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My Classroom Library’s Top 10 Graphic Novels

18 Jun

The highest checkout numbers in my classroom library went to graphic novels.  This is certainly due to their popularity. I think it might also be due to the fact that they can be read quickly. That said, I know students who would check one out and read it multiple times.

Here, in ascending order are the most popular graphic novels in my classroom library.

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#10 – El Deafo by Cece Bell

 

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#9 – Brain Camp  by Susan Kim, Laurence Klavan, and Faith Erin Hicks

 

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#8 – Human Body Theater by Maris Wicks

 

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#7 – This One Summer  by Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki

 

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#6 –  Boxers by Gene Luen Yang

 

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#5 –  Level Up by Gene Luen Yang

 

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#4 – Primates by Jim Ottaviani and Maris Wicks

 

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#3- Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier

 

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#2 – The Dumbest Idea Ever by Jimmy Gownley

 

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#1 – Awkward by Svetlana Chmakova

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This week’s book talks 5/30-6/2

2 Jun

Woo hoo! We’ve made it to June.

For someone who is not officially counting down yet, I have checked off a number of items on my “last one of the year” list this week: SBAC testing, annual evaluation meeting, staff meeting….

But the book talk party keeps happening in my room. In spite of a short week and two days of SBAC testing, I managed to talk about 5 books.

Wednesday, I made up for lost time and talked about Maile Meloy’s Apothecary  series.

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The series opens in 1952 with our heroine, Janie moving to London because her parents are under investigation by the House Un-American Activities Committee. There, she meets Benjamin, whose father appears to be an ordinary apothecary. In fact, he possesses a book, The Pharmacopeia,  that both sides of the Cold war would like to have. The final book is set in 1955, in the United States, where they continue to keep the world safe from nuclear disaster.

Thursday was the first normal day since SBAC testing began.

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Knowing kids might be as fatigued as I was, I book talked a classic, Cynthia Rylant’s Every Living Thing, a slim volume of short stories.

Publisher’s Summary: Here are twelve deeply moving short stories from the perceptive pen of Cynthia Rylant. Each captures the moment when someone’s life changes — when an animal causes a human being to see things in a different way, and, perhaps, changes his life.

 

 

 

 

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And that bring us to today’s book, Brave  by Svetlana Chmakova.

Her previous graphic novel, Awkward, is always checked out, rarely making it back onto my shelf.

Author’s Summary: On her first day at her new school, Penelope–Peppi–Torres reminds herself of these basics. But when she trips into a quiet boy in the hall, Jaime Thompson, she’s already broken the first rule, and the mean kids start calling her the “nerder girlfriend.” How does she handle this crisis? By shoving poor Jaime and running away!

Surrounding herself with new friends in the art club, Peppi still can’t help feeling ashamed about the way she treated Jaime. Things are already awkward enough between the two, but to make matters worse, he’s a member of her own club’s archrivals–the science club! And when the two clubs go to war, Peppi realizes that sometimes you have to break the rules to survive middle school!

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The kids will be thrilled to discover that Chamkova has a new graphic novel, Brave, also set in Berrybrook Middle School.

Author’s Summary: In his daydreams, Jensen is the biggest hero that ever was, saving the world and his friends on a daily basis. But his middle school reality is VERY different–math is hard, getting along with friends is hard…Even finding a partner for the class project is a huge problem when you always get picked last. And the pressure’s on even more once the school newspaper’s dynamic duo, Jenny and Akilah, draw Jensen into the whirlwind of school news, social-experiment projects, and behind-the-scenes club drama. Jensen has always played the middle school game one level at a time, but suddenly, someone’s cranked up the difficulty setting. Will those daring daydreams of his finally work in his favor, or will he have to find real solutions to his real-life problems?

We have only three weeks of school left and I keep encouraging my students (and myself) to finish strong.

 

 

This week’s book talks 5/22-25

26 May

We began our Ancient China unit so, I pushed books with some connection to that topic.

I started the week with Grace Lin and ended with Faith Erin Hicks.

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Goodreads Summary: In the Valley of Fruitless Mountain, a young girl named Minli spends her days working hard in the fields and her nights listening to her father spin fantastic tales about the Jade Dragon and the Old Man of the Moon. Minli’s mother, tired of their poor life, chides him for filling her head with nonsense. But Minli believes these enchanting stories and embarks on an extraordinary journey to find the Old Man of the Moon and ask him how her family can change their fortune. She encounters an assorted cast of characters and magical creatures along the way, including a dragon who accompanies her on her quest.

