Graphic Novel Reading Group discussion

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message 1: by Jackie (new)

Jackie Kreitler I teach 7th and 8th grade students. We are currently working on a book project, but we require the student to read at or above grade level. Several teachers and I were thinking that graphic novels could engage our more reluctant readers.

OK what I'm wondering is....are there any graphic novels that would be recommended for students at 7th and 8th grade level that are "safe"...without drugs alcohol, sex, limited cursing (we live in small rural community)

After searching I have found a graphic novel "Lions of Baghdad"..anyone read?...need help desperately

Thank you in advance..Jackie


message 2: by Jaime (new)

Jaime | 20 comments If you mean PRIDE OF BAGHDAD - It's absolutely fantastic but also very sad and moving. It's "Bambi's mom killed by hunters and giving sensitive kids nightmares" sad. A bit of explicit gore here and there - a giraffe at the Baghdad zoo is decapitated by shrapnel in front of the lion cub character for example. There's also a memory of implied 'rape' that one of the lioness characters recalls, but it's fairly oblique. And the American invasion of Iraq isn't shown as anything but an unmitigated tragedy, so there's an implied political angle that your kids' parents may find objectionable.
Sorry for all the caveats - I don't know how fine a line y'all need to tread in that community. It really is a great book, though. Highly recommended.


message 3: by Scott (new)

Scott | 359 comments I think Grant Morrison's Joe the Barbarian would be a great middle school read. There isn't any "mature" content, despite being published under DC's Vertigo banner.


message 4: by Seth (new)

Seth T. (sethhahne) | 63 comments I thought Pride of Baghdad was particularly weak and not a very good example of Vaughan's writing. You can refer to its Goodreads page for a diversity of opinions.

Regardless, I'm guessing it might not be particularly suited for your school if the parents lean in more conservative directions. As Jaime pointed out, it does contain several things that might be found objectionable. Violence, a rape backstory, and an anti-war political leaning narrative.

Joe the Barbarian would be suitable for kids that age, though it may only appeal to those who like hero-stories and fantasy.

Along other lines:
Friends with Boys is fun, humourous, and may engage across demographics. It's rather light, but does explore themes of family and abandonment.

Anya's Ghost is the story of a girl on the edge of acceptable high school society who discovers a ghost. It's fairly light as well but deals with themes of foreignness and alienation and self-presentation.

I Kill Giants is safe, deals with a fifth grader wrestling with a fracturing reality (much like Joe vs the Barbarian) and her struggles against circumstances.

Louis Riel might be a bit dry for some junior highers but for others it may present an envigourating history of a pretty wild figure from Canadian history.

American Born Chinese treats the feelings of displacement and alienation experienced by a kid born in America to Chinese parents. It's good for discussion and may work out kids' interpretive chops (if they're at all so inclined).


message 5: by Jackie (new)

Jackie Kreitler Oh my goodness..you guys are GREAT!!!!!
I did mean "Pride"...was thinking lions and got stuck.

Will definitely check out several of these. I'm sure that our "whiney" readers (although I love them dearly, they are "whiney) will feel like their getting away with an easy book while I'm still slipping in some reading stuff :)


message 6: by Periklis (new)

Periklis (periklisbegzos) Jackie wrote: "I teach 7th and 8th grade students. We are currently working on a book project, but we require the student to read at or above grade level. Several teachers and I were thinking that graphic novel..."

Sounds like a great project. May I suggest books from the British publisher, Cinebook? I'd heartily recommend any Thorgal or Aldebaran book. There is also a side bar where you can choose a book by the age of the reader.


message 7: by Paul (new)

Paul | 286 comments 7th / 8th graders, so I'm guessing 13 to 15 year olds.

There was a comic-book adaptation of "The Hobbit" they might enjoy, especially with the film coming out in december, though I'm not too sure about it's current availability.

"The Stuff of Legend" is about a group of toys (and a puppy) who undertake to go save their "boy" from the boogey-man and the adventures they go thru, although it's still ongoing so they might be dissapointed that it doesn't end.

"Mouse Guard" is a fantasy story starring mice. Each story can be read individually.

From the writer of Bone, Jeff Smith, and Charles Vess on art, you have "Rose", which is a prequel to Bone.

As far as SuperHeroes are concerned, you can't go wrong with "The Rocketeer" by Dave Stevens, "Tom Strong" by Alan Moore, "Superman: Secret Identity" by Kurt Busiek, or "Astro City" Busiek.


message 8: by Travis (new)

Travis Nelson | 1 comments I have been researching a project for a similar age group. In fact, to spur their reading interests, I am considering a graphic novel club. Some that I am considering are the "Bone" series by Jeff Smith, " Groo and Rufferto" by Sergio Aragones and JSA: The Golden Age (Elseworlds) by James Robinson.


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