5 Graphic Novels To Check Out This Holiday

Phew! Aren’t we all glad that the examinations are finally over? I hope all the efforts you have put into your revisions have borne fruit. Do not feel blue, however, if your results fail to live up to your expectations. Remember, there is always room for improvement, as long as you keep on trying.

Lil' but Mighty 5 Graphic Novels to Check out this Holiday

Now that the year-end holiday is right round the corner, I am going to suggest to you 5 graphic novels you can check out. I know that some parents are not too keen about their children reading graphic novels because they do not see them as “real” books but let me try to convince you why you should allow your children to read graphic novels: 

  1. Graphic novels are great for reluctant readers. There are some children who struggle to finish traditional texts because they find it hard to focus on so many words on a page. As such, graphic novels may appeal to them because the words are usually accompanied with eye-catching illustrations. More often than not, the illustrations serve to reinforce the words, working together to tell the story and thus helping young readers gain a better understanding of what is happening.

  2. Graphic novels add variety to a reading diet. As adults, think about the different types of reading we do throughout the week - newspapers for current affairs, blog posts for tips, novels for pleasure etc. Similarly, children who are already avid readers need a variety in their reading diet so as not to experience fatigue. Also, some graphic novels are actually adaptations of classics so such readers may pick up a classic on their own.

  3. Graphic novels help with critical reading skills. When reading a graphic novel, a child is actually involved in decoding and comprehending complex literary devices such as metaphor, symbolism and point of view. On top of that, he or she needs to process information differently than how he or she normally would when processing prose. Such visual literacy skills are useful in this current world where students are expected to navigate information presented visually through websites, videos and other types of interactive media.

  4. Graphic novels support vocabulary learning. Many studies have shown that graphic novels tend to utilise rarer or more difficult words, compared to traditional books. As such, there is a greater opportunity for a child who reads graphic novels to be exposed to and acquire new and interesting words. There is also the benefit of having visuals to support this learning because a young reader can use the visual clues to help them deduce the meaning of new words. Take a look at the example below:

I like how the writer, Max Brailler, describe the the villain using vivid verbs and adjectives, such as ‘massive hand’, ‘crushing grip’, ‘his gaping nostrils flair’ and ‘sinister smirk’.  From just a short excerpt, it is clear that reading graphic novels do expose young readers to exciting vocabulary that they can use in their own writing.

When choosing graphic novels, parents should consider what topics might interest their children and whether these are age-appropriate. Below, I have listed 5 novels which I hope you and your children will find worthy enough to add to your shelf. These have been chosen because they have been highly recommended by teachers, students, book critics and parents.

Real Friends (written by Shannon Hale and illustrated by LeUyen Pham)

Real Friends
By Shannon Hale

Based on her own real life experiences, Newbery Honor author Shannon Hale explores the theme of friendship in this short but interesting book. Young readers, especially girls, will have no problems relating to the quirky and friendly main character as she deals with issues such as sibling rivalry and bullying. Praised as being ‘fresh and funny’ in the New York Times Book Review section, this book teaches readers that good friends are people who treat you well and who can see how amazing you are. Watch a trailer of the book when you visit http://readrealfriends.com and check out all the other cool things there (you can even download a worksheet to draw your own comic!).

Summary from back cover:

Shannon and Adrienne have been best friends ever since they were little. But one day, Adrienne starts hanging out with Jen, the most popular girl in class and the leader of a circle of friends called The Group. Everyone in The Group wants to be Jen's #1, and some girls would do anything to stay on top . . . even if it means bullying others. Now every day is like a roller coaster for Shannon. Will she and Adrienne stay friends? Can she stand up for herself? And is she in The Group―or out?

Suitable for: Primary 3 and above

 Pick up this great read from the Book Depository now!

Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made (written and illustrated by Stephan Pastis)

Meet Timmy, an eleven-year-old who owns a detective agency called Total Failure Inc. and who has a polar bear as a pet. Young readers who enjoy Diary of a Wimpy Kid will find its format familiar, with humorous black-and-white illustrations accompanying the text. In this first book of the series, join Timmy as he tries to solve the mystery of his mother’s stolen Segway. Check out the official website (http://www.timmyfailure.com/the-books/) for more information about the books and other fun stuff.

Summary from back cover:

Take Timmy Failure—the clueless, comically self-confident CEO of a budding investigative empire. Add his impressively lazy business partner, a very large polar bear named Total. Of course, his plan does not include the four-foot-tall female whose name shall not be uttered. And it doesn't include Rollo Tookus, who is so obsessed with getting into “Stanfurd” that he can't carry out a no-brain spy mission. Or Molly Moskins, who smells like a tangerine and is crazy about Timmy, making her his obvious (and only) prime suspect.

