10 books like You need help, Charlie Brown

By Charles M. Schulz,

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Great Expectations

By Charles Dickens,

Book cover of Great Expectations

While I sometimes find Dickens' characters overdrawn and his endings too tidily wrapped in his other novels, I love these qualities in Great Expectations and how the specific setting in which we meet a character shapes our (and Pip’s) assumptions. The Gothic decadence of Miss Havisham's wedding feast and the monstrous spectre of Magwitch appearing among the graves are fabulous scenes for this. But what I like most is how Pip changes in response to the manipulations and ambitions of the supporting cast; how he's shaken out of impoverished innocence into a world of expectations, and his trajectory as a flawed character into conceit and arrogance, until he finally comes good—battered and bruised, but ultimately redeemed.

Great Expectations

By Charles Dickens,

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked Great Expectations as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'His novels will endure as long as the language itself' Peter Ackroyd

Dickens's haunting late novel depicts the education and development of a young man, Pip, as his life is changed by a series of events - a terrifying encounter with an escaped convict in a graveyard on the wild Kent marshes; a summons to meet the bitter, decaying Miss Havisham and her beautiful, cold-hearted ward Estella; the sudden generosity of a mysterious benefactor - and he discovers the true nature of his 'great expectations'. This definitive edition includes appendices on Dickens's original ending, giving an illuminating glimpse into a…


Ethel & Ernest

By Raymond Briggs,

Book cover of Ethel & Ernest

I really admire Raymond Briggs’ work; he’s a wonderful storyteller and a fantastic artist with a great eye for colour. Ethel & Ernest is a beautiful book. The strip-cartoon format works well and makes for an intense reading experience. Whilst this book has lots of humour and light, it also features some dark topics such as the Second World War, mental illness, and bereavement. It is generally considered unsuitable for children under the age of twelve. It’s a charming love story and a vivid social record. I find it heartbreaking at times. It becomes even more touching when you remember that it is based on Briggs’ own family.

Ethel & Ernest

By Raymond Briggs,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Ethel & Ernest as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A marvellous, life-enhancing book for all ages, now a major animated film starring Jim Broadbent, Brenda Blethyn and Luke Treadaway

Utterly original, deeply moving and very funny, Ethel & Ernest tells the story of Raymond Briggs' parents' marriage, lady's maid Ethel and milkman Ernest, from their first chance encounter in 1928, through the birth of their son Raymond in 1934, to their deaths, within months of each other, in 1971.

Told in Brigg`s unique strip-cartoon format, Ethel and Ernest live through the defining moments of the twentieth century: the darkness of the Great Depression, the build up to World War…


Tales from Moominvalley

By Tove Jansson, Thomas Warburton (translator),

Book cover of Tales from Moominvalley

Tove Jansson was not only a wonderful writer, but also a superb illustrator. In this collection of stories, I particularly love "The Hemulen who loved Silence." Even now, I go back to this story to reconnect with the soulful main character who longs for solitude. It isn’t that he doesn’t like others, but he needs to be by himself sometimes, and more than the other hemulens around him. It is the story of an introvert, but not a loner. I can relate to the Hemulen! Tove Jansson stories are full of humour, insight, and thought-provoking ideas. They can also be a little bit scary. Like all the best children’s books, the Moomin books have hidden layers, providing a stimulating read for both adults and children. 

Tales from Moominvalley

By Tove Jansson, Thomas Warburton (translator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Tales from Moominvalley as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Featuring the much loved stories in Waterstone's Oxfam bestseller, The Invisible Child and The Fir Tree - the Moomins' gloriously funny and generous take on Christmas - Tales from Moominvalley collects together nine delightful Moomin short stories. Highlights include The Spring Tune (which Jarvis Cocker described as the best story about composing music) and The Last Dragon in the World, revealing the true essence of friendship. A perfect Christmas gift to complete the set of Moomin classics.


The Railway Children

By Edith Nesbit,

Book cover of The Railway Children

The Railway Children is a rich family saga set in 1905 told from the perspective of the children, Bobbie, Phyllis, and Peter. They live a happy, comfortable life until their father is suddenly taken away by two police officers. The family is forced to move away and adapt to living in the countryside on a much-reduced income. The separation from their father is keenly felt by the children, whilst their mother hides her own distress to protect them. 

