenth Grade and Up

Dotter of Her Father’s Eyes
Green River Killer: A True Detective Story
Capote in Kansas
The Lovely Horrible Stuff: My Book About Money

Back to School: Digital Comics for the Common Core is a post from: E-Reader News

Digital Comics Best-Sellers for August 25th 2013


It’s time to compare and contrast the digital comics best-seller lists. What will we learn today?


1. Injustice: Gods Among Us #32
2. Justice League Dark #23
3. Superman Unchained #3
4. Avengers, vol. 5 #13
5. Superior Spider-Man #16
6. Batman and Robin #23: Nightwing
7. X-Men, vol. 4 #4
8. Wonder Woman #23
9. The Walking Dead #113
10. Trinity of Sin: Pandora #3

DC wins the top ten this week, with six titles, while Marvel has four and Image has that old faithful, The Walking Dead.


1. Injustice: Gods Among Us #32
2. Injustice: Gods Among Us #31
3. Injustice: Gods Among Us #30
4. Injustice: Gods Among Us #1
5. Injustice: Gods Among Us #29
6. Batman: The Dark Knight Returns
7. The Walking Dead, vol. 1
8. Injustice: Gods Among Us #2
9. Injustice: Gods Among Us #28
10. Batman: The Killing Joke

Well, it looks like the Injustice: Gods Among Us have discovered Kindle; usually only the early issues make the Kindle best-seller list, but this week we’re seeing a good handful of the most recent issues. Batman: The Killing Joke topped the list last week and we see it lingering at number 10 this week, while Batman: The Dark Knight Returns stays solidly in the middle. And eons after it debuted, people are still picking up the first volume of The Walking Dead. Go figure.


1. Injustice: Gods Among Us #32
2. Injustice: Gods Among Us #25
3. Injustice: Gods Among Us #29
4. Star Trek: The Next Generation/Doctor Who Assimilation #1
5. Injustice: Gods Among Us #28
6. Injustice: Gods Among Us #31
7. Injustice: Gods Among Us #26
8. It’s a Dog’s Life, Snoopy!
9. The Walking Dead, vol. 1
10. The World According to Lucy…

This is almost exactly the same as last week’s list, except that the issues of Injustice: Gods Among Us are shuffled.


1. Injustice: Gods Among Us #32
2. My Little Pony: Micro Series #7: Cutie Mark Crusaders
3. March (Book One)
4. Injustice: Gods Among Us #31
5. Batman: The Dark Knight Returns
6. My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic #10
7. Watchmen
8. Avatar: The Last Airbender: The Search, Part 2
9. The Walking Dead, vol. 1
10. My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic #6

Of the three e-book platforms, this has the most varied top ten list, and it’s hard to imagine a more bizarre juxtaposition than My Little Pony sitting between Batman: The Dark Knight Returns and Watchmen. I guess it just goes to show how eclectic iBooks readers are. One notable book that pops up here and nowhere else is part one of March, the memoir of civil rights pioneer Rep. John Lewis, who is the last surviving speaker from the 1963 March on Washington. It has been getting a lot of attention in the media (deservedly so—it’s an excellent book) and the print edition topped the New York Times graphic books best-seller list, so it’s good to see people are buying it digitally as well.

In terms of market share, Marvel is completely absent from the three e-book platforms. In fact, the first Marvel book to appear in the Amazon rankings is at number 25 (they had a few that made the top ten a couple of weeks ago because of deep discounts). Injustice and Batman have a lot to do with this, but it’s sort of amazing that Marvel didn’t crack the top ten for Kindle, Nook, or iBooks this week. This may have to do with comiXology having an exclusive on Marvel single-issue comics, which I assume includes their digital-first comics, while DC is selling their 99-cent Injustice issues by the truckload.

Digital Comics Best-Sellers for August 25th 2013 is a post from: E-Reader News

eBook Review: This Girl by Colleen Hoover


Verdict: 3 Stars

Colleen Hoover’s This Girl (Atria) is book three of her Slammed series, a new adult romance that features Will and Layken. In this book, she wraps up the series by retelling the events of book one and two from Will’s point of view, artfully giving readers a different viewpoint on events that fans may already know.

This book was a tough one to rate. Taken just on the merits of the writing style and the quirkiness of the format–every other chapter alternates between playing a scene from the Layken and Will’s past, and a scene from their present–it was a solid read with a lot of entertainment value. Hoover also very masterfully writes a third book in a series without leaving first-time readers in the dark while also not having to resort to lengthy infodumps to keep new readers up to speed.

Where the book fell apart for me was in the highly implausible subject matter of a love affair between a high school student and her teacher, albeit a student teacher, but one who happens to live across the street and be friends with her mom. Somehow both Layken’s best friend and her mother know that the teacher is in love with the girl, but that does absolutely nothing to stop the mother from letting her daughter spend the night at the teacher’s house.

