Graphic Novels

All posts tagged Graphic Novels

Squish, Super Amoeba, by Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm

Published July 4, 2015 by Dagmar

You might not have realized that there is a whole world within our world – the world of the Amoeba, one-celled organisms that go to school, trade lunches and even read comic books during class.  My students know all about Squish. In fact, this is one series that iSquishs always mentioned when I ask them about their favorite graphic novels.

Squish is just such an amoeba. He has friends, Pod and Peggy. Peggy is an extremely nice paramecium. She’s actually a little too nice sometimes. In fact, one day, after Squish and his friends sit in detention, Peggy chats away to the school’s bully, Lynwood. Lynwood is a “scary amoeba” that loves to eat paramecium. Squish sees Peggy talking to Lynwood and fears that Lynwood will actually eat Peggy right there in detention. Squish has a decision to make. Should he do the right thing and step in to save Peggy, just as his hero, Super Amoeba, would? Or, should he walk in the other direction.

Find out what Squish decides to do and how a little slime mold can be a good thing to have around.

My students absolutely love this series. The Squish series currently has 6 books, with book 7 due to be released on August 25, 2015.  Jennifer Holm and Matthew Holm also write the Babymouse graphic novel series.


Zita the Spacegirl, by Ben Hatke

Published July 2, 2015 by Dagmar

This graphic novel might just rank with Amulet as my favorite in my library.  Zita the Spacegirl has characters you’ll love, evil villians, wonderful drawings and a plot full of suspense.  It is a huge favorite with my students.

Zita the SpacegirlZita and her friend Joseph are surprised when a small meteor hits the earth where they are playing. Zita is adventurous.  She goes into the small crater and finds an interesting object that looks like a button. As all adventurous girls are wont to do, Zita pushes the button. Off goes Joseph onto another planet. Zita quickly presses the button again and finds herself on the same strange planet, just in to see Joseph kidnapped.

Zita meets new creatures that soon become friends, a large creature she names Strong Strong, another called Mouse and Piper.  She learns that this new planet is just about to be destroyed by an enormous asteroid.  Everyone is trying to get off the planet before the asteroid hits.  Zita is determined to find her friend.  She learns that he has been taken prisoner by the original creatures to inhabit the planet, Scriptorians.  The Scriptorians think that sacrificing Joseph will stop the asteroid.

Zita sets out with her new friends to find Joseph and save him. Will they be successful? Who will try to stop them? Will the planet survive? Read Zita and the Spacegirl to see how one strong, adventurous girl can team up with friends and make things happen.

Don’t miss the next two books in this trilogy, Legends of Zita the Spacegirl and Return of Zita the Spacegirl. Look for Ben Hatke’s new book, Little Robot, to be released on September 1, 2015.

Sisters, by Raina Telgemeier

Published June 28, 2015 by Dagmar

Sisters, Telegemeier’s third graphic novel in her autobiographic series that begins with Smile and Drama.  Fans of the graphic novels Smile (click the link to see my review) and Drama, won’t be surprised that Raina Telgemeier has another huge success on her hands.

I had the feeling this would be the case, after loving Smile and Drama, myself, and made sure I had no less than three copies on the shelves when I started the school year.   All three books were, in fact, checked out for the entire year (I replaced lost cosisterspies, twice), leaving me waiting with anticipation for my turn to read the book. When I closed the library on May 15th to finally retrieve all the missing books from my students and take inventory, I was able to check out all the books I’d been wanting to read all year. It was my chance to finally read Sisters.

So, here I sit, curled up on a couch in beautiful Lake Tahoe on summer vacation with a big stack of my students’ recommended books on my end table.  This moment encapsulates one of the best parts of being a school librarian – catching up on a big pile of books that your students have urged you to read.

I just finished Sisters.  What a great read.  Raina Telgemeier takes me right back to middle school, my own relationship with my sister, that middle school feeling of not fitting in – but wanting to – and feeling scared thinking that my parents were going to break up (they did).  Raina Telgemeier writes in an authentic voice that students (from 4th-middle school) can really hear and appreciate.  She touches on real issues, in just the right way.

