Two weeks into my graphic novel challenge and I am so pleased that I took this on. My bag always has at least one in to keep me company along with whatever fiction book I am currently reading.

Verdict Two is – Graphic Novels pack an emotional punch just as any other book could.

What I am discovering throughout this challenge is that graphic novels have the same features as a fiction story in that they deal with hard and sometimes sensitive issues. Characters have challenges to face, whether through disability, fitting in, being new- much of what we see in full length chapter books and settings are uniquely important to the story in new ways.

In the three graphic novels for today, hope springs eternal though life is tough and unfair.

“This book is a true story. And also made up”. Words from author Vera Brosgol about the truth and inspiration for Be Prepared. Vera, the main character, has been desperate to make friends and attend a proper summer camp for a long time. When she is finally given the chance, she must face the honesty of camp. Sharing a cabin with mean girls, an unfortunate toilet facilities, critters everywhere. Torn between loving it and hating it, Vera must stick it out! This book is honest, funny and superbly illustrated. I was rooting for Vera throughout her summer camp experience, feeling as hurt and hopeful as she did. Brilliant book!

Cat and her family are moving to a new town that will help younger sister Maya with her breathing. Maya has Cystic Fibrosis. As they meet neighbours, explore the town and make friends, they learn the importance of Día De Los Muertos! The entire town welcomes the spirits of dead loved ones back every November. Cat feels more nervous than excited about ghosts being everywhere, while Maya is thrilled, even building an Ofrenda for their grandmother. Dealing with Maya’s illness, anger over ghosts and feeling worried takes its toll on Cat. Wonderfully told and Illustrated, this book is hopeful and heartwarming.

This book needs to be discussed in length and I hope to see it added to the curriculum in the future. In September, Ben Harris is taking this important book blether to twitter to focus on the brilliance of When Stars are Scattered. I am very excited to take part in that discussion. Told by Co-author, Omar, this is a true account of his life, of 15 years spent in Dadaab, the refugee camp in Kenya. Caring for his brother, attending school and always waiting for good news from the UN filled those years, along with hope of finding their mother. Truly inspirational, filled with hope and humour, this book packs a serious emotional punch and will no doubt open your eyes to the plight of refugees, their hardships and their lives. The message in the back written by Omar is beautiful and worth remembering.

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