Today I recommend: The Tea Dragon Society by Katie O’Neill.
After discovering a lost TeaDragon in the marketplace, apprentice blacksmith Greta learns about the dying art form of TeaDragon caretaking from the kind tea shop owners.
First of all, the art in this graphic novel is stunning. It feels a little manga-like as an art style but everything is a soothing pastel color scheme. This is a sweet fantasy story about the importance of patience and friendship. The book also has a lovely cast of characters and tea dragons with an array of different skin colors, orientations, and abilities. The whole graphic novel is whimsical and drama free – a sweet happy story! Also charming is the section at the end that gives tips for raising a tea dragon and information about the different types of tea dragons.
You can find The Tea Dragon Society in the Juvenile Graphic Novel section at J Graphic O’Neill.
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.
Priyanka Das has so many unanswered questions: Why did her mother abandon her home in India years ago? What was it like there? And most importantly, who is her father, and why did her mom leave him behind? But Pri’s mom avoids these questions and the topic of India is permanently closed. For Pri, her mother’s homeland can only exist in her imagination. That is, until she find a mysterious pashmina tucked away in a forgotten suitcase. When she wraps herself in it, she is transported to a place more vivid and colorful than any guidebook or Bollywood film.
This lovely graphic novel follows teenager Priyanka as she deals with her curiosity about her mother’s past in India. The way that Chanani uses color makes for a striking read; the everyday scenes are depicted in sharp black and white with bright colors saved for the fantastical world that only exists when Priyanka puts on the pashmina. Priyanka grows throughout the graphic novel as she discovers more about her mother’s past and about India. This is a good tale of self-discovery.
You can find Pashmina in the Juvenile Graphic Novel section at J GRAPHIC CHANANI.
In the mid-1970s Sunny Lewin is back, star of her personal show, facing the prospect of Middle School, and dealing with the problems of her somewhat dysfunctional family–in particular her older brother, Dale, who has been sent off to a military academy because of his delinquent behavior.
This is the sequel to the graphic novel, Sunny Side Up, and it picks up right where the first one left off. Sunny is now back at home and is still struggling to deal with her brother’s anger, and the stress that her family is under. The artwork while mostly bright and cartoony turns darker when Sunny is facing her fears about her brother. While mostly upbeat the graphic novel does tackle serious ideas such as guilt and anxiety. This is great for fans of Raina Telgemeier and anyone who enjoyed Sunny Side Up.
You can find this graphic novel in the Juvenile Graphic Novel section at J GRAPHIC HOLM.
Looking for something fun to read? Have you heard of Phoebe and Her Unicorn by Dana Simpson?
Phoebe uses her one wish to make the unicorn, Marigold Heavenly Nostrils, her best friend. Marigold Heavenly Nostrils is a majestic unicorn who isn’t used to the problems Phoebe faces, like kids thinking she’s weird, piano lessons, and what it means to be a friend. Somehow a funny awkward girl and a self-absorbed mythical creature are able to find common ground and become friends! If you find yourself laughing as much as I did, you will be happy to know that this is just the first in the Heavenly Nostrils series!
You can find it in our Juvenile Graphic Novels collection under J GRAPHIC SIMPSON.
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.
After shunning Jaime, the school nerd, on her first day at a new middle school, Penelope Torres tries to blend in with her new friends in the art club, until the art club goes to war with the science club, of which Jaime is a member.
The bright colors and the expressive characters make for a playful and fun graphic novel that tackles the stress of starting at a new school, and learning how to get along with people who have different interests. If you love the characters you can check out, Brave which follows the school newspaper club and one of the art students from this graphic novel! This is a great option for readers who have already fallen in love with graphic novels like Raina Telgemeier’s Smile and Shannon Hale’s Real Friends.
As an awesome bonus the artist/author added pages at the end of the book that show how she goes about making the story and pages for the comics. This is a neat look into the process of creating a graphic novel.
You can find this graphic novel in the Juvenile Graphic Novel section at J GRAPHIC CHMAKOVA.
Blue is an orphan who disguises herself as a newsboy. There’s a war going on, and girls are expected to help the struggling economy by selling cookies. But Blue loves living and working at the Bugle, the only paper in town that tells the truth. Blue struggles with her secret, and worries that if her friends and adopted family at the Bugle find out, she’ll lose everything and everyone she cares about.
This is a great graphic novel for anyone who enjoyed Compass South by Hope Larson. The setting is steampunk, which makes for a very interesting read. I really enjoyed the art style which reminded me a little of manga. The ending is a bit of a cliffhanger as it sets the scene for a sequel but this is still an enjoyable story. You can find this graphic novel in the Juvenile Graphic Novel section under J GRAPHIC XU.
We’ve had a lot of requests for Captain Underpants books since the movie was released! The books are as popular as ever and are constantly being borrowed and returned. If you’re looking for something to read while you wait then you should consider some of these similarly wacky, gross, and humorous books:
Franny K. Stein, Mad Scientist series by Jim Benton (Juvenile Fiction J BENTON): The first book is Lunch Walks Among Us.Franny K. Stein is a mad scientist who prefers all things spooky and creepy, but when she has trouble making friends at her new school she experiments with fitting in–which works until a monster erupts from the trashcan.
Lunch Lady and the Cyborg Substitute by Jarrett Krosoczka is the first graphic novel in the Lunch Lady series, and can be found in our Juvenile Graphic Novel section at J GRAPHIC KRO. As if slinging hash in the school cafeteria isn’t exciting enough, Lunch Lady has a secret life as a crime-fighting superhero! And she’s noticed that something about the new substitute teacher, Mr. Pasteur, just doesn’t seem right. But while Lunch Lady is busy investigating Mr. Pasteur, students Hector, Terrence, and Dee are investigating her.
Pilot and Huxley by Dan McGuiness is another humorous graphic novel that can be found in our Juvenile Graphic Novel section at J GRAPHIC MCG. Best buddies Pilot & Huxley get zapped to another dimension by aliens seeking to enslave the planet Earth, which totally ruins their day! That’s when things get weird …
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.