 

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Author’s Website: The moon is missing from the remote Village of Clear Sky, but only a young boy named Rendi seems to notice! Rendi has run away from home and is now working as a chore boy at the village inn. He can’t help but notice the village’s peculiar inhabitants and their problems-where has the innkeeper’s son gone? Why are Master Chao and Widow Yan always arguing? What is the crying sound Rendi keeps hearing? And how can crazy, old Mr. Shan not know if his pet is a toad or a rabbit?

But one day, a mysterious lady arrives at the Inn with the gift of storytelling, and slowly transforms the villagers and Rendi himself. As she tells more stories and the days pass in the Village of Clear Sky, Rendi begins to realize that perhaps it is his own story that holds the answers to all those questions.

Newbery Honor author Grace Lin brings readers another enthralling fantasy featuring her marvelous full-color illustrations. Starry River of the Sky is filled with Chinese folklore, fascinating characters, and exciting new adventures.

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Goodreads Summary: Pinmei’s gentle, loving grandmother always has the most exciting tales for her granddaughter and the other villagers. However, the peace is shattered one night when soldiers of the Emperor arrive and kidnap the storyteller.

Everyone knows that the Emperor wants something called the Luminous Stone That Lights the Night. Determined to have her grandmother returned, Pinmei embarks on a journey to find the Luminous Stone alongside her friend Yishan, a mysterious boy who seems to have his own secrets to hide.

Together, the two must face obstacles usually found only in legends to find the Luminous Stone and save Pinmei’s grandmother–before it’s too late.

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Goodreads Summary: An unlikely friendship forms between Nameless City native Rat, and Kai, whose country has recently conquered her city.  The two of them must find common ground between their cultures and foil a sinister conspiracy.  Hicks has created a beautiful and intricate world inspired by Central Asia and the Silk Road in which the besieged inhabitants of an ancient city are desperate to learn the secrets of the perished civilization which carved the city out of living rock.

 

 

 

 

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Goodreads Summary:Kaidu and Rat have only just recovered from the assassination attempt on the General of All Blades when more chaos breaks loose in the Nameless City: deep conflicts within the Dao nation are making it impossible to find a political solution for the disputed territory of the City itself.

To complicate things further, Kaidu is fairly certain he’s stumbled on a formula for the lost weapon of the mysterious founders of the City. . . . But sharing it with the Dao military would be a complete betrayal of his friendship with Rat. Can Kai find the right solution before the Dao find themselves at war?

No time like the present

8 May

I like the idea of time travel, but the practicalities are difficult: the money, the clothes, the language… So, I prefer my time travel in books and on screens. I am much braver that way.

Matthew Loux has published the first book in a new graphic series, The Time Museum.

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Publisher’s Summary: From dinosaurs to the burning of the Library of Alexandra—this thrilling, visually dazzling new series from Matthew Loux is posed to conquer the 21st century.

The internship program at the Time Museum is a little unusual. For one thing, kids as young as twelve get to apply for these prestigious summer jobs. And as for the applicant pool . . . well, these kids come from all over history.

When Delia finds herself working at the Time Museum, the last thing she expects is to be sent on time-traveling adventures with an unlikely gang of kids from across the eons. From a cave-boy to a girl from the distant future, Delia’s team represents nearly all of human history! They’re going to need all their skills for the challenge they’ve got in store . . . defending the Time Museum itself.

This was a fun, action-packed graphic novel. Though not my dream summer vacation, it would make a great summer read.  When I finally add it to my classroom library, I bet it won’t spend much time on the shelf.

 

HUB Reading Challenge Check-in 2/26

26 Feb

I began this week with two quick reads:

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Ada Lovelace: Poet of Science, written by Diane Stanley and illustrated by Jessie Harland, seems an odd fit for the HUB Challenge. As a picture book, it was clearly written for a younger audience, but it is on the Amelia Bloomer list and so it is here.

Publisher’s Summary: From nonfiction stars Diane Stanley and Jessie Hartland comes a beautifully illustrated biography of Ada Lovelace, who is known as the first computer programmer.

Two hundred years ago, a daughter was born to the famous poet, Lord Byron, and his mathematical wife, Annabella.

Like her father, Ada had a vivid imagination and a creative gift for connecting ideas in original ways. Like her mother, she had a passion for science, math, and machines. It was a very good combination. Ada hoped that one day she could do something important with her creative and nimble mind.

