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Collecting Comics: Middle Grade Novels that a Middle Grade Reader Really Loves

I’ve shared with you before the struggles that Thing 2, now almost 11, has had with reading. From being diagnosed with dyslexia to the ways in which school reading assignments have made her hate reading, I’ve been working overtime as both a mom and a librarian to try and ignite that love for reading. Do you know what’s helping? Graphic Novels!! So today while regular C2 blogger Ally Watkins is on sabbatical – it’s summer reading program time! – Thing 2 and I are here to share with you some graphic novels read by and recommended by a middle grade reader.

Now if you know anything about me, I have often proclaimed that graphic novels are my archnemesis. Not because I don’t respect or value them, because I do, but because I don’t personally enjoy them as a reader and have found them over the years to be hard to evaluate and collect. Thankfully, I now have resident comics and graphic novel expert Ally Watkins saved into my phone and I talk to her regularly about GNs. In fact, she kindly gives me a lot of recommendations for my very favorite middle grade graphic novel reader. I have a long list of recommended titles we’re working through.

Here’s a look at some of the GNs Thing 2 is currently reading and loving.

Like most middle grade kids, Thing 2 LOVES Raina Telgemeier. I was very fortunate to attend BEA and got an advanced copy of Guts, which she loved. The Teen also read this book because she grew up reading Telgemeier and she also was a fan. One of the things we really liked about this book is that it talks openly and honestly about having anxiety, which several people in our house struggle with. This ARC has already been read several times by multiple people in our house and is highly recommended.

The Cardboard Kingdom is a super fun book about a group of kids who make a play kingdom out of cardboard. It’s about friendship and creativity. It’s inspiring and joyful. As a librarian, I love that it has built in fun activities that require nothing more than creativity and cardboard, something that libraries have in spades as we get shipments of books in large cardboard boxes. This book is a delight and is another title that she has read multiple times.

YA authors Meg Cabot and Kami Garcia have both joined the DC graphic novel line. Meg Cabot wrote the Black Canary graphic novel that you see pictured above. Kami Garcia wrote the origin story for Raven, from Teen Titans. We watch a lot of comic book movies in our house and we are regular Teen Titans Go watchers so both of these GNs were awesome!

I did a random search for middle grade grade novels and came across The Breakaways which I purchased with almost no information because it’s about a group of friends who play soccer. Thing 2 also plays soccer so I thought tying reading in with something she already loves might help. It came when I was at work and by the time I had gotten home she had already read it. It is a great coming of age novel in which a variety of characters explore things like their sexuality, friendships, and features a wide variety of middle schoolers who are just trying to figure out who they are.

Real Friends by Shannon Hale is another graphic novel that is popular with Thing 2 and all of her friends. The companion novel, Best Friends, comes out in August and we already have our copy pre-ordered.

I have a long list of GNs to try from Ally and they include series like Amulet, Zita the Spacegirl, Cleopatra in Space, Princeless and Roller Girl. Be Prepared is on its way to our house as we speak. Graphic novels are very popular and growing in popularity, especially among middle grade readers. Several publishing houses have started or have announced that they are starting graphic novel imprints this year and next. I’m calling a truce with graphic novels, they are my archnemesis no more!

Remember, reading graphic novels is reading! And I am thankful that they are helping my kid develop a love of reading after so many struggles.

Here are some other great recommended reading lists that we’re currently working our way through

7 Awesome New Middle Grade Graphic Novels 

Get Real with Middle Grade Graphic Novels

Best Middle Grade Graphic Novels of 2018

50 Must Read Graphic Novels

Middle Grade Graphic Novel Publishers

Oni Press

DC Press

Scholastic Graphix

And Here are Some General Resources About the Rising Popularity of Graphic Novels Among Middle Grade Readers

Going Graphic: Why Graphic Novels are the New Frontier in Middle Grade

PW: An Ever Growing Demand for Middle Grade Graphic Novels

Collecting Comics: September 2018 edition with Ally Watkins

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Here are some great September comics your teens and tweens will enjoy!

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SLAM! The Next Jam by Pamela Ribon and illustrated by Marina Julia with Brittany Peer and Veronica Fish (BOOM! Box, September 11). Knockout and Can Can have broken one of the biggest rules in roller derby…not to mention some actual bones. When they get back to practice, can their teammates trust them? Collects all four issues of the limited run series.

Star Wars: A New Hope Graphic Novel Adaptation by Alessandro Ferrari (IDW Publishing, September 18). Faithfully bringing the film to the page, this graphic novel adaptation of Episode IV will thrill both your comics fans and your star wars fans. This volume is the first in a planned trilogy of adaptations of the original Star Wars series.

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The Unwanted: Stories of the Syrian Refugees by Don Brown (HMH Books for Young Readers, September 18). In this full-color, nonfiction graphic work, Brown explores the realities of the Syrian refugee crisis and the life the Syrian people live while living in and fleeing a war zone.

Science Comics: Solar System: Our Place in Space by Rosemary Mosco, illustrated by Jon Chad (First Second, September 18). The wildly popular Science Comics series is back, this time exploring Earth and its neighbors in our solar system. Your nonfiction readers will love the art and the facts!

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Check, Please! #Hockey by Ngozi Ukazu (First Second, September 18). The extraordinarily popular webcomic comes to print!  Eric is a former figure skater who scored a spot on the Samwell University hockey team his freshman year, but nothing could prepare him for the experience he’s about to have–or for Jack, his moody and attractive team captain.

