Here’s a fun bunch of new graphic novels that will get your kids off to a great start with summer reading!
Real Friends, by Shannon Hale, illustrated by LeUyen Pham
Here’s one for girls embroiled in friendship dramas. In this autobiographical account starting in kindergarten and ending in 6th grade, young Shannon wishes desperately for good, true, friends. Instead she finds bullies, whose unkindness gives her chronic stomachaches, and cliques of girls lead by bossy dictators. At home, the meanness of her big sister adds to her stress. As the years go by, with hopes being kindled and then dashed, Shannon struggles to navigate the complicated world of elementary school friendship, coming out at the end of it a stronger person with a group of her own and a big sister who has grown up enough herself to be a supportive companion. It’s almost too close to unpleasant reality for comfort, but young Shannon is a girl to cheer for who never gives up hope, and her happy ending will reassure girls in similar situations.
Five Worlds: The Sand Warrior, by Mark Siegel and Alexis Siegel, illustrated by Xanthe Bouma, Matt Rockefeller, and Boya Sun
This is one to put into the hands of young fans of fantasy graphic novels immediately! They will love it. Young Oona Lee is a Sand Dancer in training, but she’s clumsy and struggles to control the magical sand creatures she creates. The giant beacons that used to keep the five worlds in balance have been dark for years, and climate change and political unrest are growing threats. When her home planet is invaded, and the other young Sand Dancers lost, Oona realizes that she might be the only hope for peace remaining. With the help of a street urchin and an illegal android boy, she struggles to find the information and power she needs to fight against the forces of a legendary villain and, maybe, to set the beacons alight. It a fast paced story full of exiting images and adventures that will leave young readers eager for the next book!
Grandfather and the Moon, by Stéphanie Lapointe, illustrated by Rogé
When her grandfather, always a quiet sort of person, loses interest in life altogether after his wife dies, a young girl tries to do something so remarkable that he will have to care. She wins the “Who Will Go to the Moon” contest, and boards the rocket ship, but as it blasts off, it turns out that her journey isn’t quite what she expected…This is formatted more like a picture book than a traditional graphic novel, but the images, in muted tones reflecting the fog that’s settled around Grandfather, are an integral part of the story. It’s a haunting, sad sort of story that will leave readers wondering and thinking long after they reach the end.
SpongeBob Comics: Silly Sea Stories, by Stephen Hillenburg and Chris Duffy
Here’s a collection of SpongeBob fun in one handy package that is sure to delight and entertain fans of SpongeBob and his pals. It’s a good mix of stories, ranging from the purely and utterly silly to the simply amusing, and giving all of the major characters the opportunity to take center stage. And tucked in amongst the adventures and shenanigans are a some interesting bits of non-fiction presented in comic book style, so readers will end up knowing a bit more, for instance, about actual sponges!
Flying Machines: How the Wright Brothers Soared, by Alison Wilgus, illustrated by Molly Brooks
Graphic novels can make learning fun, sharing information while telling good stories, as the books in the Science Comics series demonstrates. The latest installment shows the Wright brother’s path to their first flight at Kitty Hawk, and then what happened to them afterwards, told from the point of view of their sister. Not only does it make the mechanical and technical details about flight interesting to the non-scientifically minded (which would be me), it shows the Wright siblings as interesting characters in the competitive drama of early aviation on both sides of the Atlantic. Highly recommended not just to science-minded kids, but to any curious young readers who enjoy graphic novels.
How to Make Awesome Comics, by Neill Cameron
It’s a safe bet that kids who enjoy comics and graphic novels will want to try their hand at making their own, and this new addition to the how-to genre is a perfect springboard for artistic adventures. Many of the ideas and inspirations provided are goofy and funny, inspiring creativity (like ballerina bananas). Full of spaces where young artists are encouraged to add their own efforts, under the guidance of the book’s author, this is the perfect sort of book to whip out on summertime travels to keep your kid happy and busy.
Does your young reader love graphic novels?