Carve your own path

I used to LOVE reading Choose your own adventure books. For the uninitiated, during certain points of time in a Choose your own adventure story, you get to decide where the story goes for example:

If you choose to go through Door number 1, turn to page 54

If you choose to through Door number 2, turn to page 78

Some choices will lead you to certain peril, others to sweet victory.

It was always interesting to see what different types of endings you could get. Some people (not me, never me!) would try to “cheat” by starting at a happy ending and working their way backwards–definitely a different approach.

The library still owns quite a few Choose your own adventure books, and the other day I came across a new take on the concept.

Meanwhile by Jason Shiga

Jason Shiga’s Meanwhile begins with a simple choice—vanilla or chocolate? Unlike the Choose your own adventure books, Meanwhile is a graphic novel. Tiny tubes lead you from panel to panel up, down, forwards, and backwards between the pages. It can get a little confusing, but it’s easy to get hooked!

Graphic History

Graphic novels don’t just deal with super heroics or fantastical places, they often tell true stories of people and places in our own world.


Some, like Persepolis, deal with growing up in a strict or opressive society.


Others like Deogratias : a tale of Rwanda tell the tale of terrible tragedies happening a world away.

Stachel Paige

Ones like Satchel Paige : striking out Jim Crow tell the stories of people in our own country overcoming great obstacles.


Laika tells the tale of a Russian pup who became the first living creature to orbit our planet.


Houdini : the handcuff king gives us the story of one of the world’s most famous escape artists.

Kampung Boy

And in Kampung Boy we learn the story of a boy growing up on a rubber plantation in rural Malaysia.

If you were to write your own life story in graphic novel format, what parts of your life would you focus on? Would you draw it yourself, or get someone else to do it for you? If not you, what artist would you like to see  illustrate your life?

You can find these and other true tales in the Graphic Novel section of the library’s Teen collection.

The Arrival by Shaun Tan

The Arrival by Shaun Tan is a wordless graphic novel telling the story of one immigrant’s journey to a new land. We follow him as he leaves his home, seeking to make The Arrivala better life for himself and his family. He arrives in a strange new world and struggles to understand a new culture, a new language, new foods…a whole new way of life. With the help of others, who like himself came from other lands, he is eventually able to create a new home for his family.

Even though the story is fantastical in nature, it reminds us of our own familie’s struggles leaving their own homelands and making their way to the new world that is the United States of America. Some of our families have been here for many generations, while some of our families are only newly immigrated.

How much do you know about your own family history and heritage? Did your parents or grandparents immigrate here? Where were your ancestors from? You can learn more about ancestory and your family heritage by exploring some of the library’s databases. Take a look at Ancestory Library Edition and HeritageQuest Online both located on the libary’s History Database Page.  You can also look at the library’s Genealogy Links Page for more internet resources you can use to research your family history.