Yes. Her eighteen-year-old high school senior spends the night at her hot, male teacher’s house, and Mom’s only concern is to call over her shoulder to the teacher, “Make sure you sleep on the couch.” Of course–spoiler alert–he goes straight into the bedroom and curls up in bed with the girl.

There were a few other disturbing elements in the story. We do learn at the beginning of the book that Layken and Will are married now, something that Will himself wars over throughout the book as he realizes that it is horribly inappropriate for him to date his high school student, and his internal battle is the full knowledge that it is wrong for someone in his position to be in love with a young girl. Also, there are little dropped hints scattered through the book that actually set off alarm bells for me, like the scene in which Will (the teacher) beats up a male student who he sees making out with a willing Layken. He also makes statements such as “ordering” Layken to wear only what he tells her she will wear on their honeymoon, “allowing” her to bring one outfit, the one she happens to be wearing at the time. Sexy? Romantic? No. Creepy? Domineering? Yes.

The stage is nicely set for this to NOT be a romance as Layken’s father had died only months before she met Will. It doesn’t take a psychology degree to figure out that she falls for her male teacher only months after losing her dad, a story element that is decidedly the opposite of romantic. Will there be a fourth book in which Layken grows up a little bit and realizes she was only transferring her feelings of loss onto the nearest father figure in her life?

But This Girl is certainly a well-written book, even if the subject matter is a little stomach-churning, and it will be a quick read for devoted fans of the New Adult genre, one that is certainly pushing the boundaries of what’s considered safe, mainstream story lines. This Girl is available now from ebook and print retailers.

eBook Review: This Girl by Colleen Hoover is a post from: E-Reader News

British Library Partners with NLB Singapore to Digitize Rare Malay Manuscripts

Malay manuscripts

The British Library has joined hands with the National Library Board in Singapore with the aim of digitizing an extensive collection of materials related to the island state. This includes Malay manuscripts considered to be extremely rare, which includes a Malay letter written in golden ink in 1857 by the ruler of Johor, Temenggung Ibrahim, to Emperor Napoleon III of France. Among the other materials that will also be part of the digitization process include early maps of Singapore, as well as archival material of the British official Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles who is credited with establishing the city of Singapore.

"This collaboration allows the National Library to explore the wealth of information in the British Library's Southeast Asian collection, especially materials which are of interest to Singapore. Our users will be able to easily access rarely seen documents relating to the rich history and culture of Singapore and the region. It has also been a most rewarding experience for our staff to have the opportunity to engage with the collection and work with colleagues at the British Library," said Mr. Gene Tan, Director, National Library Singapore.

Funding the project will be William and Judith Bollinger, who have donated £125,000 towards the completion of the digitization work over the next five years. The first phase is already underway and is aimed at digitizing the more than one hundred rare Malay manuscripts and letters that date back to the 17th through 19th centuries. All of that will now be accessible in the form of over 16,000 high resolution images from the NLB's BookSGsite as well as the British Library's Digitized Manuscript website.

Speaking about the digitization effort now underway, Annabel Gallop, Lead Curator for Southeast Asian Studies at the British Library said, "Thanks to the generosity of the Bollinger family, we will be able to make the British Library's collection of Malay manuscripts available to researchers across the world. It is fantastic to be able to work with colleagues at the National Library Board of Singapore to ensure that all those with an interest in Malay cultural heritage are able to view them. We look forward to working with the NLB as the project progresses.”

Meanwhile, the National Library Board in Singapore has announced it is now the host of over three million ebook titles. That is about an eight fold jump from the 400,000 titles it started with back in 2005. That figure should compare favorably with the around 4.9 million physical books, magazines, and other content that the NLB holds in its libraries, which are housed in twenty-six locations around the island. The loan rate of ebooks has also seen a marked rise in recent times, with 4.9 million ebook loans recorded between 2010 and 2011, an increase of 25 percent. Of course, the book count will continue to grow as efforts are already underway to add about 800,000 more titles by end of 2013.

A subscriber of the library can now log in to the library site, select a particular title, and click borrow. Users have the option to borrow up to six books for free. The ebooks get returned automatically once the due date is crossed. Patrons also have the option to reserve an ebook if it has already been borrowed by someone else.

British Library Partners with NLB Singapore to Digitize Rare Malay Manuscripts is a post from: E-Reader News

Vote Pi!

We’ve been nominated for the People’s Choice Award in next week’s Index Award: Design to Improve Life. The competition makers have encouraged us to share the news with you, and we’d be really grateful if you could visit CNN’s page about the awards and click on the Pi button.

The Index Awards are a very big deal for us: they’re the world’s biggest design awards, and we were overwhelmed to be told we were finalists in this year’s event. Although it’s not the prettiest computer ever, the philosophy behind the not-for-profit Raspberry Pi Foundation – a desire to make sure that later generations have the technical skills needed for a successful future, and a desire to see the price of computing and commercial electronic devices fall until they’re accessible to absolutely everyone – is something we’re very proud of.

So please vote Pi. Thank you!