The Center for Children's Books


Graduate School of Library and Information Science
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Novel Graphic Novels - November 2011

Selected and annotated by Laurel Halfar


Amir. Zahra’s Paradise; illus. by Khalil. First Second/Roaring Brook, 2011. 272 p. Gr. 10 and up.
Mehdi, a young Iranian man, goes missing after participating in the mass protests following the controversial election of President Ahmadinejad. Hassan, Mehdi’s older brother, and their mother, Zahra, search to find the truth behind Mehdi’s disappearance. In-depth background information and additional resources supplement this fictionalized account of the demonstrations following the 2009 election in Iran.

Aristophane. The Zabime Sisters; trans. by Matt Madden. First Second, 2010. 96 p. Gr. 6-9.
It’s the first day of summer vacation on the French Caribbean island of Guadeloupe. M’Rosa, Ella, and Celina, three teenage sisters, enjoy the freedom summer brings to their tropical home while navigating their imminent approach to adulthood.

Bertozzi, Nick. Lewis & Clark. First Second/Roaring Brook, 2011. 140 p. Gr. 6-10.
This well-researched piece of historical fiction follows Meriwether Lewis and William Clark on their famous expedition to find a passageway to the Pacific in 1804. Wrought with mishaps and misfortunes from the beginning, Bertozzi examines their journey with both humor and accuracy, making for a compelling read.

Brosgol, Vera. Anya's Ghost. First Second/Roaring Brook, 2011. 221 p. Gr. 8-10.
Anya, a young teenage girl struggling to fit in with her peers, finds a friend in Emily, a ghost she meets after accidentally falling into a well. Anya thinks it’s pretty fun having a paranormal pal, until their relationship takes a turn for the worse. The purple-gray color palette suits the tone of this ghost-busting coming-of-age tale perfectly.

Colbert, C.C. Booth; illus. by Tanitoc; color by Hilary Sycamore. First Second/Roaring Brook. 2010. 168 p. Gr. 10-12.
Historical accounts, compelling storytelling, and bold artwork combine to create a unique depiction of the infamous, John Wilkes Booth. Focusing more on the assassin than the assassination, readers get a glimpse into Booth’s complex life involving politics, family tension, and romantic relationships.

Deutsch, Barry. Hereville: How Mirka Got Her Sword; color by Jake Richmond.  Amulet Books, 2010. 142 p. Gr. 5-7.
Based on a webcomic, this graphic novel follows the life of Mirka, an Orthodox Jewish girl, whose deepest desire is to be a hero. Luckily for her, she runs into a witch who provides her with a chance to become just that.

Hatke, Ben. Zita the Spacegirl. First Second/Roaring Brook, 2011. 184 p. Gr. 3-6.
When Zita and her best friend, Joseph, happen upon a mysterious red button, she can’t help but push it. When it creates a vortex that snatches Joseph, she can’t help but follow. Zita finds herself on an alien planet, but she’s determined to save her friend. She quickly assembles a diverse cast of cronies, of both the human and extraterrestrial variety, to help her.

Hayes, Geoffrey. Patrick in A Teddy Bear’s Picnic and Other Stories. Toon/Candlewick, 2011. 32 p. Gr. 1–2.
Join Patrick Bear, in this collection of four comic-style short stories, as he goes on a picnic with Ma, takes a “nap” or two, and deals with a bully. Early readers will identify with the curious, silly, and candid Patrick and his authentic everyday experiences.

Hinds, Gareth, ad. The Odyssey. Candlewick, 2010. 252 p. Gr. 9-12.
Homer’s epic poem is faithfully retold in this accessible and vivid graphic novel adaptation.

Holm, Jennifer L. Squish: Super Amoeba; illus. by Matthew Holm. Random House, 2011. 96 p. Gr. 2-4.
Meet the single-celled star of this new graphic novel series, Squish – super amoeba! As an avid comic book reader, Squish is inspired by superheroes, yet he doesn’t quite have the gift of bravery mastered himself. He tries his best to be courageous as he navigates through daily life at the pond.

