Phew! Aren’t we all glad that the examinations are finally over? I hope all the efforts you have put into your revisions have borne fruit. Do not feel blue, however, if your results fail to live up to your expectations. Remember, there is always room for improvement, as long as you keep on trying.
Now that the year-end holiday is right round the corner, I am going to suggest to you 5 graphic novels you can check out. I know that some parents are not too keen about their children reading graphic novels because they do not see them as “real” books but let me try to convince you why you should allow your children to read graphic novels:
Graphic novels are great for reluctant readers. There are some children who struggle to finish traditional texts because they find it hard to focus on so many words on a page. As such, graphic novels may appeal to them because the words are usually accompanied with eye-catching illustrations. More often than not, the illustrations serve to reinforce the words, working together to tell the story and thus helping young readers gain a better understanding of what is happening.
Graphic novels add variety to a reading diet. As adults, think about the different types of reading we do throughout the week – newspapers for current affairs, blog posts for tips, novels for pleasure etc. Similarly, children who are already avid readers need a variety in their reading diet so as not to experience fatigue. Also, some graphic novels are actually adaptations of classics so such readers may pick up a classic on their own.
Graphic novels help with critical reading skills. When reading a graphic novel, a child is actually involved in decoding and comprehending complex literary devices such as metaphor, symbolism and point of view. On top of that, he or she needs to process information differently than how he or she normally would when processing prose. Such visual literacy skills are useful in this current world where students are expected to navigate information presented visually through websites, videos and other types of interactive media.
Graphic novels support vocabulary learning. Many studies have shown that graphic novels tend to utilise rarer or more difficult words, compared to traditional books. As such, there is a greater opportunity for a child who reads graphic novels to be exposed to and acquire new and interesting words. There is also the benefit of having visuals to support this learning because a young reader can use the visual clues to help them deduce the meaning of new words. Take a look at the example below:
(excerpt taken from http://www.maxbrallier.com/the-last-kids-on-earth)
I like how the writer, Max Brailler, describe the the villain using vivid verbs and adjectives, such as ‘massive hand’, ‘crushing grip’, ‘his gaping nostrils flair’ and ‘sinister smirk’. From just a short excerpt, it is clear that reading graphic novels do expose young readers to exciting vocabulary that they can use in their own writing.
When choosing graphic novels, parents should consider what topics might interest their children and whether these are age-appropriate. Below, I have listed 5 novels which I hope you and your children will find worthy enough to add to your shelf. These have been chosen because they have been highly recommended by teachers, students, book critics and parents.
Real Friends (written by Shannon Hale and illustrated by LeUyen Pham)
By Shannon Hale
Based on her own real life experiences, Newbery Honor author Shannon Hale explores the theme of friendship in this short but interesting book. Young readers, especially girls, will have no problems relating to the quirky and friendly main character as she deals with issues such as sibling rivalry and bullying. Praised as being ‘fresh and funny’ in the New York Times Book Review section, this book teaches readers that good friends are people who treat you well and who can see how amazing you are. Watch a trailer of the book when you visit http://readrealfriends.com and check out all the other cool things there (you can even download a worksheet to draw your own comic!).
Summary from back cover:
Shannon and Adrienne have been best friends ever since they were little. But one day, Adrienne starts hanging out with Jen, the most popular girl in class and the leader of a circle of friends called The Group. Everyone in The Group wants to be Jen’s #1, and some girls would do anything to stay on top . . . even if it means bullying others. Now every day is like a roller coaster for Shannon. Will she and Adrienne stay friends? Can she stand up for herself? And is she in The Group―or out?
Suitable for: Primary 3 and above
Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made (written and illustrated by Stephan Pastis)
Meet Timmy, an eleven-year-old who owns a detective agency called Total Failure Inc. and who has a polar bear as a pet. Young readers who enjoy Diary of a Wimpy Kid will find its format familiar, with humorous black-and-white illustrations accompanying the text. In this first book of the series, join Timmy as he tries to solve the mystery of his mother’s stolen Segway. Check out the official website (http://www.timmyfailure.com/the-books/) for more information about the books and other fun stuff.
Summary from back cover:
Take Timmy Failure—the clueless, comically self-confident CEO of a budding investigative empire. Add his impressively lazy business partner, a very large polar bear named Total. Of course, his plan does not include the four-foot-tall female whose name shall not be uttered. And it doesn’t include Rollo Tookus, who is so obsessed with getting into “Stanfurd” that he can’t carry out a no-brain spy mission. Or Molly Moskins, who smells like a tangerine and is crazy about Timmy, making her his obvious (and only) prime suspect.
Suitable for: Primary 3 and above
Ghosts (written and illustrated by Raina Telgemeier)