Thursday, July 6, 2017

Graphic Novel Thursday!

There are three great graphic novels (two already published and one due out in September) that you want to make sure are on your TBR pile, if you haven't read them or put them there already.  All by folks we already know and love and all about navigating your way through friendship, family, middle school and the bruises of growing up.  I laughed. I cried. I held my breath. I held my heart.  Emotions I strive for feeling when I pick up a book.

Real Friends by Shannon Hale and LeUyen Pham

Deemed as a memoir with the names changed (Junior Library Guild cataloged it as 921 for me), this is the story of young Shannon's life in both early and upper elementary school.  This one grabbed at my heart strings multiple times.  We all can remember trying to be in "the group."  Shannon's was actually called, "The Group." Best friend, Adrienne, Jen, Jenny, sister "the bear" Wendy, Zara and Veronica, Kayla, Mom...all of the characters play a role in making Shannon strong and standing up for what she really wants but not without pain. "Relatable" as my teenager daughter would say.  Sadly, I bet it's relatable to many of us.  What a great conversation starter with students and families, though.  I have a book group planned for next week with the book.  One rising third grader already read it.  This is what her mom texted me:

I agree.  It is sad, but it's also important.  I'm glad this student told her mom to read it, too.  I think that's what makes this such a great book.  It's accessible to anyone and would be really great to get kids talking with parents, older siblings, teachers, counselors and all other adults. Side note fun for the adults: You'll enjoy the 70s music in the background (Chicago, the Clash, etc).  Also, make sure to have tissues nearby.

Babymouse: Tales from the Locker: Lights, Camera, Middle School! by Jenni Holm and Matt Holm

Babymouse has grown up and yesterday was her book birthday into the world as a middle schooler! Woohoo! A hybrid between a chapter book and graphic novel, Jenni and Matt Holm have crafted another epic non-disaster book that is "le awesome" and if Babymouse has anything to do with it, "le success." Babymouse is just a little older than Shannon in Real Friends and she tells it like it is right at the beginning. "The hardest subject in middle school was friendship." No kidding!

This is the story of Babymouse's attempt to navigate her way through middle school while figuring out what extra curricular club to join.  She decides to direct a film.  Budding film and theatre fans will love this even more!  What better way for Babymouse to become "le famous"?  Of course, lots of lessons are learned on the way about friendship, filmmaking and what it's like to direct your time in middle school to success. ✭💜✭

All's Faire in Middle School by Victoria Jamieson (September 2017)

Huzzah! Squires and Knights in Training take note--This one was gut-wrenching good!  Madam Jamieson has done it again (and honestly, I think this one is better than Roller Girl, if that is even possible!).  Imogene's family works at the Florida Renaissance Faire and since kindergarten she has been homeschooled.  Now she is in sixth grade and is going to school for the first time.  Middle school is tough for anyone--imagine it being your first experience in a school setting.

You know when you were in middle school and you did things just to fit in and afterward you regretted it and just didn't know why you did it? Well, Victoria Jamieson must have spent hours again in a middle school or has some incredible photographic memory because every feeling and action in the book is just perfection. And like Babymouse's return to middle school, this book will appeal to all of the now-in-middle-school original Roller Girl fans (or at least mine since they will all be in 7th grade in September).


The books I related to when I was a tween and teen were written by Judy Blume and Norma Klein. Those women nailed it for me in the 80s when it came to friendship, living with divorce and just growing up.  Now we have a new set up of authors and illustrators that are hitting the nail on the head when it comes to these coming of age issues for a whole new generation of readers. Madam Hale, Madam Pham, Madam Holm, Sir Holm and Madam Jamieson--You are LE group and you ROCK the CASBAH! I love you all and cannot wait for more!

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