Five weeks in to my summer reading challenge and one week left to explore a few more titles. My overall impression has changed dramatically from me being almost fearful of this genre to actively seeking them out and researching more titles.

The graphic novels I read this week stuck with me in terms of their relevance. Therefore my fourth verdict is how brilliant these books can be for relatability, guidance and encouragement for all ages and level of reader.

Donut the Destroyer comes from a long line of villains and she has super strength to use for evil. Her family and friends cannot wait for her to start school at Skullfire Academy and begin life as a villain out to destroy the world! Donut doesn’t want to be a villain though, she has her heart set on attending Lionheart School for Heroes. I adored this story of Donut finding her feet and forging her own path regardless of the pressures from best friend Ivy, as well as her own parents, the world renowned Detroyers. She meets new friends who prove time and again they have her back, and she in turn protects them when Ivy gets jealous and intent on revenge. The relevance for me from Donut the Destroyer is for children to learn about who they are, discover their own wants and needs, ready to find their way in the world. Knowing they may have to battle to get what they want and to trust their judgements when meeting new people and making friends.

Combining my thoughts on both Real Friends and Best Friends seemed to make the most sense as they are part of the same series. There are so many potential threads to follow in these books and the relevance jumps off each page, from bullying, low self esteem, anxiety and OCD all linked by the continuous cycle of friendships. Having a son and a daughter as well as experience in the classroom, it is my own opinion that girl friendships are fraught with more drama, tension and a certain element of mean-ness. Both Real Friends and Best Friends is almost a testimony to the ups and downs of girl friendships. Told brilliantly and drawn exquisitely, we see Shannon learn how to navigate best friends, bullies, boys and the end of Year 6. Shannon always wants to see the best in people and her innocence can be mirrored in the girls today, although both books are set in the 80’s. The author’s note from Shannon Hale assures us that most of the events actually happened and gives hope to new readers that they are not alone in facing challenges with friends throughout school. What I loved most, perhaps, was the end of Best Friends. Believing one thing would happen, I was set to be disappointed but I was thrilled with Shannon and her decisions!

The three books in today’s post should all be part of each Year 5 and 6 classroom reading corner, displayed in school libraries and promoted to parents looking for books to buy for their children. Boys and girls could learn plenty from reading each one of these incredible graphic novels.

The goal for my last week of this summer reading challenge is to explore my local bookstores for titles that haven’t been recommended. I am going it alone to browse, read blurbs and truly step out of this new comfort zone of graphic novels.

Watch this space to see what I picked next!

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