By Caitlin Giffin

At the Sunnyside Library children’s department, we go wild for graphic novels! It is one of our most popular collections, especially with the school-age crowd, and it is no surprise why. Captivating illustrations and interesting storylines provide a pleasurable reading experience that goes beyond the traditional novel. As well as getting kids excited about reading, graphic novels can help improve visual and print literacies and introduce new and exciting forms of storytelling. There are so many diverse stories being told in this format. Whether you like fantasy, history, humour or anything in between, there is a graphic novel for you. Here are a few new titles I think you or your child will really enjoy. Happy reading!

You can find these titles and many more at the Ottawa Public Library.

Caitlin Giffin is a children’s programs and public service assistant at the Sunnyside Branch of the Ottawa Public Library.

The Sleepover,
by Michael Regina

Calling all horror fans! The Sleepover is a major spooky read, so this one is for readers with nerves of steel only. Matthew is reeling from the loss of his beloved caregiver Ruby, and when his friends come over for a sleepover to get his mind off the grief, it looks like they are in for a fun night of snacks and scary movies. But the new babysitter Miss Swan is not what she seems, and the night quickly becomes a battle for their lives. Besides being a real page turner, Regina’s use of colour to signal flashbacks and moments of danger is a wonderful way to teach young people about narrative techniques.

Stealing Home,
by J. Torres

Illustrated by David Namisato

The internment of Japanese Canadians during WWII, a dark moment in Canadian history, is told through the experiences of one young boy and his family. Sandy loves baseball, especially playing catch with his dad and watching local heroes, the Vancouver Asahi, win city championships. But when the Canadian government begins detaining and interning British Columbians of Japanese descent, Sandy and his family must adjust to being treated like enemies in their own country. In their new imposed home at the camp, baseball becomes a symbol of hope and resilience for Sandy. Torres handles this difficult subject matter with care and frankness, and an informative afterword makes this title a great learning resource.

Another Kind,
by Cait May and Trevor Beam

Illustrated by Cait May

Another Kind centres on six children who are inhabitants of a top-secret government facility known only as “the Playroom.” But these are no ordinary kids. Called “irregularities” by their handlers, they are supernatural beings with amazing powers who must hide from a world that doesn’t understand them. When their safe haven is infiltrated by the henchmen of a nefarious stranger known only as the Collector, the kids are forced on an adventure-packed journey across the United States to find a safe place they can call their own. Although the characters are out of this world, readers will enjoy this book’s very human themes, such as gender identity, community and mutual aid. Cait May’s detailed and lively illustrations really make this story pop.

Amethyst, Princess of Gemworld,
by Shannon and Dean Hale

Illustrated by Asiah Fulmore

The newest series by superstar writing duo Shannon and Dean Hale does not disappoint. After years of living on Earth as punishment for troublemaking behaviour, Princess Amaya is called back to defend the Amethyst kingdom from a terrible magical monster intent on destroying everything in its path. Amethyst has some of the same elements which made the Hales’ Princess in Black series so popular, making it the perfect choice for young fans ready to take the next step on their reading journey. Capable yet mischievous female characters, lots of adventure and laughs along the way and Asiah Fulmore’s pretty, pastel illustrations are sure to be a crowd pleaser.

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