Monday, November 16, 2020

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? Graphic Novel week! 11.16.2020

This weekly post comes from Jen at Teach Mentor Texts
 and Kellee and Ricki at Unleashing Readers.  
It's a great source to find new books to use with your students.

This week on the blog I will be celebrating Graphic Novels!  Today's IMWAYR post is a roundup of newly published graphic novels I've read!  Check back this week for more graphic novel fun.

Last Week's Adventures

Check out these new animal informational texts for your young readers.

Some much needed sequels have been published for some favorite chapter book series.

Graphic Novels!

Class Act (New Kid, #2)
Class Act
by Jerry Craft
Unless you're hiding under a non-kidlit rock then you know and have already read the 2020 Newbery winning graphic novel New Kid.  I loved reading this book but loved it even more after reading it with kids in our Mock Newbery discussions last year.  I work with 4th grade readers and it was interesting who understood the microaggressions the book explored and who didn't see it at all.
This time we see the story more through Drew's eyes, although Jordan is always around.  If the first book explored microaggressions that marginalized cultures experience in a school environment, then this book explores what it's like to be a Black kid.  There are things that happen to Drew because he is Black.  Some people make assumptions for him, but not for Jordan, who is a little lighter skinned than him.  People think it's ok to touch Drew's hair without permission.  Drew knows he is at a prestigious school and he has to work even harder to be accepted there.  But there are also people in the Black community that assume things about Drew because he is at that school, and that doesn't feel good either.
Both books in the series give people something to think about.  Many people who are white are going to learn something when reading them.  It may make you uncomfortable (usually adults), but it's going to open a new level of understanding for many kids.  It's also going to help other readers feel seen and appreciate their story being in a book.

Twins: A Graphic Novel
written by Varian Johnson
illustrated by Shannon Wright
You probably know author Varian Johnson from his novels The Great Greene Heist and The Parker Inheritance.  This is his first written graphic novel, and he made the transition to the GN world seamlessly!
Twins is about Maureen and Francine who are starting sixth grade and figuring out, on their own time tables, who they are as an individual, instead of a "twin".  Francine is already starting to become her own individual and this is not sitting well with Maureen, who would rather remain a set.  It all comes to head when they both decide (for very different reasons) to run for class president.  
This is a story about siblings, a story about becoming yourself, and a story about trying new things.  I like how Johnson always weaves microaggressions and elections through the story so they are there, but don't take over the story.
This graphic novel is going to be well enjoyed by readers!

Lightfall: The Girl & the Galdurian
Lightfall: The Girl and the Galdurian
by Tim Probert
Woah, I am so excited to have found this new GN and upcoming series!  It is absolutely going to appeal to readers of the Amulet, Zita the Spacegirl, Cleopatra in Space, and 5 Worlds graphic novel series.
Taking place in the world of Irpa, readers meet Bea, a young girl who lives with her grandfather, a pig wizard.  While off on an errand to collect various ingredients for a potion, Bea meets Cad (who happens to save her life from a long fall).  Bea learns that Cad is a Galdurian, a species that is long thought of being extinct, if they even existed at all.  He's on a mission to find the pig wizard.  Upon returning to her house, Bea and Cad find her grandfather is gone but he has left a very cryptic note.  Bea is quite upset because her grandfather tends to be forgetful and she doesn't like that he has adventured off alone.  He's also left her with a special Jar that she is to keep in her possession.  
Of course, Bea and Cad are immediately on a quest to find her grandfather and that's when the adventure begins.
Some interesting character traits play out in this story.  It certainly seems as if the grandfather has some form of dementia.  And Bea definitely suffers from anxiety.  I like that she is a multi-dimensional character.
The cover says "book one" and it ends on a cliffhanger so we know there are more stories coming.  I'm ready for it now!

Measuring Up
Measuring Up
written by Lily LaMotte
illustrated by Ann Xu
Cici has just been uprooted from Taiwan to move to Seattle with her parents who have new jobs in America.  Cici has always grown up with her A-má (grandmother), they share an enjoyment of cooking and it's something special they do together.  Cici has a hard time leaving her behind and adjusting to life in American without her A-má.  Cici gets the idea to fly her over for a surprise for her dad for his birthday.  But first she needs to come up with a way to get the money for a ticket.  That's when she sees a kids cooking contest and the prize is $1000.  Cici enters and learns many lessons about herself, cooking, and friendship along the way.
Cooking and baking shows are still pretty popular with kids right now so I can see readers picking this up based on that alone.  The subjects of immigration and friendships are seen in many books right now and it's great to continue to give readers an understanding through these #ownvoices stories.  I think this will be a popular graphic novel.

