The Graphic Novels Take a Break…

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I love Babymouse and the Lunch Lady, and Raina Telgemeier’s Sisters and Ghosts, and the Dog Man.  But last week we did this:

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The graphic novels are behind the fancy paper tablecloth because, as we explained to the kids, that section of the library deserves a rest.  Yes, there were lots of sad faces – but only for a few minutes.  And then something miraculous happened.  The students realized there are 8,500 other books in the library! It may have been the first time that some of our 1st, 2nd, and 3rd graders noticed all of the books about animals and outer space and robots.

The popularity of graphic novels for young readers is a good thing.  The kids are “reading” both text and illustration.  The sequencing encourages them to slow down, and of course, reluctant readers are often drawn to the format.  However, there are days I look at all of the other books in the school library and wonder if they feel neglected.

We helped them get over their disorientation by displaying some of the wonderful new books for emerging readers.  If you are looking to vary the diet of your young graphic novel fan, try one of these new books….

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James to the Rescue (The Masterpiece Adventures) by Elisa Broach (an illustrated companion series to the middle grade novel, Masterpiece.  The stars of the series are a boy named James and his best friend, Marvin who is….a beetle!)

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Sam the Man and the Chicken Plan by Frances O’Roark Dowell  (This is one of those practically perfect early chapter books. A seven-year-old boy gets into the business of caring for neighborhood chickens that results in a lovely intergenerational friendship.)

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Skunked! Calpurnia Tate, Girl Vet by Jacqueline Kelly  (Based on the middle grade novel, Calpurnia Tate, these illustrated books follow the adventures of young Calpurnia who lives in Texas in the early 1900s.)

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Book Uncle and Me by Uma Krishnaswami  (I love this book so much.  It’s charming and inspiring, but….it’s a stand-alone early chapter book. Books that are not part of a series can struggle to find their readers.  Books like Krishnaswami’s one need to be put in a young reader’s hands.  It’s also timely. The book’s Indian protagonist, Yasmin, borrows a book from her uncle’s street corner lending library every day, but when the Mayor threatens to close her uncle’s bookstand, Yasmin becomes a community organizer.)

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The Infamous Ratsos by Kara LaReau (lots of action and warmhearted humor – give this one to a reluctant reader and watch them fly through the pages!)

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Juana and Lucas by Juana Medina (Juana, a middle class girl growing up in Bogota, Columbia, loves to draw and is learning English in school. Each chapter of Medina’s book focuses on Juana’s adventures – with her dog, Lucas.  There are very few stories for young readers told from the point of view of a child living in South America.  This one is absolutely essential – especially now.)

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The Cookie Fiasco by Dan Santat (for kids who are just entering the world of chapter books comes a new series created by Mo Willems.  The characters in The Cookie Fiasco have a problem: A hippo, a crocodile, a squirrel with pigtails, and a squirrel wearing glasses all want a cookie.  There are three cookies and four friends.  There must be a solution…)

The experiment will continue.  Tomorrow, in fact, books by Mo Willems will be taking a mental health day.  We love them so much!  I may even take a peek under the cover to get a glimpse of Elephant and Piggie, but it’s time for Strega Nona and the Wild Things and Amos McGee to shine!

If you live nearby, join us to see all of the best children’s books of 2016….

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One of the most colorful surprises of Inly’s new library is the way the afternoon sun bounces off of the stained glass leaves and “dances” on the walls. Last week, the light was shining on Frederick Douglas’s quote: Once you learn to read, you will be forever free.”

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