graphic novel

The Faithful Spy

Part graphic novel, but also not really I wasn’t sure how this book would read when I picked it up. Wow, it was so inspiring I couldn’t put it down and closed it with tears in my eyes. I could not wait to recommend it to you.

Bonhoeffer’s story is amazing on its own. He stood up to Hitler when so many Germans did not. John Hendrix tells Bonhoeffer’s story in a fresh way. He uses illustrations and color to tell the story of Hitler’s rise to power in tandem with Bonhoeffer’s story. Sharing so much of the history of the Nazi party and Germany gives readers a wider perspective as they read. Obviously, Hendrix could not include everything, but the parts of the story he did tell were well-chosen and well-told. This book was amazing.

Author Focus: Jennifer L. Holm

I have noticed the covers of Jennifer L. Holm’s numerous books on the shelves of our school and public libraries for years. Last month, I picked one up for the first time. Followed by another, and another until I’d read a good chunk of them. I am now a fan.

If you are looking for quality middle grade books for almost any kind of reader, Jennifer L. Holm might be just the author you are looking for. A few of the categories her books fall into include: historical fiction, science-themed stories, novels starring girls, books starring boys, a pinch of fantasy, humor, and a host of graphic novels that she co-wrote with her brother Matthew Holm.

Plus, her stories are really good!

Many of her novels are based on or inspired by stories of Jennifer’s own family. I learned bits of history that I never knew before, discovered characters I loved, laughed, cried and was thoroughly entertained by the stories that fill up her books.

The following books are excellent middle grade reads (including 3 Newbery Honor books) and I am excited to recommend them to you.

Biographies, the Graphic Novel edition

Readers come in all shapes and sizes, with ALL kinds of different likes and preferences. For kids who connect more with pictures than words, graphic novels can be a great tool to encourage a love of books and stories. 

Biographies can be a harder sub-genre to find within the graphic novel world, but I went on a hunt at my local library to see what I could uncover. I found a few I want to share, and was even able to cajole a few of my kids into reading along. Although, they are all inclined to pick up a graphic novel that is lying around our house without any pushing from me. My boys especially really love them. 

Below is what I found. If you have any recommendations to add, I'd love to hear them in the comments!

Author Focus: Kate DiCamillo

Kate DiCamillo is one of my favorite authors. She is a storyteller extrodinaire. Her characters are rich. Her word choice is perfect. She captures emotion in a way that very few can. I haven’t read all of her books yet, but I have read most and each one is special.

My kids have also connected with her work. In fact, my most reluctant reader would say that two of her books are among his favorites. Her books are some of my favorites to recommend. If you or your young reader are looking for something to read, you can’t go wrong with a Kate DiCamillo book.

Below are some of my favorites. 

A Book List for Dog Lovers who want the Dog to Live On.

There is nothing quite like a good dog story. Dogs are loyal and love unconditionally. They help their owners through tough times. They follow their kids everywhere and love them well. The problem is, so many of these books end with a dead dog. I will freely admit that I love a good cry at the end of a well-told story, but sometimes you just want to read about a dog who survives to love on. You want to close the book with warm fuzzies instead of cold, wet tears.  If you or your child can identify with this sentiment, the following list of dog stories is for you. 

A Wonder-like Book List (AKA Books that Inspire Kindness and Looking Beyond the Outward Appearance)

Have you read Wonder? In my world, the book is showing up everywhere. My book club read it over the summer. Teachers have been reading it to my kids in school. I often see it displayed prominently in book stores and libraries. And while the extra attention might have something to do with the movie (starring Julie Roberts and Owen Wilson) that is set to release into theaters on November 17th, this book is making an impact for a much better reason:  It's a well told story that inspires kindness in it's readers. If you or your kids haven’t read it, grab yourselves a copy and dig in!