Comic books and graphic novels can help combat the 'summer slide'

Royivia Ferguson  //  Jun 24, 2019

Comic books and graphic novels can help combat the 'summer slide'

Comic books and graphic novels are having a moment, and it’s about time! Dav Pilkey’s Dogman and Captain Underpants books, Kazu Kibuishi’s Amulet series, and everything from Raina Telgemeier keep kids excited about reading all year round, and that includes during the summer! Encouraging kids to read more for fun when school is out can often feel like a herculean task, but it doesn’t have to be. Comic books and graphic novels make for great summer reads, and like novels and chapter books, can help kids combat the summer slide.

Comics and graphic novels have a unique appeal as they are nearly equally as popular among frequent, moderate and infrequent readers. They especially begin to capture the attention of kids beginning at age eight—which is right when we start to see a decline in kids reading for fun according to findings from the Scholastic Kids & Family Reading Report. Yet, when it comes to book preferences, 37% of kids ages 9–11 say that they enjoy reading comic books and 27% say that they enjoy reading graphic novels. The illustrated formats may be the perfect fit for your young reader to keep them reading while school is out.

Don’t know where to start? We’ve included a list of some of our favorites below! You can also get recommendations from your local library or bookstore for more page-turners that will captivate your kids. Most importantly, let your kid choose what book interests them—a majority of kids (89%) agree their favorite books are the ones that they have picked out themselves.

And don’t forget: as kids enjoy a comic book or graphic novel this summer, they can enter their reading minutes in the Scholastic Read-a-Palooza Summer Reading Challenge, and help unlock 200,000 book donations for kids across the country! Kids can join the Challenge now through September 6.

Young Readers (Ages 5-10)

Bird & Squirrel on the Run (Bird & Squirrel #1) by James Burks

Bird and Squirrel outwit Cat and become best friends in this zany adventure

Squirrel is afraid of his own shadow. Bird doesn't have a care in the world. And Cat wants to eat Bird and Squirrel. Of course, he'll have to catch them first, and that's not going to be easy.

Join this trio as they head south for the winter in a hilarious road trip. But watch out! Cat is waiting around every bend, and he's one pesky feline.

Dog Man by Dav Pilkey 

Howl with laughter with Dog Man, the internationally bestselling series from Dav Pilkey, the creator of Captain Underpants!

George and Harold have created a new breed of justice -- one that is part dog, part man, and ALL HERO! With the head of a dog and the body of a human, this heroic hound digs into deception, claws after crooks, rolls over robbers, and scampers after squirrels. Will he be able to resist the call of the wild to answer the call of duty? Dav Pilkey's wildly popular Dog Man series appeals to readers of all ages and explores universally positive themes, including empathy, kindness, persistence, and the importance of being true to one's self.

Don’t miss Dog Man: For Whom the Ball Rolls, available August 13, 2019


Mr. Wolf’s Class
 
by Aron Nels Steinke
 

From Eisner Award-winning creator Aron Nels Steinke, a vibrant, funny new series that charmingly captures the everyday antics of a fourth-grade classroom!

Mr. Wolf has just started teaching at Hazelwood Elementary. He wants the first day of school to go well, but he's got his hands full with his new class. Some of his students include: Margot, who is new in town and is trying to make friends. Sampson, who brought something special to school for show-and-tell. Aziza, who just wants everyone to be quiet and do their work. And Penny, who is VERY sleepy because she has a new baby brother at home, goes missing! This delightful new series captures the everyday -- and unexpected -- ups and downs of a fourth-grade classroom.

Don’t miss Lucky Stars (Mr. Wolf’s Class #3), available September 3, 2019

Wolfie Monster and the Big Bad Pizza Battle by Joey Ellis 

Available June 25, 2019

Three monster brothers get into trouble in a wacky adventure to save their failing pizza parlor!

Monster brothers Wolfie, Jackson, and Roy are in for some serious competition when the gigantic corporation, Happy Leaf, moves into their hometown of Oak Hollow and wants to buy their pizza parlor. But not all is on the up-and-up when they discover the villainous CEO, Lord Mudpant, wants to turn the townspeople into zombies. Can the boys set aside their squabbles long enough to thwart Mudpant's nefarious plans?!

Middle Grade (Ages 8-12)

Catwad: It’s Me by Jim Benton 

An all-new series from New York Times bestselling author, Jim Benton!

