Positively Izzy

Positively Izzy

By Terri Libenson

New York: Blazer and Bray, 2018.

Grades: 5-7   Genre: Graphic Novel Realistic Fiction

You met Emmie in Libenson first novel, Invisible Emmie—now meet Izzy and her two sisters—Dani in 10th grade and Ashley who is in 6th grade and Izzy’s friend, Brianna. In middle school sometimes you get a label—like jock or nerd but Izzy’s nickname was dreamer and Brianna’s was the brain.  Sometimes you like what label you get and sometimes you don’t. Brianna likes her label and tries to live up to it every day but Izzy’s label not so much—she just always has a hard time focusing in class!  Funny thing about labels, sometimes they restrict you from other adventures one might be missing out on! izzy

One thing Izzy for sure dreams about is acting—she loves to act and she can’t wait to show off her talent in the Middle School Talent Show. Brianna wants nothing to do with the talent show—especially since her mom is the new drama teacher—she also does not want to tarnish her label. Unexpected happenings occur just before the talent show—one girl gets grounded and the other gets “forced” on stage—drama for sure!  


Be Prepared

Be Preparedummer

By Vera Brosgol

New York: First Second, 2018.

Grades: 5 -7  Genre: Graphic Novel Realistic Fiction

Please come get me from summer camp—I hate it!  Heard this before? Vera is desperately trying to fit; first at a sleep over birthday party and then at camp. Vera is the girl at the birthday party who made her gift, has a worn out sleeping bag, has no “American Girl like” doll and her Russian background makes her a little naïve. At night they talk about going to all kinds of summer camps for the summer—not Vera as they could never afford that; her mom is just finishing school and dad pays no child support.  But then Vera finds out that her Russian Orthodox Church gives preparedscholarships for a Russian Summer Camp—here students do all the regular camp stuff and polish up their Russian and learn a little more about their home country.

Vera is all in—either that or it hanging out with her little brother all summer. Camp is not any easier—Vera age 9 is put into a tent with two 14 year old girls named Sasha.  The two Sasha have been coming to this camp and bunking together since they were six—and this is just the beginning of a two week sad stay at camp O.P.P.A. When mom comes to pick her up—she informs her that she is done with school and has a job interview out of town and she has enrolled her for 2 more weeks of camp.  Come along with Vera and see if she can ever fit in at camp!

This book is loosely based on the author’s experiences at camp—it will make your heart ache and hopefully make you more accepting of others who are different!

All Summer Long

All Summer Long by Hope Larson

New York: Farrar Straus Giorux, 2018.

Genre: Graphic Novel—Realistic Fiction

Perhaps this books should have been titled Long Summer, as thirteen year old Bina is off for the summer but her best friend from birth and who lives next door, is going away to camp for the summer—Austin.  Austin and Bina have been  summerinseparable every summer—they even have “summer fun cards” to prove it.  This summer is different, Austin has been acting strange and Bina struggling through boredom and trying tange and white/black. 

Grades: 6 to 8.

Author Facebook: https://twitter.com/hopelarson


The Lifters

By Dave

The Breadwinner

The Breadwinner

Based on the original book by Deborah Ellis

Groundwood Press, 2017.

Grade 6 and Up    Graphic Novel

This is a story of an eleven year old Afghanistan girl, Parvana who decides to take action Breadwhen her father is taken to prison for teaching and having “illegal” books in the home. Parvana needs to take action but because she is a girl she has no rights—she must cover herself, cannot be out alone, cannot earn money. So she takes matter into her own hands—she cuts her hair, dresses as a boy and takes on a boy’s name. She brings money home for her family and tries to get her father out of jail but then civil war once again breaks out.  This a beautifully illustrated graphic novel of a story that needs to be told so that women everywhere no longer have their human rights violated.

Author website: http://deborahellis.com/

The Breadwinner Trailer: https://youtu.be/yQBQw-Bh1pg



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