Maybe You Missed…Graphic Novels

In case you missed my post earlier in December, I discussed how in late November, early December, those “Best Lists” roll in, and yes, I admitted to looking at them, but it was more to see what I may have missed rather than see what others have deemed “best.” Since I am always on the lookout for new books to read, enjoy and share with others the past few posts, I have shared books that perhaps you may have missed and can add to your reading stack. I am trying my best to include 12 – one for each month of the year but, admittedly, I am not always successful. 

Today I am sharing graphic novels. I decided to separate the middle-grade graphic novels into genres and then added the young adult section. I provided details about the two Canadian titles that I read. Clearly, I need to read more Canadian graphic novels in 2021!

So here are the graphic novels that Maybe You Missed…

Middle Grade Animals & Fantasy

Kodi by Jared Cullum

Mellybean and the Giant Monster by Mike White

Lightfall: The Girl and the Galdurian by Tim Probert

Snapdragon by Kat Leyh

Bear by Ben Queen, illustrations by Joe Todd-Thanton

Middle Grade: Realistic, Historical and Biographical

Class Act by Jerry Craft

Trespassers by Breena Bard

When Stars are Scattered by Victoria Jamieson and Omar Mohamed

Cub by Cynthia L. Copeland

Measuring Up by Lily LaMotte and Ann Xu

Twins by Varian Johnson and illustrated by Shannon Wright

I Survived The Sinking of the Titanic of 1912 by Lauren Tarshis and art by Haus Studio

Young Adult

As promised, here is some further details on the two Canadian graphic novels that in my opinion should be in every YA classroom and library.

If I Go Missing is the one title not published in 2020 but released in December of 2019. A haunting, powerful book to hiFrom the Roots Up is the second in the Surviving the City series by Tasha Spillet. It begins where Surviving the City left readers off, with Dez grieving over her grandmother, trying to adjust to life in a group home and living life as an Indigenous Two-Spirit person.  From the Roots Up focuses on Dez and her struggles to be accepted. From her best friend Miikwan not fully understanding what Dez is experiencing to Elder Linda still following protocols from when she was young,  readers see the challenges as Dez goes about daily life. Vibrant colours and the inclusion of elder spirits complement the storyline as those connected to Dez work together to make the world more inclusive. Having a Two-Spirit person as the main character and tackling the issues they face and resolving them provides mirrors and windows on a neglected but relevant issue. Everyone needs to see themselves in stories, and From the Roots Up is the first of its kind that I have read to share and inform readers about Two-Spirited people in a caring and informative manner. ghlight again, so more readers become aware of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG). The book contains excerpts from the letter sent by 14-year-old Brianna Jonnie to the Chief of Police in Winnipeg in 2016, who ponders why the police and media are slower to react when Indigenous females go missing versus white individuals. The novel with few lines outlining who she is as an individual and the many societal stereotypes she is not. With shades of black, grey and white with splashes of red, acknowledging the Red Dress movement, this graphic novel adds to the sombre tone of the sparse but powerful text. The ending drives home the inequities Jonnie feels. “If I go missing and the [Winnipeg Police Service] has not changed the behaviours I have brought to your attention, I beg of you, do not treat me as the Indigenous person I am proud to be.” If you are not familiar with this title, I urge you to read it and include it in your classrooms and libraries.

From the Roots Up is the second in the Surviving the City series by Tasha Spillet. It begins where Surviving the City left readers off, with Dez grieving over her grandmother, trying to adjust to life in a group home and living life as an Indigenous Two-Spirit person.  From the Roots Up focuses on Dez and her struggles to be accepted. From her best friend Miikwan not fully understanding what Dez is experiencing to Elder Linda still following protocols from when she was young,  readers see the challenges as Dez goes about daily life. Vibrant colours and the inclusion of elder spirits complement the storyline as those connected to Dez work together to make the world more inclusive. Having a Two-Spirit person as the main character and tackling the issues they face and resolving them provides mirrors and windows on a neglected but relevant issue. Everyone needs to see themselves in stories, and From the Roots Up is the first of its kind that I have read to share and inform readers about Two-Spirited people in a caring and informative manner. Another must have book for classrooms and libraries.

