Jack knows his summer vacation is going to be rough. His mom has to work a second job, which means he has to take care of his sister, Maddy. Maddy is autistic and doesn’t speak. Well, Jack thought that Maddy didn’t speak until she asks Jack for a box of seeds a strange man is selling at the flea market. Jack doesn’t have any money, but then the man says he will do a trade. Jack is okay with that, but he didn’t realize the trade was a box of odd seeds for his mom’s car. The next day, they start working on their garden and the plants that start growing are not normal tomatoes or onions. Instead, there are little onion babies walking around and dangerous mud throwing green hand-like plants. One night, a dragon even appears, but he has a dangerous warning for Jack. This warning could mean upsetting Maddy and making his summer worse. This graphic novel is filled with fantastical plants and animals.
Book reviewed by Laura B., Youth Technology Librarian
Imogen 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 Up, El Deafo, or Roller Girl.
One 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.
This title is also a 2018 Bluestem Award Nominee and Winner.
Growing 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 Katie D., Youth Outreach Liaison
Super 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!
This title is also a 2018 Bluestem Award Nominee.