So, if you’re looking for a sure fire hit, and you’ve managed to find a child that hasn’t already read this book, pick it up.  It’s a great summer read.  You won’t regret it.

Greek Myths and Legends, by Graphic Universe

Published July 9, 2013 by Dagmar

graphic universeOne of my favorite genres is the graphic novel.  I have many students who are graphic novel devotees and will read anything written in this format, including mythology and American history.

My students are big fans of The Olympians series of graphic novels.  They’ve read all the books in the series that I have in the library (Zeus, Hades, Hera, Athena and Poseidon).  They are eagerly awaiting the newest book in the series, Aphrodite.

Thank goodness for Graphic Universe and their series of Greek mythological tales.  They’ve helped quench my students’ thirst for Greek myths.  These graphic novels include myths like Jason: Quest for the Golden Fleece; Theseus: Battling the Minotaur; Trojan Horse: The Fall of Troy, Perseus: The Hunt for Medusa’s Head and others.

While these tales are a quick read (I often get them back the same day I check them out), there are quite a few of them and they do a great job broadening my students’ understanding of Greek myths.  Written by various authors and drawn by various artists, these books bring these stories to life in a dramatic and exciting way.  I would recommend them to any mythology or graphic novel fan.

Flight, edited by Kazu Kibuishi

Published June 18, 2013 by Dagmar

flightFinally, something to satisfy the many Amulet fans in my library.  As I mentioned in my blog article about Amulet, my students are so sad that the series only has five volumes.  Many of my students have read each book of Amulet multiple times.  Kibuishi’s Copper book also circulated like crazy until our copy was lost.

So, when I found out that Kazu Kibuishi created a collection of graphic short stories, I thought I’d give these books a try in my library.  I was not disappointed.  While the work is not entirely that of Kazu Kibuishi exclusively, it is a really nice collection.  It contains short stories from 21 authors, including one story from Kibuishi.  I ordered the first three books, and they immediately started circulating.  There are eight books in all, and I’ve already been asked by my students to add to our collection.  While most of these stories can be understood by younger students, I would recommend them for a tween and older audience.

Bake Sale, by Sara Varon

Published June 9, 2013 by Dagmar

Bake SaleI really like Sara Varon’s graphic novels.  They are emotional, a little melancholy but most of all, really good.  Bake Sale is very popular in my library.  I have a lot of cooks and bakers at my school, so I think Bake Sale’s appeal extends beyond the very sweet (sorry) story of friendship to the recipes throughout the book.

Cupcake owns a bake shop in New York City.  He has a best friend named Eggplant and plays drums in a band with his friends.  He loves baking and playing in the marching band.  Eggplant tells him that he is going to visit his aunt Aubergine in Turkey.  His aunt Aubergine knows Turkish Delight, the famous baker.  Turkish Delight is Cupcake’s baking idol. Eggplant invites Cupcake to come along to Turkey so that he can meet Turkish Delight.  Cupcake doesn’t have the money for his plane ticket.  At Eggplant’s urging, Cupcake quits his band and works lots extra hours creating new recipes and selling his baked goods all over New York City so that he can save up all his money to buy a ticket to Turkey.  I love Cupcake’s entrepreneurial spirit.  He sells little marzipan dogs and cats outside to sell at St. John the Baptist Cathedral for St. Francis of Assisi Day, dog biscuits for the Westminster Dog Show and heart-shaped peppermint brownies for Valentine’s Day.  Finally, Cupcake saves up enough for his ticket to Turkey so that he can meet Turkish Delight.  Sadly, Eggplant loses his job and can no go to Turkey.

What happens next? Read and find out how this great story ends.  I loved it.

This book was a Junior Library Guild selection.

Bone: Out from Boneville, by Jeff Smith

Published May 29, 2013 by Dagmar

BoneI can’t believe I haven’t read Bone until now.  This is an embarrassing thing to admit as a children’s librarian, because Bone may be the most popular set of books in my library.  I usually invest my time reading books that I feel won’t circulate unless I “sell” them to my students.  This series definitely does NOT need selling.  It is a perennial favorite in my library with students from 2nd to 6th grade.

