By Svetlana Chmakova

New York: Yen Press, 2017.

Genre: Graphic Novel Realistic Fiction  Grades: 5 and Up  Pages: 239

This is a great realistic fiction, graphic novel from the author who brought us Awkward. Yes, middle school students are very awkward but they are also brave!  Author Chmakova likens middle school to one of the Top 10 Natural Disasters! Not only does main character Jensen agree but also he thinks he is in a video game where his mission is just to make it through each day… “without getting eaten by the game monsters…” Just who are those monsters? The math teacher who has no mercy for mediocre, the girls brave_hc-cvrwho laugh at him and the boys who bully him for being overweight. Therefore, each day he runs “the gauntlet” where the only safe spots are art club and the school newspaper. Jensen is the boy at school who sits alone at lunch and the one not picked for a group in class.  However, today when the teacher asks for a volunteer to partner with Jensen, Jorge raises his hand and volunteers! Jorge is a big jock with a soft spot for those who get bullied and so Jensen begins to have some allies in school. This is a great book to help students establish some empathy as you feel the pain of being laughed at, being used and finally cheering as Jensen becomes brave enough to speak up for himself!


Real Friends

Real Friends

By Shannon Hale and LeUyen Pham

New York: First Second, 2017.

Grades 3-6   Graphic Novel   213 pages

This amazing memoir is a great reminder to adults that one of the hardest parts of growing up is friends and to students—you are not alone when you struggle with friend relationships and where you fit in.


This is the story of New York Times Bestselling author Shannon Hale.  She is portrayed as spunky red head who just wants real friends.  But who are our real friends?  Are they the popular group, new kids who Halemove in, the ones who moved out? Shannon Hale makes these struggles come alive as she talks about the anxiety symptoms that began to manifest as result of trying to find real friends. This is a beautifully illustrated graphic novel!


Snow White: A Graphic Novel

Snow White: A Graphic Novel

By Matt Phelan

Candlewick Press, 2016.

Genre: Graphic Novel

Grades: 5 and Up

This graphic novel has beautiful illustrations in pencil, ink and watercolor by Matt Phelan.  The book opens in New York just before the stock market crash. Here is where you meet Samantha (Snow) White and her parents. When snow-whiteSnow’s mother becomes ill and dies she and her father are heart broken. All her father’s attention is on her until ten years later when he meets a beautiful and glamourous stage star who soon becomes Snow’s stepmother. She sends Samantha off to boarding school so that all attention and money can be focused on her.  The stock market crashes and the stepmother soon she finds that she needs to have all the family money—and so the traditional story of Snow White unfolds. I loved this book I read it twice just to see if I missed any of the illustrations!!



By Raina Telgemeier

Graphix, 2016.

Genre:  Graphic Novel    Pages: 256stl012253-600x873

Another good story of sisters!  This time older sister Catrina finds out that the family is moving to coastal California so that her younger sister Maya can be exposed to the cool, salty air which hopefully will help her Cystic Fibrosis.  Cystic Fibrosis is a genetic disorder that has no cure and mostly affects the lungs.  It used to be these kids never lived past one but with the new medicine and technology these kids now live often into their 30’s.  Although, Catrina understands why they have to move, moving to a new city and school is very stressful for her.  Then Catrina finds out her new town is known for it’s ghosts—hard time making new friends and have to deal with people who have died. Just the thought that Maya might die makes Catrina a wreck. Travel along with Catrina and Maya as the family deals with the living chronic and incurable illness.


Lily Renee, Escape Artist: From Holocaust Survivor to Comic Book Pioneer

Lily Renee, Escape Artist from Holocaust Survivor to Comic Book Pioneer

By Trina Robbins   Illustrated by Anne Timmons and Mo Oh

Minneapolis:  Graphic Universe, 2011.

Graphic Novel  Grades 5 and Up


This is a beautiful illustrated graphic novel about Lily Renee Wilheim a young Austrian girl who lived to give her story of the Holocaust a voice for those who perished.   Lily Renee was half Jewish and her parents knew the brutalism of the Nazi’s and decided to send Lily Renee away so that she had a chance at life.  The story is broken down into chapters that follow this courageous young girl to her final destination—America, where gets some revenge through illustrating comic books.


Connect with some of her other comics at Trina Robbins website

Mrs. Reiber’s Summer Reading 2014 Book #9

Jane, the Fox and Me

Jane, the Fox and Me

By Fanny Britt

Toronto: Groundwood Press, 2012. 

Graphic Novel  100 pages.Jane

This is rather a sophisticated graphic novel.  The title might bring in the younger audience and its size but it is really meant for an older audience of grades 6/7 and up.  Illustrations are done by Isabelle Arsenault and are fabulous!

This is the story of overweight teen by the name of Helene who is bullied by her classmates; retreats to reading.  Not reading any ordinary book but reading and rereading Charlotte Bronte’s, Jane Eyre. Helene can identify with the main character from the book, Jane. Jane’s trials and tribulations are Helene’s. 

This might be a good book to use in connection with Jane Eyre.


Mrs. Reiber’s Summer reading Book #5