From Superheroes to Supergeeks, 13 Middle Grade Graphic Novels | Summer Reading 2020

Some of it’s memoir, and some is made up, but all of it makes for delightful summer reading.

Some of it’s memoir, and some is made up, but all of it makes for delightful summer reading.

This Was Our Pact by Ryan Andrews. illus. by author. First Second. ISBN 9781250196958
Each year, during the Autumn Equinox Festival, the townsfolk release lanterns into the nearby river in honor of a local folk song. And every year, a group of boys ride their bikes along the river to follow the lanterns, always stopping partway through. This year, something is different.

Be Prepared by Vera Brosgol. illus. by author. First Second. ISBN 9781626724440.
A fictionalized graphic memoir captures the ups and downs (let's be honest-mostly downs) of a stint at a Russian Orthodox summer camp.

New Kid by Jerry Craft. illus. by author. HarperCollins. ISBN 9780062691200.
In the Newbery-winning graphic novel, Jordan Banks is anxious about being the new kid at Riverdale, especially since he'd rather be going to art school. He's even more nervous when he realizes that, unlike in his Washington Heights neighborhood, at Riverdale, he's one of the few kids of color.

Lois Lane and the Friendship Challenge by Grace Ellis. illus. by Brittney L. Williams. DC Comics. ISBN 9781401296377.
It’s Lois Lane as we’ve never seen her—envious, anti-journalism, and 13. Her biggest fear involves her best friend Kristen Li going away to summer camp without her, but that’s OK because Lois has plenty of activities to distract them from the impending separation—like building up an online brand by posting videos in which she pranks others.

Best Friends by Shannon Hale. Illus. by LeUyen Pham. First Second. ISBN 9781250317452.
Hale follows up her poignant graphic memoir Real Friends, which depicted the twists and turns of elementary school relationships.This time the author looks back on sixth grade.

All Summer Long by Hope Larson. illus. by author. Farrar. ISBN 9780374304850.
It's a summer of changes for 13-year-old Bina. Her best friend Austin is off to soccer camp, her oldest brother and his husband are adopting a baby, and nobody has time for Bina. The second book about Bina, All Together Now, is reviewed below.

All Together Now by Hope Larson. illus. by author. Farrar. ISBN 9780374311629.
Middle schoolers Bina and Darcy have a strong connection through their friendship and their music. When Enzo volunteers to be the new drummer in their band, at first it seems like it will work out well for everyone. But their relationships start changing into something new and unexpected: Darcy and Enzo against Bina.

book covers

Peng! Action Sports Adventures! by Corey Lewis. illus. by author. Oni. ISBN 9781620107577.
The members of the Foot Knux, an advanced kickball team from the All-World School of Sportsmanship, battle it out with supernatural powers in hopes of winning the championship. Talented in a variety of fringe sports, including Hacky Sack and break dancing, the athletes learn to master their special moves and beat their competitors no matter the stakes.

Dear Justice League by Michael Northrop. illus. by Gustavo Duarte. DC Zoom. ISBN 9781401284138.
In this engaging book, kids write to the Justice League superheroes, asking questions that many readers have probably wondered: Has Superman ever been less than perfect? Does Green Lantern get tired of wearing the same colors all the time? Does Aquaman smell like fish?

Anti/Hero by Kate Karyus Quinn & Dimitria Lunetta. illus. by Maca Gil. DC Comics. ISBN 9781401293253.
Piper’s and Sloane’s paths collide and they accidentally activate the invention: a body-switching device. Trapped in each other’s bodies, the two girls must work together to thwart evil plans.

The Okay Witch by Emma Steinkellner. illus. by author. Aladdin. ISBN 9781534431461.
With her frizzy hair, her gap teeth, and her lack of friends, 13-year-old Moth Hush doesn’t fit in at school. She discovers why she doesn’t belong—she’s not like everyone else. As her powers activate for the first time, Moth learns that she’s from a family of witches.

Guts by Raina Telgemeier. Illus. by author. Scholastic/Graphix. ISBN 9780545852517.
After her little sister brought home a case of stomach flu, young Raina woke up one night with an upset stomach and had to vomit. Then a boy in her class was made fun of for throwing up at school, and Raina worried about getting sick again. A new story from Telgemeier's childhood, this takes place when she was in the fourth and fifth grades.

Stargazing by Jen Wang. illus. by author. First Second. ISBN 9781250183873.
With her surreal drawings, her penchant for bright nail polish, her lax study habits, and her inability to speak Chinese, Moon Li is nothing like the other kids in her Chinese American community.

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