Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Graphic Novels that All Kids Love

It's hard to believe that we have already finished our first quarter (and we're on week two of our fall break)! I don't know about you, but I felt like we were always busy, but didn't accomplish everything we needed to. One thing we did do a lot of was reading. My students this year are devouring graphic novels. Not just some of my 5th graders. All. Of. Them.  I'd like to introduce you to the four that are currently being passed around our class - we even started a waiting list in the library for them. Not only did my kids enjoy these, but I did too! These are definitely marketed to girls, but the boys are loving them too (which I think is super!). Three are by Raina Telgmeier, and the fourth, by Jennifer and Matthew Holm, is definitely in a similar style.

Smile is Telgmeier's memoir in graphic novel magnificence. The story accounts her dilemmas - her unfortunate teeth woes plus adolescent drama with friends. A bit of humor mixed with a great lesson about being true to oneself makes this a quick, fun, and memorable read. I loved that I could relate to some of the orthodontic misery, but luckily didn't have the misfortune that Raina experienced.


Sisters is another graphic novel memoir by Telgmeier and this one was my absolute favorite. Raina and her younger sister, like many siblings, struggle to get along. Although my younger sister and I generally got along as we were growing up, this story brought back memories! The story revolves around a family road trip, quite similar to one I experienced the summer before starting high school. Once I finished I had to pass this book along to my little sister.

Telgmeier's Drama is about just what you expect...drama. Teenager in the high school drama club has teenage drama. This one was just OK. The story tackles some young adult issues about dating and that I think would be better suited to more mature students. It's definitely not one I would recommend to all of my 5th graders. The story itself was a bit cliche, but still a good read and a story that I think many teens would appreciate.

The sister-brother duo who wrote/illustrated the Babymouse series published graphic novel Sunny Side Up earlier this year. The story is semi-biographical, following Sunny's summer in the 70s. She was looking forward to have a family trip but is suddenly shipped off to spend the summer with grandpa in his Florida retirement home. There's hints of a family issue which comes to light by the end of the story. Cute, sweet, poignant. 

I am loving that my class has become connected as a community of readers by these books and I'm looking forward to hooking them on more graphic novels this year. I already have kids asking for Raina Telgmeier's Baby-Sitters Club and will need to hunt down some more graphic novels for our classroom library.

What graphic novels have you and your students enjoyed?

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Star graphics by Ashley Hughes

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