Graphic novels have been known to be too graphic in the past. I once placed an order of graphics for a middle school (based on great reviews) and found a handful of them to be inappropriate for middle school (and probably high school too). So from then on, I’ve been pretty careful at reviewing the novels before I put them out. This brings me to my topic here. I’ve talked to some elementary librarians who are a reluctant to order many graphic novels because they’re afraid there aren’t any good ones for our younger students. Another issue is whether or not graphic novels are important or useful for our students’ literacy development. I’m going to tackle both of these issues here.
First of all, let me show you some great graphic series that are perfect for Elementary.
Daniel Boom & Loud Boy by DJ Steinberg and Brian Smith
Daniel Boom was born with a really loud voice – even as an infant, he shattered windows out of the hospital when he cried. Now as a student at Stillville Elementary, Daniel has met a group of kids who also have some “special” talents. They soon learn of an evil plot by Kid-Rid Industries that threatens all the kids in the world. They learn that they are really a unique group of super heroes and take action against Old Fogey and his men. Major Fun! 3rd grade and above.
There are 4 books in the series.
Fashion Kitty by Charise Meracle Harper
This is a cute one the girls will love! Kiki Kittie becomes a superhero after her birthday wish. She fights for free fashion and helps others avoid fashion faux pas. Her abilities include: a brain that can mix & match hundreds of outfits in a second, ears that hear the distress call of someone in need of fashion help and a tail that makes everything seem all right with one touch. The illustrations are quirky and fun. Love this! All ages in elementary.
There are 3 so far in this series.
Recon Academy by Chris Everheart and Arcana Studio
Recon Academy is a secret society of kid spies. The series has four main characters that each have their own special skills. This installment, Shadow Cell Scam, is focused on Emmi. A shadow cell group is trying to stop the US Navy from launching a spy satellite. The kids get involved in the case and try to stop the bad guys from winning.
This is a neat little series. The illustrations are vibrant and engaging. The stories are short & sweet and perfect for elementary. In the back of the book is a little profile of the main character in the book and a page that looks like a webpage called Spyspace: a place for international spies. There’s a little chat between the characters and a profile of the case just solved. Also, I love the little glossary of words in the book that kids may not know like decrypt, detection, network and prototype.
This is a neat set of graphic novels that seems appropriate for 4th and 5th and above. There are 8 in the series.
A few more:
Princess Candy by Michael Dahl K+
BabyMouse by Jennifer Holm grade 3+
Billy Blaster by David Orme grade 3+
Pinky & Stinky by James Kochalka 3+
Bone by Jeff Smith 4+
Beet the Vandel by Riku Sanjo 5+
For middle school, every time I turn around another popular novel has turned graphic. Believe me when I tell you, when you get these on the shelf, the kids will love you! Here are a few examples:
Stormbreaker, Redwall, Pendragon, Warriors, Avalon High, Vampire Kisses, Artemis Fowl
As for mangas, if you are just beginning your collection, here are a few popular series to get you started:
Naruto, Beet, Bleach, Fruit Baskets, Hikaru, Prince of Tennis
To realize the relevance of graphic novels in literacy development, here are some great articles and resources:
I have my own reason why I’ll always be grateful to graphic novels. A few years ago, there was a
student that never went into the library. After we created our graphic novel section, we saw this boy every single day, twice on some days. He flew threw that entire collection. Then he began reading them again. Of course, whenever I got a new book order in, I held a few of the graphics so he could read them first. And this wasn’t the only reluctant reader who loved the graphics.
Have fun & Go Graphic!
Library Media Specialist – New Hope Elementary
My Book Blog http://hillbookblog.blogspot.com/