Graphic Novels…verdict one!

I launched my own personal summer reading challenge last week, to spend the summer reading graphic novels. I had believed some wrong stereotypes about graphic novels and set myself the goal to read as many as possible to hone my knowledge, understanding and perceptions on this genre.

One week later and my first verdict is “How have I missed these gems for so long?”. I have read 10 graphic novels and have adored them all. Being a huge fan of picture books and Illustrated chapter books for the 7-9 age range, it shouldn’t have come as a surprise I would love Illustrated middle grade novels. Yet I was surprised as just how genius these books are.

Full of stunning and impressive art work,these books are set the challenge to tell a story with few words so the reader must learn to study the illustrations to fill in the blanks so to speak. This is where this genre truly shines as it takes an incredible talent to convey meaning in art and to have the story unfold frame to frame with little to no text.

Today I want to share three graphic novel adaptations of classic children’s literature. Though the story may be altered, it in no way detracts from the classic or from the adaptation. These could be read by children with little or no knowledge of the original. I would hope the child might be encouraged to read the classic as well as the graphic novel.

Growing up near to where Anne is from in Canada, it was hard not to fall in love with this classic story. Anne is a feisty, hot tempered red head and she is ever so dramatic! This adaptation captures Anne’s spirit and dramatics brilliantly, keeping certain favourite scenes and iconic statements within the pages of this book. I would recommend this to all school libraries,as an easy and accessible way to enjoy the antic and dramatics of a certain Miss Shirley!

I love the story of Little Women and am a huge fan of this modern retelling. The premise remains the same, the sisters are poor, Dad is away in the military and they have the usual arguments and antics of sisters living too closely together. The family has come together when Jo and Meg were younger and their parents fell in love. Beth and Amy are the siblings from that marriage. Mum works hard to provide for the family while Dad is in the Middle East. If you know the story then you can come to expect heartache and worry but also a firm love and loyalty between the siblings. There are some surprises that fit so well into the modern story and make a lot of sense.

Please do not get cross but I have to admit to not having read Tom’s Midnight Garden in its entirety. That may be my next challenge…

This adaptation is stunningly illustrated and features a secret garden when the old grandfather clock strikes thirteen. Tom, being sent to his Aunt and Uncle while brother, Peter, recovers from the measles, discovers the garden and makes a new friend Hatty. Each time Tom visits the garden, time has passed differently and he tries to leave clues for himself so he can share this with Peter. Asking plenty of questions but discovering few answers, leaves Tom bewildered. Before Tom leaves to go home, he is keen to discover what happened to Hatty!

GN I have read

  • Cici’s Journal
  • Tom’s Midnight Garden
  • InvestiGATORS
  • Ghosts
  • Roller Girl
  • Anne of Green Gables
  • Be Prepared
  • Amulet, Book One
  • The Inkberg Enigma
  • Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy


  • Best Friends
  • Real Friends
  • When Stars are Scattered
  • Cardboard
  • The Breakaways
  • Awkward
  • Donut the Destroyer
  • Ghostopolis
  • The Camping Trip

I have also discovered a website listing some new graphic novels to try. So this weekend I am spending time hunting down some different titles to test out!


  1. I loved reading this review. One of my children is dyslexic and certainly enjoyed reading graphic novels more than text heavy books, I remember him particularly enjoying Alex Rider in graphic novel form. Have you looked at New Kid by Jerry Craft? I saw it on a number of Black Lives Matter lists and it’s wonderful. 😊


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