For this month, with summer reading going on, I thought I’d recommend some bingo picks. Now, even though I have a specific bingo in mind, that doesn’t mean some books can’t be mixed and matched. A few, if not all of the books can fit into multiple categories. Also, I am a big believer in the story being the thing that counts, so even though the bingo is on the adult reading log, the books are a mix of juvenile, young adult, and adult fiction.
Friends with Boys by Faith Erin Hicks
Friends with Boys is a graphic novel about a girl named Maggie who is not only just starting high school, but is also going to public school for the first time. She has only ever been home schooled before. Her only classmates were her brothers. Now she is thrust into a world she doesn’t know how to navigate and is struggling to deal with her brothers having friends and activities that don’t include her. It is a nice coming of age story with budding friendships, the perils of fitting in, and even ghosts. The artwork is really detailed and done well enough that I don’t miss the inner monologue and descriptions that you would find in other novels.
Other graphic novels you may consider are...
Playing For Pizza by John Grisham
Okay, so this one was the square I was least looking forward to. Sports fiction is not usually my go-to genre, the bingo is definitely doing its job in making me branch out with this one. Playing for Pizza was a surprise. It was really interesting and it draws you in quickly. The character Rick Dockery is a third string quarterback (That’s right, I now know what a quarterback is!) who is in the hospital after what could be considered the single worst performance in NFL history. He took an almost guaranteed win and trip to the super bowl and destroyed it. He is cut from the team and no one else will take his agent's calls, let alone let him near their team. He is getting death threats and his agent is telling him to call it quits, but he won’t. He refuses to give up on his painful career and takes his only offer. He goes to Parma, Italy to play for the Panthers. Playing for Pizza is a light read filled with food and humor.
Other sports fiction you might consider are...
The Kept Woman by Karin Slaughter
The Kept Woman is a really intense read. It is a detective mystery with a few twists and turns that surprised and made it a new favorite of mine. I quickly got caught up in the characters with all their problems surrounding the case and their relationships. The Kept Woman follows GBI's investigator Will Trent while he investigates the murder of an ex-cop and the secrets that surround it. The Kept Woman is actually the eighth in a series that follows Will Trent, but it can be read alone. I started with The Kept Woman and liked it so much that I went back and read the rest.
This book has violence, swearing, and abuse. So be careful. It is a darker book than I usually recommend, but if you don’t mind that, it really is worth it.
Other Mystery you might consider are...
The Good Guy by Dean Koontz
The Good Guy is about a stone mason Timothy Carrier who is at the bar with friends after work when a nervous man sits beside him. He is passed an envelope filled with cash and picture. “Ten thousand now. You get the rest when she’s gone.” So he has a choice, ignore it or help the woman in the photo. With the title “The Good Guy” you can guess what he chose. The problem is the man who was actually hired for the job doesn’t give up that easily, and he does not appreciate someone interfering in his work.
The Good Guy has some creepy, twisted, and violent bits when you’re in the point of view of the killer, but it is a mostly clean read.
Other suspense novels you might consider are...
Made Into a Movie
Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine
Ella Enchanted is one of my all-time favorite books and if you have only seen the movie you are missing out. The movie isn’t a bad movie by itself. However, it, like most movies, only scratches the surface of the book, and takes a few too many artistic licenses. The movie is fine and flashy and all that, but the book is so much better. Ella Enchanted, if you haven’t heard of it, is a story about a girl who was given the gift of obedience from a fairy named Lucinda. She has to do whatever she is told to do. When her mother dies and her father remarries Ella is put in a really difficult situation, because her step-mother and step-sisters don’t know about the curse. That doesn’t stop them from using her uncanny obedience though. So at first chance Ella sets out on a quest to find Lucinda the fairy and have her undo the curse.
Other Books Made Into A Movie You Might Consider Are...
(Let’s just say that if you have seen a movie based on a book, the book deserves a read.)
If you want more suggestions for a different bingo square let me know, and I’ll get back to you!
