Graphic novels for 2nd grader

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Graphic novels for 2nd grader

1lorax
dec 15, 2020, 9:09am

This is the sort of thing I'd normally handle via browsing at the library, or asking a librarian, but we can't exactly do that sort of thing now, can we?

My second grader (he's seven, about to turn eight, for those unfamiliar with the US educational system) loves graphic novels. (He's a bit behind grade level for reading, so we mostly read them to him.) We're struggling to find some new titles for him. He really enjoys middle-school friendship drama. Think Smile by Raina Telgemeier and the like, or Victoria Jamieson's Roller Girl and All's Faire in Middle School.

Bonus points if they feature Black kids. Kissing is OK but nothing more than that. I should not need to say this, but we are not bigots. LGBT+ characters are a good thing.

2megbmore
dec 15, 2020, 10:43am

My daughter is just a little older and she is currently loving the Baby Sitter's Club GN series. Your second grader might also like:
Twins by Varian Johnson and Shannon Wright
New Kid by Jerry Craft
Real Friends by Shannon Hale and LeUyen Phan (note: this one is a memoir and a little emotionally intense at times)

Our whole family has also loved the Zita the Space Girl and Mighty Jack series, both by Ben Hatke. They are not realistic, but really great adventures

3scaifea
dec 15, 2020, 11:40am

>2 megbmore: Oh, yes, New Kid is excellent! And Shannon Hale has some other good ones, too.

My son at that age (he's 12 now) *loved* the Dog Man books and the Mr. Pants series. Both are hilarious stories and not too taxing, reading-level wise.

4japaul22
dec 15, 2020, 11:48am

Dog Man, Stick Dog, and Diary of a Wimpy Kid were my son's gateway drug to reading! Especially the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, which he devoured. He's now almost 11 and reading all kinds of great books.

That 7-8 age is tough because a lot of times their reading comprehension is far above their reading decoding skills. These aren't graphic novels, but both of my boys really liked the Dragon Masters series by Scholastic and the Magic Treehouse books.

52wonderY
dec 15, 2020, 12:19pm

It’s been a while since I read any of the Mouse Guard GNs, but I see that a third grader recommended them to an adult in one review. The illustrations are very fetching with interesting detail.

6humouress
Redigerat: dec 15, 2020, 2:01pm

>4 japaul22: If they like those, they might want to try the Geronimo Stilton series (there are several).

>1 lorax: Would Asterix and Tintin be too much?

>2 megbmore: foggidawn just reviewed Twins favourably.

7lorax
dec 15, 2020, 2:51pm

Thanks for the suggestions, everyone!

Kiddo loves Dog Man and Wimpy Kid. (I like Dog Man too, for that matter. More character growth and moral analysis than in a lot of adult fiction. Including a straight-up East of Eden "Thou Mayest" reference.) He also enjoyed the new Baby-Sitters Club GNs, so clearly these are some well-targeted suggestions.

humoress (#6):

We tried Tintin awhile back and it was a bit much - I think he just didn't care about the characters. Also even the ones that aren't so horrifyingly racist that they aren't republished are still, shall we say, very much of their time.

8humouress
dec 15, 2020, 2:59pm

>7 lorax: Well, the Tintin books were written a while back and you have to be in a sort of WWII frame of mind to get everything. We bought a few of the GNs for our boys around the time the film came out so I think my youngest would have been about the age yours is now. I suspect his older brother would have got more out of them, but they both read them. As for attitudes, I think they snag my attention more now I'm an adult. As a child reading things like that, if I noticed, I knew it was part of life. Kind of like knowing about Santa Claus (and if you don't know about Mr C., well - I can't tell you.)

9lorax
Redigerat: dec 15, 2020, 3:42pm

humoress (#7):

I will thank you not to second-guess my parenting choices, or to tell me what my son (who is Black and very perceptive - he's behind on reading, not stupid) will or will not notice. Yes, pre-war Belgium was horrifically racist. Yes, that's "part of life". Does that mean that's something he or I are going to want for a bedtime story, or that we're bad people for choosing other stories? No.

