Staff Picks 4 Kids Category: Graphic Novels

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

Lost in NYC: A Subway Adventure by Nadja Spiegelman

Cover image for Lost in NYC : a subway adventurePablo’s family moves around a lot. On his first day at his new school they take a trip to the Empire State Building, and they ride the famous New York subway to get there. Along the way, Pablo and his classmate, Alicia get separated from the rest of the class and have to find the group, using regular trains, express trains, and walking through the streets of New York City. As we go on the journey with them, we learn about how the subway was constructed, and other fun facts about the largest city in the United States. Each page and illustration has so much detail; you can spend plenty of time just looking at the different people and sights. The illustrator also has a fun story about how he researched the subway before he drew the pictures, and includes himself in most of the pages for an extra hide and seek activity while you’re reading. Check this book out for an adventure in another part of the country!

Book reviewed by Claire B., Youth Outreach Librarian

Astronaut Academy: Zero Gravity by Dave Roman

Cover image for Astronaut Academy : zero gravityHakata Soy is an intergalactic hero. However, that all changes when his parents send him to Astronaut Academy, a space school. Now, instead of saving worlds he has to take classes like Science, which by the way is taught by an elf, and anti-gravity gymnastics. With new friends and a new school, will Hakata ever be happy? This goofy graphic novel is fun to read. It’s not only told from Hakata’s point of view, but also his school friends. It is also broken down into small chapters and the illustrations are great. Check out this graphic novel if you are interested in reading about a crazy school with some very weird students.

Book reviewed by Laura B., Youth Technology Librarian

Hilda and the Black Hound by Luke Pearson

Cover image for Hilda and the black houndI read a lot of graphic novels, and the Hilda series is one of my all-time favorites! First of all, just look at her—she’s got blue hair and cute red boots. The setting of each of the Hilda books is sort of a realistic world but with some mythical, magical, and fantastical elements, such as little elves that live in your house (who are mostly invisible to you). Hilda is very curious and a little mischievous; she does not always do what she is told, but she does always have noble and kind intentions. In Hilda and the Black Hound, Hilda is trying to earn patches for the Sparrow Scouts, but gets distracted by a creature she meets in the woods after wandering away from camp. Meanwhile, the whole town is terrified because of multiple sightings of an enormous wolf-like creature.

Book reviewed by Erin E., Youth Services Programming Coordinator

City of light, City of Dark: A Comic Book Novel by Avi

Cover image for City of light, city of dark : a comic book novelHow can a seemingly ordinary subway token hold the power to light a whole city? When Carlos finds this token, he meets several people who want it. Will the city be frozen over forever by the Kurbs, who actually own the city, and not the humans? Carlos and Sarah have to uncover the truth in this intriguing and fascinating comic book novel. Read more to find out.

Book reviewed by Anne W., Youth Services Assistant