When flipping through the pages of a graphic novel, they might seem like they are just bigger comic books, but graphic novels can offer a lot to a child. Graphic novels tell longer stories using pictures which can appeal to kids who enjoy more visual media or who might be intimidated by the length of a regular book. Graphic novels can be especially good for kids who have trouble reading or are reluctant readers even though they are frequently checked out by kids of all interests and abilities. Many graphic novels can also be tested on to earn AR reading points.
Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson:
Roller Girl tells the story of twelve year old Astrid as she decides to try something different from her best friend for the first time and enroll in roller derby camp. Throughout her hardest summer ever, roller derby helps to give Astrid the strength to follow her dreams, even if her best friend's dreams involve going to ballet camp instead.
Teen Zone, YA Graphic Roller, Reading Level: Third Grade
CatStronauts Series by Drew Brockington:
The CatStronauts series is about a group of lovable cat astronauts who are sent on super silly missions throughout space. Major Meowser, pilot Waffles, technician Blanket and science officer Pom Pom feature in three books. These books are a perfect starting point for a child who is interested in reading graphic novels but is still at a lower reading level. These books are also great for reading together with the child in your life because there are plenty of laugh out loud moments for adults as well as children.
Children’s Room, J Fic Brocki, Reading Level: Third Grade
Middle School is Worse than Meatloaf by Jennifer L. Holm with illustrations by Elicia Castaldi:
I was initially drawn to this book as a tween because of instead of using the expected comic style illustrations, Holm tells the story of Ginny’s first year of middle school through “stuff”. This includes a receipt for a botched haircut, a detention note, CDs and so much more. Middle School is worse than Meatloaf is highly entertaining but also relatable to anyone who has survived or is currently surviving the crazy world of junior high. Told by the author of the Baby Mouse series, Jennifer Holm, this book is perfect for the new middle schooler who has already devoured the Baby Mouse books as well as any younger child who wants to learn what the big deal is about being in middle school.
Children’s Room, J Fic Holm Reading Level: Fourth Grade
The Witch Boy by Molly Ostertag:
When you are thirteen years old, there can be a large divide between who you want to be and how everyone around you sees you. This is especially true for magically gifted thirteen year old boy Astrid who is a member of a family where boys become shapeshifters and girls become witches. For most kids, this would be a dream come true, however, Astrid shows more ability as a witch than a shapeshifter. This book perfectly captures the feeling of finding your talents and learning to make your own path.
Teen Zone, YA Graphic Witch, Reading Level: Third Grade
Real Friends by Shannon Hale with illustrations by LeUyen Pham:
Real Friends is an autobiographical graphic novel by Shannon Hale, the author of favorites like The Princess Academy Series, Austenland, and The Princess in Black books. This book is a nostalgic look at learning what it takes to find a true friend in the constantly changing world of growing up. It follows young Shannon from Kindergarten through to fifth grade as she makes friends, loses friends and learns what it it means to have, and be, a real friend.
Teen Zone, JUV HALE Shanno Real-f, Reading Level: Second Grade
El Deafo by Cece Bell:
El Deafo is a sweet and funny graphic memoir by Cece Bell which chronicles how hard it can be to be a kid, especially one with a disability. The fun part about this book is that it is told completely in adorable bunny form. This book portrays its subject matter in a way that is truthful, while also highlighting that it is the things that make us different which give us our superpowers.
Teen Zone, YA Graphic El-Deafo, Reading Level: Second Grade
Other great titles to check-out:
Drama by Raina Telgemeier
March Series by Andrew Aydin and John Lewis
Bad Island by Doug TenNapel
Friends With Boys by Faith Erin Hicks
Fish Girl by David Wiesner
Narwhal: Unicorn of the Sea by Ben Clanton
The Complete Chi's Sweet Home Volumes 1-3 by Kanata Konami
Looking for some inspiration on what to read next? Who better to ask then the people who work around books for a living!? Each month we will post a "staff picks" blog post written by one of our staff members. These posts will vary in genre, theme, age appropriateness, etc. If you have any requests on a genre or age category you would like to see, submit a comment here and we will get it on the list!