Supernova (Amulet #8) by Kazu Kibuishi (Graphix, September 25). Kabuishi’s thrilling Amulet graphic novel series continues! In this installment, Emily has lost control of her amulet and must find a way to fight back.  Meanwhile, Navin is having his own problems as the Resistance prepares to do battle. Both siblings must fight their hardest to save themselves and planet Alledia.

 

Collecting Comics: July 2018 edition by Ally Watkins

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Check out these comics, out in July, that your teens and tweens will want!

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Cottons: The Secret of the Wind by Jim Pascoe, illustrated by Heidi Arnhold (First Second, July 3). The first in an epic trilogy, volume 1 of Cottons follows the story of Bellebridge, a rabbit who seems ordinary, but who actually has magic powers and can turn ordinary objects into beautiful works of art. But there are those about who want to harness her powers and turn them into a weapon.

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Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur, Volume 5: Fantastic Three by Brandon Montclare, illustrated by Natacha Bustos (July 10, Marvel). When the Silver Surfer comes to Earth with a warning about the future, Lunella Lafayette joins forces with The Human Torch and the Thing to make the Fantastic Three! Can they save the Earth? Collects issues #25-#30 of the comic book series.

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Spider-Man: Miles Morales, Volume 4 by Brian Michael Bendis, illustrated by Oscar Bazaldua (Marvel, July 17). Sandman, Hobgoblin, the Spot, Electro and Bombshell have all united to make Spider-Man’s life a living hell. But it’s not just his life that’s on the chopping block–his friend Lana will be affected by this unholy alliance, too. How will they cope? Collects issues #224-240 of the comic book series.

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Lumberjanes, Volume 9 by Shannon Watters and Kat Leyh, illustrated by Carolyn Nowak (BOOM! Box, July 24). The Yetis are kicked out of their treehouse by the Sasquatches and it’s up to the gang of Roanoke to win the treehouse back…in a roller derby bout!

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Making Friends by Kristen Gudsnuk (Graphix, July 31). Middle school is a lot harder than Danny expected. She’s dealing with a new school, cliques, and she feels totally lost. So when she inherits a magic sketchbook, she decides to draw something great: the perfect best friend. But this may not work out like Danny’s hoping.

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Ms. Marvel, Volume 9: Teenage Wasteland by G. Willow Wilson, illustrated by Nico Leon (Marvel, July 31). Ms. Marvel is nowhere to be found! Where is she? Jersey City is still in need of heroes, and lots of them are stepping up to the plate, including the newest superhero, Red Dagger. But when an old foe comes back, can anyone stop him other than Ms. Marvel herself? Collects issues #25-#30 of the comic book series.

Collecting Comics: May 2018 with Ally Watkins

Check out these May comics and graphic novels that your teens and tweens will be clamoring for!

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Goldie Vance, Volume 4 by Hope Larson and Jackie Ball, illustrated by Elle Power, colors by Sarah Stern (BOOM! Box, May 1). Goldie Vance is back! In Volume 4 of her adventures, sixteen year old ameteur sleuth Goldie finds plenty to keep her detective brain busy at the St. Pascal Rockin’ The Beach Music Festival which is in town! Give this to your young patrons who love historical fiction and/or mysteries.

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All Summer Long by Hope Larson (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux BYR, May 1). A standalone middle grade graphic novel about summer and friendships, All Summer Long is about 13-year-old Bina, who has a long summer ahead of her. Her best friend Austin is off to camp for a month and he’s been acting weird anyway. So Bina bonds with Austin’s older sister, who has similar taste in music. But when Austin returns, growing pains make things even more awkward. Will they reconnect? A touching coming of age story from Goldie Vance’s Hope Larson.

Runaways, Volume 1: Find Your Way Home by Rainbow Rowell, illustrated by Kris Anka (Marvel, May 1). YA superstar Rainbow Rowell takes over the wildly popular Runaways series, bringing back original characters like Nico, Carolina, Molly, Chase, and even Gert. Your comics fans will love this one because of the beloved characters, and your YA fans will be thrilled to get new work from Rowell. Collects issues #1-#6 of the comic book series.

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Angelic Volume 1: Heirs and Graces by Simon Spurrier, illustrated by Caspar Wijngaard (Image Comics, May 15). Centuries after humanity is gone, the earth belongs to genetically modified animals who stick to routines that feel oppressive to one young monkey, Qora, who just wants to fly free. Collects issues #1-#6 of the comic book series.

Misfit City Volume 2 by Kurt Lustgarten and Kirsten “Kiwi” Smith, illustrated by Naomi Franquiz (BOOM! Studios, May 29). Wilder and her friends continue their adventure, hunting for Black Mary’s treasure, and hoping to uncover secrets in their otherwise sleepy hometown. Collects #5-#8 of the comic book series.

BONUS NON-COMIC:

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Supergirl: Curse of the Ancients by Jo Whittemore (Amulet, May 1). This book is the second of a planned middle grade Supergirl trilogy. Kara Danvers is back to save the day!

BONUS COMICS INFORMATION:

The Eisner Award nominations have been released. The Eisner Awards are a major comic award given every year at San Diego Comic-Con. The nominees, which include awards for kids and teens, can be found here: https://www.comic-con.org/awards/2018-eisner-awards-nominations.