Friday, 9 August 2013

Zombies and Forces in Motion, by Mark Weakland

Another brilliant series from the Graphic Library Collection- I can't recommend these enough.

This series uses various monsters and phenomena to explain scientific theories, the full list is pretty impressive;
  • Aliens and Energy
  • Bigfoot and Adaptation
  • Frankenstein's Monster and Scientific Methods
  • Ghosts and Atoms
  • Mummies and Sound
  • Vampires and Cells
  • Vampires and Light
  • Werewolves and States of Matter
  • Zombies and Electricity
  • Zombies and Forces and Motion
Note they have correctly gone for "Frankenstein's Monster" instead of Frankenstein.  19th Century lit pet peeve right there.

There is no excuse for not revising when it's explained like this!  Hopefully I'll be able to buy the rest of the series this year, because these really are brilliant.  This particular edition uses a zombie attack to demonstrate the effect of various forces and how they might be utilised on the undead.  Having a thorough knowledge of the function and application of the forces of gravity, the first law of motion and resistance are going to be nothing but helpful in the event of a zombie invasion. 

Dangle them off planes, shoot them out of cannons, slide them around in the back of a pick-up truck. As long as you're remembering why and how these poor Zombies are being flung around in such hilarious ways, then it's all good.

It's like if Bill Nye the Science Guy got put in charge of directing an episode of the Walking Dead. Awesome, right?

Rosa Parks and the Montgomery Boycott

It's always a bit of an impossibility to find good Accelerated Reader (a reading programme commonly used in schools to improve reading) stuff that is non Fiction and is accassible and actually engaging.  I absolutely love this Graphic Library collection- there's a history collection, an Archaeology one and a science one, more of that later.  They're easy to read, the artwork is excellent and they capture important and sometimes complex theories and historical incidents in a way that's understandable and accurate. 

Personally, I'm not so up on history- of any kind.  British, military, US, Sporting, Ancient, Kings & Queens...definately not my forte.  If I haven't studied literature from that period, there's a very good chance I've not even thought about it since reading the "Weetabix book of History" where the history of the world is explained by sentient Weetabixes dressed in historical costumes.

1950/60s America though, I have a working knowledge of (Thanks mostly to One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, To Kill a Mockingbird, Colour Purple etc).  I just think the Civil Rights Movement is facinating.  The bravery, solidarity and dignity of absolutely everyone involved in the movement is amazing.  In 27 pages this book manages to characterise Rosa Parks and Marthin Luther King Jr thoroughly, signpost some of the crucial events in the Civil Rights movement and tell some of the lesser known incidents too.

I think sometimes it's easy to forget that such law-backed discrimination actually existed so recently, and then you look at what's going off in Switzerland and suddenly it doesn't seem so crazy.  I just hope that there will always be people like Rosa around to make people see how stupid laws can sometimes be and that they've got the guts that she did.

Really, really good book, would recommend that every school library has the full set of the Histories series and the Science series.   See also Graphic Biographies' book on Harriet Tubman