Tuesday, December 11, 2018

12 Days of Giving: Great Graphic Novels

I'll be posting themed book lists with book giving ideas for a variety of ages and interests every day Dec. 1 - 12. Check the label Twelve Days of Giving for all the lists. Shopping for someone specific? Drop me a comment with ages/interests (including adults!) and I'll be happy to make some suggestions. Don't forget your local indie bookstore and if you don't have a favorite indie, might I suggest ordering from The Bain Lair Bookstore

It's hard to go wrong with graphic novels. They have wide appeal and kids and teens who like to read them often can't get enough. My oldest niece has been into graphic novels for years, so I always know I can pick out my favorites for her for Christmas. Here are some of my favorite graphic novels for young readers. 

For elementary readers...

Comics Squad series edited by Jennifer Holm and Matthew Holm (Random House). These compilations include a bunch of comics written by today's hottest comic authors around a central theme. They are a great choice for comic enthusiasts who are new to graphic novels or for kids that you're not certain what kind of comics they would like (since each includes many different styles). 

The Great Pet Escape by Victoria Jamieson (Henry Holt, 2016). This super cute and funny graphic novel features a trio of class pets determined to break out of school and regain their freedom... until the 4th and 5th grade pets come up with a dastardly plan to prank the students. There are tons of cute and funny details in the pictures that kids will enjoy looking for. This is an early chapter book graphic novel, perfect for the younger elementary set, though older kids may well enjoy it as a quick read. Hand this to your animal lovers. 

Narwhal: Unicorn of the Sea by Ben Clanton (Tundra Books, 2016). My goal is to get everyone to buy the Narwhal and Jelly books this holiday season. They are so super cute and funny and a hit with a wide range of ages. This adorable friendship tale will appeal to kids who love to laugh and kids who enjoy friendship stories. And also everyone. 

Peter and Ernesto: A Tale of Two Sloths by Graham Annable (First Second, 2018). This is an adorable graphic novel about two best sloth friends who are very different - Ernesto has a very adventurous soul and he decides that he wants to see "all the sky" and sets off on a journey. Peter misses his friend and worries that something will happen to him, so eventually he sets off in search of Ernesto. They both end up having adventures and they both end up right where they belong.

For middle grade readers...

All's Fair in Middle School by Victoria Jamieson (Dial, 2017). Victoria Jamieson presents a story about navigating middle school but with a twist. Imogene's grown up spending summers with her Renaissance Faire family. Now she's starting middle school (her choice) after years of being homeschooled. Middle school, it turns out, is trickier than Imogene had anticipated. This is a character-driven story with lots of great Ren Faire details woven throughout. It's great for readers who like stories about girls navigating middle school life. 

Be Prepared by Vera Brosgol (First Second, 2018). Vera, daughter of Russian immigrants, feels like she never fits in, especially when all the kids in her neighborhood go away to summer sleepaway camp. Vera wants desperately to go away to camp, but when she finally gets to go, the Russian culture camp is nothing like she thought. From outhouses and the threat of bears in the woods to the very real threat of mean girls in her tent, Vera may have gotten into more than she can handle. This autobiographical tale is a great choice for fans of Raina Telgemeier and El Deafo. 

Hilo series by Judd Winick (Random House). This is one of my favorite graphic novel series, a science-fiction story with tons of humor and adventure. When DJ's best friend moves away, he's feeling left behind when a new friend literally falls from the sky. Hilo crashes to earth with no idea who he is or what he's supposed to be doing. He'd better figure it out quick because there's something on the way to Earth, something bad. 

Sanity and Tallulah by Molly Brooks (Disney-Hyperion, 2018). Sanity and Tallulah are best friends who live on a space station. When Sanity is caught doing a science experiment she shouldn't be doing, she's forbidden from continuing it. Unfortunately Princess Sparkle Destroyer of Worlds, the three-headed cat Sanity biologically engineered, escapes and starts to wreak havok on the ship. Can Sanity wrangle her experiment or is there something else going on? This is a fun science fiction adventure story with two strong girl heroines, perfect for young scientists. 

For teens..

The Best We Could Do by Thi Bui (Abrams, 2017). This graphic novel memoir details one family's escape from war-torn Vietnam and their journey to America. Author Thi Bui, born in Vietnam and fleeing to the United States as a small child with her family, tells the story of her parents, their life in wartime Vietnam and their subsequent immigration to the United States. Bui examines how events in her parents' pasts have shaped who they are and who she turned out to be, issues she's reflecting on since she is now a parent herself. This is a great choice for readers of memoirs or anyone interested in refugee stories. 

Bingo Love by Tee Franklin (Image Comics, 2018). Hazel and Mari meet at church bingo in 1963 and fall for each other, but in 1963 it's impossible for them to be together the way they want to be. They connect years later when they can finally really be together in this sweet f/f love story. Hand this to teens looking for love stories. 

Hey, Kiddo by Jarrett Krosoczka (Graphix, 2018). This powerful graphic memoir is an important story as Krosoczka writes from his experience as the child of a drug addict, raised by his grandparents. This book is a testament to the power of art to save. This is one of the most talked-about graphic novels of the year - a good choice for teens who like intense family stories. 

Speak: The Graphic Novel by Laurie Halse Anderson and Emily Carroll (Farrar, Straus, & Giroux, 2018). This graphic novel adaptation, published on the classic YA novel Speak's 20th anniversary, introduces this powerful novel to a new generation. It's really well done with intense, black and white art that reflects the mood of the story. For readers who have read and love Speak or teen readers who are new to it, this is a great choice. 

If you are shopping for graphic novel readers this year, I hope you'll find something on here for the reader on your list.