You probably know this already, but sometimes as parents it’s easy to forget—not everything you buy has to be for the kids. There are some amazing new graphic novels out there, for example, that might too mature for most kids (although your teens can make a strong case to borrow them). These three reads, which are all compelling and gorgeously illustrated in their own unique styles, are just for you, especially on the days when you need to treat yourself.
You don’t need to know a single thing about hockey to fall in love with Check, Please! by Ngozi Ukazu. Originally a web comic, the story follows college freshman Eric Bittle. Eric, or Bitty to his friends, is a former junior figure skating champion, vlogger, really, really good baker, and on a hockey scholarship to Samwell University. The only problem is that he’s deathly afraid of getting hit on the ice, and his team is depending on him.
Check, Please! is a delightful and romantic coming-of-age story that captures what it’s like to find yourself during your college years. As the hockey team is just as crass and foul-mouthed as you’d expect, it’s not a title for young kids, but you might find yourself wishing you could share the charming story with them.
You might recognize Jarret J. Krosoczka’s name from your kids’ graphic novel collections. The creator of the Lunch Lady series and the author of the latest Jedi Academy books, his graphic novels for kids are mainstays in any school library. But Hey, Kiddo, a captivating graphic memoir of Krosoczka’s childhood, is a sobering and remarkable read for your bookshelf.
Hey, Kiddo follows Krosoczka’s early childhood and teen years as the son of an absent father and addict mother. He was raised by his grandparents, and as a teen he turned to cartooning as an escape from high school life. The illustrations are loosely drawn, colored in the faded grays and browns of memory, and make the story all that more powerful. It ends on a hopeful note and a reminder that family can be what we make it.
The Prince and the Dressmaker
Jen Wang’s The Prince and the Dressmaker feels like a fairy tale. The young prince Sebastian is hiding a secret from his parents, who are on the hunt for a suitable bride for the future king. When chance brings the brilliant dressmaker Frances into his life, he feels like he can be who he’s truly meant to be: the mysterious socialite Lady Crystallia, who takes the nights by storm in gorgeous gowns.
But keeping his secret means that Frances can never get the credit for her stunning fashion creations. Her struggle to be a good friend, and what happens when the prince’s secret is finally revealed, make this sweet story stand out.
This graphic novel is one that I have loaned to my middle grade reader, and she loved it as much as I did.
GeekMom received advance review copies of Check, Please! and Hey Kiddo.
Images: First Second Books and Scholastic