From New York Times bestselling author Jim Benton, meet Catwad! He's blue, he's a bit of a grouch, and his best friend is a dim-witted cat named Blurmp who can see the bright side of anything. From pizza and computers, to love and happiness, this crabby tabby has a funny take on just about everything, and he's not afraid to share it. This collection of short comic stories will make even the grumpiest of grouches crack up and is not to be missed!

Don’t miss Catwad: It’s Me, Two available September 17, 2019

Dugout: The Zombie Steals Home by Scott Morse

Available June 25, 2019

Twins Stacy and Gina Cavallaro are on rival little league teams, and when Gina accidentally unleashes a curse that wakes the dead, Stacy's misfit team gets coached by a baseball-playing zombie!

Twins Stacy and Gina Cavallaro are rivals on the baseball field, each pitching for a different little league team. Gina is a sports whiz and the star of her crack team, while Stacy's band of misfits hasn't won a game all season. The battling sisters also happen to be the youngest in a long line of local witches. So when Gina's magic spins out of control and her spell accidentally raises a zombie, the girls have to set aside their differences and figure out how to make everything going wrong, go right. And Stacy's team of misfits-Billy, Sanchez, Levi, Beans, Paddy, Killroy, Gomez, and Boots-must band together to save the day!

Glitch by Sarah Graley 

From comics rising star Sarah Graley, a fresh and funny middle-grade graphic novel featuring a girl who must save a virtual world... and her own!

Izzy has an incredible secret -- she can enter the world of her new video game! She meets Rae, a robot who says Izzy is destined to save Dungeon City from the Big Boss. How is this possible?! And how can she fight for this virtual world when she's got a whole real life to keep up with: her family (though she could do without her mom's annoying cat), and her best friend, Eric. Things get even weirder when Izzy loses a life while inside the game, and she starts to worry about what might happen if she gets a Game Over for good. Meanwhile, Eric has been super upset with Izzy since she's been keeping secrets and bailing on their plans. Can Izzy survive Dungeon City and save their friendship?

Making Friends by Kristen Gudsnuk 

Danielle needs a perfect friend, but sometimes making (or creating) one is a lot easier than keeping one!

Sixth grade was SO much easier for Danny. All her friends were in the same room and she knew exactly what to expect out of life. Now that she's in seventh grade, she's in a new middle school, her friends are in different classes and forming new cliques, and she is totally, completely lost. What Danny really needs is a new best friend! So when she inherits a magic sketchbook from her eccentric great-aunt in which anything she sketches in it comes to life, she draws Madison, the most amazing, perfect, and awesome best friend ever.

The thing is, even when you create a best friend, there's no guarantee they'll always be your best friend. Especially when they discover they've been created with magic!

Don’t miss Making Friends: Back to the Drawing Board, available July 30, 2019

Out from Boneville (Bone #1) by Jeff Smith 

The first book in Jeff Smith's New York Times bestselling, award-winning graphic novel series featuring an unlikely hero who must save an idyllic valley from the forces of evil.

After being run out of Boneville, the three Bone cousins -- Fone Bone, Phoney Bone, and Smiley Bone -- are separated and lost in a vast, uncharted desert. One by one, they find their way into a deep, forested valley filled with wonderful and terrifying creatures. Eventually, the cousins are reunited at a farmstead run by tough Gran'ma Ben and her spirited granddaughter, Thorn. But little do the Bones know, there are dark forces conspiring against them and their adventures are only just beginning!             
                           

Share Your Smile: Raina’s Guide to Telling Your Town Story by Raina Telgemeier 

Get ready to journal and learn to tell your own story with Raina Telgemeier, the #1 New York Times bestselling creator of Smile, Sisters, Drama, and Ghosts!

Have you ever thought about telling your own story, whether it be true or imagined? Are you interested in writing, drawing, or both? If the answers are yes, this fun, colorful, and interactive journal is for you! With guidance from Raina herself, brainstorm ideas, make lists, paste in personal photos, and use your imagination like never before to create your own stories. For additional inspiration, behind-the-scenes info from Raina's own comics-making adventures is featured inside.

Don’t miss Raina’s next graphic novel, Guts, available September 17, 2019. A special sneak peek is included in this book!

Sunny Side Up by Jennifer L. Holm, illustrated by Matthew Holm 

"A humorous yet emotional story with a memorable protagonist and detailed full-color art that make this a perfect choice for fans of Raina Telgemeier." -- School Library Journal

Sunny Lewin has been packed off to Florida to live with her grandfather for the summer. At first she thought Florida might be fun -- it is the home of Disney World, after all. But the place where Gramps lives is no amusement park. It’s full of . . . old people. Really old people.

