Wednesday, August 31, 2022

New graphic novels for middle grade readers - 8.31.22

This past school year, graphic novels have been the most popular and widely read format.  I expect to see that trend continue this year.  Earlier this summer I shared some graphic novels for readers who are just starting their independent journey.  Today are some new graphic novels for middle grade readers.

Just Roll with It
Just Roll With It
by Veronica Agarwal and Lee Durfey-Lavoie
Meet Maggie.  She's heading into middle school and worried about the same kinds of things that most kids are.  It doesn't help that she has two older sisters who, in her eyes, seem to have everything figured out.  To cope with her worries, Maggie's carries a d20 dice (20 sides).  She rolls the dice to help her make decisions.  Anything above 10 is good.  Luckily on her first day of school, Maggie meets Clara who is a friend I wish everyone had.  Clara sees Maggie's anxieties and accepts them and helps Maggie.
With all that is going on in our world, kids today have so much more to worry about and new anxieties that form.  Mental health is an important topic that needs to be addressed and discussed with students.  I appreciated that this graphic novel also shows attending therapy as a way to help cope with these big feelings.  The storyline also features two moms and has a sibling that is in a same-sex relationship.  Both are just parts of the story, yay for including same-sex relationships!

Born to Be Bad (Mischief and Mayhem, #1)
Mischief and Mayhem: Born to be Bad
by Ken Lamug
All Missy (and her cat Gizmo) want is to be included in the Heroes group at Superhero Camp, but she was not born with her powers, unless you call her awesome brain power!  But it's after meeting Melvira, a fellow camper, that they realize that being a hero is not what it's cracked up to be - it's being a villain that puts them in control.  However, Missy and Melvira have different opinions on being bad.  Missy likes to cause trouble as her alter-ego "Mischief".  But Melvira just likes being bad.  But when Melvira goes too far, will Missy step up and actually be a hero?
Book #2 in the series is also available.

The First Cat in Space Ate Pizza
The First Cat in Space Ate Pizza
by Mac Barnett and Shawn Harris
This story was concocted during the pandemic between these two creator-friends.  The plot... the moon is being eaten by rats and it's up to a cat to save the moon.  Cat quickly teams up with a princess and a robot to save the day.  Sound crazy?  It really is.  There are some catchphrases by a captain in the story that are silly and will for sure elicit some giggles.  Otherwise, it's a bit crazy and definitely out of this world!

Borders by Thomas King
story by Thomas King
illustrated by Natasha Donovan
When you hear "border", my thoughts, anyway, go to the US/Mexico border.  Of course, we also have our Northern border with Canada.  And that is where this one takes place.  The narrator is a young boy, who is telling the story of going to visit his sister.  He lives with his mom in Canada.  Through flashbacks, we slowly get the story of how his sister, Laetitia, and his mom would fight and how Laetitia eventually left for Salt Lake City.  Enough time has passed, and his mom wants to go visit her.  However, upon reaching the border, the boy's mother will only give her Native American citizenship, Blackfoot, when the border official asks.  He's looking for an answer of Canadian or American.  However, she holds steadfast to Blackfoot, which is not recognized as an official citizenship.  The problem is, now they cannot move on to the United States, or go back to Canada.  After days of staying in this limbo, the news agencies are alerted of this and come to share their story.
I thought it was an interesting small moments story, as the present day part of the story really is about their time within the borders.  Seeing as I thought it was going to be about the US/Mexico border, it helped me understand that there are border issues in many locations that I'm unaware of.  
Great graphic novel for middle school libraries.

Spy School the Graphic Novel (Spy School Graphic Novels, #1)
Spy School: the Graphic Novel
written by Stuart Gibbs
illustrated by Anjan Sarkar
This will probably be a familiar book for many since the Spy School series (and Gibbs' Fun Jungle and Moon Base Alpha and Charlie Thorne series) are very popular.  I really like the graphic novel version.  The illustrations pull in some of the visuals that can be hard for some readers to picture.  There are parts that don't transition as well as they do in the stories (fairly typical of books that are turned into graphic novels), but it's still relatively smooth.  Looking forward to more in the series being put into this format.

Andy Warner's Oddball Histories: Pests and Pets
Andy Warner's Oddball Histories: Pests and Pets
by Andy Warner
A nonfiction graphic novel for you!  Ever want to know about the history of animals?  Particularly those that are considered pests or even our pets!  This book is divided up into three sections - Creatures We Find Cute (like dogs, cats, rabbits), Creatures We Find Useful (like cows, bees, sheep), and Creatures That Find Us Useful (like raccoons, cockroaches, pigeons).  For each animal, Warner gives us the history of how the animal came about, populated, and eventually found their way to us.  Warner uses nonfiction text features within his graphics for further information.  Each section starts with a layout that has all of the animals covered in that section and what page to find it on.  Then in that animal's section, there are page numbers and headings if you want to go to a specific topic.  There is a box with animal specifics on it.  And usually some frames that highlight some unique information.  Backmatter includes an index, a map of origins, and other info.

written by Christina Diaz Gonzalez
illustrated by Gabriela Epstein
This is a powerful realistic fiction graphic novel.  It's The Breakfast Club for kids.  What happens when you put together a mix of students that seemingly have their language in common?  Well, lots of inaccuracies and assumptions for one.  But that is what happens, a group of students are put together to do some school mandated community service.  The students, who were not friends before this, make assumptions about each other, as do the adults who are in charge.  But slowly this group of kids learn more about each other and how they each feel invisible.  It's through this common bond that they end up reaching out and helping someone else in need.
Told in English and Spanish, this graphic novel will reach across languages to tell a truly unique story.

The Tryout by Christina Soontornvat
The Tryout
written by Christina Soontornvat
illustrated by Joanna Cacao
publishes next week!
Here's another GN that you will want multiple copies of in order to meet your demand!  This one is a memoir from the author about her experience of growing up in a small town in Texas, being one of the only students of color in the school, and her experience of trying out for the middle school cheerleading team.  But it's also about family culture and how that ties into your identity.  And about best friendship and how to keep it going even when your interests change.  And about fitting in and what popularity is like and the impact it makes.  All themes that readers will relate to today!

I have more GNs in my pile.  I'll have another post this fall!