Google+ Mom to 2 Posh Lil Divas

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

15 Graphic Novels for Tweens (9-12 Yr. Olds) Not To Be Missed!

The Oldest Diva is a HUGE fan of graphic novels. It's definitely one of her preferred genre to read so I am always on the lookout for new finds for her to enjoy. We wanted to share a few of our NOT TO BE MISSED recent finds with you.

Nimona - Let me start by saying that the Oldest Diva sat down to read this book and never looked back up until she was done. It pulled her in immediately and wouldn't let go. We are hoping there is more in store for Nimona in the near future. The story is one of heroes & villains, magic and lots of heart and humor. Nimona is a shapeshifter. She is also sidekick to a villain. Not what you were expecting? That's the point! Baluster Blackheart isn't your average villain. I won't spoil the plot for you - you have to read it!

Bone Series - These books popped up often and I was always hesitant to even take a peek inside. The Oldest Diva came upon this one herself and wanted to read it so I caved. I'll be honest, I'm still not 100% sure what the Bones are but I think that's part of the charm. Either way, the Oldest Diva really enjoys the series and there are quite a few books to enjoy. She finds them very humorous and filled with adventure. The Bones are always up to some type of shenanigans with danger looming nearby (and monsters!). This series is not MY favorite but children will definitely enjoy it.

Awkward - Graphic novel meets realistic fiction. The characters and plot are exactly what you'd expect to see in a middle school setting. This one is definitely relatable to the age group it's intended for. It's full of diverse characters which I loved and goes beyond the typical cool versus nerd plot. Peppi and Jamie are in rival clubs (Science vs Art) each vying for a table at the school club fair. The story follows the evolution of their friendship through their competition.

Sunny Side Up - This one has undertones of some more serious content but I thought it was handled very well. Sunny is sent to spend the summer with her grandfather in Florida at his retirement home. We find out that her brother is having serious issues with substance abuse and things at home have been anything but sunny. The topic is handled delicately and is a great opportunity to open up discussion with children about drug use. Don't let it make you shy away from the book - it's only a small part of what happens here. The real story is Sunny and her friendships, feelings and transformation. This one is a gem and one of my personal favorites.

Cardboard - The story has a sad beginning - Cam has lost his mom, his Dad doesn't have a job and there is no money for birthday presents. So Cam gets a cardboard box for his birthday. Only, it's not just any cardboard box. It comes to life when they build a boxer. Adventure ensues when a spoiled neighbor steals some of the magical cardboard and creates evil monsters. The story has action, lots of heart and is definitely imaginative.

Ghostopolis - Written by the same author as Cardboard (see above). The Oldest Diva was pulled in by the creative story, great characters and amazing artwork. Garth finds himself sucked into the afterlife but he's still alive. The book centers around his journey to find his way home. Along the way he finds he has some amazing powers which come in handy as he faces off with Ghostopolis' evil ruler. This one comes highly recommended by the Oldest Diva! Just beware that sensitive children may find some of the images frightening - it is the afterlife after all.

Dream Jumper (Nightmare Escape Book 1) - Ben is a Dream Jumper - he travels into other peoples dreams to help them with their nightmares. The story was a quick, fast paced read and a promising start to the series. The Oldest Diva enjoyed it and definitely wants to see where it goes and what happens next.

The Popularity Papers - I definitely judged this book by its cover & I'll admit it - I was wrong. When the Oldest Diva showed it to me I tried to convince her to put it back on the library shelf because it looked silly (cheesy). She insisted she wanted to read it so I shrugged it off. Of course, she started reading it right away and all I could hear was her laughing - over and over again. Curious, I sat and read a few pages with her and found myself chuckling too. Lydia and Julie are the kind of characters you can't help but like. They are two 5th grade girls that are determined to crack the code to popularity. The book is their private notebook (the pages look like a handwritten diary). The story was touching and a powerful testament to friendship. The Oldest Diva can't wait to read the next one in the series! If you have a Dork Diaries or Wimpy Kids fan - they won't want to miss this series.

Space Dumplins - The artwork was definitely fun and the story was intriguing. Violet is on a mission to find/save her dad.  What the Oldest Diva really enjoyed - all the references to potty humor. It simply made her laugh to read about whale poop. There is a storyline here and most kids will probably enjoy it but this was not one of my personal faves as an adult reader.

