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Debut Middle-Grade Graphic Novels

On March 30, the CBC Graphic Novel Committee presented their graphic novels at a debut middle-grade Buzz Panel. See the video posted on our website here.

Find all the great books recommended by the panel below!

Mexikid, written and illustrated by Pedro Martín (Penguin Young Readers / Dial Books)

A poignant, hilarious, and unforgettable graphic memoir about a Mexican-American boy’s family and their adventure-filled road trip to bring their abuelito back from Mexico to live with them.

Ferrets from Planet Ferretonia (Meems and Feefs Book 1), by Liza N. Cooper (Andrews McMeel Universal)

Meems and Feefs are ferrets from the planet Ferretonia. When they secretly carry out an experiment using Ferretonia’s forbidden Ancient Tech, it all goes wrong, and they end up crash-landing on Earth! Meems is a smart, cheeky, and tech-savvy ferret from the planet Ferretonia. Feefs is his goofy, happy-go-lucky brother. Unsatisfied and bored with their quiet life on Ferretonia, the brothers build a forbidden Travel Opal to go on an adventure but accidentally bite off more than they can chew and get stuck on planet Earth with no way to get home. The ferrets journey to an animal shelter, where they meet a shy teen named Liza. After using a Communication Opal on Liza to transcend language barriers, Meems and Feefs put their trust in her and embark on a race-against-time adventure, or else they’re doomed to stay on Earth forever! This laugh-out-loud and heartwarming graphic novel is perfect for readers 8+ and ferret fans of all ages.

Missing You, by Phellip Willian; illus. Melissa Garabeli (Oni Press)

Following the loss of their mother, Thomas and Lara find an injured deer on the side of the road. Deciding to bring it home with them, they name the deer Lion and quickly become best friends. The new woodland creature soon fills their hearts with warmth and fun, easing their mourning. But when Lion grows more and more curious about the forest beyond their house, Thomas and Lara start to wonder if the forest is where Lion truly belongs. Will they be able to say goodbye to their new friend?

Travis Daventhorpe for the Win! (Volume 1), by Wes Molebash (Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group / First Second)

For fans of Hilo and The Last Kids on Earth comes Travis Daventhorpe for the Win!, the first volume of a hilarious fantasy/sci-fi graphic novel series! Travis Daventhorpe may be a genius, but he’s always struggled to make friends. After his attempt to befriend new kid Juniper Reyes results in an epic fail, Travis takes his sentient flying robot, Travbot, out for a ride. But when Travbot malfunctions, the two take a nosedive into the woods. There, they discover a legendary sword, a wizard from another dimension, and a mysterious prophecy: Travis Daventhorpe is destined to save the multiverse! From debut author Wes Molebash comes this video-game-inspired sci-fi adventure series. Join Travis as he dodges bullies, forges friendships, and perfects his science fair project…all while trying to fulfill his magical destiny!

Scurry, written and illustrated by Mac Smith (Skybound Entertainment / Skybound Comet)

The humans are gone, the sun is rarely seen, and a cold, dark rain befouls everything it touches. As a group of house mice struggles to survive a long and strange winter, they stubbornly cling to their old ways, looting the abandoned homes nearby for any scraps they can find. While food is scarce, danger is everywhere–from mousetraps and poison to feral cats roaming The Neighborhood–and the colony is becoming desperate. But when the rumors of a wrecked truck filled with food give the mice newfound hope, the colony’s best scouts, including the brave Wix, embark on a perilous journey beyond the fence. For outside The Neighborhood lurks creatures much more dangerous than stray cats, and a world much larger than they know… Acclaimed webcomics creator Mac Smith presents his stunning series in a single volume for the first time ever.

Juniper Mae: Knight of Tykotech City, by Sarah Soh (Nobrow / Flying Eye)

In 2115, Earth has been abandoned as a lost cause, and humankind has moved on to space colonization. At a decrepit high school on the moon for underprivileged youth, Stab, Yuki, and Una are three teenagers who try to keep their boredom and resentment at bay by fighting rival gangs and cliques, hanging out, and sleeping their way through class, all while trying to avoid punishment from the student council. Fights over turf, respect, and snacks lead to unearthing an exciting secret, but is their friendship strong enough to forge a new future?