Mellybean and the Giant Monster
Mellybean and the Giant Monster
by Mike White
This is going to be such a fun series!  
Melly is a very friendly dog who lives with three cats.  They definitely do not see eye-to-eye on activities to do, and the cats even trick Melly to hide a shoe (inevitably to get her in trouble).  While digging, Melly actually finds a portal to another world.  One where a very mean king is stealing all the gold from everyone and putting them in the dungeons if they can't pay.  Melly also meets a giant monster who is constantly being attacked by the king's knights.  It's with Melly's incessant questioning that we learn Narra, the monster, used to have magical powers but Wilma the Wizard took them away to use them for herself.  Melly and Narra end up meeting three orphan kids who are trying to find their human who was taken away to the dungeons by the king.  The five decide to take on the king and his men and get him to change his mind.  They are able to use the king's weakness, his inability to say no to a contest he thinks he can win (i.e. cheat), to try and win back the gold and release everyone from the dungeon.
This book was full of giggles and heart.  Melly is an adorable character who never falters from being herself and showing being kind is always better than being greedy.
I am so glad this will be a series.  We need more Melly!

History Comics: The Great Chicago Fire: Rising From the Ashes
History Comics: The Great Chicago Fire - Rising From the Ashes
written by Kate Hannigan
illustrated by Alex Graudins
Perfect for I Survived readers who need a visual piece to help the historical fiction part come to life.  Sometimes when reading about history, young readers need some visual supports because it's hard to picture something that has never been seen before.  This series of graphic novels will be a perfect compliment.
In this first book, written by Chicago author Kate Hannigan, we meet siblings J.P. and Franny.  Separated from their family, they make the long trek north with a puppy that has also been separated from its mom, trying to get away from the ever-growing fire.  Rooted in facts and with quotes from primary sources, this fictional story gives the readers a glimpse into what those fateful days were like for Chicagoans.  There is even some backmatter to give additional information - I actually started with the backmatter first and it helped me as I read the story.
I am looking forward to seeing how this new series resonates with young historical fiction readers.

I hope this helped you find a new graphic novel title or two for your readers.  Wildly popular, I know we may need more than one copy of these titles!
Hope to see you later this week for more graphic novel fun!


  1. I've only read Class Act, but will put the others on my list, Michele! Thanks for gathering the graphic novels, always great reads!

  2. I totally agree about Twins - and I like how he also weaved being an ally in seamlessly. I just read Dragon Hoops (which I loved) and Green Lantern Legacy (also loved). I am reading more GN so thank you for adding some to my list.

  3. My students are weirdly particular about graphic novels, and they are so expensive! I invested in the Craft series, Twins, and Measuring Up. Did you see Chef Yasmina and the Potato Panic? That was one that I found oddly appealing. Thanks for a great round up of titles.

  4. Clearly, I need to read more graphic novels! Thanks for this post.

  5. I really enjoyed Class Act. The others are on my list as well. Measuring Up looks like one that my baking-loving daughter would enjoy. Hope you have a great week!

  6. I just gave Mellybean out to a student last week. I'm looking forward to hearing kids' thoughts about it. I think they will adore it.

  7. I just email-subscribed so that I could get all of the graphic novel fun (and all of the other fun in future weeks)! I love graphic novels, and I have Class Act and Measuring Up waiting as probably the next two books I will read after I finish the one I am in right now. Twins sounds excellent as well! Thank you for the wonderful post!

  8. I just finished Class Act last night. Once I got into it I wasn't distracted by the fact that it was an online book. I think I will just refer readers/people to your review here when I tell them about it.
    I'm a round two judge in the graphic novel category for the the Cybils again this year so I am delighted to read about all these. There are so many fabulous titles around to read!

  9. I was pretty impressed to find that my husband ordered Class Act
    by Jerry Craft last May, after he read New Kid to my sons and they loved it. I saw it in our Amazon account and didn't remember having ordered it, but he said he did. Having him order middle grade books (without even mentioning it to me) makes me all sorts of happy! I'm really looking forward to Twins -- loved Johnson's Parker Inheritance! Thanks for all these shares, Michelle. There are some new-to-me titles here and I need to go make sure Measuring Up gets on my list!