10humouress
dec 15, 2020, 10:18pm

>9 lorax: Calm down, I most certainly didn't make any kind of comment on your parenting choices. I'm not sure how you got that but I'm sorry if it came across like that.

11lorax
dec 16, 2020, 9:20am

If you honestly want to know, I specifically rejected Tintin because it was a product of its time (i.e. racist), and you responded with "Well it's a product of its time! And my kids didn't notice the racism, and it's part of life anyway so you shouldn't try to avoid it in any context." That is, you pushed back to encourage me to subject my child to something I said we had already tried and rejected.

12jeangabrielle
dec 16, 2020, 9:30am

>1 lorax: My son also loves GN, maybe a few of these will interest yours too!

Snapdragon by Kat Leyh has Black characters (kids and adults) and includes LGBT themes (sorry I couldn't link the title here).

There are also a few series that he reads over and over again:

Wings of Fire by Tui T. Sutherland, art by Mike Holmes. The fourth one in the graphic novel series will be out later this month.

Amulet by Kazu Kibuishi is a series of eight that has monsters, robots, and talking toys.

Explorer the mystery boxes is also created by Kazu Kibuishi but has a different illustrator for each of the stories including Raina Telgemeier.

Bone out from Boneville by Jeff Smith. I think there are at least nine of these, and I get him one or two for each birthday/holiday. Its an adventure with bone critters, monsters, and people.

Happy reading!

13SandyAMcPherson
dec 16, 2020, 9:43am

My grandchildren like the Hilda graphic novels, e.g. Hildafolk Luke Pearson and started reading Luke's GN's when they were in Grade 1. Two years later, I see these still being enjoyed. May appeal largely to girls?

14lorax
dec 16, 2020, 9:47am

Furiously scribbling suggestions, thanks! Too late to get any of these for Christmas but his birthday is at the end of January.....

15bookcookie1920
dec 16, 2020, 2:38pm

Akward by Svetlana Chmakova
Invisible Emmie by Terri Libenson
Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur by Amy Reeder/Brandon Montclare
Cardboard Kingdom by Chad Sell
The Tea Dragon Society by Katie O'Neill
Sunny Side Up by Jennifer Holm
El Deafo by Cece Bell

16japaul22
dec 16, 2020, 3:03pm

I forgot to add the Ricky Ricotta series. My son loved these. They are by Dav Pilkey and have great graphic pictures plus the words are much easier than his other books. They were some of the first books my son read on his own. The stories felt "big kid" to him but he could actually read the words - can be hard to find that!

17wd40sw
dec 16, 2020, 8:16pm

These aren't graphic novels but are series geared towards children and readers around or slightly above his level which would work if you're reading them to him. They are series and chapter books so you could maybe do a chapter a night depending on how long your reading time is.

The Cut-de-Sac Kids
Dragon Masters
Eerie Elementary
Geronimo Stilton

These four all are books which feature characters of diversity.

Yasmin
Zapato Power
Katie Woo (Pedro is a spinoff of Katie Woo)
Sofia Martinez

18reconditereader
dec 17, 2020, 12:28am

If you're reading to him, Lumberjanes!

19jeangabrielle
Redigerat: dec 17, 2020, 12:42pm

>16 japaul22: I second this suggestion (Ricky Ricotta), these were also some of the first books my son read on his own.

20lorax
dec 17, 2020, 1:27pm

We should go back to Ricky Ricotta! We'd been getting them from the library but I totally forgot about them once libraries stopped.

21flying_monkeys
dec 17, 2020, 4:01pm

>15 bookcookie1920: I was also going to recommend The Tea Dragon Society by Katie O'Neill. For some reason, I can't get the series touchstone, sorry!

You specified boundaries for the sexual content, but not violence (fighting, battles, villains, etc), so this might be way off for your son, but if you're reading to him and if he's into superheroes and/or Black Panther, he may enjoy Shuri: A Black Panther Novel by Nic Stone.

Or, the Shuri series by Nnedi Okorafor -- it looks like they just released all 10 of these comics in one volume under ISBN 9781302923693 too. I don't recall it having any gratuitous sex/violence in the ones I read.

