Tag Archives: nonfiction

Rave AND Rant: Nonfiction Graphic Novels

I’m not in school anymore, but I still like to learn about things. And I also like reading comic books, so I’m excited about the increasing number of nonfiction graphic novels. When done right, nonfiction graphic novels can be a great way to learn about a new topic in a fun, easily digestible way.  I recently read Economix: How Our Economy Works (And Doesn’t Work) by Michael Goodwin and Dan E. Burr and Trinity: A Graphic History of the First Atomic Bomb by Jonathan Fetter-Vorm. I’d say their titles give you a pretty clear idea of what both books are about–how the economy works, and a history of the first atomic bomb–and neither subject was one that I knew very much about. They’re both somewhat intimidating topics to dive into, and I thought a graphic novel would be a good way to get a good introduction. I was right, although one of these books does a better job than the other.

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Rave: Mountains Beyond Mountains by Tracy Kidder and Michael French

Mountains Beyond Mountains by Tracy Kidder, adapted by Michael French

Mountains beyond Mountains : the Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer, a man who would cure the world by Tracy Kidder, Adapted for Young Readers by Michael French.
New York : Delacorte Press, c2013.

 

 

The original book Mountains Beyond Mountains by Tracy Kidder is one of my very favorite books, so when I saw that Michael French had released an edition “Adapted for Young People” I decided to order it for the library and see how it was different from the original.

The subtitle of Mountains Beyond Mountains is “The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer, the Man Who Would Cure the World” and that is a fairly accurate summary of the book. Paul Farmer excelled at Harvard Medical School and likely could have worked at any hospital or office in the USA that he chose. Instead, he found himself drawn to treating patients in Haiti, the poorest country in the western hemisphere. When you read about the conditions Farmer lives in and how hard he works to save his patients, it’s hard not to think of him as a saint. In the book, Kidder comments on this:

It wasn’t the first time Farmer had heard himself called [a saint]. When I asked him for his reaction, he replied, “I don’t care how often people say, ‘You’re a saint.’ It’s not that I mind it. It’s that it’s inaccurate.”

Then he added, “People call me a saint, and I think I have to work harder. Because a saint would be a great thing to be.”

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