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Friday, April 25, 2014

A graphic novel about the original Marathon runner

Yakin, Boaz; Infurnari, Joe  (2012) Marathon  New York:  First Second.

      Most of us know the legend of Marathon -- how a runner had to cover the distance from Sparta to Athens (27 miles or so) to turn the tide of battle.  Yakin and Infurnari present the rest of the story, how the 27 miles was only the final leg of the 300 mils Eucles had to run over the course of that battle.  This graphic novel moves back and forth from the run to Marathon and the history of the runner at breakneck speed. 
     The images somehow manage to capture both the desperate speed and the exhaustion of Eucles.  Along the way, we find out what makes him such a determine runner -- and we see that not only in his words, but in his face and his running body.   
     This is a story that would work in an English class, but also in a Phys Ed class.  The story might be both exciting and inspirational for runners (since I don't run, I can't be sure of that).  The story is understandable to any good reader form fifth grade and up, but some of the vulgar language might mean that it would be best to restrict it to high school (and the teacher should read it before putting it on his or her shelves). 
     But despite the language, this book is worth getting for your classroom because it may be the book that connects to an athlete who hasn't yet realized that they love to read.  (And for those who do love to read -- the historic aspects, gripping story, and arresting visuals, will make it a favorite.

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