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We have a wide and varied selection of books for children who enjoy graphic novels, comics and cartoons.
May 2022 Non-Fiction Book of the Month | Ending with a call to readers to change the world, this handsomely illustrated book tells the story of the first Greek gods. We see it all from the viewpoint of Gaia, the goddess who created the world as a beautiful, peaceful place only to watch in anguish as her husband and then her children squabble, fight and even infect the mortals with their greed and jealousy. The stories are full of drama - Cronos swallowing his children, the gods of Olympus battling giants - and the book also describes the creation of the Furies and the Fates, giving us a different view of them. Told via a striking graphic novel format, it’s a visual treat while the direct, straight to reader text is very engaging. Much more than an introduction to early Greek myths, it will make readers see the world and their role in it differently.
May 2022 Graphic Novel of the Month | First published in the brilliant Phoenix Comic, Jamie Smart’s stories of Looshkin aka ‘the maddest cat in the world’ are now gathered together in a bumper collection of stories, all full colour comic strips, all outrageously funny. In fact, the book should come with a warning – readers are in danger of laughing themselves into an injury. Looshkin may look like a little blue cat but is in fact a ball of explosive energy and mischief who knows no bounds and is prepared to do absolutely anything! Flood the house? Tick. Drag a canvasser knocking on the door into an impromptu séance? Tick. Invent International Pants Day? Go for it! Each one of the self-contained stories is a work of invention and comic genius, and gloriously silly. Make sure you have these on the shelf next to Jamie Smart’s equally fabulous Bunny Vs Monkey series too.
March 2022 Graphic Novel of the Month | Young readers meet Amelia Earhart in the new book in this lively and inspiring graphic novel series, and what a character she was. If you don’t know much more about her other than the final tragic details – she disappeared over the Pacific Ocean in 1937 attempting to become the first woman to fly around the world – then this short but information-packed biography fills in the rest brilliantly. It quickly paints a picture of a determined, adventure-obsessed young woman who would do whatever it took to fly aeroplanes and whose courage and determination opened up the way for other women fliers to achieve their dreams. While we encounter other people who helped Amelia on her way, including the redoubtable Neta Snook, who taught her to fly (and drive), it’s clear why Amelia became the poster girl for women in aviation and the quote which ends this story of her life, is as inspiring today as it was when she said the words, ‘Adventure is worthwhile in itself.’ There are some great illustrated biographies of famous figures from history being published at the moment, look out for the Little People, Big Dreams series as well and the First Names books.
‘Shirley Chisholm was one of those people who didn’t look left or right – but just looked straight ahead’ said President Obama of the extraordinary woman whose life-story is told in this inspiring, short graphic novel-style book, and readers will understand exactly how accurate his statement is. Growing up in Brooklyn after a childhood in Barbados, Shirley worked hard at school and college, but still found opportunities for her and other Black people were limited. She set out to change things, entering politics and making a difference locally before winning a seat on the New York Assembly in 1964, only the second Black woman ever to do so. She carried on getting things done, breaking rules when necessary, and taking ‘unbought and unbossed’ as her slogan. She became the United States’ first Black congresswoman and then, in 1972, broke the biggest (unspoken) rule of all: she ran for President. Though she didn’t win, Shirley Chisholm changed the way her country looked at women in politics, and her story, as told here, will prove to today’s young readers that it is possible to change things for the better with determination, hard work and by refusing to accept the status quo.
And so for anyone who didn't really know what it means to not be able to breathe, REALLY breathe, for generations, now you know. And those who already do, you'll be nodding yep yep, that is exactly how it is . . . Intimately set within the walls of a family home, this book is an incredible artefact of the historic year we have all lived through. We travel from the depths of despair but not without hope; the mundane details contained within four walls becomes our sanctuary. This is a gift in commemoration of a time and place, of a world wide pandemic, of loss and of the murder of George Floyd. It is a reminder of how, in uncertain times, we can cling to the simple things for respite, for hope. A reminder of how comforting books and artworks are in times of extreme stress.
