June 17, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

On the Radar: Top Picks from the Editors at Junior Library Guild: Graphic Novels and the Common Core

If you’re looking for official justification for the purchase of graphic novels, look no further than the Common Core State Standards. In grades 6 to 12, students will be required to apply the Reading standards to a variety of text types and formats, including graphic novels. Today’s graphic artists and writers provide a plethora of titles for beginning readers to adults. Check out these new titles that will strengthen your collection and thrill your readers.Book cover with erupting volcanoes

GREY-WILBURN, Renee. Volcanoes! Capstone. 2012. ISBN 9781429676069. JLG Level: CK2 : Series Nonfiction: Science K-2 (Grades K-2)

In chapter book format, this volume in Capstone’s “First Graphics” series brings science to our youngest readers. Beginning with an explanation of volcanoes and moving into how scientists study eruptions, readers will learn basic facts in a controlled vocabulary. The text also features nonfiction support including an index, bibliography, and a glossary.

HAYES, Geoffrey. Benny and Penny in Lights Out!  Toon Bks. 2012. ISBN Book cover with mice siblings and flashlight9781935179207. JLG Level: GE : Graphic Novels Elementary (Grades 2-6)

It’s time for bed, but Benny is not ready to go to sleep. His sister, Penny, is rattled by his attempts to stall bedtime. When Benny slips out to look for his pirate hat, Penny tries to be brave and look for him. They have an adventure that is just scary enough for the intended reader.

With additional support material on the publisher website, teachers can easily use their document cameras or interactive whiteboards to share award winning graphic novels for their emerging readers.

Book cover of Hellen keller and Annie Sullivan in a treeLAMBERT, Joseph. Annie Sullivan and the Trials of Helen Keller. Disney/Hyperion. 2012. ISBN 9781423113362. JLG Level: GM : Graphic Novels Middle (Grades 5-8)

Already a Booklist Top 10 Biography Book for Youth 2012, Lambert’s graphic novel format does more than retell an already familiar story. Alternating the past and present, readers learn more about Annie Sullivan’s background. Readers will also learn about a controversial story that Helen wrote. Authorities questioned whether Helen really wrote the story, as it was very similar to a published story. Through this retelling, readers will discover even more about the powerful bond between a teacher and her student.

Book cover of Wrinkle in Time graphic novelL’ENGLE, Madeline. A Wrinkle in Time: The Graphic Novel. Adapted and illustrated by Hope Larson. Farrar/Margaret Ferguson Bks. 2012. ISBN 9780374386153. JLG Level: FM : Fantasy/Science Fiction Middle (Grades 5-8)

For fifty years, readers have worn out copies of Newbery-winning A Wrinkle in Time. Larson’s graphic novel version stays true to the original. Using black and white with blue accents, L’Engle’s voice comes through, so readers will not be disappointed. The tome is nearly 400 pages long, allowing Larson the freedom to use plenty of text, but also giving an opportunity for action to happen in the illustrations. Though readers may want to read the book in one gulp, chapters provide good stopping places. Teachers and librarians may want to use this version as an introduction to the classic and lovers of the classic will need no introduction.

Red Book cover w/ black and white illustrationsNYTRA, David. The Secret of the Stone Frog. Toon Bks. 2012. ISBN 9781935179184. JLG Level: GE : Graphic Novels Elementary (Grades 2-6)

Nytra’s crowquill pen-and-india-ink drawings lend a mysterious tone to this Alice in Wonderland-themed graphic novel for middle elementary grade readers. Leah and Alan wake one morning to find themselves in an enchanted forest. Brother and sister learn to depend on each other when their adventures take them farther and farther from the path that leads to home.

For ideas about how to use these books and links to supportive sites, check out the Junior Library Guild blog, Shelf Life.

Junior Library Guild is a collection development service that helps school and public libraries acquire the best new children’s and young adult books. Season after season, year after year, Junior Library Guild book selections go on to win awards, collect starred or favorable reviews, and earn industry honors. Visit us at www.JuniorLibraryGuild.com.


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Deborah B. Ford About Deborah B. Ford

Deborah is the Director of Library Outreach for Junior Library Guild. She is an award-winning teacher librarian with almost 30 years of experience as a classroom teacher and librarian in K–12 schools.