Sidekicks - Captain Amazing is looking for a sidekick. Who better to help him than his own super power wielding pets! This was such a fast, fun feel good read. Who doesn't enjoy pets with superpowers? The story is a great blend of action, adventure, friendship and humor. I can see children having imaginative adventures with their own sidekick pets after reading this one.

Dragon Girl - There is just something magical and endearing about baby dragons. Alanna is an orphan who finds dragon eggs and steps in to be a surrogate "mom" to a baby dragon whose mom was killed. The story was a quick, fun read for the Oldest Diva. I must mention that the illustrations are in black and white which is a bit different.

Lumberjanes - The Lil Divas are Girl Scouts so I couldn't resist picking up this graphic novel about "scouts". The plot was a bit all over the place and filled with weird magical creatures supernatural elements but the Oldest Diva laughed out loud reading this one so it definitely worked for her. What I liked was that at it's core it was about a strong friendship. Friendship and lots of silly, adventurous moments at camp - basically what any young girl wants for her summer. It was a great summer read and the Oldest Diva has already requested the next novel in the series.

Rapunzel's Revenge - We love fairy tales and are always open to exploring a well known favorite with a new twist. That's exactly what we got from Rapunzel's Revenge. The tale is set in the west, with a spunky Rapunzel using her long braids to rope, lasso and wrangle. She is brave and curious and definitely not a damsel in distress. This novel was fun, full adventure and one you'll definitely be glad you read. We'll definitely be reading more by Shannon Hale.

Coraline - If you like creepy stories then this one is for you. You may have read the original novel but the graphic novel is perfect for a quick read or to entice reluctant readers who shy away from longer books. I think this book to comic adaptation was well done. It's definitely not for everyone - if your child is sensitive or scares easy you may want to read it first. The story of Caroline and the "Others" is creepy and can be downright scary for some.

If you enjoy the book be sure to check out the movie too.

Flora & Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures - This is a hybrid of sorts - it's not 100% a graphic novel, nor is it strictly a chapter book - it's a bit of both. It is also a fantastically clever book that children and adults who have a fondness for children's books will love. Flora is a precocious 10 year old girl.  Ulysses is a squirrel who was sucked by a vacuum cleaner and gains super powers. Together they are the perfect team! Who wouldn't want a super squirrel as their best friend? We genuinely laughed out loud reading this book which doesn't happen very often. Despite that, the book dealt with some very real emotional topics such as divorce and loneliness. There is also some advanced vocabulary in the book. I personally like when children learn new words in the midst of a good book. I'll admit even I had to look up a few of them - now that's something! Overall, we found this book funny, entertaining and heartwarming - you won't want to miss it.

Don't forget to check out our previously shared list 10 Graphic Novels for Girls (8-12 Years Old for even more amazing graphic novels, it includes some of her all time faves!

Happy Reading,

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Awesome Novels for 9-12 year olds

The Lil Divas have been reading lots of GREAT BOOKS
We knew we just had to share them with you. 
These were books that they couldn't put down
Books that pulled them in and begged for just one more page
In other words, books that we have no doubt your 9-12 year old reader 
will enjoy just as much as we did! 

This book is the 2013 Newberry Medal winner and with good reason. Wow, did it tug at our heartstrings! Ivan is so endearing you almost forget you are reading a book about a silverback gorilla. You simply can't help but fall in love with this unassuming hero. Tears were shed as we read this book but it was worth it. They were the kind of tears you shed when you are invested in the characters and the story feels real to you - so real that you can't help but cry when they struggle and triumph. If you haven't already read this one - don't miss it! My suggestion - read it together so you can share the experience. 
I am a big fan of YA fiction like The Hunger Games, Divergent and The Maze Runner. There's just something about a good post-apocalyptic storyline that draws me in. The City of Ember does not disappoint if you're looking for a similar type of read. The lights of Ember (a forgotten underground city/civilization) are dimming and Lina and Doon are worried about their diminishing resources. I don't want to spoil the book (or those that come after) so I won't give away the plot except to say that of course Lina and Doon must save the day. The journey they embark on will keep your readers turning the pages and be ready to get your hands on the rest of the series. You'll definitely want to find out what happens next! Also, there was a movie made of the story that you might want to check out AFTER you read the book of course. 

