Graphic Novels for Emerging and Transitional Readers

by Dianne White on June 26, 2012

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BENJAMIN BEAR in Fuzzy Thinking by Philippe Coudray

BENJAMIN BEAR in Fuzzy Thinking is a book that was a satisfying match for one particular boy in my classroom this year. His reading skills were strong. He was able to read grade level material, but he was hard to please. Nothing that I came up with seemed to meet with his approval. Until, that is, he was introduced to Benjamin Bear. It was short, easy to read, and each page featured a new episode in the life of Benjamin. More importantly, this student loved the jokes on each and every page and couldn’t wait to share his enthusiasm for this, his new favorite book.

This is what reading is all about and, sometimes we – parents, teachers, and librarians – have to keep looking until that one special book sparks an interest, lights a fire, and causes a child who’s been a reluctant reader to blossom.

NURSERY RHYME COMICS  (50 Timeless Rhymes from 50 Celebrated Cartoonists)

Jeanette recommended Nursery Rhyme Comics in a post HERE, but it’s really so good, it’s worth mentioning again. First and most importantly, it’s a book of nursery rhymes which, if I had my way, would be a part of all early childhood listening/reciting/reading experiences. But many of today’s parents weren’t raised with these traditional rhymes and tales, and as such, there are at least as many children who don’t begin school with these in their repertoire. What better way to introduce rhymes to a new generation of kids!

As the editor, Chris Duffy, notes in an afterward, “Some rhymes were old in Shakespeare’s time; some come from songs recorded in the twentieth century. It’s a tradition of appropriation and change… The power they have is partly due to their catch-as-catch-can origins and their continuing fluidity.

Nursery rhymes have a mysterious hold over children and adults…”

Start with the mysterious appeal, mix in nursery rhymes’ tradition of change (or mutation, as Duffy likes to refer to it), commission fifty award-winning cartoonists to illustrate the rhymes, and you’re automatically ensured a win-win situation.

This is a book to read, savor, and share with your favorite child or grandchild.

BAKE SALE by Sara Varon

Cupcake has grown bored of his job as owner of and pastry chef at the Sweet Tooth Bakery. He’s looking for a change and his best friend Eggplant has a plan. The two of them will travel to Turkey to visit Eggplant’s Aunt Aubergine, a well-known Istanbul chef, recent cookbook author, and business partner with the famous Food Channel star, Turkish Delight.

But traveling half-way around the world is expensive, and even the best laid plans, well … don’t always pan out. Cupcake is faced with a dilemma. Fulfill his dream to meet the world-famous baking idol and recapture his baking edge? Or help his friend, Eggplant, take the trip of a lifetime.

 This wacky juxtaposition of silly and serious is inherently entertaining and undeniably satisfying.

 Find a ReaderKidZ review of another Sara Varon graphic novel, ROBOT DREAMS, here.

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