Fiction Friday: Graphic Novels {Ch. 3}

Welcome to a special Graphic Novel edition of Fiction Friday!


I love graphic novels and so do my students.  If you are not already cultivating a graphic novel section in your classroom library, I highly suggest you start. Graphic novels are loved by all readers, but especially reluctant readers. And the graphic novel selection in 2017 is pretty incredible. These books not only have pictures to help support comprehension, but descriptive vocabulary and stories with a great deal of depth, complexity, and value.

If you are on the fence about beginning your own graphic novel classroom collection or just want to learn more, Literacy for Big Kids has a great blog post filled with resources and book recommendations to get you started.

Since I a moving to 5th grade next year, I focused my summer graphic novel reading on middle grade graphic novels. These are stories about middle school kids and are geared toward the more mature upper elementary reader.

Below are some of my favorite discoveries this summer this summer.

by Svetlana Chmkova 

Awkward is a true middle school story of finding your place, making true friends, and discovering who you are and who you want to be during those turbulent years.

The novel opens with Penelope, or Peppi, tripping on her first day at a new school. Her books fly everywhere and everyone starts laughing except Jamie, who leans down to help her pick up her things. But the kids start chanting, "Nerder Girlfriend" and so in a moment of panic and survival, Peppi pushes Jamie away and yells at him to leave her alone.  Peppi feels terrible about how she treated Jamie, but doesn't know how to apologize.  Things get even more awkward when Jamie ends up being a member of science club, the art club's big rival. As the two clubs battle it out to prove their value to the school, Peppi realizes she may have to break some of her own "rules" to survive in middle school.

I devoured Awkward in one sitting. The characters were so real and the situations so honest that it took me back to my own days in middle school.  I loved that Peppi genuinely struggled with her feelings of guilt for how she treated Jamie. I think lots of kids could relate to that feeling.  Filled with diverse characters and an honest voice, Svetlana Chmakova captures exactly what it's like to constantly second guess yourself and find the courage to follow your heart.

Book Information:
  • Graphic Novel, Realistic Fiction
  • 224 pages
  • Grades 5 and up
by Svetlana Chmakova

Brave is the sequel to Awkward.  Although the story has all the same characters, Jensen is the new protagonist. Like Peppi, Jensen is also a member of the art club, but unlike Peppi, he has a hard time fitting in even among his group. He is often left out and teased even by his friends. There are also two boys who are very unkind to him and pick on him in the stereotypical bully way. Lucky for Jensen, he has the newspaper club to help him find his way.

This is an incredibly important book and should be required reading for every middle grade student.  This novel directly addresses bullying in so many forms.  The emotions behind it will make every reader stop and reflect on their own experiences, actions, and feelings.  You read and think "I've felt that" and "Oh my gosh, I think I've said or done something that."  This book gives readers perspective and insight. It shows readers that words have power and that just because you didn't mean to, doesn't mean you didn't. No matter your age, it reminds you how big and small actions and words impact others. It's a hopeful story that shows the power of kindness and the importance of having courage to stand up for yourself and your friends.  Great read.  Definitely for the more mature elementary reader, but worth it in every way. 

Book Information:
  • Graphic Novel, Realistic Fiction
  • 248 pages
  • Grades 5 and up

Real Friends
by Shannon Hale and LeUyen Pham

Real Friends is an autobiographical graphic novel. Just like CeCe Bell in El Deafo, Shannon Hale retells the events of her childhood with honesty and humor. Shannon and Adrienne have been best friends since kindergarten, but when Adrienne starts hanging out with the popular crowd and "The Group," Shannon feels even more out of place. Desperate to fit in, Shannon does everything to be a part of the clique until one day she realizes it's not worth it. Standing up for herself, she leaves the "The Group" and sets out to find friends where kind is what makes you cool.

Real Friends shows exactly what it is like to be a girl in elementary school.  The cliques, the pressure to fit in, the struggles to make and keep your friends - it's all here. Shannon struggles with navigating friendships at school, understanding her bully of a sister at home, and shows how difficult growing up can and the courage we need to find the friends we deserve.

Book Information:
  • Graphic Novel, Autobiography
  • 224 pages
  • Grades 4 and Up
Now, it's no surprise that these three novels are marketed together on Amazon. They are all stories of the trials and triumphs of middle school. They tackle difficult topics and do so with humor, honesty, and heart. You will love and root for each of these characters.  You will feel their sadness and cherish their victories! Important stories with important messages about kindness, courage, empathy, and the truth about growing up.

Other Graphic Novel My 4th Graders Love:
And... there are SO MANY MORE!

It's amazing the genres you will find in graphic novels. From realistic fiction to non-fiction, there is a book for everyone! So the next time you are looking to expand your library, don't forget about this important genre and start reading and stocking up on graphic novels.

Next up for me is Sunny Side Up, The Storm in the Barn, and Newsprints
Have you read them?

Want to join the fun?? 
Please link up and share one or two or three books you've read.
Link Up "Rules" are very simple.
- You can link up ANYTIME during the week, not just Friday.
-  You can include picture books, chapter books, graphic novels, etc.
- Children's and Young Adult Literature are all fair game
- Please link up with a picture of one of the books you are sharing
- Please don't forget to grab the Fiction Friday button and link back to Classroom Hoopla

Happy Reading!


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