Monday, August 5, 2013

Great Graphic Novels For Kids

This week I am bringing out an old post from the archives.  These are wonderful graphic novels and I would like to give them a chance to shine again!  The Lunch Lady Series has now completed it's run but remains a wonderful early reader for kids.  Enjoy!
There is a great quote by B. F. Skinner that says, "We shouldn't teach great books; we should teach a love of reading."  I think graphic novels are a way to do that.   Visual learners may often times have a better experience with graphic novels than traditional books.  Also, most are just fun reads that kids enjoy and when they are done well, a parent can feel good about giving their child another type of reading experience.

Are they comics or novels or perhaps simply a hybrid of both?  I think, depending on the quality, they can be all three.  There are a few graphic novels that I would consider exceptional - Smile reviewed below being one of them, but mostly they are a unique and fun reading experience that should be enjoyed along with many types of books.

So I hope you enjoy this weeks graphic novel selection. Don't forget to like one great book on Facebook or follow one great book on twitter!

Title:          The Secret Science Alliance and the Copy Cat Crook
Author:     Eleanor Davis
Target:      Grade 3-6
Series:       No, but it should be!
What this book is about:
Julian is an ultra nerd, and with the opportunity to attend a new school, he sees his chance to fit in.  He meets Ben and Greta, two secret scientist, who share his passion for inventing.  They create the Secret Science Alliance and develop blueprints for fabulous inventions.  When their notebook gets stolen and an evil scientist starts taking credit for their inventions they start making plans to get it back.  Will they succeed?
Why I love it:
Where do I start.  This book is a celebration of the science genius, and how often do you see that in a graphic novel?  It even challenges the stereotypes of nerds and jocks.  The detailed drawings in this book are overwhelming, I think you could read it several times and every time come up with something new.  On top of wonderful artwork, it is just a great story, with friendship, villains, dastardly deeds and creativity!
Who this book is for:
Kids who like the graphic novel format will enjoy this book as well as those who like inventing things!  It may even spur a few inventions in your own home.  
Final thoughts:
Strap on your welding goggles for a great high tech adventure!

To purchase this book, click on the following link to connect to Amazon: The Secret Science Alliance and the Copycat Crook

Title:          Fangbone!
Author:     Michael Rex
Target:      Grades 2-4
Series:        Yes
What this book is about:
Fangbone is an eight year old barbarian who has been sent forward in time to protect the Big Toe of Drool from falling into evil hands.  He ends up at Eastwood Elementary School where he enlists the help of his special class to save the world from destruction!
Why I love this book:
This is just plain silly fun.  Fangbone is deadpan serious in his quest, despite all the funny goings on in third grade.  He finds the value in a bunch of misfits, conquers dodgeball, lets us in on why the sun really comes up each day and finds the value in hot wings.  And he does all this while wearing furry underwear!
Who this book is for:
While the natural appeal will be to boys, girls can really enjoy it just as much.  Great for reluctant readers .
Final thoughts:
Fangbone is truly the perfect third grade barbarian!

To purchase this book, click on the following link to connect to Amazon: Fangbone! Third-Grade Barbarian

Title:          Lunch Lady and the Cyborg Substitute

Author:      Jarrett J. Krosoczka
Target:       Grade 1-3
Series:        Yes
What this book is about:
In this graphic novel, the lunch lady proves to be the undercover hero.  When she finds a plot by the science teacher to become Teacher of the Year, by replacing popular teachers with cyborgs, she goes into action with her Spatu-copter, lunch tray laptop and fish stick nunchucks.  Wouldn’t you know it would be the hair net that saves the day.
Why I love this book:
First who wouldn’t love a hero who swears in vegetables:  “Cauliflower!” and Sweet Potatoes!”  There is fun and clever humor throughout. The two color comics(use of only two colors in printing) have been gaining in popularity with the introduction of Baby Mouse, and it works well for the Lunch Lady as well.  The clever observations  and tongue and cheek humor of the lunch lady is what makes this book a winner!
Who this book is for:
Kids who enjoy graphic novels.  Not a long book but a fun romp.
Final thoughts:
The Lunch Lady - serving justice and serving lunch!

To purchase this book, click on the following link to connect to Amazon: Lunch Lady and the Cyborg Substitute: Lunch Lady #1

Title:          Smile
Author:     Raina Telgemeier
Target:      Grade 4-8
Series:       There is a sequel, Drama
What this book is about:
Raina is a typical 6th grader, who trips and ends up losing her two front teeth.  The book highlights the next three years of dental surgeries, braces, headgear and false teeth.  It also shows the social hurdles she is dealing with at this age, including crushes, dealing with friendships and finding herself.
Why I love it:
I was amazed how much the author captured the angst and difficulties of the main character in a graphic novel.  The format was also very successful for this particular story, because the reader could get a visual on how Raina’s teeth changed throughout all of her procedures.  I also liked that this was a true story, and it gives kids a perspective that they can come through difficult times, just like the author did.
Who this book is for:
I think it is a wonderful girl story for middle schoolers and those getting ready to enter middle school.  Raina is a very real character and most girls will relate to her story on some level, even without orthodontic issues!
Final thoughts:
Brace yourself for a wonderful story.  While there are certainly some heartbreaking moments, the message that life is full of challenges that we can overcome is inspiring.

To purchase this book, click on the following link to connect to Amazon: Smile

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