A hundred years before the dawn of the digital age, Ada Lovelace envisioned the computer-driven world we know today. And in demonstrating how the machine would be coded, she wrote the first computer program. She would go down in history as Ada Lovelace, the first computer programmer.

Diane Stanley’s lyrical writing and Jessie Hartland’s vibrant illustrations capture the spirit of Ada Lovelace and bring her fascinating story vividly to life.

The second was Flimish, a graphic novel by Edward Ross.

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Publisher’s Summary: In Filmish, cartoonist Edward Ross takes us on an exhilarating ride through the history of cinema, using comics to uncover the magic and mechanics behind our favourite movies.

Exploring everything from censorship to set design, Ross spotlights the films and film-makers that embody this provocative and inventive medium, from the pioneers of early cinema to the innovators shaping the movies of today, from A Trip to the Moon to Inception and beyond.

A witty and insightful reflection on the enduring power of the cinema, Filmish is a lucid and lively guide to the stars and stories that have shaped our lives for more than a century.

I am reading a longer novel now, but will tell you about it next Sunday.

Iko’s story

24 Feb

As I was checking out at the library Wednesday afternoon, my eye scanned the nearby shelf of new YA books. I saw this,

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dashed over and grabbed it and added it to my checkout pile. I left the library VERY happy because this is a graphic novel that tells Iko’s story.

Publisher’s Summary: In her first graphic novel, bestselling author Marissa Meyer extends the world of the Lunar Chronicles with a brand-new,action-packed story about Iko, the android with a heart of (mechanized) gold.When rogue packs of wolf-hybrid soldiers threaten the tenuous peace alliance between Earth and Luna, Iko takes it upon herself to hunt down the soldiers’ leader. She is soon working with a handsome royal guard who forces her to question everything she knows about love, loyalty, and her own humanity. With appearances by Cinder, Cress, Scarlet, Winter, and the rest of the Rampion crew, this is a must-have for fans of the bestselling series.

I book talked it yesterday and the excitement was audible among fans of the Lunar Chronicles. I think the others now want to read the Lunar Chronicles.

The graphic novel is a quick read and is the first in a series. I must say that, though I have a poor sense of smell, the ink smell of this blue-toned book was strong. I was stronger and read despite the inky scent. Now I have to wait a year to see what happens to Iko.

 

HUB Reading Challenge Check-in 2/19

19 Feb

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I’ve spent the last two weeks putting books on hold at the library. Several things came in this week and I managed to read two of them, both excellent graphic novels.

First, I read Lowriders to the Center of Earth by local librarian, Cathy Camper, which won a Pura Belpré Award.

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Publisher’s Summary:The lovable trio from the acclaimed Lowriders in Space are back! Lupe Impala, Elirio Malaria, and El Chavo Octopus are living their dream at last. They’re the proud owners of their very own garage. But when their beloved cat Genie goes missing, they need to do everything they can to find him. Little do they know the trail will lead them to the realm of Mictlantecuhtli, the Aztec god of the Underworld, who is keeping Genie prisoner! With cool Spanish phrases on every page, a glossary of terms, and an action-packed plot that sneaks in science as well as Aztec lore, Lowriders to the Center of the Earth is a linguistic and visual delight. ¡Que suave!

I read the first book in this series, but forgot how wonderful it was. The way Spanish is naturally incorporated into the text makes this a fun read for beginning Spanish speakers of all ages.Raúl the Third’s illustrations capture the flavor of  lucha libre and the Aztec underworld.

The second graphic novel I read was on YALSA’s 2017 Top Ten Great Graphic Novels for Teens list. Brian Vaughn’s We Stand On Guard  incorporated French into its text.

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Publisher’s Summary:SAGA writer BRIAN K. VAUGHAN teams with artistic legend and MATRIX storyboard artist STEVE SKROCE for an action-packed military thriller that will have everyone talking. 100 years from now, a heroic band of Canadian civilians must defend their homeland from invasion…by the United States of America! The hyper-detailed combat between badass freedom fighters and giant f***ing robots .

Unlike Lowriders, the French text is not translated, so I fell a little bit superior to monolingual (American) readers. You know the old joke:

Q: What do you call a person who speaks three languages?

A: Trilingual.

Q: What do you call a person who speaks two languages?

A: Bilingual.

Q: What do you call a person who speaks one language?

A: American

Sorry for that digression, but I love that joke!

We Stand On Guard is an excellent graphic novel, that captures the eternal Canadian concern over their neighbor to the South.

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