We eventually realise that an injustice has occurred, but how can the children hope to reunite with their father? The Railway might provide an answer. Edith Nesbit has created a warm and engaging novel where acts of kindness, sometimes misguided, are integral to the storytelling.

The Railway Children

By Edith Nesbit,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Railway Children as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

One of the most popular classics of all time, with a wonderful introduction by multi-million bestselling author Jacqueline Wilson.

When Father is taken away unexpectedly, Roberta, Peter, Phyllis and their mother have to leave their comfortable life in London to go and live in a small cottage in the country. The children seek solace in the nearby railway station, and make friends with Perks the Porter and the Station Master himself. Each day, Roberta, Peter and Phyllis run down the field to the railway track and wave at the passing London train, sending their love to Father. Little do they…


Marvel Encyclopedia

By Stephen Wiacek, DK, DK, DK

Book cover of Marvel Encyclopedia

I’m a huge film fan. When I was younger, I didn’t read many books, but I love the stories in films and comics. The recent Marvel films have made me feel like a youngster again and I’ve loved how they have all become interconnected. I would have thoroughly enjoyed flicking through this encyclopedia when I was a child. It’s a book that you can open at any page and look through. You could even read it backward if you like! Full of dynamic pictures of all the Marvel characters with descriptions and facts. All in bite-sized chunks and it hardly feels like you are reading at all.

Marvel Encyclopedia

By Stephen Wiacek, DK, DK, DK

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Marvel Encyclopedia as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Discover the essential facts about Marvel Comics' timeless heroes such as Captain America, Spider-Man, and Iron Man and villains like Thanos, Loki, and Kingpin.

Keep up with the ever-expanding Marvel Universe with the new edition of DK's best-selling Marvel Encyclopedia , featuring an introduction by Marvel Comics supremo Stan Lee. Updated and expanded, this definitive Who's Who of Marvel Comics reveals vital info and secret histories of more than 1200 classic and
brand new Marvel characters, and provides the lowdown on recent key events including Civil War 2, Secret Empire, and Infinity Countdown.

Marvel Encyclopedia features:

- Authoritative, Marvel-approved text…


Society is Nix

By Peter Maresca,

Book cover of Society is Nix: Gleeful Anarchy at the Dawn of the American Comic Strip 1895-1915

Warning: This book will make you build a new bookshelf. Like other oversized offerings from Peter Maresca’s Sunday Press Publishing, you need a tape measure, not a ruler, to determine its dimensions. This means that you can read this startling collection of strips from 1895 to 1915 in the grand size in which they first appeared in early newspapers, back when the colors and characters screamed off the page, reflecting and refracting the frenetic dawn of a new century. These old newspaper comics pages are where Americans first learned to laugh together. Society is Nix can be difficult to find but is well worth the effort.

Society is Nix

By Peter Maresca,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Society is Nix as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

THE BIRTH OF COMICS. From the Yellow Kid to the Captain and the Kids, these are the origins of the American comic strip, created at a time when there were no set styles or formats, when artistic anarchy helped spawn a new medium. This book features the earliest offerings (1895 to 1915) from the famous and lesser-known cartoonists who where there when comics were born-over 150 creations from more then 50 superb artists, most reprinted for the first time ever. And all in the original broadsheet size and brilliant colors. Chris Ware calls Society Is Nix,"a mind-blowing portable museum retrospective…


Little Nemo in Slumberland

By Winsor McCay,

Book cover of Little Nemo in Slumberland: 302+1 full-page weekly comic strips (October 15, 1905 - July 23, 1911)

Now c’mon, was this guy Winsor fer-real? This stuff is off the charts other-realm, lucid sleeping material. His work was done as comic strips, but can now be found in book form in a variety of volumes. It may be the century between us, but these images and text make me feel a little tilted, off-center, and in the best way possible.

