Posted in Graphic Novels, MG Novels, So Many Good Books

Continental Drifter

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday

Continental Drifter (First Second, 2024) by Kathy MacLeod is a graphic novel that pulls on the heartstrings. It’s a very good read.

Eleven-year-old Kathy is torn between two worlds–Bangkok, Thailand where she and her family live, and Maine where the family is going for the summer. (Kathy’s been there three times.) In Thailand, she’s luk khrueng–half child, because her father is American and her mother is Thai. In rural Maine, no one looks like Kathy. She likes American pizza and southeast Asian rambutans, a spiky sweet fruit. Why is her family so different from others. Why is life so confusing? How can she fit in anywhere?

This is Kathy’s first graphic novel. You can read about her here. Make sure you read the Afterward in the book.

Posted in Graphic Novels, Memoir, Nonfiction, So Many Good Books

almost American Girl

almost American Girl (Balzer + Bray, 2020) by Robin Ha is a fascinating graphic memoir of one girl’s life. I learned a lot about Korean culture and had such empathy for Chuna.

Chuna and her mother often travel. This time they’re going to Alabama which Chuna hasn’t even heard of. But it isn’t just a visit as Chuna thinks–they’re going to stay. Trying to fit in with a new family, new school, and new country when she barely speaks English is very tough. One consolation is getting to pick a new name, Robin. After many tears, a comics drawing class makes a huge difference in her life.

Don’t miss the acknowledgements at the end. They are well worth reading, too. I wish this book was required reading for everyone.

Robin Ha is a cartoonist–read more about her here. See her work here.

Posted in Award Winners, Graphic Novels, MG Novels, So Many Good Books

Roller Girl

RollerGirlRoller Girl (Dial Books for Young Readers, 2015) by Victoria Jamieson is such a delightful story of hard work, heart, old and new friends, and roller derby! The drawings are fun and really bring the story to life. If you’ve never read a graphic novel, this is the perfect one to start with. Really!
Twelve-year-old Astrid is at that age where friends are having diverging interests. Girls interested in fashion and the mall think those who are not are babies. Which makes Astrid very unhappy. And then she goes to her first roller derby. Her new hero is now Rainbow Bite. But unfortunately Astrid gets herself in trouble with assumptions and by hiding the truth. Will she make her new dream come true?
Roller Girl was a Newbery honor book in 2016! And it became a bestseller. If you go here, you can learn about the making of the book.
And go here to learn about author/illustrator Victoria Jamieson’s other books.

Posted in Graphic Novels, MG Novels, So Many Good Books

Here Be Monsters

“Imagination is the highest kite that one can fly,” Lauren Bacall once said.  Not only is English author/illustrator Alan Snow flying high in his book Here Be Monsters (Atheneum, 2005) but he’s definitely having fun and giving the reader a good time as well.  The middle grade graphic novel has a whole cast of interesting characters that live in the city of Ratbridge.  We get to meet most of them through a boy named Arthur, who came above ground to get food for himself and his grandfather.  Arthur is captured by Snatcher and the Hunt, while they’re out hunting cheeses.  Yes, you heard right.  Not only will you meet cheeses, but Mr. Nibble, some friendly boxtrolls, a cabbage head or two, some fresh water sea cows, the rabbit women, and the rats and pirates from the Ratbridge Nautical Laundry.

Learn more at http://www.here-be-monsters.com/