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5 Graphic Novels we Loved!

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1. Fairy Tale Comics edited by Chris Duffy

Fairy Tale Comics page
This is a collection of 17 of your favorite fairy tales. And along with your well known favorites like “Snow White” and “Goldilocks”, there are some unique finds too, like “The Prince and the Tortoise: from 1001 nights and “The Boy who drew cats”. What is unique about this collection is that each tale has been illustrated by 17 different artists who put their own unique “signature” on the tales. It is a delight to re-read your favorite and new tales in such a diversity of art in one single book. From Raina Telgemeier’s straight bold line comic art work to Brett Helquist’s more parchment colored art, this book is truly a very unique collection.

2. Odd Duck by Cecil Castellucci

Odd Duck cover
We fell in love with the very predictable Theodora and her new quirky “odd” friend Chad. This is a story about friendship, impressions and acceptance.
The author/illustrator duo have created a charming story in a “graphic novel” format. Word balloons, clear pastel colors and strong lines with lots and lots of whimsical, quirky details makes this book very endearing! This tale has an age old theme of “be yourself”. The unique twist however comes when the “Odd Duck” seems to think that their world is quite normal while the others are somehow “different”. At the end, however, the “Odd Duck” realizes that being different, isn’t that bad after all..

3. Monster on the Hill by Rob Harrell 

Monster on the Hill page

Do you want to read a fun, goofy and super silly tale about monsters? If you answered with a resounding “YES” then this is the book for you !! Rob Harrell’s Monster on the hill is not scary at all. While other monsters in their other hometowns are scaring people silly, Stoker-on-Avon’s monster is moaning and groaning and sulking all day long. Bottom line: Stoker-on-Avon’s monster sucked! Now its up to two very unusual partners to solve this monster’s problems and get him back on his feet.

4. Hereville series by Barry Deutsch

Hereville series cover

Hereville, a contemporary Orthodox Jewish community, is the home of an 11 year old girl, Mirka. But Mirka is a restless soul. Her wise stepmother tries to quiet her restless spirit by teaching her to knit. Mirka, however, has other ideas. A talking pig encounter takes Mirka on an extra ordinary journey that ends up with Mirka having to sword fight an alien for her life! So what’s so unique about this series? We loved reading about the traditional background of a restless modern 11 year old girl. Her emotional tug of war with her upbringing, customs and her desire to do the “unthinkable” (such as fight aliens and save the world). The author does a superb job of blending the unreal and the real while keeping everything on track. Can’t wait for more of Mirka!

5. El Deafo by Cece Bell

El Deafo cover
One day little Cece falls ill with meningitis. As she recovers, the family and Cece realize that she has lost her hearing. Over the next few months, Cece has to get multiple hearing tests and then ends up having to wear a hearing aid for her life. As little Cece slowly settles into her “new” regular life as an hearing impaired child, she struggles to blend in, make friends and find something special. And one day she realizes that she indeed has a super power. Something that makes her special.. her hearing aid picks up voices from far away. A talent that no one else poses. And thus “El Deafo” is born. We loved this tale for all the conversation starters it provides. A serious subject told with so much heart, a little bit of humor and with a lot of poise, this book is a MUST read for everyone!

Are graphic novels “real” books? Should they count towards reading?

Prejudices: I have come across this question many times. Some parents and educators believe that graphic novels are not serious books or should not be counted as good reads or encouraged. Schools do not allow graphic novels for book reports and other literacy based projects. However, graphic novels have come a long way. They are smart, mature reads. As you can see from above examples, the story telling is very unique and fresh. The format lends itself beautifully for girls and boys. Topics range from serious (El Deafo) to quirky (Mirka) to good old fun (Fairy tales).

Here are a few benefits to reading graphic novels:

Foster love for Reading:  Graphic novels can be a great motivation for reading books. I know many kids tire from their regular reading and need a break. A graphic novel is a wonderful way to provide that break. It is a fun way to get reading done, diversify reading habits and work on reading longer too!

Story telling: The creativity that goes into building stories in this format is simply superb. Artists use so many different visual cues to send subtle messages to the readers. For example: Look at the picture below of Cece finally realizing that something was different. This single page is so powerful in the way it expresses the confusion and fear Cece feels. It is hard to imagine this being in any other format. Matt Phelan, a veteran graphic novel artist and store teller, explains it beautifully with his book “Bluffton”:

Struggling or reluctant readers: Graphic novels are dimply the best way to get reluctant readers excited about reading. It builds reading confidence and kids also end up reading longer!

What are your thoughts around graphic novels? Have you read one recently?


7 comments

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  1. This is great! Thanks for sharing it. It really seems to be the week of the graphic novel post – and I find that so exciting. I also wrote about them this week, and there was a great post on the Children’s Book Academy blog, as well.
    I am loving the high quality, diverse and interesting graphic novels that are coming to the kidlit market these days. My eldest adores Raina Telgemeier’s books, like Smile, Sister, and Drama. My younger kids are going to have so much fun with the Fairy Tale Comics!

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    • reshamad

      That is so true Katy! I think graphic novels cover some serious subjects and can be stimulating fun reads too! The artists are so talented. Have you read Matt Phelan’s Bluffton? That was my turning point in digging for more. Definitely looking out for Raina T’s books. Thanks for stopping by!
      -Reshama

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  2. Thanks for the recommendations I have an 8 year old that would love to read some of these. I have heard so much about El Deafo.

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  3. Ok so we aren’t into them yet, but we will be eventually, so I will have to pin these for future reference. I love the look of Odd Duck and Hereville. Thanks for a great recommendation on the Kid Lit Blog Hop

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  4. These look great! Especially those Fairy Tale Comics. As an educator, I love graphic novels for kids. We use them a lot in the districts I used to teach in. Your final point is key; struggling readers often finally find a way of connecting with literature through graphic novels. Thanks for sharing.

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  5. I agree with your statements about the value of graphic novels. If it gets kids cracking open a book and reading, that is great. Everybody starts somewhere. I was worried my son wouldn’t enjoy reading so I finally caved in and (three years later) let him read the Captain Underpants books (which of course he loved and I deconstructed endlessly!) He is now reading the Harry Potter books (he’s on the fifth) and isn’t remotely interested in the Captain Underpants books. My daughter, on the other hand, is not a fan of graphic novels, although she did enjoy “Smile” and the other books in the series. Thanks for sharing in the Kid Lit Blog Hop.

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  6. Stacie @ BeachBoundBooks

    My children have always enjoyed graphic novels and in my opinion whatever captures a child’s attention and gets them reading is what matters most. My daughter’s school allows them for reading challenges, but only counts half the number of pages read. Loved reading your thoughts!

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