Little Nemo in Slumberland

By Winsor McCay,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Little Nemo in Slumberland as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Little Nemo is a fictional character created by American cartoonist Winsor McCay. Nemo was originally the protagonist of the comic strip Little Nemo in Slumberland. The full-page weekly comic strip depicted Nemo having fantastic dreams that were interrupted by his awakening in the final panel. The strip is considered McCay's masterpiece for its experiments with the form of the comics page, its use of color, its timing and pacing, the size and shape of its panels, perspective, architectural and other detail.

Little Nemo in Slumberland ran in the New York Herald from October 15, 1905, until July 23, 1911 for…


Superman

By Larry Tye,

Book cover of Superman: The High-Flying History of America's Most Enduring Hero

Larry Tye brings a lifelong fan’s passion and a renowned journalist’s research skills to the ultimate biography of the Man of Steel. It’s comprehensive and full of amazing stories and facts that weren’t known before, but more impressively it’s entertaining to read, from start to finish. It’s a great book for anyone interested in Americana, pop culture, or Superman.

Superman

By Larry Tye,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Superman as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The first full-fledged history not just of the Man of Steel but of the creators, designers, owners, and performers who made him the icon he is today, from the New York Times bestselling author of Satchel and Bobby Kennedy

“A story as American as Superman himself.”—The Washington Post
 
Legions of fans from Boston to Buenos Aires can recite the story of the child born Kal-El, scion of the doomed planet Krypton, who was rocketed to Earth as an infant, raised by humble Kansas farmers, and rechristened Clark Kent. Known to law-abiders and evildoers alike as Superman, he was destined to…


Calvin and Hobbes

By Bill Watterson,

Book cover of Calvin and Hobbes: Sunday Pages 1985-1995

Who doesn’t like Calvin and Hobbes, a fun comic strip about a silly first grader and his sidekick best buddy tiger? Calvin and Hobbes is heartwarming, mischievous, and speaks to every kid with their imagination and sense of adventure. Plus, the reason why I put it on this list: it’s easy to read. The engaging, four-panel comic strips are a digestible size for someone struggling with word comprehension. Not only is Calvin a lovable and relatable character with his little adventures being dynamic, action-packed, and hilarious, it’s proven to engage any reluctant reader. I can attest as Calvin and Hobbes was one of the very few books I voluntarily read as a kid – and I loved it. 

Calvin and Hobbes

By Bill Watterson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Calvin and Hobbes as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Celebrating an exhibit of ten years of Sunday comics featuring the beloved boy and his tiger, Calvin and Hobbes: Sunday Pages 1985-1995 is sure to bring back memories.

New York Times best-seller!

Everyone misses Calvin and Hobbes.

It reinvented the newspaper comic strip at a time when many had all but buried the funnies as a vehicle for fresh, creative work. Then Bill Watterson came along and reminded a new generation of what older readers and comic strip aficionados knew: A well-written and beautifully drawn strip is an intricate, powerful form of communication. And with Calvin and Hobbes, we had…


Mangaman

By Barry Lyga, Colleen Doran (illustrator),

Book cover of Mangaman

I wrote my undergrad thesis on the migration of visual tropes from traditional Japanese theatre (Noh, Bunraku, and Kabuki) into modern art forms (Manga, Anime, Supakabuki/Anime Musicals), which was a rigorous exercise because I couldn’t just compare the tropes—I had to spend hours explaining them to my advisor. It was a fascinating (sometimes exasperating) lesson in learning to read one visual vocabulary, only to have to explain it to someone else in terms that they understood using another.

This blurred-xerox-translation-of-a-translation exercise is the central theme of Mangaman, where a Shojou-esque protagonist falls from a fantastical manga world into a comic. Visual conventions clash, where he walks the wrong way across panels, and where his speed lines accidentally stab people in the school hallway.

Mangaman

By Barry Lyga, Colleen Doran (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Mangaman as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

East meets West in this innovative and very smart graphic novel by Barry Lyga, illustrated by Colleen Doran.Sci-fi adventure meets love story—and East meets West—in Mangaman, an original
graphic novel for teens.
Ryoko, a manga character from a manga world, falls through the Rip into the “real” world—the western world—and tries to survive as the ultimate outsider at a typical American high school.
When Ryoko falls in love with Marissa Montaigne, the most beautiful girl in the school, his eyes turn to hearts and comic tension tightens as his way of being drawn and expressing himself clashes with this different…


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