I loved Awkward and Brave by Svetlana Chmakova (J GRAPHIC CHMAKOVA) and I can’t wait until the third in the series, Crush, is published in the fall of 2018.
While we wait here are some other middle school graphic novels:
Real Friends by Shannon Hale (J GRAPHIC HALE): When her best friend Adrienne starts hanging out with the most popular girl in class, Shannon questions with whether she and Adrienne will stay friends, and if she is part of the clique.
All’s Faire in Middle School by Victoria Jaimeson (J GRAPHIC JAIMESON): Homeschooled by Renaissance Fair enthusiasts, eleven-year-old Imogene has a hard time fitting in when her wish to enroll in public school is granted.
Image from Yen Press.
If You Liked Wonder by R.J. Palacio… you might also like:
Absolutely Almost by Lisa Graff: (J GRAFF) Ten-year-old Albie has never been the smartest, tallest, best at gym, greatest artist, or most musical in his class, as his parents keep reminding him, but new nanny Calista helps him uncover his strengths and take pride in himself.
Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key by Jack Gantos: (J GANTOS) To the constant disappointment of his mother and teacher, Joey has trouble paying attention or controlling his mood swings when his perscription medicine wears off and he starts acting wired.
Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper: (J DRAPER and YA DRAPER) Considered by many to be mentally retarded, a brilliant, impatient fifth-grader with cerebral palsy discovers a technological device that will allow her to speak for the first time.
Save Me a Seat by Sarah Weeks: (J WEEKS) Ravi has just moved to the United States from India and has always been at the top of his class; Joe has lived in the same town his whole life and has learning problems–but when their lives intersect in the first week of fifth grade they are brought together by a common enemy (the biggest bully in their class) and the need to take control of their lives.
Today I recommend: Thornhill by Pam Smy.
Parallel plot-lines set in different times, one told in text and one in art, inform each other as a young girl unravels the mystery of a ghost next door.
If you like to read horror stories, this one’s for you! Set in different time periods, two girls meet in an abandoned building. One girl’s story is told through diary entries and the other girl’s story through black and white drawings. This is a quick read with a message that will stay with you.
You can find this book in the Juvenile Fiction section at J SMY.
Today I recommend: Brave by Svetlana Chmakova.
In his daydreams, Jensen is the biggest hero that ever was, saving the world and his friends on a daily basis. But his middle school reality is VERY different – math is hard, getting along with friends is hard…Even finding a partner for the class project is a big problem when you always get picked last. And the pressure’s on even more once the school newspaper’s dynamic duo, Jenny and Akilah, draw Jensen into the whirlwind of school news, social experiment projects, and behind-the-scenes club drama. Jensen’s always played the middle school game one level at a time, but suddenly, someone’s cranked up the difficulty setting. Will those daring daydreams of his finally work in his favor, or will he have to find real solutions to his real life problems?
Set in the same school as Chmakova’s Awkward this graphic novel focuses on Jensen whose struggles to get through difficult classes, as well as feelings of being left out and being bullied, are so easy to relate to. This story tackles some tough subjects such as bullying, dress codes, and failing classes with humor that makes the story fly by without treating them too lightly. This is a great option for readers who enjoyed Awkward but is also great as a standalone graphic novel. Read-alikes for this series are: Raina Telgemeier’s Sisters and Shannon Hale’s Real Friends.
You can find this graphic novel in the Juvenile Graphic Novel section at J GRAPHIC CHMAKOVA.
Today we recommend: The Losers Club by Andrew Clements.
Alec, a sixth-grade bookworm always in trouble for reading instead of listening and participating in class, starts a book club, solely to have a place to read, and discovers that real life, although messy, can be as exciting as the stories in his favorite books.
From the author of Frindle and Extra Credit comes this school story that features Alec, an avid reader who often gets in trouble while reading his favorite books while NOT paying attention to his teachers or assignments. When his working parents need him attend the After School program, he plans a way to read uninterrupted by forming an unusual book club. And to avoid unwanted members from joining, he names the club “The Losers Club” to keep other students away. Unfortunately, trouble follows him wherever he goes. Readers will discover many favorite titles introduced in this novel.
You can find this book in the Juvenile Fiction section at J CLEMENTS.
Today I recommend: The Best Man by Richard Peck.
Archer has four important role models in his life–his dad, his grandfather, his uncle Paul, and his favorite teacher, Mr. McLeod. When Uncle Paul and Mr. McLeod get married, Archer’s sixth-grade year becomes one he’ll never forget.
This book is an award winner! It was an American Library Association Notable for Middle Readers 2017, School Library Journal’s Best Books of 2016, and a Booklist Editor’s Choice for Middle Readers 2016. For readers that have enjoyed other works by Richard Peck, this book has the same focus on family and navigating childhood that many of his novels have. You’ll cheer for Archer as he grows up with help from all of his role models. You can find this book in the Juvenile Fiction section at J PECK or as an audiobook in the Juvenile Audiobook section at jCD FIC PECK.
Today I recommend: Real Friends by Shannon Hale.
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.
This is a graphic novel that has really nice artwork with bright colors. If you’re looking for a book about friendship this is a great option. It deals with the difficulties of cliques as well as the difficulties Shannon has with Obsessive compulsive disorder and adjusting to her friend Adrienne moving away. This is a memoir and the author’s note at the end from Shannon Hale really enriches the story. For fans of Raina Telgemeier’s Smile and Cece Bell’s El Deafo this is a good read-alike for those novels! You can find this graphic novel in the Juvenile Graphic Novel section at J GRAPHIC HALE.
Today I recommend: Brave Like My Brother by Marc Tyler Nobleman.
When Charlie’s older brother Joe is called up in 1942, Charlie learns about the tedium and dangers of war through Joe’s letters–and his brother’s bravery in dealing with a spy as D-Day approaches, finally gives Charlie the strength to stand up to the local bully.
This is a really nice historical fiction book that focuses less on the war and more on the relationship between the two brothers. Most of the book is written in the form of letters from Joe to Charlie, and the format makes for an interesting but not too intense tale. Older readers may be more interested in The War that Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley but this is an excellent story for younger readers. This book can be found in the Juvenile Fiction section at J NOBLEMAN.