Phoney Bone is the richest Bone in Boneville.  Unfortunately, he’s also a swindler who has cheated the townspeople left, right and backwards.  When he is run out of town, his two cousins, Fone Bone and Smiley Bone, help save him.  Fone Bone is kind, polite and resourceful.  Smiley Bone is funny and not the brightest Bone in the bunch.  Escaping with only one backpack full of prized possessions but no food or water, the three cousins wander in the desert.  Attacked by locusts, they run, only to be split up from one another.  Fone ends up crossing a mountain pass and finds himself in a valley, containing terrible rat creatures, a friendly red dragon, a possum family and a nice girl named Thorn and her grandma who take him in.  Fone finally finds Phoney Bone, who is a disaster when it comes to manners.  Fone Bone and Phoney Bone set out together to find the still missing Smiley Bone.

I love the wit and the dialog in this very funny book.  The characters, particularly the “not terribly smart” rat monsters and the wry red dragon with “Seuss-like” fluffy ears are absolutely great.  I can definitely see why these books are so popular and why any elementary school library needs a set of these books.  I think any child, second grade and up would enjoy the series, but that the students will understand more of the author’s wit if they are in fourth grade or older.

There are eleven books in the original Bone series, counting the prequel, Rose, and Tall tales.  The author also wrote another series called Quest for Spark.  Don’t miss them!

Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales, by Nathan Hale

Published March 12, 2013 by Dagmar

nathan haleI’m so happy to see that graphic novels are expanding to include history, mythology, and adaptations of classics.  I have a few readers who will not read anything unless it’s in graphic novel format.  They’re big readers and are in the library always looking for new books.  They are really excited about this series.  I’m excited, because they’re reading American History!

This new series, Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales is a funny recounting of the story of Nathan Hale, the Revolutionary War spy who famously said, “I regret that I have but one life to give for my country.”  In this version, Nathan Hale and the hangman are discussing “last words” and the fact that Nathan Hale should say something memorable before he is hanged.  Nathan Hale not only thinks of his last words, but then delays his hanging by recounting the story of the seige of Boston, the Battle of Bunker Hill, and General Howe’s invasion of New York.

This is real American history but presented in a funny and engaging way. I laughed out loud several times at the cleverness of the book.  There are two books in the series so far, One Dead Spy and Big Bad Ironclad and more to come.  (Thank goodness!)  My only regret… is that the pages are not full-color. I think it would add a lot to the book if the illustrations were more attractive.  That said, it’s a great series and kids love it.

Amulet, by Kazu Kibuishi

Published February 19, 2013 by Dagmar

amuletThis graphic novel series flies off my shelves, and I constantly have to answer the question, “Why haven’t you ordered number 6!”  Those of you following the Amulet series will know that there isn’t a number 6 yet.  I can see why this book is so popular with my students.  There is a great mix of something tragic, something mysterious and a new fantasy world.  The illustrations are really beautifully done.   Highly recommended for third grade and older.

Emily and Navin lose their father in a car accident and move to a remote town with their mom.  The house they move to is an old house owned by their great grandfather Silas.  When Emily and Navin wander upstairs, they discover a room and a mysterious amulet.  When their mother is lured into a trap, the children follow her, guided by a mechanical rabbit named Miskit.  They find their great grandfather on his death bed.  He urges Emily to become the new Stonekeeper, leading her into a new world and teaching her the power of the Amulet.

Smile, by Raina Telgemeier

Published December 28, 2012 by Dagmar

smileWonderful! What if you knocked out your two front teeth…in middle school? Smile takes me back to the times when I had braces and when I also had to figure out which friends were truly friends.  It’s a great book that just flies off my library shelves.  I can see why.  It’s great for fifth graders and middle schoolers.  For those of you who love this book, the same author wrote another book called Drama.

Synopsis: Raina knocks out her two front teeth when she trips and falls.  So begins an odyssey that includes false teeth, retainers, braces, headgear etc.  all during middle school when everyone is as self-conscious as humanly possible.  Following Raina through middle school to high school, this book takes her through her friends’ reactions to her appearance and her first crush on a boy.  Finding that her friends are not necessarily good friends, Raina finds a new group in of friends in high school who are supportive and don’t care about her appearance.