Comic Book Day is this Saturday! Here are some wonderful children’s Graphic Novels to get you into the comic spirit.
Amulet by Kazu Kibuishi
After the tragic death of their father, Emily and Navin move with their mother to the home of their deceased great-grandfather. Before long, a sinister creature lures the kids’ mom through a door in the basement. Emily and Navin follow their mom and end up in another world inhabited by demons, robots, talking animals — and their great-grandfather, Silas! They discover that Silas was once a Stonekeeper and that Emily is the new chosen Stonekeeper — but can she overcome the Stonekeeper’s Curse and save this new world?
Avatar: The Last Airbender by Gene Luen Yang, Faith Hicks, Micheal DiMartino, et al
This graphic novel series is a spin off of the popular Nickelodeon cartoon series by the same name that continues Aang’s story after the Hundred Years War, as well as Zuko, his family, and the fate of the Fire Nation colonies. Zuko becomes friends with Aang and company, searches for his long lost mother, and makes peace with the Earth Nation — and must figure out what will become of Fire Nation people who were raised in colonized Earth Nation lands.
Awkward by Svetlana Chmakova
Penelope “Peppi” Torres makes rules for herself at her new middle school that she has trouble following. Cardinal rule #1: “Don’t get noticed by the mean kids” — that doesn’t happen when she trips in the hallway on her first day! To make matters worse, a sweet, kind boy, Jaime Thompson, helps her pick up her stuff and the mean kids yell, “Nerder founder a new girlfriend!” In a panic, Peppi pushes Jaime and runs away. Will she ever work up the courage to apologize??? Cardinal rule #2: “Seek out groups with similar interests and join them” works out at first when Peppi joins Art Club and makes friends, but Peppi soon learns that when she’s outside of her circle, she’s on her own. Will Peppi be able to make friends with Jaime, and peace between the Art and Science Clubs? Sometimes you have to break the rules and make new ones to survive middle school.
Grumpy Cat by Ben McCool, Christy Webster, Frank Berrios, et al
The internet sensation Grumpy Cat — based on a real cat with a really grumpy face — is now the character of children’s picture books and graphic novels. His cheerful brother Pokey isn’t bothered by Grumpy Cat’s “the glass is empty because I knocked it down” point of view — Pokey can find positivity everywhere, much to the chagrin of Grumpy Cat.
Gudetama by Sanrio
Not all Sanrio characters are cheery! In Japanese, when you’re lazy, you are referred to as gude gude. And that’s where Gudetama gets his name (tama is from “tamago,” egg in Japanese): Gudetama is the lazy egg with eggsistential comments. While not properly a graphic novel, the Livingston Public Library keeps books on this humorous character in the graphic novel section.
Meanwhile by Jason Shiga
This “choose your own adventure” style graphic novel has 3,856 story possibilities! The first choice seems simple enough: “chocolate” or “vanilla”, but depending on your choice you could end up meeting a scientist in a creepy laboratory who gives you the choices between three a mind-reading device, a time-travel machine, or the Killitron 3000. Will you live? Will you be cloned? Will you ride a giant squid? Will you travel to utopia in another dimension? It all depends on the choices you make!
Pashmina by Nidhi Chanani
Priyanka Das and her mother are struggling to understand each other. For one Priyanka doesn’t understand why her mom is so scared by her driving; Priyanka’s mom always told her the story about Shakti becoming the ocean and how one can choose to be calm, so why isn’t her mom channeling that story right now? Priyanka has so many more questions too: Why did her mother abandon her home in India years ago? Why does her mom refuse to let her visit India? Then Priyanka finds a mysterious pashmina tucked away in a forgotten suitcase that transports her to a colorful, welcoming India where all her questions are answered — except the question of who or what is that mysterious ghost following her around.
Understanding China Through Comics by Jing Liu
If your kids enjoy Nathan Hale’s Tales, this is fun, non-fiction historical graphic novel series. As the name implies, this 4-volume series is an introduction of China’s great dynasties, upheavals, population movements, and political alliances and rivalries from ancient times up to the modern age.
Yotsuba&! By Kiyohiko Azuma
From the creator of Azumanga Daoih comes Yotsuba&!, a laugh-out-loud manga series for all ages. Yotsuba&! centers on a bright-eyed five-year-old girl named Yotsuba who is inquisitive, cheerful, naïve, and bounding with energy. Yotsuba brings excitement (and occasionally embarrassment) to the lives of her single father, Koiwai; the neighboring Ayase family; her father’s best friend, Jumbo; and others. The humor and appeal to all ages in this 14-volume series comes from multiple — often conflicting — character perspectives.
-Anna Coats, Head of Youth Services