Why Your Kid Should Read Graphic Novels

Still wondering if graphic novels are a waste of time for your child? There are incredible benefits to having your student read graphic novels (aka comic strips in book form), not the least of which is engagement! If your student does fall in love with a graphic novel, there’s a pretty good chance that it’s one of a series, and he or she will be begging for the next one! Here are some articles that are worth a look if you’d like to learn more.


Raising Super Readers: Benefits of Comic Books & Graphic Novels

Annual Reminders That Graphic Novels Are “Real” Reading

5 Great Reasons To Read Graphic Novels

4 Surprising Ways Comics and Graphic Novels Can Benefit English Language Learners

This week in library, 3rd grade participated in a graphic novel round up, where I pulled dozens of graphic novels, all of which are part of a series, to try to hook them on some new authors and illustrators. 3rd and 4th grade is where I see a bit of a dip in circulation, so anything I can do to keep the students engaged and reading is a win for me.

After a quick discussion with students about the merits and characteristics of graphic novels, he students sat at one of four tables with several graphic novels on them.  They each had a paper with a rating system where they could write the book title, give it 1-5 stars, then a quick note about why they liked it for future reference.  They had 3 minutes to browse one book (a skill in and of itself!), then they wrote their notes and chose a new one.

Having the students engage with five books in one class is cause for celebration, and cries of “I call dibs on this one!” resounded throughout the room. Almost every third grader who could took a graphic novel home with them.  If that isn’t engagement, I don’t know what is!



This week kindergarten and first grade will be reading these colorful stories, most of which were recommended purchases from none other than our own amazing art teacher, Ms. Kniffin!  Books about concepts like colors, shapes, the alphabet and numbers are always a big hit with the younger students, and with covers like these, I’m sure you can see why!


These stories are more than just fun experiments with color; there are much bigger ideas at play here.  Monsters Love Colors takes the traditional primary colors instruction and makes it a whole lot of fun!  Sky Color celebrates the artist inside of everyone, especially those who see the world in an unexpected way.  Drawn Together is an amazing multi-generational story of how art can bring families together, with illustrations by Dan Santat that are mind-bogglingly gorgeous. And Pocket Full of Colors, the true story of Mary Blair, Disney artist extraordinaire, who thought outside the box in both her life and her art, is a picture book biography all young artists should read!

These gorgeous books are going to be a BIG hit!

A Blizzard & A Blackout!

Well with the weather we had this week, there was no question what picture books I was going to read to kindergarten, first and second grade!

Caldecott Honor Award recipient John Rocco, who also does the cover art for the Percy Jackson series, has two gorgeous pictures books about two memorable phenomena in a life of a child–a blizzard and a blackout.  We talked about how in both situations, the world is different than it is everyday, and how some of our routines change.  Students discussed how their days were disrupted by this week’s storm, and what connections they could make between the narratives and their lives.  I couldn’t think of a more perfect fit!

2nd and 3rd grade wrapped up a new early chapter book last week called Beatrice Zinker, Upside Down Thinker.  The students are clamoring for the second copy, which just came in!  A heroine like Beatrice, who looks at things from a unique perspective, is one all the students have enjoyed getting to know!

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3rd grade has been learning about using online databases for research, as well as non-fiction text features such as indexes, photo captions and sidebars, to assist them in their upcoming countries project.  Grades 4 and 5 will learn about these databases in the weeks to come.

And 4th and 5th grade are still making progress on their Dorothy Canfield Fisher Award nominee fiction book, Ban This Book.

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This week the book prompted a conversation about the Bill of Rights and current events!  I love having the students make thoughtful connections about what we are reading to their own lives and world!

There is so much going on in the library this week, including the last week of building for our STEAM challenge before testing in the forest next week!  As always, great learning and awesome stories are the heart of the library, and we are ending 2018 strong!


The Amazing Oliver Jeffers

Last week I introduced kindergarten and 1st grade to the amazing Oliver Jeffers, who has written and illustrated some of the most hilarious picture books in the library!


With titles like The Day The Crayons QuitStuck, and the newly purchased Here We Are (absolutely love it!), the kindergartners were happy to take many of his titles home!

If you’re looking for a holiday book to buy a loved one, you can’t go wrong with the exceptional (and exceptionally funny) Mr. Jeffers, or any of the other titles in the “Stories” picture book section.  Ask your students about what every hilarious stories we’ve read lately!

Non-Fiction Non-Circulating?

In my effort to continue exposing kids to many different types of technology to express and organize their ideas, this week grades 3-5 learned how to use a Padlet. Here is the one we made considering the questions, “Why aren’t kids taking non-fiction books out?” They had some interesting answers! Click this link to read them!

And speaking of non-fiction, my display is looking pretty beautiful this November!

Do your students enjoy reading non-fiction? I’d love to hear!

Aaron Reynolds’s Creepy Carrots is back!


Peter Brown is one of the best illustrators in the business, and the kids loved being inspired by his work as they made their own Creepy Carrots to decorate the library! We also read Creepy Pair of Underwear, which we did not try to emulate, but the kids found hilarious!

Now the library looks sufficiently creepy for Halloween, but not scary, just the way I like it!  Thanks K-2 for adding a little seasonal, creepy carrot patch to the library!

Full STEAM ahead!

This week students will finally begin engineering the solution to the Nepali Tomato Challenge that we introduced last week (if you haven’t heard about it, ask your kids!).

They will continue the design thinking process by ideating and beginning to prototype for the first few weeks of November.  We will test their designs in the forest after Thanksgiving!

The hardest part for younger kids when beginning STEAM is getting used to having to persevere through the design process. For some kids, this is their first exposure to the idea that they will have to fail, tweak their design, get feedback, and keep trying before they succeed. That can be really difficult!  So I am reading books about growth mindset and perseverance in the library this week for grades K-1.

I thought it was very appropriate that there was an awesome example of engineering where the books could be displayed today. I know that these great titles by authors like Andrea Beaty, Kobi Yamada, Todd Parr, and Ashley Spires will help kids understand that being great engineers takes hard work and perseverance!  I know these lessons will help all year in STEAM.

And if you haven’t already, check out the OQS STEAM blog and see all the incredible thinking that is happening here at OQS!