Great Middle Grade Reads discussion

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THE LIBRARY > Graphic Novels and Nonfiction

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message 1: by M.G. (new)

M.G. King (mgking) | 728 comments A new category!

"Graphic" does not mean gratuitously violent. Graphic books contain stories presented with pictures, comic-book style. Graphic novels have evolved in recent years to contain complex stories beyond the superhero genre.

Who reads these? They are often a bridge for reluctant readers who need age-appropriate content. And for young readers, many of the classics written in archaic language become highly accessible rewritten in this format (think Shakespeare). They are also loved by kids who love to draw. And some of them are just plain fun.

I'll be adding some suggestions here in the next few days. I would love to know what graphic works your students and children have enjoyed.


message 2: by Catherine (last edited May 01, 2014 12:14PM) (new)

Catherine | 78 comments My Fourth grade students LOVE, love, love graphic novels. M.G., you have described so well the readers that they appeal to first/most. But I see the excitement spread from the developing readers to their classmates as a kid who didn't take part in book discussions in the past begins to do so. They welcome recommendations from someone new, like I like here at Goodreads.

Four classic Ann M. Martin Baby-Sitters Club books have been rewritten in this newer format by Raina Telgemeier, and the girls in my class wait anxiously for their turn to read them.

I even have a basket in the library now that includes the traditional book paired with its graphic novel version. These pairs include the aforementioned Baby-sitters Club books, plus Redwall, City of Ember, Percy Jackson The Sea of Monsters, Percy Jackson The Titan's Curse, A Wrinkle in Time, and The Red Pyramid. I'm waiting to see if any of the students move from one format to the other.

Although I still don't really enjoy reading these much myself, I see them helping to move more students toward expanded independent reading. I am going to try some of the new non-fiction graphic books out there.


message 3: by M.G. (new)

M.G. King (mgking) | 728 comments Catherine wrote: "My Fourth grade students LOVE, love, love graphic novels. M.G., you have described so well the readers that they appeal to first/most. But I see the excitement spread from the developing readers to..."

I had no idea that so many of the favorites have graphic novel editions! Obviously I have some research to do! Thanks for telling us how you're using them in your classroom.


message 4: by E.S. (new)

E.S. Ivy (esivy) | 133 comments Catherine wrote: "My Fourth grade students LOVE, love, love graphic novels. M.G., you have described so well the readers that they appeal to first/most. But I see the excitement spread from the developing readers to..."

Some other good ones you might look up:
Artemis Fowl Artemis Fowl (Artemis Fowl, #1) by Eoin Colfer Artemis Fowl, also in traditional novel form
Smile Smile (Smile, #1) by Raina Telgemeier
Ellie McDoodle Ellie McDoodle Have Pen, Will Travel by Ruth McNally Barshaw
Rapunzel's Revenge Rapunzel's Revenge (Rapunzel's Revenge, #1) by Shannon Hale


message 5: by E.S. (new)

E.S. Ivy (esivy) | 133 comments M.G. wrote: "A new category!

"Graphic" does not mean gratuitously violent. Graphic books contain stories presented with pictures, comic-book style. Graphic novels have evolved in recent years to contain comple..."


I just checked out a graphic version of the Martian Chronicles from the library for my 8th grader. I've found that when I check out the audiobook for assigned reading it helps my kids take those silly, picky tests (they also read the book) and I thought the graphic novel might be another way to go over the material again. I'll try to remember to report back with her thoughts!


message 6: by M.G. (new)

M.G. King (mgking) | 728 comments My son really likes the Amulet, Vol. 1: The Stonekeeper Amulet, Vol. 1 The Stonekeeper (Amulet, #1) by Kazu Kibuishi series.


message 7: by M.G. (last edited May 03, 2014 03:47AM) (new)

M.G. King (mgking) | 728 comments For the young artists among us, there is a wonderful autobiography of the Caldecott artist Peter Say called Drawing from Memory

Drawing from Memory by Allen Say . He tells his own story with a mixture of prose, pictures, and graphic-style storytelling. As a young boy growing up in Japan, Peter Say gives us a good glimpse of Japanese culture.


message 8: by Catherine (new)

Catherine | 78 comments This morning I read The Underground Railroad Adventure of Allen Jay, Antislavery Activist by Marlene Targ Brill. As a Fourth grade teacher I see this book as a good addition to my Civil War/ Slavery collection, especially to serve the developing readers. The book closely mirrors the book Allen Jay and the Underground Railroad, also by Marlene Targ Brill. The reading level is high second grade/low third grade and the book is very, very short. The comic strip layout includes illustrations that provide detail without the reader needing to read additional text. This book has caused me to become interested in the other books of the History's Kids Heroes series. I will be looking into more of these soon. This probably is not a book for proficient Middle Grades readers, but for middle graders who are reading below grade level, it's a great resource.


message 9: by Cheryl (new)

Cheryl (cherylllr) I'm an old dog who can't seem to learn this new trick, but I was able to enjoy The Invention of Hugo Cabret, which is kind of a 'transition' style as pictures tell a significant part of the story.


message 10: by Catherine (new)

Catherine | 78 comments E.S. wrote: "Catherine wrote: "My Fourth grade students LOVE, love, love graphic novels. M.G., you have described so well the readers that they appeal to first/most. But I see the excitement spread from the dev..."

