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Guest post by Becky Flansburg
My daughter is a reluctant reader.
I can’t begin to tell you how much this makes me scratch my head in dismay. I love books and as a child, I would devour books and beg for more. I read all of the Nancy Drew series, everything from Laura Ingalls Wilder, most of the Hardy Boy mystery books and anything else that would appeal to my middle reader self. Later in my teens, I adored Agatha Christie books and anything by John Dickson Carr. Believe it or not, as a high-schooler, one of my favorite books was Alas Babylon by Pat Frank.
My daughter, however, did not inherit my “I love to read” gene and getting her to read has always been a challenge…until she discovered the magic of graphic novels for middle-grade readers.
In case you are wondering, graphic novels are like comic books and chapter books all rolled into one. These colorful books are a highly visual medium and can put stories with diverse, multicultural elements into a new perspective for young readers.
4 New Graphic Novels for Middle-Grade Readers
The Okay Witch by Emma Steinkellner
THE OKAY WITCH is a hilarious, one-of-a-kind graphic novel debut that follows a half-witch who has just discovered the truth about herself, her family, and her town as she does her best to survive middle school. It’s important to note that, even though graphic novels, even though they are similar to comic books in a chapter book form, are an excellent way to get reluctant readers to be excited about books.
My super-picky-reluctant-reader 13-year-old daughter LOVED The Okay Witch…a “win” in this homeschooling mom’s eyes.
Magic is harder than it looks. Thirteen-year-old Moth Hush loves all things witchy. But she’s about to discover that witches aren’t just the stuff of movies, books, and spooky stories. When some eighth-grade bullies try to ruin her Halloween, something really strange happens. It turns out that Founder’s Bluff, Massachusetts, has a centuries-old history of witch drama. And, surprise: Moth’s family is at the center of it all!
When Moth’s new powers show up, things get totally out-of-control. She meets a talking cat, falls into an enchanted diary, and unlocks a hidden witch world. With that revelation, Moth’s adventure truly begins – an adventure that spans centuries, generations, and even worlds – as she unravels the legacy at the heart of her life.
Moth is spunky, messy, hysterical, relatable, and shows readers that it is okay to be, well, OKAY! I fell in love with her from the first chapter and I know she will resonate with readers when she flies onto bookshelves this fall.
DC SuperHero Girls: Spaced Out by Shea Fontana
Earth’s new Green Lantern, Jessica Cruz, learns that she must report to Oa and introduce herself to the Green Lantern Corps–as if learning new powers and being the new girl at Super Hero High weren’t enough!
Luckily, Supergirl, Star Sapphire, and Big Barda are happy to accompany Jessica on her outer-space journey. But when they arrive on Oa, instead of the Green Lantern Corps they find Kryptonians they thought were long gone–General Zod, Faora, and Non. While the spacefaring girls take on this intergalactic mystery, the earthbound students are faced with their own challenge–pet-sitting Krypto!
DC Super Hero Girls: Spaced Out continues to develop the relationships forged throughout the beloved DC Super Hero Girls series. Written by Shea Fontana and illustrated by Agnes Garbowska!
This story is perfect for ages 6-10.
My super-picky-reluctant-reader 13-year-old daughter thought this one was “babyish,” but still found the story entertaining and read the whole book.
Dear Justice League by Michael Northrop
“Prepare to see superheroes in a whole new way…or, in the case of Aquaman, SMELL then in a whole new way.”
Hello! Justice League here. Ask us anything!
Does Superman ever make mistakes? Does Wonder Woman have to listen to her parents? Does Aquaman smell like fish? The greatest heroes in the DC Comics Universe, the Justice League, answer mail from their biggest fans–kids!
From New York Times bestselling author of TombQuest, Michael Northrop, comes a new middle-grade graphic novel series where iconic heroes are asked questions both big and small and, when they’re not busy saving the world, the Justice League even finds time to respond. Their honest and humorous answers will surprise and delight readers of any age, as it turns out that being a superhero is not too different from being a kid.
Full of feats, follies, and colorful illustrations by Gustavo Duarte, Dear Justice League gives readers the inside scoop into everyday heroics, no matter who wears the cape!
My super-picky-reluctant-reader 13-year-old daughter said she liked this one and I know for a fact she secretly loves anything WonderWoman. Shhhh, don’t let her know I told you 😉
Superman of Smallville by Art Baltazar
Can Superman keep Smallville from going to the dogs?
Acts of awesomeness are happening around town. People are being rescued, runaway tractors stopped, and fires extinguished. This is all in a day’s work for the hero known only as “Superman.” But who is he, really?
Thirteen-year-old Clark Kent knows. He has a super-secret–one his parents are constantly worried will get out. Clark promises to be extra careful, but when random objects begin to take flight and disappear, his parents threaten to ground him. Except he’s innocent! If Superman isn’t responsible…who is? Join Clark in this hilarious adventure as he sniffs out the real culprit.
From New York Times–bestselling and Eisner Award-winning creators Art Baltazar and Franco, comes a fun, whimsical story featuring young Lana Lang, Lex Luthor, and of course Clark Kent.
My super-picky-reluctant-reader 13-year-old daughter may have rolled her eyes so hard she sprained then when she saw this book cover…but she was amused with the mentions of the Chupacabra, Sasquatch, and mystery monsters.
Overall, she deemed The Okay Witch her favorite of the 4 and happily disappeared (with the book) to her room to read it again. #WIN
If you haven’t considered graphic novels for your middle-grade reluctant reader, I would give it a try. It still *counts* as reading and could potentially be the stepping stone to chapter books and novels.
Looking for a beautiful and unconventional diverse picture book for kids? Check out the upcoming, Sissy Goes Tiny!
In Sissy Goes Tiny, eight-year-old Sissy and her parents make the bold choice to downsize their life and embark on a journey of living tiny and doing more with less. At first, Sissy struggles to get used to the idea of living in a tiny house on wheels and traveling around the U.S, but as she and her mommy and daddy learn about downsizing, repurposing, and how “stuff is just stuff,” she soon understands that a life of “living tiny” will be filled with the big adventures and learning.
“I believe that Sissy Goes Tiny is going to open so many minds for people! A tiny house is absolutely not for everyone, but we all like to dream and step into the shoes of another lifestyle in our minds. Learning about this lifestyle I think will help people be more supportive of people who do choose to live unconventionally. Sissy and her family are a great example of that.” Co-author, B.A. Norrgard
Join us in celebrating the idea of Tiny Living and BIG Adventures!