Lagos, Alexander and Joseph Lagos. The Sons of Liberty; illus. by Steve Walker; color by Oren Kramek. Random House, 2010. 176 p. Gr. 5-10.
Brody and Graham, two runaway slaves in pre-Revolutionary America, evade an evil slave-catcher while making their way to potential refuge with abolitionist, Benjamin Lay. Along the way, the two encounter Ben Franklin’s son, who performs cruel experiments on them using electricity—the result of which causes Brody and Graham to gain superhuman abilities.

Lee, Tony. Excalibur: The Legend of King Arthur; illus. by Sam Hart. Candlewick, 2011. 158 p. Gr. 7–10.
Experience the thrill of the Arthurian Legend in a new format. In this graphic novel retelling of classic folklore, detailed storytelling and mood-evoking illustrations combine to illuminate the life and times of King Arthur.

Long, Ethan. Rick & Rack and the Great Outdoors. Blue Apple, 2010. 36 p. Gr. 1-3.
Rack, a deer with an affinity for the great outdoors, tries to show Rick, his raccoon friend, the marvels of the wilderness by taking him on some outdoorsy adventures. Laugh alongside Rack and Rick in the three comic-style short stories as the pair fish, hike, and canoe.

McCranie, Stephen. Mal and Chad: The Biggest, Bestest Time Ever! Philomel, 2011. 223 p. Gr. 3–6
Malcolm is a veritable boy-genius but he keeps his abilities secret from everyone except his talking pooch, Chad, so that he can still enjoy being a kid. Mal and Chad embark on some rollicking adventures, thanks to their time machine, but also face everyday struggles like homework, bullies, and crushes.

Mechner, Jordan. Solomon's Thieves; illus. by LeUyen Pham and Alex Puvilland; color by Hilary Sycamore. First Second/Roaring Brook, 2010. 139 p. Gr. 9-12.
In 1307, the king of France ordered the arrest of all members of the Knights Templar on  false accusations in hopes of dishonoring their society and eventually obtaining their hidden fortune. In this fictionalized account we follow Martin, a member of the Knights Templar, who manages to avoid arrest and bands together with others in hopes of finding the riches themselves.

Neri, G. Yummy: The Last Days of a Southside Shorty; illus. by Randy Duburke. Lee & Low Books, 2010. 96 p. Gr. 5-10.
The true story of Robert “Yummy” Sandifer, an eleven-year-old member of a Chicago gang who accidentally shot a bystander in 1994 and was eventually murdered by his own gang, is told through the perspective of a fictionalized fellow Roseland resident, Roger. Roger reflects on Yummy’s tough life and early death, questioning which was more devastating.

O' Connor, George. Zeus: King of the Gods. Porter/First Second, 2010. 76 p. Gr. 6-12.
Combining superhero elements and Greek mythology, O’Connor examines the origins of Zeus in this captivating series opener. Compelling storytelling coupled with detailed full-color illustrations help readers navigate through a complex tale.

Ottaviani, Jim. Feynman; illus. by Leland Myrick, color by Hilary Sycamore. First Second/Roaring Brook, 2011. 266 p. Gr. 9–12.
This graphic novel biography recounts episodes from the vibrant life of famous physicist, Richard Feynman, including glimpses into his childhood, scientific career, and personal life.

Pilkey, Dav. The Adventures of Ook and Gluk, Kung-Fu Cavemen from the Future. Blue Sky/Scholastic, 2010. 196 p. Gr. 2-5.
Fans of Pilkey’s Captain Underpants series will be happy to know schoolboys Harold and George have created a new comic featuring Ook and Gluk, two kung-fu fighting cavemen from the future. This humorous series opener has many of the same enjoyable features of the Captain Underpants stories: humor, action, and clever details such as several Flip-O-Ramas and instructions on how to speak caveman, dubbed “cavemonics”.

