Staff Picks 4 Kids Category: Graphic Novels

All’s Faire in Middle School by Victoria Jamieson

Cover image for All's faire in middle schoolImogen is starting public school for the first time after being homeschooled all her life. She’s worried about fitting in, especially since her family works year round at the local renaissance faire and doesn’t exactly act normal. In an effort to make friends, Imogen ends up becoming a bully herself, but knows it’s wrong and doesn’t fit with her knight training at the Faire. Can she find the courage to be who she really is? Give to fans of Raina Telgemeier, Sunny Side UpEl Deafo, or Roller Girl.

Book reviewed by Keary B., Youth Collection Librarian

Roller Girl  by Victoria Jamieson    

Cover image for Roller girlOne night, Astrid’s mom takes her and her best friend to a roller derby, and this sets off a course of events that changes Astrid’s life.  Astrid becomes obsessed with everything roller derby and decides to join roller derby camp the summer before entering junior high.  This decision leads to some major problems with her best friend.  To add to her troubles, Astrid discovers that skating for the roller derbies is much harder than she ever imagined, and she can’t think of an awesome roller name like the other girls in the league.  How will she ever be as talented as her idol, Rainbow Bite?  Roller Girl is a fun, entertaining graphic novel with strong female role models.  It is a great choice for those who enjoyed reading Smile.

Book reviewed by Caitlin B., Youth Services Assistant

Real Friends by Shannon Hale

Cover image for Real friendsGrowing up can be rough: sometimes your friends move away, sometimes your friends aren’t as kind as they should be, and sometimes you just feel out of place. Shannon Hale writes about how she viewed the world while she was in elementary school. Like most kids, she had trouble with her sibling and friends. As the story goes on, she realizes she may not always realize all the things the people in her life are dealing with. It’s a helpful reminder that growing up isn’t always easy, and sometimes we need to walk in someone else’s shoes to understand them. If you loved Smile or El Deafo, you’ll enjoy this graphic novel too!

Book reviewed by Katharin B., Youth Outreach Liaison

Hilo Book 1: The Boy Who Crashed to Earth by Judd Winick

Cover image for Hilo. Book 1, The boy who crashed to EarthSuper powers? Check! Robots? Check? Aliens? Check! What else could you ask for in a graphic novel! The Hilo series has it all. D.J. and Gina find a mysterious boy, Hilo, who fell from the sky. Together the new friends help Hilo find out who he is and just what he might be capable of. Hilo will have to learn fast though since he wasn’t the only thing to fall to Earth! I loved reading about this modern boy super hero and the friendships he made.  Besides, who wouldn’t want to go to school with a super hero!

Book reviewed by Keary B., Youth Collection Librarian

One Dead Spy: The Life, Times, and Last Words of Nathan Hale, America’s Most Famous Spy by Nathan Hale

Cover image for One dead spy : the life, times, and last words of Nathan Hale, America's most famous spyNathan Hale is an unlucky spy for the American rebels during the American Revolution. On his first mission, he gets caught and sentenced to be hung. As he bravely faces the hangman, he says, “I regret that I have but one life to give for my country,” and then gets swallowed by a giant history book. Literally. When he returns, he has witnessed the history of America. While the hangman is interested in hearing his story, the British soldier is ready to hang him. However, Nathan Hale goes on to tell his story as an American spy during the Revolution through pictures in a graphic novel format.  This book is packed with battles, spy work, and really great characters that lived in real life. Another thing about this book is that it is written by Nathan Hale. Not the Nathan Hale in the story, but a graphic novelist with the same name.

Book reviewed by Laura B. Youth Technology Librarian

The Flying Beaver Brothers and the Evil Penguin Plan by Maxwell Eaton

Cover image for The flying beaver brothers and the evil penguin plan. 1Ace and Bub are the flying beaver brothers and love living on Beaver Island. While Ace prepares for the surfing competition and loves adventure; Bub just wants to take a nap. That changes though when Ace’s surf board is almost stolen by some penguins. While Ace and Bub try to catch the penguins and get Ace’s board back, they end up coming across a large building at the bottom of the ocean. This is unusual, but what makes it even weirder is that is where the penguins are going. When they look in a window, they see a bunch of penguins looking at blueprints. What are these penguins up to? It’s up to Ace and Bub to find out their plan and save Beaver Island all before the surfing competition. Can they do it? Check out this fun graphic novel and if you really like it, follow Ace and Bub on more adventures in the sequels.

Book reviewed by Laura B. Youth Technology Librarian

Comics Squad: Recess! edited by Jennifer L. Holm, Matthew Holm & Jarrett J. Krosoczka

Cover image for Comics Squad : recess!In each of these short comic stories, recess plays a part. This book features stories by some of the best graphic novel writers today: Gene Luen Yang, Dav Pilkey, Raina Telgemeier, and more! You’ll hear stories about familiar characters, like Babymouse, Betty from Lunch Lady, and George and Harold from Captain Underpants. You’ll also meet people like Daryl, who wants to join the Super-Secret Ninja Club but needs to prove his skills first, and Jiminy Sprinkles, a cupcake who faces off against the vitamin-fortified Green Gang.  Along the way you’ll find fun activities like a comic character mashup and instructions for drawing different characters.

Book reviewed by Claire B., Youth Outreach Librarian

Hidden: A Child’s Story of the Holocaust by Loic Dauvillier

Cover image for Hidden : a child's story of the HolocaustElsa can’t sleep and she finds her grandmother sitting up. Grandma Dounia tells the story of her childhood in France. Her life was pretty normal, with a best friend and a boy they both had a crush on. Then, seemingly out of nowhere, people start treating her different because she is Jewish. To survive, Dounia must stay hidden and separated from her parents and everything she knows. This graphic novel tells one story of the Holocaust that took place in Europe in the 1940s. This book gives you an idea of what it was like to live through a sad part of history, but tells the story in a gentle way with a hopeful ending.

Book reviewed by Claire B., Youth Outreach Librarian

Lowriders in Space by Cathy Camper

Cover image for Lowriders in space. Book 1Lupe, Flapjack, and Elirio work in an auto shop, and they love what they do. Lupe is a mechanic, while Flapjack cleans the cars, and Elirio is a detail artist. They also live in outer space, and are an impala, octopus, and mosquito, respectively. They would like to own their own garage, but they don’t even have enough money for a car of their own. That all changes when they find a car competition that promises a carload of cash. The three find a beat up car to fix, but will it win the race? This book was illustrated in black, blue, and red ballpoint pens, because that is what the artist liked to use when he drew as a child. It might inspire you to start drawing your own comics, or learning Spanish, since they use a lot of Spanish slang in the book. This is an enjoyable read for people who like cars, fantasy stories, and wacky adventures.

Book reviewed by Claire B., Youth Outreach Librarian

Lunch Witch by Deb Lucke

Cover image for The lunch witch. #1It’s hard to be a witch in modern times because no one believes in magic anymore.  So what is an out-of-work witch who makes terrible tasting brews to do?  You guessed it–become a lunch lady in the school cafeteria.

Perfect, right?  Except there’s one problem.  A student named Madison guesses she is a witch and insists that Grunhilda give her a spell.  Grunhilda plans on brewing an intelligence potion but the ancestors have other ideas. They secretly change the spell so it turns Madison into a frog.

A frog loose in the school–you can imagine the consequences!  Will Madison be dissected in science class?  Will she be trampled by students in the hallway?  And most importantly, will she stay a frog forever or will Grunhilda be able to turn her back into a girl?

Book reviewed by Mary S., Youth Services Department Head