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Children’s Book Recommendations
Garlic and the Vampire
An enchanting, farm-fresh debut graphic novel starring an unusual heroine who is braver than she realizes, for middle grade readers looking for a cozy, adventuresome read in the vein of Witch Boy or Be Prepared.
Garlic feels as though she’s always doing something wrong. At least with her friend Carrot by her side and the kindly Witch Agnes encouraging her, Garlic is happy to just tend her garden, where it’s nice and safe.
But when her village of vegetable folk learns that a bloodthirsty vampire has moved into the nearby castle, they all agree that, in spite of her fear and self-doubt, Garlic is the obvious choice to confront him. And with everyone counting on her, Garlic reluctantly agrees to face the mysterious vampire, hoping she has what it takes.
After all, garlic drives away vampires…right?
Batman and Robin and Howard
Sidelined by a crime-fighting field trip gone wrong, Damian Wayne must refocus his attention on his life as an average student and learning how to be a team player--especially when he meets his match in his new rival, Howard.
To Damian Wayne, there is nothing more important than protecting the streets of Gotham City as Robin. But when he makes a critical mistake while out on patrol, Damian finds himself benched. And what's more, Damian's dad, Bruce Wayne--a.k.a. Batman--decides that starting over in a new school will be just the distraction Damian needs from his superhero routine.
Certain that Gotham Metro Academy has nothing to teach him, Damian is completely unprepared for the challenge he finds in Howard--the smartest and most athletic kid in school. The boys' rivalry is instantaneous and fierce...and both are sure only one of them can be the best in their class.
What follows is a funny story of rivalry, friendship, and mystery from bestselling author and illustrator Jeffrey Brown.
The Legend of Auntie Po
Part historical fiction, part magical realism, and 100 percent adventure. Thirteen-year-old Mei reimagines the myths of Paul Bunyan as starring a Chinese heroine while she works in a Sierra Nevada logging camp in 1885.
Aware of the racial tumult in the years after the passage of the Chinese Exclusion Act, Mei tries to remain blissfully focused on her job, her close friendship with the camp foreman's daughter, and telling stories about Paul Bunyan--reinvented as Po Pan Yin (Auntie Po), an elderly Chinese matriarch.
Anchoring herself with stories of Auntie Po, Mei navigates the difficulty and politics of lumber camp work and her growing romantic feelings for her friend Bee. The Legend of Auntie Po is about who gets to own a myth, and about immigrant families and communities holding on to rituals and traditions while staking out their own place in America.
Chef Yasmina and the Potato Panic
An American Library Association 2021 Best Graphic Novel for Children
In this silly, action-packed graphic novel, a young chef must protect her town from an onslaught of scientifically enhanced, highly addictive potatoes!
Yasmina isn’t like the other kids in her city. Maybe it’s the big chef hat she wears. Or the fact that she stuffs her dad’s lunchbox full of spring rolls instead of peanut butter and jelly. She might be an oddball, but no one can deny that Yasmina has a flair for food. All she needs to whip up a gourmet meal is a recipe from her cookbook and fresh vegetable form the community garden.
But everything changes when the garden is bulldozed and replaced with a strange new crop of potatoes. Her neighbors can’t get enough of these spuds! And after just one bite their behavior changes—they slobber, chase cats, and howl at the moon. What's the secret ingredient in these potatoes that has everyone acting like a bunch of crazed canines? Yasmina needs to find a cure, and fast!
Carlos Gomez Freestyles: Heavy on the Style
Loosely based on the artist's childhood in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, this graphic novel centers on Carlos Gomez and his family--the only Mexican family in their Midwestern town. When invited to participate in a talent competition at an upcoming RV show, Carlos decides to join the BMX stunt team and show his special flair. What could possibly go wrong? (This graphic novel encompasses the intersectionality of LatinX, LGBTQ, and disability.)
A People Magazine Best Book Fall 2021
From celebrated Indigenous author Thomas King and award-winning Métis artist Natasha Donovan comes a powerful graphic novel about a family caught between nations.
Borders is a masterfully told story of a boy and his mother whose road trip is thwarted at the border when they identify their citizenship as Blackfoot. Refusing to identify as either American or Canadian first bars their entry into the US, and then their return into Canada. In the limbo between countries, they find power in their connection to their identity and to each other.
Borders explores nationhood from an Indigenous perspective and resonates deeply with themes of identity, justice, and belonging.
Barb the Last Berzerker
She-Ra and the Princesses of Power meets Dav Pilkey’s Dog Man in this sidesplitting graphic novel about a young Berzerker who has to rescue her fellow warriors from the evil villain Witch Head before he destroys the world!
Barb is a Berzerker, one of a group of warriors sworn to protect the land of Bailiwick from the scourge of monsters that plagues it. But the fearsome crew seem to have met their match in the nefarious Witch Head. Using power from his magical sword, he tricked the Zerks and took them captive. Only Barb was able to escape—and she took Witch Head’s Shadow Blade with her.
Now it’s up to Barb to free her fellow warriors so they can stop Witch Head from taking over Bailiwick. On the way, she’ll battle vampire goat fiends, snot goblins, and a giant with serious foot odor issues (but don’t mention that to him—he’s very sensitive about it). Luckily, she’s got her best friend, Porkchop the yeti, to help her.
But the power of the Shadow Blade has a mind of its own, and the deeper Barb gets into her quest, the harder it is to keep the blade’s awesome power under control.
This middle grade graphic memoir by Charise Mericle Harper, featuring illustrations by Rory Lucey, follows a young girl who undergoes a crisis of conscience, realizing that she is a “bad sister.”
She’s energetic, helpful, a model pet owner and full of inventions.
But she’s also a bad sister. When she goes too far and breaks little brother Daniel’s tooth, can she redeem herself? Is an accident really an accident if you could have stopped it?
But most importantly... What does it mean to be a good sister?
A coming-of-age middle-grade graphic novel featuring a girl with severe allergies who just wants to find the perfect pet!
At home, Maggie is the odd one out. Her parents are preoccupied with getting ready for a new baby, and her younger brothers are twins and always in their own world. Maggie loves animals and thinks a new puppy is the answer, but when she goes to select one on her birthday, she breaks out in hives and rashes. She's severely allergic to anything with fur!
Can Maggie outsmart her allergies and find the perfect pet? With illustrations by Michelle Mee Nutter, Megan Wagner Lloyd draws on her own experiences with allergies to tell a heartfelt story of family, friendship, and finding a place to belong.
A young girl must stop a threat to her magical world in this epic graphic novel from New York Times bestselling author Marjorie Liu and remarkable debut illustrator Teny Issakhanian.
Zuli is extraordinary--she just doesn't realize it yet. Raised by mystical bird spirits in the branches of the Great Tree, she's never ventured beyond this safe haven. She's never had to. Until now.
When a sinister force threatens the life-giving magic of the tree, Zuli, along with her guardian owl, Frowly, must get to the root of it. So begins an adventure bigger than anything Zuli could've ever imagined--one that will bring her, along with some newfound friends, face-to-face with an ancient dragon, the so-called Witch-Queen, and most surprisingly of all: her true identity.
This captivating middle grade graphic novel, the first of a series, is perfect for fans of the Amulet books and the Wings of Fire series.
A Junior Library Guild Selection