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Fantastic (graphic-novel) voyages

These engaging new graphic-novel adventures draw intermediate and middle-school readers in to fantastical worlds that are variously beautiful and bizarre. The Sand Warrior kicks off the 5 Worlds series, a sweeping, sci-fi/fantasy graphic-novel saga written by Mark Siegel and Alexis Siegel and illustrated by Xanthe Bouma, Matt Rockefeller, and Boya Sun. Three kids from very […]

New books for new readers

From limited word banks to graphic-novel elements, these books have plenty of tools to support emerging readers — and entertaining stories that are worth the effort. For more on easy readers, see the upcoming March/April 2018 Horn Book Magazine article “An Easy Reader Renaissance.” Witty wordplay, snappy dialogue, and rich watercolor and collage illustrations combine […]

Review of Spinning

Spinning by Tillie Walden; illus. by the author High School    First Second/Roaring Brook    396 pp. 9/17    978-1-62672-772-4    $22.99 Paper ed.  978-1-62672-940-7    $17.99 In a graphic memoir, former competitive figure skater and synchronized skater Walden looks back at her twelve years growing up in the world of competitive sports. The shadowy, cool bluish-purples of most of […]

Review of All’s Faire in Middle School

All’s Faire in Middle School by Victoria Jamieson; illus. by the author Intermediate, Middle School    Dial    248 pp. 9/17    978-0-525-42998-2    $20.99 Paper ed.  978-0-525-42999-9    $12.99 Roller Girl (rev. 3/15) meets the Ren Faire in Jamieson’s new read-alike graphic novel. After years of homeschooling, Imogene Vega, a squire-in-training at the Florida Renaissance Faire where her family […]

Review of Louis Undercover

Louis Undercover by Fanny Britt; illus. by Isabelle Arsenault; trans. from the French by Christelle Morelli and Susan Ouriou Middle School    Groundwood    160 pp. 10/17    978-1-55498-859-4    $19.95 e-book ed.  978-1-55498-860-0    $16.95 The collaborators behind Jane, the Fox & Me (rev. 1/14) have crafted another poignant picture book–sized graphic novel, this time about alcoholism, family separation, […]

Graphic-novel friendships and family

These realistic graphic novels (and one graphic memoir) offer a reminder to upper-elementary and middle-school readers that they are not alone when it comes to dealing with school and/or family drama. In her graphic memoir Real Friends, author Shannon Hale recounts her elementary-school years, focusing on the theme of childhood friendships. Young Shannon feels a […]

Review of Yvain: The Knight of the Lion

Yvain: The Knight of the Lion by M. T. Anderson; illus. by Andrea Offermann Middle School, High School    Candlewick    134 pp. 3/17    978-0-7636-5939-4    $19.99    g The storyline of this graphic novel retelling of a twelfth-century epic poem is straightforward enough: after slaying Sir Esclados, Sir Yvain, a young knight-errant from […]

Radio Jones and His Robot Dad app review

Radio Jones and His Robot Dad (Nexus Productions, 2016; iOS only) is an animated graphic novel about a boy whose dad doesn’t have time to play soccer with him, or to do much at all besides sit in his dim office and look miserable. Radio takes matters into his own tech-savvy hands and creates the […]

Graphic novels that grab you

These new graphic novels — two fairy-tale retellings, a mistaken-identity high-seas adventure, and a magical-realism ghost story — will captivate intermediate and middle-school readers. At the start of Mighty Jack, young Jack, while visiting a flea market with his single mother and younger sister Maddy (who does not speak), foolishly trades the family car for […]

Starring…the human body!

A friendly human skeleton hosts Maris Wicks’s “nonfiction revue” Human Body Theater (First Second Books, October 2015), which covers just about everything concerning the human body. From atoms and cells to organs and systems, readers witness how the body works, in all its glory — and how viruses, bacteria, and fungi sometimes work against it. […]