Rules was a 2007 Newberry Honor Book about 12yr. old Catherine and her 8yr. old autistic younger brother, David. It was a moving book about friendship, family and being different. It also offers a peek into a topic that most children won't know much about unless personally touched by autism in some way. It was open and honest and explored so many of the natural feelings that children face. The characters will definitely stay with you long after the last page has been read. 
If I'm being honest, this one I ordered for MYSELF to read. So, I decided that we should read it together. It's the story of Melody, a girl who can neither walk nor talk. Melody is a genius trapped in her own body due to cerebral palsy. She is a powerful character - I loved her! This is certainly the type of book that opens up dialogue and discussion about people with special needs. If only we had such clear insight into the minds of all those we meet. 

Yes, it's yet another dystopian novel but this one has some magical elements. What caught my attention and prompted me to buy the book was the tagline claiming it was a cross between Hunger Games and Harry Potter. How could I not pick it up? The basic storyline involves twins who are pit against each other when one is deemed wanted and the other is an unwanted.  The "unwanteds" are purged from society and face extinction upon arrival at the Death Farm. They are actually secreted away to a magical place called Artime where they are free and encouraged to be creative. In turn, the docile "wanteds" are kept within the society because they are rule followers. Of course, a battle between the two ensue. This was not our favorite read and be forewarned - it was a bit long, but it was enjoyable to read together. We'll definitely be reading the next book in the series. 

I adored Stargirl for being true to herself. She stands out amongst every other student at Mica Area HS. She is friendly, mysterious, self-confident and and does things her way regardless of what is considered popular. The story is told from the perspective of Leo - the boy she likes. We are faced with his struggle to fit in and be popular and his feelings for Stargirl. You can't help but both understand and loathe him because of how he treats Stargirl. It leaves lots of room for great discussion. One thing to beware of reading this book with younger children is that it does have some more mature themes (brief kiss, dating references, etc) as the characters are in high school but there was nothing inappropriate or that children don't see watching tv. 
This is such an enchanting story. Winnie Foster's life is boring and unexciting. Everyday is the same with her overprotective family. She longs to be free then she comes across the Tuck family. The Tucks drank from a magical spring and never age. They are rather stuck in time. While most of us think that we'd like not aging the story shows that life is indeed a cycle and it should move accordingly.  “Don’t be afraid of death; be afraid of an unlived life. You don't have to live forever, you just have to live.” The decision Winnie has to make (to drink or not to drink) is one we all feel like we make with her. Once you read the book, be sure to watch the movie!

This was one I read myself and was so blown away that I re-read it with the Lil Divas! I will start by saying that this book had me in tears. I LOVED Auggie! He is one of those characters that we are likely to never forget. This book truly grabs hold of you and won't let go. Auggie has a facial deformity so he has been homeschooled all his life but heads to public school for the first time in 5th grade. He is taunted and some people are just horribly cruel and heartless BUT he also makes the most wonderful friends. If you don't read any other books from this list - read this one! 
This is a perfect sci-fi book for young readers not ready to delve into older/longer sci-fi fiction. Katie is unlike other children so she is an outcast among her peers. She is extremely intelligent (gifted), has silver eyes and paranormal powers as a result of her mom drinking a strange liquid when pregnant. Katie uncovers there are other children just like her whose mothers also drank the strange liquid. Tired of feeling alone, she sets out to find the others that are like her. The story reinforces the lesson that we are all special.  Through Katie we see that we should be accepting of each other's differences because they are what make us unique. 

If you enjoy stories with fairy tale elements this is one you won't want to miss. Ophelia discovers a boy locked in a museum by the Snow Queen for 300 years. He has been waiting for her. It's up to her to join the fight against evil to save the world only she doesn't even believe in magic.  The story's very well done. There were a few points where it dragged but overall, it was intriguing, well written and the characters are definitely endearing. 
I love mysteries and it's not easy to find a good one in children's literature. Serafina and the Black Cloak was suspenseful, creepy and the kind of read that pulls you in and won't let go until you've (sadly) reached the last page.Children are disappearing at the Biltmore Estate and Serafina is sure that the black cloaked man she spotted is to blame. The book had wonderful twists & turns and was just dark enough to keep you on the edge of your seat but wanting to turn the pages to see what happens next. Serafina is definitely a character we hope to see more of in the future. 

This was a beautiful story about friendship, growing up, life & death, family and more. Annie has cancer and is at an art camp via the Make-A-Wish foundation when she befriends Peter.   Peter is a loner while Annie is all about living life to the fullest. They make the perfect pair! This story gave us so much to talk about and we ALL enjoyed it. Annie grabbed hold of me - she's the kind of friend we all want for our children. 

Do you have any great "must read" books to share with us? 
We'd love to hear about them!  

Happy Reading,
Bern & The Little Divas