If I Go Missing by Brianna Jonnie with Naheni Shingoose, Art by Nshannacappo

Go With the Flow by Lily Williams and Karen Schneeman

Superman Smashes the Klan by Gene Luen Yang, Art by Gurihiru

Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds, Art by Danica Novgorodoff

Dragon Hoops by Gene Luen Yang

Flamer by Mike Curato

From the Roots Up (Surviving the City Vol.2) by Tasha Spillett and illustrations by Natasha Donovan

Some of you may not agree with the placement of some titles in Young-Adult, feeling that perhaps you would have them as middle-grade or upper middle grade. I placed them here as the libraries I borrowed from or other libraries I checked placed them as young-adult. It would make for some interesting conversations – are there any you remove from the young-adult?

Next Thursday, I look forward to sharing the Middle-Grade books that Maybe You Missed. Til then, happy reading.

Laurie

Maybe You Missed… Chapter Books and Graphic Novels

I am pleased to see more and more graphic novels suitable for those chapter book readers, and today, I plan on giving them a bit of a spotlight! The elusive chapter books are tough ones to find and have specific characteristics that I looked for when purchasing;

  • short chapters and total page length that allows readers to build confidence
  • engaging topics and often a series with predictable plots to again improve a reader’s confidence
  • strong writing that will build vocabulary and prepare readers to transition into longer and more complex novels

So without further ado, here are some chapter books and graphic novels that I enjoyed this year and again would purchase for libraries and classrooms.

Some Canadian Considerations…

Hockey Night in Kenya by Eric Walters & Danson Mutinda, and illustrated by Claudia Dávila

Cooper and the Dragon Lady by Valerie Sherrard and illustrated by David Jardine

Willa the Wisp (Fabled Stories #1) by Jonathon Auxier and illustrated by Olga Demidova

High and Dry by Eric Walters and illustrated by Sabrina Gendron

Other Chapter Books…

Geeger the Robot Goes to School by Jarrett Lerner and illustrated by Serge Seidlitz

Skunk and Badger by Amy Timblerlake and illustrated by Jon Klassen

A Kitten Called Holly (Jasmine Green Rescues #6) by Helen Peters and illustrated by Ellie Snowdon

Graphic Novels for Younger Readers…

Please note Canadian graphic novels are in red text.

Donut Feed the Squirrels by Mika Song

King of the Birds (Arlo & Pips #1) by Elise Gravel

Peter & Ernesto Sloths in the Night by Graham Annable

PeaBee & Jay Stuck Together by Brian “Smitty” Smith

Dewdrop by Katie O’Neill

Fish Feud (Squidding Around #1) by Kevin Sherry

There you have it, my reader’s dozen of chapter books and graphic novels focusing on our younger readers. What titles or series would you add?

Laurie

Maybe You Missed…

Image by CongerDesign

Instead of my usual #IMWAYR post, I thought I would let you know what I will spend a good part of December sharing. I did have a good reading week, and some of those books will undoubtedly show up in later posts. For now, they will remain a mystery.

Late November, early December, those “Best Lists” roll in, and yes, I will admit to looking at them, but it is more to see what I may have missed rather than see what others have deemed “Best.” I am always on the lookout for new books to read, enjoy and share with others and seek out a variety of places to add to my TBR/Options pile. In the next few posts, I will share with you some books that perhaps you may have missed and can add to your reading stack. I hope to include 12 – one for each month of the year, but as of this post, it has been hard to narrow it down.

So here is the list and the dates, and I hope YOU will add books Maybe I Missed to my TBR/Options pile in the comments.

Dec. 8: Nonfiction 

Dec. 10: Picture Books

Dec. 15: Early Chapter Books and Graphic Novels

Dec. 17: Graphic Novels

Dec. 22: Middle Grade

Dec. 29: Young Adult

Happy Reading,

Laurie

#IMWAYR (It’s Monday, What Are You Reading?) – Oct. 19/20

Last Week…

My reading tends to be a bit all over the map, reading older books as well as recently released and ARCs. Since retiring, I have had to change my reading habits as the availability of getting books has changed, and I need to rely on my public library, especially picture books. Like the rest of the world, I now use ebooks far more than I ever did, except for ARCS. I listen to books the most, and this week was no different.

