Thursday, January 16, 2014

Terrific Graphic Novels for Kids

Graphic novels take a lot of forms.  My kids race through Archie comic books, they laugh their way through The Lunch Lady and they lean about Greek gods and goddesses in Hera and Hades.  These are all varied reading experiences within the same genre.

What I love, however, is how graphic novels have stepped up their game.  With the beautiful retellings of A Wrinkle in Time and The Odyssey, kids are getting exposure to and a better understanding of great literature.  With the Nathan Hale's Hazardous Tales they are learning about pivotal moments in history and just last week I celebrated a book that deals with loneliness and bullying in a complex and emotional graphic novel, Jane, the Fox and Me.

This week the masterful work in graphic novels continues with a look at the Boxer Rebellion.  Not an obvious choice for a kid's book, but that makes it all the more interesting.   You can't possibly look at these offerings and not realize what a wonderful tool this genre has become, not only for entertaining but also for educating young people.  Call me a fan, and take a look at the book trailer at the end of this blog.

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Title:    Boxers/Saints

Author: Gene Luen Yang

Target:  Grades 6 and up

Series:   No

What these books are about:  
Boxers and it’s companion book Saints are graphic novels that look at the Boxer Rebellion from the view of Little Bao, a devoted Chinese peasant fighting to free China from the “foreign devils’ and Vibiana, a fourth daughter who is dismissed by her family and finds strength and purpose with the Christian missionaries.  

Why I love these books: 
First off both these books are extremely compelling reads that make history come alive for kids.  The Boxer Rebellion may not be a period of history familiar to most Westerners, but as our relationship and dependance on China increases, the history of China with the “Christian” world becomes more and more relevant.  

I also love that Yang chose to tell both sides of the story.  The hope is that children will realize that every piece of history has several different perspectives associated with it.   On a deeper level, that only older readers may see, Yang is exploring how our culture fits in with our faith.  

But irregardless of the level at which you digest the book,  the story itself is a can’t put down read.

Who these books are for: 
I have targeted them older because there is violence in these stories.  I also think the messages will be lost on a younger audience.

Final thoughts: 
Books like these are what give graphic novels a good name.  What these books are able to convey about history and humanity to children are greater than any traditional novel.

To purchase this book:
Click on the following link to connect to Amazon: Boxers & Saints Boxed Set  A portion of each purchase goes to support this blog at no cost to you.

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