Graphic Novel

Happy Birthday from Aunt Kerri and ML

Today is a special day.  It’s the day ML was due to arrie in 2006.  She didn’t.  But a few years later my nephew did.  Every year, I send him books for his birthday.  This is the first year I wasn’t sure which direction to go.  He’s at the age where children could be reading Easy Readers or as some parents like to brag, “books on a high school reading level.”

I did what every responsible Aunt does.  I asked what he’s enjoying reading.  My sister-in-law quickly responded Dog Man and Diary of a Wimpy Kid but thought I’d be hard pressed to find one he hadn’t read.  This was music to my ears.  My nephew has entered the independent chapter book reading stage of life.  One where series are king.  In later years he will reminisce about these characters he met and fell in love with as he was truly learning to be a reader.  Not just someone who sounded out words.

I had a few ideas but consulted with ML too.   A Diary of a Wimpy Kid series read-alike was easy.  Timmy Failure started the amazon shopping cart.  Mr Pants was added as  T’s next graphic novel series to explore.  I knew I wanted to send an I Survived book; but was at a loss of which one to order.  ML helped with this.  She suggested The Shark Attacks of 1916.  Then, she reminded me how much she loved Geronimo Stilton at this age.  With the edition of Geronimo Stilton:  The Karate Mouse, our order was complete.

After the order shipped a new graphic novel arrived at the library.  I read it Thursday night and there’s no doubt it would have been a perfect edition to the list.  With Christmas around the corner, I’ve started a new cart.  Yes, I am THAT aunt.  The one who gives books.  Come December 25th my nephew will also own Toby Goes Bananas.  And a few other yet to be determined titles.

How I Met Mr. Pants

Mr Pants

I love how my library system runs it’s Summer Reading Program.  Children aren’t required to keep track of the amount of time they read or the number of books they read throughout the summer.  It’s a low stress program to make reading and visiting the library fun.  Children are rewarded for visiting the library and telling us about favorite books.  Each child receives a sturdy plastic bag and a reading log.  On one side of the reading log is a place to write favorite books read over the summer.  The other side has a maze featuring our library mascot.  Children receive stickers for their maze when they tell us about their favorite books, bring their bag to carry books home and attend programs.  If they check out books, they get what we call a “Weekly Wow.”  Something different and special every week.  Bubbles, bookmarks, tattoos. . . you get the idea.

Last week, a girl around ML’s age told me about a book she loved.  It was a graphic novel about a cat named Mr. Pants.  It sounded great so I immediately found the first book in the series when she left, Mr Pants:  It’s Go Time by Scott McCormick and illustrated by R. H. Lazzell.  Even though ML tells me weekly, “I don’t like comic books.”  I’ve come to realize it’s not graphic novels she doesn’t like, it’s superhero graphic novels.  She devoured El Deafo by Cece Bell a few weeks ago.  So I knew she’d enjoy Mr. Pants.  I read a bit of the first book to her before bedtime.  She asked if she could take it to bed and finished it before she went to sleep.  Then, I finished it the next morning.  We were both eager for the next book in the series.  I did something I rarely do on a day off.  We visited our local library.  Sadly, the next Mr. Pants book wasn’t on the shelf.  Luckily, I found the other two this morning at my library.

Our semi-annual trip to visit ML’s cousins is coming soon.  We always take books.  Luckily, our local bookstore had a copy of Mr. Pants:  It’s Go Time.  ML’s with her dad this week.  It’s going to be really hard for  me to hold out reading the next two titles in the Mr. Pants series without her.  The only way to resist this temptation is to put them back on the shelf.  They won’t stay there long.  I’m certain to throw them in the hands within the first hour I work tomorrow.

PS:  If you happen to order books for my library system, a new Mr. Pants book was released June, 7th.  Mr Pants: Camping Catastrophe.  I only mention this because I know children are eager for another Mr. Pants book.  It has nothing to do with me wanting to read it.

Child Soldier: When Boys and Girls are Used In War

Child Soldier

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving.   Yesterday, I read Child Soldier:  When Boys and Girls Are Used in War written by Jessica Dee Humphreys & Michael Chikwanine and illustrated by Claudia Davila.  This book covers a horrifying subject matter in an age appropriate way for later elementary and middle school students.  It’s written in the graphic novel format.  According to wikipedia, “A graphic novel is a book made up of comics content. Although the word “novel” normally refers to long fictional works, the term “graphic novel” is applied broadly and includes fiction, non-fiction, and anthologized work. It is distinguished from the term “comic book“, which is used for comics periodicals”

While the subject is one of the most horrific ones I’ve read in children’s literature.  The illustrations are not graphic.  Ml doesn’t like graphic  novels.  Anytime, I’ve brought one home, she’s said, “You know I don’t like graphic novels.”  If she did, I would take it home and introduce her to this heartbreaking reality before she sees a more graphic version in the news.

Until yesterday, it would not have occurred to me to add the fact that my daughter and friends are not being recruited as soldiers to what I am thankful for.  After reading this book, it will be one of the top things on my list.

El Deafo by CeCe Bell

El Deafo

I stole most of the text for today’s post from a friend’s Facebook page.  Thank you Janice for writing so eloquently how I feel about El Deafo by Cece Bell and color by David Lasky.

“I still read to my kids and, since they love graphic novels, I am reading them this book. They l-o-v-e it. I mean obsessed, chasing me around the house begging me to read more. I have actually hidden it so they can’t read it without me.”

PS – Curious about what “color by David Lasky” means?  Cece Bell explains it in her post El Deafo Honors David Lasky, Colorist Extraordinaire.

PSS – I made an important decision two seconds ago.  This will be the next title read by ML’s Book Club.