Reed, MK. Americus; illus. by Jonathan Hill. First Second/Roaring Brook, 2011. 216 p. Gr. 7-10.
Neil, a typical teen about to enter high school, is a little unsure of himself, but there is one thing he has no doubts about - his love for a certain fantasy book series. When a group of people from his small Oklahoma town, Americus, wants the books banned from the local library, Neil must fight for his right to read and possibly learn a thing or two about himself along the way.

Santat, Dan. Sidekicks. Levine/Scholastic, 2011. 218 p. Gr. 3-6
Captain Amazing, the diligent defender of Metro City, is beginning to feel his age and is in desperate need of a spandexed sidekick. His three pets see this as the perfect chance to spend time with their beloved owner and begin vying for the chance to be his partner against crime.

Shiga, Jason. Empire State: A Love Story (or Not); color by John Pham. Abrams Comicarts, 2011. 144 p. Gr. 9-12.
Jimmy, a geeky emerging adult who hasn’t quite grown up, realizes he has romantic feelings for his best friend, Sara, after she moves to New York to pursue a career. He embarks on a cross-country bus trip in order to tell Sara how he truly feels.

Shiga, Jason. Meanwhile: Pick Any Path. 3,856 Story Possibilities. Amulet Books, 2010. 80 p. Gr. 4-8.
Have you ever thought how your life would change if you made one simple decision over another? Well that’s how this story with 3,856 different possibilities has been crafted. You, the reader, get to choose Jimmy’s direction in the story and perhaps save the world.

Taylor, Sarah Stewart and Ben Towle. Amelia Earhart: This Broad Ocean. Disney-Hyperion, 2010. 96 p. Gr. 5-9.
Follow the story of Amelia Earhart’s transatlantic flight through the eyes of Grace, a fictional girl living in the small Newfoundland village where Amelia and her pilot prepared for their infamous quest.

Telgemeier, Raina. Smile. Graphix, 2010. 244 p. Gr. 5-8.
The typical growing pains of adolescence intensified for Telgemeier after a fall in sixth grade resulted in extreme orthodontia care for several years. She deftly guides readers through a thorny phase in her life in this relatable coming-of-age graphic memoir.

TenNapel, Doug. Bad Island. Graphix/Scholastic, 2011. 220 p. Gr. 6-8.
Reese, Janie, and their mom aren’t too thrilled about the bonding boat trip their dad has planned. The vacation goes from bad to worse when they become shipwrecked on a dangerous and mysterious island. They must come together as a family to figure out a way to escape the deserted land alive.

TenNapel, Doug. Ghostopolis; color by Katherine Garner and Tom Rhodes. Graphix/Scholastic, 2010. 267 p. Gr. 6-8.
Frank Gallows, a ghost hunter, mistakenly sends a young boy with an incurable disease, Garth Hale, into a world inhabited by ghosts. Once in Ghostopolis, Garth discovers that he has special powers and must evade the evil ruler who wants to maliciously exploit his newly acquired talents.

Tsang, Evonne. I Love Him to Pieces; illus. by Janina Gorrissen. Graphic Universe, 2011. p. 124. Gr. 6-8.
Dicey and Jack are the classic case of opposites attract. Dicey, a sporty girl, and Jack, a nerdy boy, develop a friendship and soon become an amorous pair after they work together on a class project. Their new love is put to the test when a zombie bites Jack.

Yolen, Jane. Foiled; illus. by Mike Cavallaro. First Second/Roaring Brook, 2010. 160 p. Gr. 7-10.
Aliera’s life is fairly routine, she goes to school, fences, and hangs out with her cousin -that is, until her mom purchases a secondhand fencing foil with a bejeweled grip. The sword connects Aliera to a parallel world inhabited by fantastical creatures. Not to mention, Avery, the gorgeous new boy at school (who is in fact a disguised troll), has taken interest in Aliera and her weapon.

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