My grandson, Miles was so excited when the bookmobile came to his school. He couldn’t wait to go home and tell his mother. So, my daughter, Emily decided to take him and his sister, Eloise, to their local library. A new activity for them to do this summer. While they were driving to the library, Miles informed his mother and Eloise that they could get 50 books. His mother explained that they could certainly get a few books each but they could not get 50! He insisted that was what the librarian had told him and he would not budge. In order to continue having an enjoyable trip to their destination, my daughter simply agreed to go along with it and let the librarian break the news to him. They approached the desk and filled out the necessary information in order for each of them to get their own Library Card. Emily then said “by the way, how many books can each of us check out at a time?” You can imagine the look on her face when the librarian said 50! I can just see Miles looking up at his mom with that priceless expression of victory. They didn’t get 50 books but they managed to find a nice collection to keep them busy for a while.
Emily then said that rediscovering the library was one of the best highlights of their summer. They have really enjoyed it. She researches what books are popular for the kids age group and makes a list so they have an idea of what to look for when they are there. It also encourages them to read more so they can return to the library for another book or two. Or 50!
I decided to ask Miles and Eloise what they were reading these days and was surprised when they both said Graphic Novels. I was not familiar with them. So they explained to me that they are basically chapter books with pictures. I’m thinking comic books? Emily explained that they help bridge the gap between younger kids picture books and chapter books. I decided to do some research and here are a few things I discovered.
Graphic novels are full of text, drawings, and illustrations and sometimes photos but they also have text that readers must actually decode, analyze and comprehend. Kids still must follow plots and character development and learn about perspective, all of which will improve their reading comprehension and skills.
Graphic novels are high-quality reading material. Just like traditional novels, graphic novels have exciting and complex plots, characters, and conflicts. Plots have twists and turns. Characters are developed and dynamic and conflicts are presented, unwound and resolved. The only difference is that they have more images to support the development.
Graphic novels are engaging. Often, especially for reluctant readers, graphic novels add the extra support some kids might need to help them through a text. They tend to be particularly captivating for kids, and the combination of text and pictures provides context for stories that they may otherwise not completely understand.
These are a few of the books and graphic novels my grandkids enjoy:
Miles - 2nd Grade
Dog Man - This series is written by Dave Pilkey (creator of Captain Underpants). A crime-biting canine who is part dog, part man, and ALL HERO. Stories explore positive themes, including empathy, kindness, persistence, and the importance of being true to one’s self.
Pete the Cat - A groovy laid back cat with a positive outlook on life. This series is written by Eric Litwin.
Horrible Harry - Written by Suzy Kline, these books are about a 3rd grader named Harry, and his misadventures are told through the words of his best friend, Doug.
Eloise - 5th Grade
Babysitters Club - This collection of books is written by Ann M. Martin and is about a group of friends who run a local babysitting service and their many adventures.
Judy Blume -This series written by Judy Blume is honest stories about families, school, friendship, puberty, racism, death, sex, (Yikes!) and ,of course, freckles.
Coyote Sunrise - Paperback novel - A 12 year old girl who has been traveling on a heart-filled road trip with her dad in a refurbished school bus for five years. A story that makes you want to hug the world.
Most of these books are just a click away on Amazon. But, when things start opening up, treat yourself to a day at the library. You may rediscover and enjoy something we used to do all the time. There are a lot more things to check out besides books and it’s free!!