5 Awesome Graphic Novels for Middle Graders!

A really good graphic novel has everything you want in a book. Amazing storyline? Check. Smart dialogue and interesting characters? Beautifully rendered drawings that excite the imagination? Double check. From the rise of an African chieftain, to navigating Russian summer camp, these five new graphic novels are guaranteed to inspire young readers and get them excited about reading.

Shaka Rising: A Legend of the Warrior Prince, by Luke Molver and Mbongeni Malaba
The beginning of an amazing new series, Shaka Rising: A Legend of the Warrior Prince tells the story of the rise of the warrior chieftain Shaka kaSenzangakhona, also known as Shaka Zulu,  one of the most influential monarchs of the  great Zulu Kingdom in Southern Africa. The series begins with Shaka Zulu fighting with his brother Sigujana over the succession to the throne. He is eventually forced into exile and ultimately, recognition of his place in history. With a well-placed storyline and breathtaking illustrations, Shaka Rising: A Legend of the Warrior Prince is a beautifully nuanced retelling of an African legend that will keep young readers on their toes to the last page.

What the Night Sings, by Vesper Stamper
Darkly haunting and beautiful, What the Night Sings tells the story of fourteen-year-old Gerta Richter, a talented singer and daughter of a violist in the Würzburg Orchestra, who learns that she is Jewish—the night she and her father are taken by the Nazis in 1944.  Drawn in gorgeously hued browns and golds, Gerta’s tale truly begins after she is liberated and she must come to terms with who she is and what she has endured. What the Night Sings is a haunting graphic novel and a tale of survival, love,  hope, and redemption (Ages 12-17).

The Backstagers, Volume 2, by James Tynion IV and Rian Sygh
In Volume One of this popular series, Jory and the gang navigate high school, working the backstage of their school’s stage shows, and oh yes, discovering there’s a door back ther that leads to different worlds. Now in The Backstagers, Volume 2  everyone is back and this time they are determined to put on the best stage show their private, all-boys school St. Genesius and the local town has ever seen. The only problem? Magic worlds and magic problems have a way of popping up when you least expect it…(Ages 12-17)

Science Comics: Sharks: Nature’s Perfect Hunter, by Joe Flood
Sharks are cool! is a statement that most kids would agree with, which is why Science Comics: Sharks: Nature’s Perfect Hunter is guaranteed to delight young readers interested in nature’s coolest eating machines. Author and illustrator Joe Flood combines detailed illustrations with interesting and engrossing facts about all types of sharks, from the dynamic hammerhead, to the famous great white, the ancient megalodon, or the gentle nurse shark. (Ages 9-13)

Be Prepared, by Vera Brosgol
Vera just wants to fit in with the cool kids in the suburbs. It shouldn’t be that hard, right? Unfortunately, when you are the only Russian girl in the suburbs, it can actually be pretty difficult. Especially when all the cool kids go to summer camp for the summer and Vera gets stuck going to…Russian summer camp, which is not the same thing AT ALL. From outhouses that could only have come out of a nightmare to endless Russian history lessons, summer camp isn’t what Vera expected…even though it might end up being what she needs. Available April 24, 2018, Be Prepared is a funny, sweet, and sometimes painfully honest look into what its like to try and fit in as a teenager. (Ages 10-14)

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