Hi everyone, this week’s post will take the form of a booklist, with a slight twist. Since I started delving into the world of graphic novels for younger readers, I found a large number of titles in many different themes and topics. Click below to find out which titles I’ve read and found interesting…
Let’s get started.
I’m pretty sure by now most of my followers would agree that I’m someone who reads fairly diversely. So in order to provide as wide a range of titles for this post I had to push myself to read themes I hadn’t before. I must confess that I deliberately chose these titles because they were themes that I felt are quite relevant and do an awesome job of representing the majority of tweens or teenagers growing up in the world today.
These fascinating graphic novels talk a bit about the autism spectrum. To be honest, after I read these I realised how little I knew about the subject and I actually did some proper research into the subject.
The Aspergers adventure series – starting with The Blue Bottle Mystery, Of mice and aliens, and Lisa and the lacemaker – takes us on a quirky fantasy adventure with main characters Ben and Andy. I quite enjoyed this series and the way Aspergers is explained with the fantasy graphic elements intertwined with funny dialogue. This is a good series to start a conversation with tweens about the subject.
In There’s something different about Dad, we meet a family who talk about the things that make their dad different. This well-crafted and illustrated read had me thinking a lot about some of the people that have crossed my path and realised their behaviour was quite similar. I enjoyed this read as it gave an insight to how young children would interact with a parent on the spectrum and showed their unique perspective.
The next couple of reads feature the fairly serious theme or topic of refugees and displacement. I know that images of tent cities and ill-impoverished people have been filling our media screens for some time now, so when I found these I knew I would be reading some pretty powerful stories. Illegal and When stars are scattered were two such powerful stories. I couldn’t stop crying as I turned their pages. Having drawn inspiration from actual events, the authors did an amazing job of bringing this harsh theme into the narrative that a young child would understand. A small note though: please make sure an adult sits with the young reader for these titles.
If you are after something simpler for younger readers, then Wisp is the perfect one for you. It takes the form of a graphic read with large illustrations that fill the entire page, a bit like a sophisticated picture book instead of a graphic novel. The story is one of holding onto hope despite the situation and is lovingly told in this lyrical read. To say I didn’t cry reading these titles would be a total lie!
The next group of graphics introduce the reader to the growing trend in diverse stories, now in graphic novel format. We’re taken into the life of a young African American boy as he navigates his way through a private school in New kid and Class Act. Through clever images and some powerful dialogue, Jerry Craft gives us a unique viewpoint and it is no wonder that he won the Newbery Medal for his hard work!! I really enjoyed Shirley and Jamila save their summer as it took me to a Canadian summer filled with adventure and mystery. Young Jamila’s family dynamics had me laughing quite a bit.
In Measuring up, I was transported into a Taiwanese family. Cici’s adventures at an American school and the overall story had me thinking quite a bit about the obstacles and challenges faced by young kids from Asian backgrounds. I liked how the author had portrayed Cici as a hardworking girl with a big heart filled with love for her family and friends. Middle grade graphics tend to have some of the best storylines for me!! There are quite a few diverse titles in graphic format out there. The one I enjoyed when researching for this is Almost American Girl by Robin Ha. Written as a graphic memoir of the author’s own move from South Korea to America in the mid-1990’s, this book was quite a moving and poignant read. In these reads one of the elements I enjoyed the most was how the author always included either Taiwanese or Korean terms in English or translated the meaning. Just to let you know, there are so many more out there!!
So the next couple of books are on a subject I think is better suited for older readers, but is something that is becoming more visible now. I say this only because the titles are catalogued for Young Adult readers in my library. Both Either way and Honor Girl talk about homosexuality in both boys and girls and the obstacles they face. One of the reasons I looked into these is because I found them constantly coming up in booklists I was searching in. After reading them, I realised that they were quite well written and despite the subject they were both interesting and informative. Despite the other themes of bullying and harsh language used, these reads will surely not disappoint avid readers.
Well, I hope this post has given some ideas for titles your tween or teen would like to read on the varying themes and topics that are out there now. I know that there are many new publishers who specialize in graphic novel format and are part of something amazing that is happening to literacy around the world. If you know of any other titles that you think I should look at I would love to hear from you.
Stay safe and keep reading