*Now a live-action Netflix series!* Boy meets boy. Boys become friends. Boys fall in love. Heartstopper is the bestselling LGBTQ+ graphic novel: this new edition - with a cover including Alice Oseman's artwork and photographs showing characters from the Netflix show - also contains exclusive pages from Alice's original TV scripts. Charlie and Nick are at the same school, but they've never met ... until one day when they're made to sit together. They quickly become friends, and soon Charlie is falling hard for Nick, even though he doesn't think he has a chance. But love works in surprising ways, and Nick is more interested in Charlie than either of them realised. By Alice Oseman, winner of the YA Book Prize, Heartstopper is about love, friendship, loyalty and mental illness. It encompasses all the small stories of Nick and Charlie's lives that together make up something larger, which speaks to all of us. 'The queer graphic novel we wished we had at high school.' Gay Times This is the TV tie-in edition of the first volume of Heartstopper.
It's tough fitting in when you're born to stick out! When Baron Ben gives the residents of Little Town an exciting new gadget that lets them explore virtual worlds, they can't wait to try it out! Before long everyone is plugged into their techy treats. Everyone that is, except Stick Boy. Left to his own devices and suspicious of Baron Ben's generous gift, Stick is on the case. And when his investigations lead him to a secret underground lair full of robots preparing to take over the town, it's up to Stick Boy to save the day! An exciting and extremely funny new world for middle grade readers and fans of Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Tom Gates and Timmy Failure with colour illustrations throughout.
March 2022 Book of the Month | In case you haven’t come across them in the Phoenix Comic (in which case you’re seriously missing out) Alex and Freddy are robot brothers – super strong and sentient – being brought up by their inventor ‘mum’ and dad as close to ordinary kids as possible. They go to school, they argue (a lot) but they’re also agents for secret agency R.A.I.D. which, in Freddy’s words, means they have to ‘fight evil robots and stuff’. This new adventure once brings them up against the evillest robot of them all, Wolfram, who has a personal vendetta against our heroes. There’s as much explosive, kapow action as you could hope for, but also lots of ordinary home life/school stuff which is just as enjoyable and just as gripping. Neill Cameron is a brilliant illustrator and a first-rate writer too, don’t miss this series.
February 2022 Graphic Novel of the Month | Part of an exciting new series of Famous Five graphic novels, Five on a Treasure Island gives an ever-green adventure classic a whole new lease of life. Béja and Nataël’s adaptation is smart and pacey, with plenty of appeal for graphic novel aficionados and newbies alike, and appealing Tintin vibes oozing from the illustration style and colour palette. Julian, Dick and Anne are visiting Kirrin Cottage to meet their “wild child” cousin George for the very first time. After being well and truly warned off calling her Georgina, the siblings break through George’s prickly exterior and she takes them to her very own island, pretty much all that remains of her ancestor’s estate — or so it initially seems. After exploring a shipwreck and finding a map of Kirrin Castle, the adventurers set about trying to find ancient buried treasure, but soon realise they’re not alone in this search. With pitch-perfect plotting and tonnes of atmosphere, the witty, modern dialogue sits perfectly alongside the glorious retro illustrations.
Dog Man and Petey face their biggest challenges yet in the tenth Dog Man book from worldwide bestselling author and illustrator Dav Pilkey - now available in paperback. Dog Man is down on his luck, Petey confronts his not so purr-fect past, and Grampa is up to no good. The world is spinning out of control as new villains spill into town. Everything seems dark and full of despair. But hope is not lost. Can the incredible power of love save the day? Dav Pilkey's wildly popular Dog Man series appeals to readers of all ages and explores universally positive themes, including: empathy kindness persistence and the importance of doing good. Full colour pages throughout.
This book was inspired by a teacher who used to play famous speeches to her pupils as she taught them to knit. This is not something I can envisage happening in any schools now – but the inspiration has led to this fascinating book – which has 16 famous speeches (or extracts from those speeches) laid out in such a way as to add huge value to the words of the speeches. Each chapter takes a different speech, explaining the story of who made the speech and why they made it. If the speech was incredibly long (and some were!) the main points are captured here. There are panels explaining the speaker’s message and also how they used the language and their language to emphasize their message. The large glossary at the back helps with any difficult words or concepts. Although the book is arranged in date order due to the clever way signposts are given at the end of each chapter a reader can follow a theme through the book. As an example – starting with the Gettysburg Address (Lincoln) a link to follow the legacy of slavery takes you to Obama’s speech 50 years on from the Selma Marches, then the black history signpost takes you to Mandela’s Statement from the dock and so on backwards and forwards across the whole book. What a genius way of organising a book that is probably better dipped into thematically than read cover to cover! André Ducci’s screen-printed style illustrations make the whole a colourful and inviting book to use. A fascinating book to look at historical themes – highly recommended for class and school libraries, and a useful resource for home learning.
