A list of books to help kids navigate the comic book shelves

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Parents: If you’re unfamiliar with the breadth and depth of children’s comics these days, here’s a list to get you started. First, a trio of widely acclaimed comics:

“Smile”, by Raina Telgemeier (Scholastic / Graphix)

Ask any children’s librarian and they’ll tell you “Raina rules”. “Smile” is a memoir detailing the multi-year dental drama that began when Telgemeier fell and broke her front teeth as a preteen. But it’s the story of friendship woven into the text that appeals to both boys and girls. Telgemeier wrote two other memoirs, “Sisters” and the recent “Guts”. Additionally, she wrote and illustrated the first three graphic novels “Baby-Sitters Club” and “Drama,” a fictionalized version of her experiences in her college drama club. The Beat, a comic book blog, recently named her “Comic Book Industry Person of the Decade” for her role in creating the current boom in children’s comics.

“New Kid”, by Jerry Craft (Quill Tree)

This new Newbery Medal winner is a novel about the experiences of an African-American college student, Jordan Banks, as he moves to a private school. There, Jordan is one of the few students of color, and Craft skillfully uses a mixture of humor and drama to detail the micro- and macro-assaults Jordan endures as he tries to fit in and blend in. to make friends.

“El Deafo”, by Cece Bell (Abrams)

Although the characters in this book are rabbits, “El Deafo” is actually a memoir of Bell’s experiences as she tried to cope with major hearing loss as a child. Bell said she decided to use rabbits as a visual metaphor to emphasize what it was like to be the kid with non-working ears. The result is a book that is a rare blend of poignant and laughing aloud.

And here are two new comics already awarded:

“Green Lantern: Legacy”, written by Minh Le and illustrated by Andie Tong (DC Comics)

Part of DC Comics’ new effort to deepen the children’s market, “Green Lantern: Legacy” tells the story of 12-year-old Tai Pham, who suddenly learns that his beloved grandmother was a Green Lantern, a member of the ‘an’ intergalactic peacekeeping force. Tai is even more amazed to learn that upon his death he was called to continue his mission. Le and Tong have created a thoughtful superhero story that gets young readers to think about friendship, the uses of power and creativity, and the importance of community.

“Go with the Flow”, written by Lily Williams and Karen Schneemann and illustrated by Williams (First Second)

Schneemann and Williams break down barriers with this fictional friendship story centered on the topic of menstruation. In the book, four high school girls join forces to persuade their school administration to make feminine hygiene products available free of charge in all girls’ toilets. As they battle a resilient director, the girls also find themselves testing the limits of friendship. The book ends with a section for readers interested in further information on a subject that is sometimes difficult to tackle.

Smile, heritage of green lanterns, El Deafo


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