My Opinion on, “Without War There is No Peace”

        Some people believe without war there is no peace. The word war means violent disagreement to me. Disagreement means that two or more groups of people have very strong controversial opinions about a specific subject. Eventually this disagreement leads to a violent fight, introducing war. You can think about the civil war. The South wanted to keep their way of living, this life included owning slaves. The North wanted to end slavery and stay as the Union. This disagreement about slavery led to the Civil War. “Without war there is no peace,” means that without violent disagreement there can be no peacefulness whatsoever on Earth. 

        I believe that this statement is true in a certain way. We cannot have peace without a certain degree of disagreement. Peace is the moment you comprise after disagreeing. For example, if you and a sibling are arguing over what to watch on television, after you both come up with a compromise you will be at peace. If you and your sibling start a war it’s going to take much longer to come to a compromise! In conclusion, war is not mandatory to gain peace, but disagreeing is necessary. 

Book Review: Mañanaland by Pam Muñoz Ryan

        Pam Muñoz Ryan’s Mañanaland tells the story of Maximiliano Córdoba. Eleven-year-old Max has lived without a mother for as long as he can remember. She left Max as a baby, and Max’s overprotective Papá refuses to say a word about her. Max tries to forget about his mother as he trains for the Santa Maria fútbol tryouts, but when Papá and Buelo reveal a tightly kept family secret, Max can’t stop wondering about who his mother was or why she left him. Max may know how to find the answers, but all he has is Buelo’s old stories and hope to guide him. 

        Pam Muñoz Ryan’s captivating writing creates beautiful illustrations to imagine.“Citrus orchards and grape fields bordered the outskirts of town. Nestled in the foothills on dirt roads, modest white stone cottages perched like patient doves at roost.” (5) “For me, one moment it was warm and syrupy, like a cinnamon pastel just from the oven. And the next, cool and smooth, like a rock pulled from the riverbed.” (48) Lines like these make you feel like you are looking at Santa Maria or experiencing a certain feeling. They help you picture Max’s journey and experiences, all while making Mañanaland a pleasure to read. 

        Readers who have experienced a parent keeping important secrets from them will enjoy Mañanaland. So will people who are fond of Pam Muñoz Ryan’s other books, including Esperanza Rising. Lastly, readers who like books with dependable characters who always have each other’s backs will appreciate this beautifully written novel.  

How do Authors Create Graphic Novels?

     Hi, it’s Maddie again! 😊 Have you ever been bored and started to flip open a graphic novel you’ve read a million times before? Or, finished a graphic novel in under an hour, only a day after you got it? Both these questions I could answer yes to. In fact, I have done these things many times before! I love graphic novels because of the way authors are able to tell a story with speech bubbles and eye catching illustrations. So, how are those drama filled stories and colorful illustrations created?  That’s exactly what I wondered.

Graphic Novels

        Making a graphic novel isn’t all about the illustrations and coloring though, in fact, lots of writing and editing is involved. Authors writing novels find inspiration, make a plan, and then start creating drafts which they revise and edit many times before becoming satisfied with a final product. Imagine having to complete all these steps plus six more! Yep, that’s the work of a graphic novelist! Below are the steps author Raina Telgemeier uses to create her graphic novels.


1. Finding Ideas! 💡
Ideas can come from practically anywhere! Just taking a walk can fill your head with a bunch of ideas. Maybe try watching a movie, or flipping through your favorite book. Authors even pull ideas from their own experiences in life.


2. Pitch 📝
The author’s goal is to get their book published. The first step to doing that is writing your pitch. Basically, your pitch is the idea you have for your book that you want to show your editor. Pitches are usually a short paragraph and they summarize the events in your book. They should probably explain the setting, characters, and conflict.


3. Outline 📄
Now remember that I said that graphic novelists have to do some writing. Well now that comes in! Most writers start by writing an outline. Raina Telgemeier writes a few page outline and explains what will happen in each scene.


4. Time to start drawing! 🖍 (Thumbnails)
Now’s time to start a draft! Authors will draw out each panel of their graphic novel one by one and build their story along the way. This can sometimes take forever if your editor doesn’t like your draft. If that happens, have fun going back and revising. 😜


5. Layouts 👩🏾‍🎨
Here comes time to bring out the nice paper and start really drawing your story! As author’s create layouts, they use their thumbnails as a guide. The purpose of layouts is to try and find out if everything your drawing works.