22brandisnap
dec 22, 2020, 2:17pm

These might be too old, but my fifth graders LOVE them. Shannon Hale's Calamity Jack and Rapunzel's Revenge. They also love the historical fiction graphic novels by Nathan Hale. The series is Nathan Hale's Hazardous Tales and there's probably 7 or 8 of them. I believe the first one is One Dead Spy and it's about the American Revolution.

23NanceeL
dec 23, 2020, 3:32pm

>20 lorax: We haven't stopped, we are open for lobby pick-up and I know alot of other libraries are open with curbside pick-up, etc.
Ebooks and many digital resources.

24fred_mouse
dec 24, 2020, 9:37am

With the caveats that my kids are older, so I might be misjudging the age level, and I can't promise that I will have spotted racist aspects, the ones that come to mind are

Abigail and the Snowman
Stargazing (not putting the touchstone here as it picked the wrong one); The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang
Sherlock Bones and the Natural History Mystery by Renee Treml
The Nameless City by Faith Erin Hicks - this is a three book series, not entirely sure it isn't pitched a bit older though

25JessicaLane
dec 24, 2020, 10:00am

Have you tried the Time Warp Trio series by Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith?

Also, an oldie (very!) but goodie: My Father's Dragon and two follow ups. Not really graphic novels, so much as heavily illustrated, not too sophisticated language.

26lorax
dec 28, 2020, 9:53am

NanceeL (#23):

I'm glad to hear that your library is semi-open. That is not relevant to my situation and in fact is vaguely condescending. The contactless pickup at ours is so dysfunctional as to be completely useless for kids' books. (First, you need to *know what you want*, and browsing is so important. Second, you can't request all your holds to be picked up at the same time - they send you an email when one is available, and you then need to schedule a pickup time within the next few days. You schedule a half-hour window, and if you miss it you're out of luck.) So, if you want one or two books? Great. A dozen? Don't bother. Kiddo used to get 10-20 books at a time, so getting one is not helpful.

27lorax
jan 27, 1:56pm

I thought I'd come back here with some updates. I got him Twins which he loved. Straight up his "middle school drama" alley. Also got the sequels to Sunny Side Up (we already had the first. Sequels weren't as good.)

Things we'd already had, and he enjoys:

The Diary of a Wimpy Kid series (I am so sick of these, but he loves them. He likes feeling superior to Greg.)
The Dog Man books
The Wings of Fire graphic novels (listed as a subseries so I can't link directly)
El Deafo
The Hazardous Tales history series. I got him the newest, about the Haitian Revolution, for Christmas. I've actually learned a fair bit from this series myself. (He got into these early last year, when the public schools were still open, when he brought the one about Harriet Tubman home from the school library. There are a couple we haven't let him read but mostly they're OK for us.)

Tried, no interest or nixed for other reasons:

Tintin
Bone (I liked these, he wasn't interested).

He also loved, despite it being clearly too old for him, Ghosts by the reliable Raina Telgemeier. I found a copy on a giveaway pile in the neighborhood and picked it up with the intention of pre-reading it to decide whether it was OK for him. He noticed it on my shelf and correctly figured out from the *design of the spine* that it was by the same author as his beloved Smile (he doesn't remember her name and was too far away to read that small print anyway), and demanded I read it to him.

28nessreader
Redigerat: jan 29, 5:19pm

Stephan Pastis did a wimpy-kid level series (in terms of reading difficulty + text:pictures ratio) starting with Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made Disney are going to release a live action film of it but anyway the book is delightful and very funny. Small boy and his polar bear imaginary friend open detective agency. They had a bit of a calvin+hobbes energy. Timmy is about two steps behind the reader, figuring-out wise.

I remember Ursula Vernon as doing some middle grade gra novels but think they were easier/younger than Telgemeir (spelling? the guts lady) Vernon's dragonsbreath series was v hyped to me before I read it so my disappointment may reflect unreasonable expectations.

And there is a publishing house called First Second who specialised in child gra novels of which some were teen + some very young end. I might come and repost suggestions of their stuff later. Sorry - this is off the top of my head.