January 10, 2012

I am sure I am not the only one who has noticed the surge in graphic novels for both kids and adults, right? Growing up, I was never really a fan of comics (except for The Far Side), but I have always loved books with little to no text. Once I had kids that love intensified and together we dove into some real treasures together.  And then Noah started learning to read. For a variety of reasons,  it wasn't an easy process. One of the challenging aspects of becoming a new reader was that Noah strongly disliked all of the early readers. I have to admit that I could understand his perspective. Most of those early reading books really are boring and babyish. I never thought I'd be singing the praises of a superhero in underwear, but when the giggling started and my reluctant reader begged to let him read a little bit longer each night, I had to re-consider my  initial hesitation. His love of the genre has continued to grow and now seems to be spreading to Camille and I think it's a good thing.

At around the same time Noah started to read independently, my own reading took a turn. I can't remember which book started the shift but suddenly young adult lit and graphic novels didn't seem quite as unappealing and actually started to grab my attention. I am sure that part of that shift was a result of that particular stage of motherhood. Camille was still a baby/toddler and Noah was quite the active monkey boy. I was sleep deprived and could barely make it through one page before falling asleep each night. I needed books that were short, captivating, and different. And these were. 

It's interesting to note how many graphic novels/series have recently been turned into movies (Hugo, Tin Tin, Extremely Loud). So far we have only seen Hugo, but we were all very impressed with how well the film was done and loved how it brought the whole movie aspect of the novel to life. Hoping to see the other films soon, too and curious to see how they make the transition from print to film.

So here is my attempt to list some of our favorites. Please, share yours, too. We are always eager for new reading material and I'd especially love to get more recommendations for young adult/adult graphic novels. And before I forget, check out The Graphic Classroom  for even more suggestions.

For Kids

-The Adventures of Polo (series)
- Tin Tin (series)
- Moomin (series)
- Sardine in Outer Space
- Captain Underpants
- Adventures in Cartooning
- The Invention of Hugo Cabret
- Around the World
- Amelia Earhart
- Sidekicks
- Baby Mouse (series)
- The Arrival
- The Crocodile Blues
-Dragon Breath (series)
- The Bone (series)
- Lunch Lady (series)
-  Rabbi Harvey (series)
- Meanwhile

For Young Adults/Adults

- French Milk
- Persepolis
- The Book Thief
- Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
Jessica said...

Funny that you posted this because I am having a heck of a time finding interesting books for Audrey. She is reading great, but I'm with you, those earlier readers are painful! When she has something she likes she does so much better. Any suggestions on where to start?

Corinne said...

I'm a fan of this genre myself. Here are a few young adult/adult ones I've enjoyed:

The Plain Janes by Jim Rugg (and the sequel Janes in Love)

Fahrenheit 451 authorized adaptation by Tim Hamilton

We Are On Our Own by Mariam Katin (adult-themed Holocaust Memoir)

Pride and Prejudice by Nancy Butler

Bake Sale and Robot Dreams by Sara Varon

The Little Prince Graphic Novel by Joann Safr

You've written down all the ones Xavey has loved! This genre REALLY sling-shotted him (along with our beloved Harry Potter :) into a love of reading. At the risk of being obnoxious, I am going to list a whole bunch that he's enjoyed: The Big Nate series, Johnny Boo, Asterix, Buzz Beaker Brainstorm series, Binky the Space Cat, Knights of the Lunch Table, Squish, Ook and Gluck, and the Geronimo Stilton graphic novels :)

Both Sheely and Xavey liked The Stonekeeper and the sequels :)


likeschocolate said...

Loved The Book Thief! I have been reading many of the book along with my children because it is fun to discuss with them about the characters,plots,etc. Just read Miss Penegrines Peculiar Home for Children. This was slightly strange. We have loved the Hunger Game series, but this book is for pre-teen age since it is a little graphic violence wise. The next book I have on my shelf is about a little girl growing up in Communistic China. Can't think of the name right now. Maybe Red Star? Sorry to lazy to get up and get the book. My boys have loved the 39 clue series and Rick Riordans other series that has spinned off of that Son of Neptune. I worry about my daughter being able to find good books. So many of them do not have strong female characters and so many of them revolve around romance. Thank goodness I have a while before she is old enough to read.

Francesca said...

How about Peanuts? We love them!
PS I couldn't get flickr mail to send you a message - I decided not to join the group because I'm swamped right now, and I'm already doing a weekly theme thing with corner view - thanks for thinking of me!

Dim Sum, Bagels, and Crawfish said...

Not sure about Audrey's level or specific interests, but I think "The Adventures of Polo" is a series that both she and Hunter would enjoy. Very vibrant illustrations and easy to follow, but very little text. A series with more text that she might like is "Baby Mouse". And she might also be close to having you read "The Invention of Hugo Cabret" with her. I'll curious to hear what grabs her. Most libraries now have a section for graphic novels/series within the children's sure to preview because occasionally some of the teen stuff gets mixed in and it's got more violent content.

Dim Sum, Bagels, and Crawfish said...

Corinne! THANK YOU for that great list. Didn't have any of those adult ones on my TBR list, but now I do. And you listed some kid ones that we also loved, but I had forgotten about... especially Robot Dreams and Binky the Space Cat. Not familiar with The Stonekeeper or Knights of the Lunch Table, but will be tracking those down soon. Thank you!

Dim Sum, Bagels, and Crawfish said...

Kelleyn, when you get a chance please share the title of that book set in China. My son just mentioned wanting to start the 39 clue series. Glad to hear your boys enjoyed it. I just read Miss Peregrin's last week and was surprised by how much I enjoyed it. I am not usually a fan of strange/creepy stuff but I loved the use of the photos. My husband is gobbling it up right now and loving it. I think it is one of those books that will either click with a reader or not.

Regarding books with strong female characters. In terms of graphic novels, you are right, they do lean a bit more towards the male side, but I have to say that my daughter does enjoy them and it is nice to see my kids giggling together about silly characters or asking questions about more complex story lines. Baby Mouse is a great one for girls (and boys, too), but if I remember correctly Sardine in Outer Space also has girl as the primary focus. To be honest, I work hard to steer my daughter away from the onslaught of mushy, princess, girly books that seem to dominate and entice. I think they have their place, but I also think there is a lot of good, interesting writing out there that isn't even necessarily gender specific. Many of these graphic series are great because they really do engage readers quickly and creatively.

Dim Sum, Bagels, and Crawfish said...

Francesca, you are right! The Peanuts are popular around our house right now, too, along with Garfield, and Calvin & Hobbes.

No worries about the Flickr group, just wanted to give you a heads up. Welcome back to Italy and again congrats to your husband!

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