My 8-year-old has discovered graphic novels. This format makes me feel old – I know my mom read comic books as a kid, but I could not understand the appeal of the graphic novel. I remember a conversation with a school librarian who said she needed to take a class to learn to read them. I took my daughter’s challenge to read the ones she liked best.
Below is a chart my daughter created to replace her assigned reading log homework sheet (note: all her spelling, ideas, and design; the font was a flowery script). I added the column with my mom perspective. Generally, she chose from the school library very age-appropriate books with accessible drawings, upfront messages about friendship and accepting others, and benign language. In the public library, she looked through others that are drawn and designed for an older audience; this seemed very clear to her and she did not seem interested in them. She did read one, not included here, which she rated 4 because she thought it too violent. I read the Dorothy Canfield Fisher nominee Nimona by Noelle Stevenson, and was relieved it was recommended for grades 7 and up. I’m not sure what it says about me, but I definitely enjoyed the graphic novels geared towards younger kids!
|Title||author||Main Character||Favorite Part||Worst Part||Favorite Character||Problem in the Story||Solution in the Story||Rating
1 out of 10
|Mom Rating/ Comments|
|El Deafo||Cece Bell||Cece bell||Hearing her teacher go to the bathroom||When she got sick||El Deafo||Hearing aids||She has fun with them||8||My favorite, encouraged imagination, empathy, and truthfulness – 10|
|Roller girl||Victoria Jamieson||Astrid||The bout||Nicole||Zoey||Astred can’t roller scate||She trys her best||9||Second favorite, I liked the relationships Astrid developed with her team and her relationship with her mom was spectacular – 9.5|
|Zita the space girl||Ben Hatke||Zita the space girl and friends||Her freeing One||When she left Piper behind||Piper||Zita and her friend get pulled through a portal into space and someone talking joseph away||She has friends who help her ascape||10||Super drawings and characters, another great story of girl overcoming extreme odds – 9|
|sisters||Raina Telgemeier||Raina, Amara||Dinosaur valley||The snake in the car||Amara||A snake in the car||They capture the snake||9||Really interesting to talk about since my daughter does not have siblings – 8.5|
|drama||Raina Telgemeier||Callie||The first drama class||The dating parts||Callie||The actor who played maybell woldent come out of the broom closet||Jesse took her place||10||She was too young for this one, but hard to make her believe it when she has already read the others – 7|
|Robot dreams||Sara Varon||Dog, robot||Raccoon remaking robot||Dog leving behind robot||Raccoon||Robot got rusty||Raccoon remade robot||8||We had a debate about this one – I felt angry at the robot for abandoning his friend, she thought the robot did the right thing to obey the law – 5|
|Owly #1||Andy Runton||Owly||Owly making friends||Bird are afraid of Owly||The humming birds and wormy||none||none||8||Unsure why the owl had no friends, I wanted to know why he was sad, but I liked the message of finding friends in unlikely places – 7|
The other series she recommended that I did not read were about Chi, Binky, Jellaby, and Fashion Kitty. CLiF blogger Caitlin Corless did a great summation of why graphic novels appeal to kids and how they can hook reluctant readers. We hope these recommendations can help get parents and kids engaging with this book and story format.