The next amazing book in the bestselling BUNNY VS MONKEY series! Some of the comics in this book were originally published as Bunny vs Monkey: The Floating Cow Catastrophe. There's a new animal joining Bunny and the gang. Ai - a supersonic, super-fast aye-aye! But how will Ai fit in to the Woods? What mischievous schemes is Skunky cooking up? And will Monkey ever stop trying to hit her with a stick?
Dooley is an Irish autistic author and illustrator who writes with authority, empathy and humour about the world as viewed by Frankie. Frankie believes she is an alien; she is the smallest person in her class – and she is accused of talking too much! But really all she is different – neurodivergent, though it is not until nearly the end of the book that Frankie gets an insight into why she views things differently. Frankie’s Dad left when she was a baby and she, with friend Sam, decide to track him down. I found it refreshing that Sam is wheelchair bound but that no reference is made to this. This book so easy to relate to – the world from a child’s point of view is such a confusing place – but this helps us all see how it may be even more confusing if one’s reactions are different from other people. Plus, if we all give time and some empathy, we may be in a better position to befriend and understand. This sounds as if the book is preaching to us – it is most definitely not – it is a delight to read - funny, sympathetic, and ultimately uplifting. Drawn in a very simple two-colour cartoon style it should be easily accessible across a range of readers. Highly recommended for all readers offering perspective on autism whilst maintaining care and affection for the protagonists.
January 2022 Graphic Novel of the Month | This second volume of Lize Meddings’ The Sad Ghost Club series of graphic novels is a beautifully original, beautifully told tale that will speak to readers who feel anxious, invisible or lonely. Its relatable portrayal of friendship offers hope and support, alongside an empathetic steer on how to find a way through social anxieties and insecurities. If that wasn’t enough, it’s completely compelling, and witty with it. “Being around people is so hard” - a sentiment many young readers might identify with through this story’s relatable “sad ghost” characters. While our two ghosts have become comfortable with their friendship, anxiety returns when a fellow lonely soul wants to join them. “Another person is going to be even more exhausting”. “What if this new person hates me?” What if they “forget I even exist”. After grappling with such insecurities, and navigating the complexities of relating to - and communicating with - other people, this glorious graphic novel concludes with a bolstering “I can do this” assertion, and more like-minded ghosts than you can shake a wand at. In a word - wonderful.
The absolutely brilliant, extra special NUMBER ONE bestseller from multi-million copy selling author and illustrator Liz Pichon - now available in an epic paperback edition. A laugh-out-loud, fully illustrated collection of stories starring Tom Gates and his friends, family and foes! Featuring: A delicious chicken pie Getting stuck in a lift with Delia A teacher swap at school Some tiny ants in tiny pants and the adventures of Wafer Boy...
November 2021 Graphic Novel of the Month | Even young readers who haven’t heard of Dolly Parton can’t fail to be excited and inspired by her rags to riches story. In full colour, graphic novel style format, this describes her life from her early days, growing up in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains in Tennessee, in a house with no electricity or running water, to her eventual world superstardom as a singer, film star and literacy campaigner. It gives a real sense of the struggles she had to face, and how she overcame them through talent, hard work and determination – never losing hope or good humour. Parton’s personality shines out as brightly as her costumes, the final pages describing her charity work, and her special ability to connect with people and help them make their dreams come true.
Graphic novels offer action-packed stories, stunning visuals and are fun! Graphic novels might well appeal to reluctant readers, but the assumption that it's not 'real reading' is far from true. Literacy experts, including our own professional librians at LoveReading4Schools, champion the graphic novel as an excellent way improve your child's reading and to encourage a familiarity and love of books. Graphic novels have plenty of text and often complex plots to follow, characters grow and develop - and the artwork is absolutely stunning adding to the allure and entertainment value of a graphic novel.
With a foundation in Japan (manga) and France (bandes dessinées) the genre is incredibly popular, the characters often entwined in gaming and movies to create a wonderfully imaginative fantasy world into which children can immerse themselves.
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