This month’s Children’s Book News has a bit of a different format. Rather than focusing on 3 or 4 books, I want to provide a brief overview of one of our children’s sections plus point out a new arrangement in our shelving. All children’s graphic novels have been pulled from the overall collection and now occupy their own section. Juvenile Fiction graphic novels are together as well as those which are classified as Easy or Readers.
In Juvenile Fiction choices range from Jeffrey Brown’s Lucy and Andy Neanderthal series, rollicking adventures set 40,000 years ago, to Raina Telgemeier’s popular graphic novels including her newest, Guts. Then there are the unusual, and possibly overlooked, graphic novels such as The Heartless Troll, inspired by a Norwegian folktale, by Oyvind Torseter and One Trick Pony, Nathan Hale’s imaginative tale that takes place in a futuristic time of robots and aliens.
An increasing number of graphic novels have become available in the Easy and Reader category. Toon Books, “Easy-To-Read Comics”, are crafted for children three years old and up. They come in three levels with Level 3 being geared toward grade 3+ reading level. Look for Reader 2 series, Benny and Penny (Geoffrey Hayes) and Benjamin Bear (Philippe Coudray) as well as Ape and Armadillo Take Over the World (James Sturm), a Reader 3, among other Toon books in our collection. Toon Books “Giggle and Learn” series explores science through art and comedy, such as Snails Are Just My Speed (Kevin McCloskey). Other popular Easy graphic novels include the Narwhal and Jelly books (Ben Clanton) and the CatStronauts series (Drew Brockington), some of which you will find on our shelves.
The term “graphic novel” actually refers to the format, not the genre. Therefore, graphic novels can also be non-fiction or biographical. Drowned City: Hurricane Katrina & New Orleans by Don Brown and Around the World by Matt Phelan are excellent contributions to juvenile non-fiction graphic novels. Phelan is also the author of The Storm in the Barn, an historical novel which tells the story of a boy in the Dust Bowl era. Juvenile biographies which are in a graphic novel format include Anne Frank’s Diary: the graphic adaptation, by Ari Folman and Persepolis : story of a childhood, by Marjane Satrapi. This is a memoir of a girl from ages six to fourteen who has grown up in Tehran during the overthrow of the Shah’s regime and after, appropriate for 12-year-old readers and up.
The graphic novel format continues to become more and more popular. I have touched on only some of those which are part of our collection. I am actively working on ordering additional children’s graphic novels on all levels. I would love more children and parent input as to specific books that you would like to see in our collection. We are here for you!