February 21, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

On the Radar: Top Picks from the Editors at Junior Library Guild: Great Graphic Novels to Use in Your Common Core Classroom

With the current focus on Common Core (CC), what readers want could easily be put aside as media specialists fill out purchase orders with books that are on the “need” list. Did you know that graphic novels can be used to address the CC? According to the standards, students must be able to develop visual and auditory literacy. Graphic novels have long been high-interest picks for young readers; now, they’ve become a necessity. Librarians can kill two birds with one stone by acquiring these new graphic novels for a middle grade audience. As a bonus, many of these titles have sequels slated to arrive in the near-future.

CHANTLER, Scott. The Captive Prince: Three Thieves. Bk. 3. Kids Can. 2012. ISBN 9781554537761. JLG Level: GM : Graphic Novels Middle (Grades 5-8)

Dessa’s experiences on the farm and on the circus have given her the skills she needs to rescue a captured prince, who quickly falls in love with her. A group of kidnappers with an agenda of their own, combined with Dessa and her companions’ secrets, offers a gripping tale of action and adventure. The third entry in this captivating series will keep readers salivating until its conclusion in the next book.

COLFER, Eoin. The Supernaturalist: The Graphic Novel. illus. by Giovanni Rigano. Disney/Hyperion. 2012. ISBN 9780786848799. JLG Level: GM : Graphic Novels Middle (Grades 5-8)

Based on the novel of the same name, Colfer teamed up with Andrew Donkin to adapt it for the graphic novel format. With art by Giovanni Rigano and color by Paolo Lamanna, Cosmo’s story is brought to life. After a childhood of being the object of horrible experiments, an accident allows Cosmo to escape a no-sponsor orphanage. He joins ranks with the Supernaturalists who have been saving the world from the attacks by parasites. Nothing, however, is quite what it seems.

Just as riveting as the original, The Supernaturalist is one life-saving mission after another―right up to the surprising conclusion.

GOWNLEY, Jimmy. Her Permanent Record. Vol. 8. (Amelia Rules! Series). S &S. 2012. ISBN 9781416986157. JLG Level: GM : Graphic Novels Middle (Grades 5-8)

Middle school comes with a multitude of problems and emotions, even for a superheroine. Amelia feels pressure from the cheerleading squad and the younger kids who want to be her protégés. And, of course, boys. When her Aunt Tanner disappears. Amelia and Rhonda decide to save the adult who has so often taken care of them.

Gownley has another hit with this title in the series. Not only will readers laugh, but they may need a tissue too.

HALE, Nathan. Hale’s Hazardous Tales: Big Bad Ironclad! Bk. 2. Amulet. 2012. ISBN 9781419703959. JLG Level: GM : Graphic Novels Middle (Grades 5-8)

In the second volume of Hale’s Hazardous Tales, American patriot Nathan Hale stalls his hanging by telling one more history tale. Our hero settles in to tell the tale of the Monitor and the Merrimack. Using humorous interjections, the graphic novel delivers Civil War history with a sense of mystery and action. Back matter includes short biographies of historical figures and notes on the author’s poetic license while writing the story. History delivered with wit and action makes this a wonderful package to use in any classroom.

HATKE, Ben. Legends of Zita the Spacegirl. First Second. 2012. ISBN 9781596438064. JLG Level: GE : Graphic Novels Elementary (Grades 2-6)

With fame comes responsibility. Zita’s past precedes her and fans flock for her autograph―and her help. Her quick decision to trade places with a robot look-alike leaves her stranded on a planet with no way back. Unexpected tickets to a circus introduce readers to a character who will mean more to Zita than entertainment. Zita’s journey to save Pizzicato leads her to face the Star Hearts and put on her hero suit once more. A journey all in itself, readers will cheer once again for this easily-liked team of galactic stars.

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.

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