6. Pencils ✏️
After you finish your layout you pretty much know the big picture of what your graphic novel will likely look like in the end. Now comes time for those small details! Facial features, clothing, setting details, it’s time to add the little things using pencil!


7. Ink 🖊
I know: there are a bunch more steps to go! The next one is… ink! When inking graphic novelists can use ink brushes or technical pens. Ink brushes are used to ink the big picture while technical pens can ink the smaller parts of a panel, like the eyes and other small details.


8. Clean Up Time 🧹
Now, it’s time for the maybe not-so-fun part. Once all the graphic novel pages are finished, authors have to scan them onto the computer. Then comes the real clean up! On the computer graphic novelists have to clean up the little stray lines or mistakes that they may have made inking their pages. But don’t skip these parts, they still are super important!


9. Color 🌈
This would probably be my favorite part if I was a graphic novelist… until I learned that most graphic novelists don’t do this step themselves. If they were to spend time coloring their pages it would take a bunch more months! So, instead they turn to colorists. Authors work with their colorists to decide what colors work and which colors don’t. Once all the pages are approved it’s off to the publisher!


10. Lettering 🔤
After all this work, the dialogue still isn’t in yet! Wow, right? After the thumbnails were passed by the author’s editor the author probably made a manuscript. Basically, a script of all the characters’ dialogue. Now’s the time to add those speech bubbles in!


11. Cover Design 🖼
Only two more steps! I told you this was a long process! This steps fun though, create a cover for your amazing new book! Authors usually create a few sketches and decide which one they like best… unless, the author has someone make a cover for them. There you have it, a cover!


12. Getting Your Book Ready 🖨 🎉
Yep, now comes the printing process. But, for the author it’s time to celebrate!

Wow, isn’t this a lot of work?All of it must pay off, but imagine the months, possibly even years to get there! At the same time, imagine the fun! Designing your own book cover? Yes!!! When I first thought about how authors write graphic novels I thought they basically did the same exact thing all other authors do, just with pictures. But, now I realize no! There is so much more work involved. I would have never thought that pencils were a specific part of the process or that lettering was its own step. If I was a graphic novelist, I’d need to be super patient and probably very artistic. (I wouldn’t say I am!) The next time I pick up a graphic novel, I am definitely going to think about the ginormous process the book sitting in my hands had to go through to eventually reach me. You should too! If you’d like to learn more, visit Raina Telgemeier’s website,! Keep reading and I’ll see you soon.

– Maddie 


Book Review: The Class by Frances O’Roark Dowell

      The Class        The Class, b​y Frances O’Roark Dowell, tells the story of Mrs. Herrera’s class as they start their first year of middle school. Odd things begin to happen in Mrs. Herrera’s room, like the fact that someone has been stealing items off of Mrs. Herrera’s special shelf and that one student, Sam, isn’t really supposed to be a student at all. Ellie, a new sixth grader faces her own obstacles, like making new friends as she tries to find the answers to the questions that are troubling everyone. Will the missing objects be returned to Mrs. Herrera’s shelf? Most mysteriously, what’s up with Sam? Will Ellie be able to find the answers? 

        Although ​The Class ​is written from Ellie’s perspective multiple times you still get to hear from the rest of the students in Mrs. Herrera’s class. This way, you learn about what all of the students are facing and how they feel about the current events. Carson is deemed popular by his classmates but doesn’t understand why; Ariana is struggling to act nice; Becca is trying her hardest to become Mrs. Herrera’s favorite; Petra is sick of being bored by everything she sees. All of these perspectives make the book interesting and help hook you. They make you keep reading until all the questions you’re wondering are answered.

People who enjoy books that are written from multiple characters perspectives will enjoy The Class i​mmensely. So, will readers who enjoyed ​Wonder​. These novels both discuss all of the problems new middle school students face and the part of school that brings classmates together. Lastly, readers who love being hooked to a book and feeling as if they can’t be pulled away will enjoy ​The Class.