I rediscovered a few titles from one of my favourite authors, Australian John Flanagan, spending time revisiting some old friends, and I am looking forward to a new release the first week in November. If you like well-developed character-driven books, then you too may enjoy the Ranger Apprentice series and its three spin-off series.

Last Week…

  • Burn by Patrick Ness, narrated by Joniece Abbott-Pratt:  Burn took a bit of time to ignite, but once the flame started, it was a great story! Set back in time, the reader sees how parallel worlds, dragons and the launch of Sputnik all intertwine with a variety of characters. Sarah and her father live on a farm who are so poor they resort to hiring a dragon Kazimir to help with the crops. Kazimir is only in this world to witness a prophecy played out. Malcolm is a dragon cult follower and a trained assassin, sent on a mission until he falls in love. Finally, there is the local sheriff, a racist who pulls the trigger to start the dominos to fall and connect them all. I enjoyed this story a great deal but not sure there is a wide audience who will appreciate it. 
  • Red Fox Clan by John Flanagan, narrated by John Keating. In the second book in the Royal Ranger series, Maddie is in her third year of training as an apprentice and plays a significant role in preventing the siege over her grandfather’s throne. The Red Fox Clan wants the law to be changed back so that only men have a claim to the throne. King Duncan changed the law making it possible for female succession, and there is are many who don’t like the idea of a woman having that kind of power. The Clan tricks Maddie’s father Horace to leave the palace leaving it somewhat vulnerable with only Maddie, her mother Cassandra and the ailing King Duncan and a few men to protect the Arulan castle. Twists and turns, readers won’t know the outcome with the cliff hanger ending. I enjoyed spending time with some old friends, and some who are not familiar with the Ranger Apprentice series may want to read at least the first Royal Ranger.
  • Willa the Wisp (Fabled Stories #1) by Jonathon Auxier: Thank you to Edelweiss Plus for an advanced reading copy. Young readers are going to love this series filled with magical creatures, and adults are going to enjoy the rich language and play on words! In this first book, eight-year-old Auggie lives on an island and is in charge of the one-of-a-kind magical beasts, where a new stable appears when there is a new creature. With the arrival of a swamp-like stable but no creature in the stable, Auggie must go into the swamp to find it. He discovers the stable is for Willa, a wisp with magical powers can search for treasure. Some men wish to capture Willa-the-wisp and use her to find treasure. A delightful introduction to what will be a fun series to read independently or as a read-aloud.
  • Class Act (New Kid#2) by Jerry Craft: A stunning sequel to New Kid, this time, Mr. Craft focuses on Jordan and how he is coping with life at RAD in his second year. Chapter headings playing on children lit titles that readers will recognize and smile at and the bonus of the numerous “Easter eggs” to find, this one is just as strong as New Kid.  Mr. Craft has given us another genius graphic novel to help unpack issues of friendship, privledge and racism.  
  • Superman Smashes the Klan by Gene Luen Yang, art by Gurihiru. An adaptation of the 1946 radio act, this story provides an opportunity for readers to learn some history and receive some important messages. The back matter is detailed, connecting Mr. Yang to Superman and his own experiences with racism, along with the history of the Klan, and racism towards Black, Japanese and Chinese. Extremely powerful and engaging, I slowly savoured the many layers of this graphic novel.

Up Next…

I am finishing up some more picture books and will post my favourites next week. I am very excited to get the last portion of Arthur Slade’s Dragon Assasin series – I have been waiting months to finish this exciting series! I tend to be able to listen more than I can read print right now, so any spare time will I will be using to begin These Lucky Stars.

Down the Road…

I cannot remember who introduced me to Jessica Townsend’s Nevermoor series, but I am grateful! I am so excited to listen to Gemma Whelan take me away again and see the latest adventures of Morrigan Crow.

I want to acknowledge the two that started this all. It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? has changed from becoming a meme for adults to the sharing of children’s’ lit. This idea to include #kidlit came from Unleashing Reader blogger Kellee Moye and Jen Vincent, from the Teach Mentor Texts, blog. They thought there should be a children’s lit focus too and hence a version for #kidlit began! So every Monday, join in on the fun by sharing what you just finished reading, currently are reading, or are anticipating reading. Use the hashtag #IMWAYR on your social media sites to share, follow what others are reading and to show support for #kidlit bloggers by reading and commenting.

Hope you have a great week of reading.

Laurie