Suitable for: Primary 3 and above

 Pick up this great read from the Book Depository now!

Ghosts (written and illustrated by Raina Telgemeier)

By Raina Telgemeier

Dedicated to her cousin who passed away of cancer at age thirteen, Eisner award winner author and illustrator Raina Telgemeier deals with the difficult theme of childhood illness in this book about two sisters, Catrina and Maya. The girls and their parents move to a new town, in hopes that the cool sea air will help Maya, who is suffering from an incurable lung disease, breathe better. A compelling and lively tale depicting a heart-warming relationship between the two sisters, readers will find it hard to put this book down.

Summary from back cover: 

Catrina and her family are moving to the coast of Northern California because her little sister, Maya, is sick. Cat isn't happy about leaving her friends for Bahía de la Luna, but Maya has cystic fibrosis and will benefit from the cool, salty air that blows in from the sea. As the girls explore their new home, a neighbour lets them in on a secret: There are ghosts in Bahía de la Luna. Maya is determined to meet one, but Cat wants nothing to do with them. As the time of year when ghosts reunite with their loved ones approaches, Cat must figure out how to put aside her fears for her sister's sake -- and her own.

Suitable for: Primary 4 and above

 Pick up this great read from the Book Depository now!

The Last Kids On Earth (written by Max Brallier and illustrated by Douglas Holgate)

The Last Kids on Earth
By Max Brallier

Similar to Diary of a Wimpy Kid in format, this hilarious and creative tale is a must-read for young readers who enjoy zombies, monsters and fast-paced action. Young readers, especially boys, will find themselves cheering Jack, the geeky but humorous hero, and his equally entertaining sidekicks on with every turn of the page. Douglas Holgate’s black-and-white illustrations not only help bring the characters to live but also add detail and depth to the story. Be prepared to go on a thrilling adventure when you pick this book up! Click on this link (https://youtu.be/u8JNxF7lg4k) to check out a trailer of the book. This book is part of a series and you can go to http://www.maxbrallier.com/series-last-kids-on-earth/ to check out an excerpt from this book and find out more about the other books in the series.

Summary from back cover:

Ever since the monster apocalypse hit town, average thirteen year old Jack Sullivan has been living in his tree house, which he's armed to the teeth with catapults and a moat, not to mention video games and an endless supply of Oreos and Mountain Dew scavenged from abandoned stores. But Jack alone is no match for the hordes of Zombies and Winged Wretches and Vine Thingies, and especially not for the eerily intelligent monster known only as Blarg. So Jack builds a team: his dorky best friend, Quint; the reformed middle school bully, Dirk; Jack's loyal pet monster, Rover; and Jack's crush, June. With their help, Jack is going to slay Blarg, achieve the ultimate Feat of Apocalyptic Success, and be average no longer! Can he do it? 

Suitable for: Primary 4 and above

 Pick up this great read from the Book Depository now!

Wonderstruck (written and illustrated by Brian Selznick)

The story of Ben, a boy living in 1970s Minnesota (a state in USA), is told in prose while the accompanying story of Rose, a girl living in 1920s New Jersey (another American state), is conveyed entirely through beautiful illustrations. Both stories weave back and forth, and finally comes together at the climax of the book. Although their stories are almost fifty years apart, both characters go on almost the same journey and readers will find themselves amazed when all is revealed in the end. Also, look out for the film adaptation of the book coming to cinemas soon. Click on this link (https://youtu.be/nu8X9ALV4fo) to watch a trailer of the film.

Summary from back cover:

Ben and Rose secretly wish their lives were different. Ben longs for the father he has never known. Rose dreams of a mysterious actress whose life she chronicles in a scrapbook. When Ben discovers a puzzling clue in his mother's room and Rose reads an enticing headline in the newspaper, both children set out alone on desperate quests to find what they are missing.

Suitable for: Primary 5 and above

 Pick up this great read from the Book Depository now!


I hope you will consider one of these graphic novels when thinking about what book to sink your teeth into this coming holiday. Do let me know in the comments section of any other books you may like me to feature next time. Go forth and get lost in a good book today!

Ms Nora at Lil' but Mighty

About the Author: Nora is an English Teacher at Lil' but Mighty. She is committed to providing students with a dynamic and nurturing environment in which they can grow and develop. One of her greatest strengths as an educator is instilling a love for the English Language in her students.

If you are thinking of growing your library of children books, you can view our recommended list by our lil' ones and teachers. These are children books we love, and once you have read them, you will fall in love too.