I am so glad that this line of discussion has been opened. I don't yet enjoy these books, so my reading of them has been half-hearted at best. I see new suggestions that appear more interesting to me. The most exciting part to me, though, is the clear evidence that these books have the potential to fill a real need in the reading development of many. They might be a great tool for some parents and teachers as they gently guide dormant readers to find their place in the community of book lovers.


message 11: by Catherine (new)

Catherine | 78 comments Cheryl in CC NV wrote: "I'm an old dog who can't seem to learn this new trick, but I was able to enjoy The Invention of Hugo Cabret, which is kind of a 'transition' style as pictures tell a significant part..."

Likewise, a very experienced reader (old dog), I found Wonderstruck, also by Brian Selznick, to be quite enjoyable once I got my head around the story. I must admit that it took a little thinking to see that one story was told in words and the pictures were telling a related story. In the end, I liked it a lot.


message 12: by M.G. (new)

M.G. King (mgking) | 728 comments Catherine wrote: "E.S. wrote: "Catherine wrote: "My Fourth grade students LOVE, love, love graphic novels. M.G., you have described so well the readers that they appeal to first/most. But I see the excitement spread..."

I agree -- I personally don't enjoy the graphic novel reading experience because I prefer rich language that invokes my own imagination. But they they do fill a couple important niches, and since my son has become interested in art and illustration, I've come to appreciate the creativity involved.


message 13: by Catherine (new)

Catherine | 78 comments M.G. wrote: "Catherine wrote: "E.S. wrote: "Catherine wrote: "My Fourth grade students LOVE, love, love graphic novels. M.G., you have described so well the readers that they appeal to first/most. But I see the..."

I keep forgetting, but I agree that the graphic novel does have strong appeal for those readers who are artists or fans of illustrations. After you mentioned this here, I was able to see that connection in my class. I understand now that this is a very important aspect of the books to which I have been giving short shrift. Perhaps as I practice considering the art more I will gain enjoyment from the books in a new way. I am grateful to have been exposed to this idea here.


message 14: by Louie (new)

Louie | 80 comments My favourites are Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier and The Witch Boy by Molly Ostertag.


message 15: by Destiny (new)

Destiny | 9 comments These are some graphic novels I've enjoyed that I'm sure most children will too.

I loved Making Friends by Kristen Gudsnuk Making Friends by Kristen Gudsnuk . It's wonderfully dumb and filled with anime and videogame references. It also features existential crisis in an interesting way.

Also, I really enjoyed the Rickety Stitch and the Gelatinous Goo series by Ben Costa The Middle-Route Run (Rickety Stitch and the Gelatinous Goo #2) by Ben Costa . The color direction and the humor are the best, and the story is mature without being overly edgy.

I thought Rutabaga the Adventure Chef Rutabaga the Adventure Chef (Adventure Chef #1) by Eric Colossal was cute and whimsical.

Although I haven't read the second volume yet, Space Boy by Stephen McCranie Stephen McCranie's Space Boy Volume 1 by Stephen McCranie has made me a fan of the series. I thought it was relatable, cute, and established its characters quickly. I'm eager to see how the rest of the series turns out.


message 16: by Jemima (new)

Jemima Pett | 1273 comments Mod
I'm glad you rootled out a thread that has good ideas in it but has been neglected! Carry on :D


message 17: by C.J. (new)

C.J. Milbrandt (cjmilbrandt) | 118 comments Mod
This year, I added a few graphic novels to my home shelves...

Drama by Raina Telgemeier The Tea Dragon Society by Katie O'Neill Anya's Ghost by Vera Brosgol

I'm really eager to procure the graphic novels for Neil Gaiman's The Graveyard Book and Nancy Springer's Enola Holmes series.

The Graveyard Book, Volume 1 by Neil Gaiman The Graveyard Book, Volume 2 by Neil Gaiman Enola Holmes The Case of the Missing Marquess by Serena Blasco

... and let's not forget the wealth of storytelling in manga!


message 18: by Manybooks (new)

Manybooks | 320 comments I am not a huge fan of graphic novels, but I am a bit warming up to them and have read a few great ones this year.

Sunny Side Up and the sequel Swing it, Sunny (mostly because of the nostalgic 1970s cultural allusions and because in the first book Sunny in 1976 was like me ten years old)


message 19: by Louie (last edited Nov 28, 2018 05:51PM) (new)

Louie | 80 comments Manybooks wrote: "I am not a huge fan of graphic novels, but I am a bit warming up to them and have read a few great ones this year.

Sunny Side Up and the sequel Swing it, Sunny (mos..."


I love the Sunny books! They are some of my favorite graphic novels!


message 20: by Manybooks (new)

Manybooks | 320 comments Louie wrote: "Manybooks wrote: "I am not a huge fan of graphic novels, but I am a bit warming up to them and have read a few great ones this year.

