• 12th Grade The Graphic Novel 

     1. REQUIRED: Read Graphic Storytelling and Visual Narrative by Will Eisner.

     2. REQUIRED: Read one other graphic novel. I would suggest one from the list as copies are available at the local libraries.

    Prepare yourself for a writing assignment during the first week of school about your book.


    Watchmen by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons  

    How I Made It To Eighteen by Tracy White

    Pride of Baghdad by Brian Vaughan 

    Jar of Fools by Jason Lutes 

    Honor Girl by Maggie Thrash 

    Locke & Key: Welcome to Lovecraft by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez


    3. OPTIONAL: College/Personal Essay Brainstorming

    You might find the brainstorm below useful in generating potential topics for a college essay. This will not be collected.

    Click here to access the Brainstorming Worksheet 


    Stop by or email the High School Library to pick up your book.

    The Public Libraries have some Masco-owned books that you can keep for as long as you need them. They also have access to the news on their website. Give them a call and support your local library! 

    Topsfield Public Library 978-887-1528

    Boxford Public Library 978-887-6352

    Middleton Public Library 978-774-8132



     Graphic Storytelling and Visual Narrative by Will Eisner

    This book takes the principles examined in that title and applies them to the process of graphic storytelling. Eisner shows comic artists, filmmakers and graphic designers how to craft stories in a visual medium. They'll also learn why mastering the basics of storytelling is far more important than the hollow flash and dazzle seen in lesser work. Readers will learn everything from the fine points of graphic storytelling to the big picture of the comics medium, including how to: Use art that enhances your story, rather than obscuring it; Wield images like narrative tools; Write and illustrate effective dialogue; Develop ideas that can be turned into dynamic stories.


    “Indispensable techniques from the mind of the master cartoonist who developed them.”  - Jeff Smith, award-winning creator of Bone

    “Will Eisner is the father of the medium—a living legend who started it all. I am continually in awe. He makes me proud to be a cartoonist.” - Judd Winick

  • Required: Read one of the following

    Watchmen by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons

    This Hugo Award-winning graphic novel chronicles the fall from grace of a group of super-heroes plagued by all-too-human failings. Along the way, the concept of the super-hero is dissected as the heroes are stalked by an unknown assassin.

    "A work of ruthless psychological realism, it’s a landmark in the graphic novel medium. It would be a masterpiece in any." 
           - TimeTime Magazine’s 100 best English-language novels from 1923 to the present

  • How I Made it to Eighteen by Tracy White

    How do you know if you’re on the verge of a nervous breakdown?  For seventeen-year-old Stacy Black, it all begins with the smashing of a window. After putting her fist through the glass, she checks into a mental hospital.  Stacy hates it there but despite herself slowly realizes she has to face the reasons for her depression to stop from self-destructing.  Based on the author’s experiences, How I Made it to Eighteen is a frank portrait of what it’s like to struggle with self-esteem, body image issues, drug addiction, and anxiety.


    How I Made It To Eighteen depicts the raw honest truth of a breakdown, told with great girl irony, fierceness and heart. I loved it.”
           -Eve Ensler
    How I Made it to Eighteen is part hug, part armor for anyone who battles gray days. The clarity of Tracy White's voice and graphic style transforms an intensely realized experience with wit, courage and grace. Her story pulled me in and held me deep.” -
           Adele Griffin

  • Pride of Baghdad by Brian Vaughan

    Brian K. Vaughan has displayed an understanding of both the cost of survival and the political nuances of the modern world. Now, in this provocative graphic novel, Vaughan examines life on the streets of war-torn Iraq.In the spring of 2003, a pride of lions escaped from the Baghdad zoo during an American bombing raid. Lost and confused, hungry but finally free, the four lions roamed the decimated streets of Baghdad in a desperate struggle for their lives. In documenting the plight of the lions, PRIDE OF BAGHDAD raises questions about the true meaning of liberation – can it be given or is it earned only through self-determination and sacrifice? And in the end, is it truly better to die free than to live life in captivity?


    "Lavishly drawn, and devastating...Vaughan has his marvelously imagined characters debate the concept of freedom versus desire for safety...the total effect is memorable."
           -Publishers Weekly
    "This is an important work, strongly recommended for all adult collections."
           -Library Journal

  • Jar of Fools by Jason Lutes
    Ernie is an alcoholic stage magician haunted by lost love and his brother’s suicide, and he’s hooked up with his senile mentor in one last effort to sort his life out. But Ernie needs to keep Flosso the Magnificent with him in the present and by his side to guide Ernie through these difficult days. These two magicians have run out of escape tricks but they can’t stop running.
    Esther is still numb with grief for Ernie’s brother. She works at a coffee shop and has allowed her heart to simply atrophy while a torrent of rage builds slowly inside her. Nathan Lender is a small time grifter living on his wits and in a car with his twelve-year-old daughter, Claire. He’s running out of time to fix the past and make things right for his daughter. One morning Nathan Lender makes the mistake of trying to con Esther at the coffee counter. Circumstance will bring a desperate group of people together, all at the end of their rope. An unlikely kind of love grows from these broken people who discover the act of self-sacrifice can perform miracles.


    "A lovely, short 'picture novel' exploring the tenacious bond between an alcoholic stage magician and his cranky mentor."
           -New York Times Book Review
    "Jar of Fools is full of people trying to stop things they care about from melting away, like estranged lovers and old-fashioned jobs...all the main characters—the magician, a coffee-shop cashier, a small time con-man--are in danger of ending up beaten down and swallowed up by the silences of life which Lutes’ well-paced art evokes so effectively"

  • Honor Girl

    Honor Girl

    Maggie Thrash has spent basically every summer of her fifteen-year-old life at the one-hundred-year-old Camp Bellflower for Girls, set deep in the heart of Appalachia. She’s from Atlanta, she’s never kissed a guy, she’s into Backstreet Boys in a really deep way, and her long summer days are full of a pleasant, peaceful nothing . . . until one confounding moment. A split-second of innocent physical contact pulls Maggie into a gut-twisting love for an older, wiser, and most surprising of all (at least to Maggie), female counselor named Erin. But Camp Bellflower is an impossible place for a girl to fall in love with another girl, and Maggie’s savant-like proficiency at the camp’s rifle range is the only thing keeping her heart from exploding. When it seems as if Erin maybe feels the same way about Maggie, it’s too much for both Maggie and Camp Bellflower to handle, let alone to understand.


    In this graphic memoir, Thrash writes with confidence and skill remarkable for a debut.
    —The New York Times

    Thrash's remembrances are evinced with clear, wide-eyed illustrations colored with a dreamily vibrant palette. She has so carefully and skillfully captured a universal moment—the first time one realizes that things will never be the same—that readers will find her story captivating. A luminescent memoir not to be missed.
    —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

  • Locke & Key: Welcome to Lovecraft

    Locke & Key: Welcome to Lovecraft

    Locke & Key tells of Keyhouse, an unlikely New England mansion, with fantastic doors that transform all who dare to walk through them, and home to a hate-filled and relentless creature that will not rest until it forces open the most terrible door of them all!


    "A modern masterpiece..." — AV Club

    "It's great! ...The art here by Gabriel Rodriguez is some of the finest stuff in comics today... The team of Hill and Rodriguez is top notch!" — Blair ButlerFresh Ink

    "Solid pacing and plot twists, combined with Rodriguez's clean lines and detailed pencils make Locke & Key a lock for best horror book of the week." — Wizard Magazine