Luckily, Sunny isn’t the only kid around. She meets Buzz, a boy who is completely obsessed with comic books, and soon they’re having adventures of their own: facing off against golfball-eating alligators, runaway cats, and mysteriously disappearing neighbors. But the question remains -- why is Sunny down in Florida in the first place? The answer lies in a family secret that won’t be secret to Sunny much longer…

Target Practice (Cleopatra in Space #1) by Mike Maihack 

A funny, action-packed graphic novel featuring a young Cleopatra -- yes, THAT Cleopatra -- who's transported to the future and learns it's up to her to save the galaxy!

When a young Cleopatra (yes, THAT Cleopatra) finds a mysterious tablet that zaps her to the far, REALLY far future, she learns of an ancient prophecy that says she is destined to save the galaxy from the tyrannical rule of the evil Xaius Octavian. She enrolls in Yasiro Academy, a high-tech school with classes like algebra, biology, and alien languages (which Cleo could do without), and combat training (which is more Cleo's style). With help from her teacher Khensu, Cleo learns what it takes to be a great leader, all while trying to figure out how she's going to get her homework done, make friends, and avoid detention!

The Baby-Sitters Club Graphic Novel: Kristy’s Great Idea by Ann M. Martin, illustrated by Raina Telgemeier 

Raina Telgemeier, using the signature style featured in her acclaimed graphic novels Smile and Sisters, perfectly captures all the drama and humor of the original novel!

Kristy, Mary Anne, Claudia, and Stacey are best friends and founding members of The Baby-sitters Club. Whatever comes up -- cranky toddlers, huge dogs, scary neighbors, prank calls -- you can count on them to save the day. Baby-sitting isn't always easy, and neither is dealing with strict parents, new families, fashion emergencies, and mysterious secrets. But no matter what, the BSC have what they need most: friendship.

Don’t miss Boy-Crazy Stacey (The Baby-Sitters Club Graphic Novel #7), available September 3, 2019

The Stonekeeper (Amulet #1) by Kazu Kibuishi

Graphic novel star Kazu Kibuishi creates a world of terrible, man-eating demons, a mechanical rabbit, a giant robot---and two ordinary children on a life-or-death mission.

After the tragic death of their father, Emily and Navin move with their mother to the home of her deceased great-grandfather, but the strange house proves to be dangerous. Before long, a sinister creature lures the kids' mom through a door in the basement. Em and Navin, desperate not to lose her, follow her into an underground world inhabited by demons, robots, and talking animals.

Eventually, they enlist the help of a small mechanical rabbit named Miskit. Together with Miskit, they face the most terrifying monster of all, and Em finally has the chance to save someone she loves.

The Witch Boy by Molly Ostertag 

From the illustrator of the web comic Strong Female Protagonist comes a debut middle-grade graphic novel about family, identity, courage -- and magic.

In thirteen-year-old Aster's family, all the girls are raised to be witches, while boys grow up to be shapeshifters. Anyone who dares cross those lines is exiled. Unfortunately for Aster, he still hasn't shifted . . . and he's still fascinated by witchery, no matter how forbidden it might be.

When a mysterious danger threatens the other boys, Aster knows he can help -- as a witch. It will take the encouragement of a new friend, the non-magical and non-conforming Charlie, to convince Aster to try practicing his skills. And it will require even more courage to save his family . . . and be truly himself.

Don’t miss The Midwinter Watch, available November 5th, 2019

Wings of Fire Graphic Novel #1: The Dragonet Prophecy by Tui T. Sutherland, illustrated by Mike Holmes 

Not every dragonet wants a destiny...

Clay has grown up under the mountain, chosen along with four other dragonets to fulfill a mysterious prophecy and end the war between the dragon tribes of Pyrrhia. He's not so sure about the prophecy part, but Clay can't imagine not living with the other dragonets; they're his best friends.

So when one of the dragonets is threatened, all five spring into action. Together, they will choose freedom over fate, leave the mountain, and fulfill their destiny -- on their own terms.

The New York Times bestselling Wings of Fire series takes flight in this first graphic novel edition, adapted by the author with art by Mike Holmes.

Don’t miss The Hidden Kingdom (Wings of Fire Graphic Novel #3), available October 15, 2019