Sunny Side Up and the sequel [book:Swing it, Su..."


I wish there were more.


message 21: by Louie (new)

Louie | 80 comments Manybooks wrote: "Louie wrote: "Manybooks wrote: "I am not a huge fan of graphic novels, but I am a bit warming up to them and have read a few great ones this year.

Sunny Side Up and the sequel [boo..."


Me too. I wish that they didn't take so long to make them.


message 22: by Raquelle (new)

Raquelle Element (elementray932) | 28 comments Destiny wrote: "These are some graphic novels I've enjoyed that I'm sure most children will too.

I loved Making Friends by Kristen GudsnukMaking Friends by Kristen Gudsnuk. It's wonderfully dumb and filled with..."


I'm also into the webcomic Space Boy!


message 23: by Jerry (new)

Jerry Craft (jerrycraft) | 10 comments American Born Chinese is one of my favorites. Also El Deafo, Roller Girl, Raina’s books, the Amulet series, and the more mature Stitches and Hey Kiddo!


message 24: by Manybooks (last edited Dec 07, 2018 08:23PM) (new)

Manybooks | 320 comments I did not like the green, black and white colour schemes all that much but Be Prepared was a nostalgic but also uncomfortably nostalgic read for me, and while it definitely feels very authentic, for many girls it might like for me hit pretty close to home, and for some it might even hit too close.


message 25: by Destiny (new)

Destiny | 9 comments I've read vol 2 of Space Boy, and it's seriously great! I'm trying to catch up on the webtoon chapters now. ^^

Another great graphic novel series that needs more applause is The Creeps series. Curse of the Attack-o-Lanterns (The Creeps, #3) by Chris Schweizer

I love the mysteries/creepy occurrences, the misfit gang of kids, and the storylines. This series doesn't talk down to kids and some heavy, albeit hilariously cartoony, stuff happens. It would be perfect in cartoon form. I recommend it for all ages. Boys and girls will like the adventures


message 26: by Elissa (new)

Elissa | 1 comments I am making it my mission this year to find great graphic novels.

I love Ben Hatke. The Zita the Space Girl series is great for sci-fi fans. Mighty Jack is more of an adventure story with fairytale hints. I’ve even read his Book Little Robot with my three year old! All his books have great themes of friendship, family, bravery and loyalty.

Others have already mentioned Raina Telgemeier. I enjoyed Ghosts, Sisters, and Smile the most. Great for kids who enjoy realistic fiction that explores interpersonal struggles,

The Nameless City by faith Erin Hicks was also fantastic and I can’t wait to read the sequels. It’s an adventure story with a strong male and female lead characters.

Someone mentioned not liking graphic novels because they prefer rich language. I understand that perspective because I too love literary language. But as I have stepped out of my comfort zone I found that there’s something in the graphic novel genre for everyone. It’s a great way to connect hesitant readers with quality literature. I feel like graphic novels are more like a medium than a genre. In upcoming years I think we will see more diversity in graphic novels rather than the manga, comic book, fantasy, and science fiction that typify the art form.


message 27: by Andrea (new)

Andrea Wright | 6 comments I have just started trying out different graphic novels to see if I liked them or not. My two favorites so far are ones I read last year and I am looking for more if anyone has some suggestions similar to these.

Cici's Journal The Adventures of a Writer-In-Training by Joris Chamblain Cici's Journal: The Adventures of a Writer-In-Training

The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang The Prince and the Dressmaker


message 28: by Louie (new)

Louie | 80 comments I have discovered a few more great graphic novel options this year like Invisible Emmie by Terri Libenson and it's companion graphic novel, Positively Izzy. I enjoyed them because I felt that they were both extremely funny and emotionally deep. Another good one is Guts by Rainia Telgemeier, a memoir about part of the author's childhood when she went through changes and discovered important things about her self. I also liked Sheets by Brenna Thummler, a beautiful and lovely novel about grief, and New Kid by Jerry Craft, an important and timely book about the racism the main character encounters as he starts a semester at a new school.
Invisible Emmie by Terri Libenson Positively Izzy by Terri Libenson Guts by Raina Telgemeier Sheets by Brenna Thummler New Kid by Jerry Craft


message 29: by Rebecca (new)

Rebecca Douglass (rdouglass) | 1666 comments Mod
Louie wrote: "I have discovered a few more great graphic novel options this year like Invisible Emmie by Terri Libenson and it's companion graphic novel, Positively Izzy. I enjoye..."

Raina Telgemeier does great work! I haven't read Guts, and I'll have to hunt it up. Another good reason to finally go get my local library card, because I think graphic novels should be read on paper, not on a kindle!


message 30: by Louie (new)

Louie | 80 comments Rebecca wrote: "Louie wrote: "I have discovered a few more great graphic novel options this year like Invisible Emmie by Terri Libenson and it's companion graphic novel, [book:Positively Izzy|35887..."

I agree, I have been reading many graphic novels and comics on my kindle recently, but I felt like for Raina Telgmeier, one of my favorite authors, I should wait for the paperback to be available from my library and it was definitely worth waiting for.


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