New and Notable Graphic Novels (Spring 2019)
Annie Sullivan and the Trials of Helen Keller by Joseph Lambert
Excellent! The book shows both Annie and Helen’s strengths and weaknesses as well as really significant character arcs. If you don’t know the story, or even if you do, read this book. You’ll be entranced with how laborious it was to teach Helen and how Annie’s persistence paid off in the end.
Anne Frank’s Diary: The Graphic Adaptation adapted by Ari Folman, illustrated by David Polonsky (ages 12+)
SOOOO good! Initially, I felt skeptical that an adaptation could work but it really does. The diary bits and dialogue are well-balanced into a cohesive story that feels seamless, well-written, and insightful. Anne’s personality really shines through as she sets the historical context and describes her daily life in hiding which isn’t always very exciting but does result in a romance with the boy her age who lives there, too. Also on: Best Picture Book Biographies for Women’s History Month and Best Books About the Holocaust and WWII.
Lupin Leaps In: A Breaking Cat News Adventure by Georgia Dunn
Get the news that matters (to cats) as reported by three cats including one named Lupin. My daughter laughed her way through these funny cartoons. She stopped repeatedly to show me her favorite pages. Because when something is funny, you just want to share it! (Don’t miss the previous book, Breaking Cat News.)
New Kid by Jerry Craft
Jordan’s parents make him go to a private school across town where he’s one of the only kids of color. Besides having the tricky business of navigating friendships, he now must deal with the two separate worlds of his neighborhood and his school along with racism and balancing academics with artwork. This story feels truthful, relatable, and important.
Added to The Best Middle Grade Chapter Books & Graphic Novels of 2019.
Apocalypse Taco by Nathan Hale
Hale hits it out of the park in this quirky, wild sci-fi adventure! Three theater friends take a weird trip to a taco drive-through that turns into oozing mutant creatures taking over the world. They meet a weird-looking creature of many arms and legs named Wendy who tells them that it was her roommate who started the world-ending disaster. Crazy mutant science experiments never looked so good.
Unicorn Bowling: Another Phoebe and Her Unicorn Adventure by Dana Simpson
We adore Phoebe and Her Unicorn books SO MUCH — and recommend it as one of the best, funniest graphic novel series out there. It’s perfect for a variety of ages, too — from age 8 to 12! This 9th book continues to delight and entertain with its sarcastic, silly adventures in friendship.
Junior High Drama by Louise Simonson, illustrated by Sumin Cho
Honestly, the title of girl drama was a huge turnoff for me. Luckily, my 8th-grade daughter read it for me instead. She liked that it had stories of bullying, diabetes, and going to parties, and portrayed different body types.
Great White Shark Adventure by James O. Fraioli, illustrated by Joe St. Pierre
Bella and Marcus travel with Fabien Cousteau and his research team to find and tag a great white shark. The author shares facts about ocean animals and other related topics either using informational insets or using adult characters who explain (pontificate?) to the young friends. The illustrations help the story and information flow well — I suspect most readers will learn a lot from this book.
Lucy Speak Out by Charles M. Schulz
The Peanuts cartoons remain hysterically funny to me but not necessarily to my kids. I’m not sure why. However, I think this is a delightful new collection of comics featuring the big personality of Lucy.
Haphaven by Norm Harper, illustrated by Louie Joyce
Alex is a girl with a lot of superstitions. When she steps on a crack, she actually does break her mother’s back. To save her mom, she enters a world of superstitions where she befriends a Jinx, looks for a rabbit’s foot, and tangles with an evil black cat. I mostly like this story but I’m so anti-superstitions that perhaps my own bias got in the way.