Category Archives: graphic novel

Graphics, comics, series for kids

knifes edgeI love learning that something new from a favorite author has come out without me noticing, because that means I can get it right away, and I don’t have to wait weeks or months for it.  Knife’s Edge was my bonus this week, and it’s a nice follow-up to Compass South.  Track them both down if you don’t know this series.

When you’ve got a super-reader on your hands, it can be hard to constantly come up with new things for them.  Enter the series.  Whether you’re looking at early chapter books like Magic Treehouse or something for older kids like the Wimpy Kid, multiple books with the same characters can be a lifesaver.  Some parents and teachers still resist graphic novels/comics, because they aren’t seen as “real” reading.  Well, if a kid’s reading anything these days, I don’t care what it is.  I just want them reading more.

After finishing Knife’s Edge, I got to thinking about how many fun series there are for kids who like more visual reading, giving me an excuse to make a collage.  Yay, graphics!

Knife’s Edge by Hope Larson and Rebecca Mock

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Some thieves are made of pastry

bandetteSometimes I write things just for me.  That title is one of them.  It’s a reference to a poem my husband wrote some years ago about souls and food.  It doesn’t make any sense here, but it makes me smile, and that’s what I need today.

You might also need a little escape from the usual, and Bandette’s your gal if you do.  One of my favorite librarians suggested I try the series during a long talk about middle grade books and graphic novels, and she is simply superb – both the librarian and Bandette.  Bandette is a thief, but she’s kind of a good guy.  There’s a competitive thing she has going with another thief, but her real focus seems to be taking down bad guys in spectacular and embarrassing ways.  She’s not a superhero exactly, but she is on call with the police department (like Batman) because of her fine detecting skills, and she is most definitely super in other ways.

There are three in the series right now, so start with Bandette: Presto! before reading the other two.  And take a quick trip to Paris and crime-fighting and pastry.  Bon voyage!

Bandette series by Tobin and Coover

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Look at this cover.

afarI don’t even need the planet-traveling, dramatic escapes and family drama.  I just like the pictures.  The story is good, too, but the cover is what got me.  Let it get you, too.

Afar by Leila Del Duca, Kit Seaton and Taneka Stotts

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epic kid graphic wonderfulness

bolivar-9781684150694_lgBolivar is an epic picture book and a masterful children’s graphic novel and a great book with amazing illustrations.  There are dinosaurs, mistaken identities, mean girl drama and several chapters, for Pete’s sake. (We have it in the graphic novels at the library, which is probably the best spot for it, but you still worry about it not finding all its readers.  Rest assured — I will find a way to sneak it onto display shelves as often as I can!)

After you enjoy the story, flip back through and appreciate the illustrations one more time.  They are so full of things to look at – buildings, subways, museums, strategically placed word bubbles, and maybe a reference to Raiders of the Lost Ark or Edward Hopper paintings.  With the right kid, this book would be a joy to read in one massive, fun sweep, or in smaller chunks as a bedtime story.  What dreams they would have!

Wonderful.  Just wonderful.

Bolivar by Sean Rubin

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Some days you’re the worm…some days you’re the bird

worm birdThis might be a fairy tale about having perspective on who you are and where you are in your life.  Maybe it’s about appreciating the world around you and the endless possibilities in front of us.  Then again, maybe it’s just about a worm that unwisely wants to seek out something new at the exact time a bird is waiting patiently for something different to happen.

Is it a picture book?  A graphic novel?  Something to give to jaded teens headed out into the wide world?

Really, I can’t claim to have any clear idea on this one.  It seems like more than a picture book.  Would it work for older kids, teens and adults?  I think so.  Categories might make it seem like less than it could be.

All I know is that it’s been sitting on my desk for four days, because I know I love it – the illustrations are so wonderful that I have a hard time finding appropriate adjectives to match my enthusiasm – but I don’t really know what to say about it.  It’s odd.  But please seek it out and see what you think.

The Worm and the Bird by Coralie Bickford-Smith

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2017 – at least we had some good books….graphic novels!

Most of my favorite graphic novels this year were targeted at middle grade readers, but some also work well for older kids — and grown-ups like me, too!

Hilo and the Great Big Boom by Judd Winick

Brave by Svetlana Chmakova

Real Friends by Shannon Hale and LeUyen Pham

The Adventures of John Blake:  Mystery of the Ghost Ship by Philip Pullman and Fred Fordham

Castle in the Stars: The Space Race of 1869, book one by Alex Alice

Pashmina by Nidhi Chanani

All’s Faire in Middle School by Victoria Jamieson

Fish Girl by David Wiesner & Donna Jo Napoli

One Trick Pony by Nathan Hale

Thornhill by Pam Smy – This one combines illustrations and text with the illustrations telling one story, and the text telling a connected story.

Next up teen & adult!

Depression visualized

night shiftNight Shift might look like a picture book, but it’s not.  If you’ve ever lived through or known someone who’s lived through depression, it will look all too familiar to you.  There might be dragons and other fantastic thingss, but the lingering, all-consuming fog, the difficulty of daily survival – it’s just all there on the page.  It’s not fun to read, but it does end with hope, as well as an explanation.  Definitely worth a look.

Night Shift by Debi Gliori

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Where is my white polyester suit?

laser moose 2Am I obsessed with disco-related children’s books?  Perhaps.  A few years back, I found a 25¢ disco hits CD in the library book sale and brought it home to my son for his CD player.  (It seems very old school to actually have a CD player these days.)  There’s nothing quite like YMCA or KC & the Sunshine Band to get your morning routine going at 6:30 a.m.  Maybe disco is just something I find amusing?  Hard to say.

All you need to know about this book is that the rabbit totally rocks a John Travolta Saturday Night Fever suit in one panel that isn’t actually part of the story.  Who cares?  I’m telling you, that picture just wiped clean several hours of unpleasant news and painful, clumsy housework.

And then you throw in a moose shooting lasers from its eyes.  Um….YES!  And the chickadee is maybe an evil mastermind, but the porcupine is definitely on the dark side.  Forest animals, world domination, disco balls.  Wow.  I just can’t even put into words how much I love this.  I hope kids love it, too.  Apparently I missed the first book – Laser Moose and Rabbit Boy.  You can bet I’ll be tracking it down.

Laser Moose and Rabbit Boy: Disco Fever by Doug Savage

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Secrets and family and love

Pashminacover

Priyanka, like many children of immigrants, lives between two worlds – one Indian, one American.  When she finds a pashmina with seemingly magical powers, she can travel to India, into other possible lives, and maybe even learn about the missing pieces of her past.

What’s fun about this book is the play between the black and white pages and those in color, the linked stories, all of the small ways we see Privanka live with and apart from others, the way her life connects to so many others.  And really, that could be all of us in one way or another, right?

Perfect.

Pashmina by Nidhi Chanani

 

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Steampunk with Mad King Ludwig… where have you been all my life?

castle in the stars

Parents are always doing weird stuff, aren’t they?  Like flying their balloons up into the atmosphere to try to find some weird holy-grail-like thing called aether.

So you lose one parent.  Time passes.  Your dad tries to keep you from tagging along on his trip to follow up the mystery of your mom’s final trip log.  Um, no.  You must jump on that train and head for Bavaria, meet up with Mad King Ludwig in one of his awesome castles, help your dad build a steampunky ship to search for more aether, and then, oh, sure, also reveal a traitor to the king.  And this is just book one.  Book two had better get here fast.

Castle in the Stars: The Space Race of 1869, book one by Alex Alice

 

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