YAHGZ: The Craynobi Tales, by Art Baltazar (Mad Cave Studios / Papercutz Graphic Novels)

Join Craybi Craynobi and his son, Crayski Craynobi, the future chosen one with the chosen nose, as well as their many friends and allies like Weezerd the wise wizard, as they adventure through mythical lands to try to save the city of Yahgz and its people, the Yahgeez. But are Craybi and Crayski enough to face the Giant Green Gorilla? Or even bigger foes as they ford a river of mud or enter the Land of Ashes? Craybi and Crayski will need their wits and some helpful allies to help everyone. Find out how they save YAHGZ in this zany new graphic novel series by world-famous cartoonist Art Baltazar!

Paul Bunyan: The Invention of an American Legend, by Noah Van Sciver and Marlena Myles (Astra Publishing House / TOON Books)

Did you know that a mainstay of American folk culture was, in fact, created as an advertising ploy? Few people realize that Paul Bunyan, the legendary lumberjack, and his blue ox are the product of corporate marketing by a highly industrialized industry. Cartoonist Noah Van Sciver shows us the myth creation as real-life marketing man extraordinaire W.B. Laughead spins ever more wondrous tall tales. Van Sciver’s story is bracketed by rich contributions from contemporary Native artists and storytellers with a very different connection to the land that the Bunyan myths often conceal. Readers will see how a lumberjack hero, a quintessential American fantasy, captures the imagination but also serves to paper over the seizure of homeland from First Peoples and the laying bare of America’s northern forests. It’s a tall tale with deep roots . . . in profit-making!

Grace Needs Space!, by Benjamin A. Wilgus and Rii Abrego (Random House Graphic)

To the moon and back! A sci-fi middle-grade graphic novel about a young girl’s long-awaited summer trip across space with one of her moms. But when her relationship with her mom goes sideways, so does her trip. Will Grace be able to save her summer vacation before it ends? Grace is SO EXCITED to fly a freighter from her home space station (and away from her BORING mother, Evelyn) to a faraway moon! Plus, she’ll get some quality time with her FUN mom Kendra—something Grace definitely needs. Finally, a real adventure that Grace can get excited about while the rest of her space station friends go away for their summer vacations. But when Kendra is too focused on work, Grace’s first big trip suddenly becomes kind of lonely. Grace had so many plans for fun. But all it takes is one quick decision to explore the moon by herself before Grace’s adventure suddenly becomes not so out of this world at all. With her mom mad at her, Grace wants nothing more than to return home. Then their ship breaks down. Will Grace be able to get through to her mom and save their trip in the end?

Curlfriends: New in Town, by Sharee Miller (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers / Little, Brown Ink)

New Kid meets The Baby-sitters Club in this graphic novel series opener about the Curlfriends, four inseparable Black girls who show us the meaning of true friendship—and being your true self. Charlie has a foolproof plan for the first day at her new middle school. Even though she’s used to starting over as the new kid—thanks to her military family’s constant moving—making friends has never been easy for her. But this time, her first impression needs to last since this is where her family plans to settle for good. So she’s hiding any interests that may seem “babyish,” updating her look, and doing her best to leave her shyness behind her…but is erasing the real Charlie the best way to make friends? When not everything goes exactly to plan—like, AT ALL—Charlie is ready to give up on making new friendships. Then she meets the Curlfriends, a group of Black girls who couldn’t be more different from each other, and learns that maybe there is a place for Charlie to be her true self after all. Sharee Miller’s graphic novel debut starts off an exciting contemporary series featuring four Black girls who each have a unique story, and each learn lessons about friendship, family, and being their true selves.

Gunhild: The New God?, by Fred Tornager (The Quarto Group / Rockport Publishers)

Could you follow your dreams if the whole world was against you? Gunhild dreams of becoming a real-life god, and everyone everywhere thinks it’s a terrible idea made up by a petulant twelve-year-old. In the world of Norse mythology, humans revere the mighty gods and fear the mystical, nature-wielding Jotuns, and Gunhild is a fire Jotun. Abandoned by her own kind and raised in a human girls’ orphanage, Gunhild wishes to prove to her peers that she’s more than a little troublemaker. Every step of the way, it becomes clear that Gunhild must fight for what’s right and follow her own sense of justice, seeing as no one else will fight for her. Gunhild’s quest leads her to meet all the famous gods she’s heard about in schools, like Odin and Thor, though the one she’s most interested in is the mischievous Jotun god Loki, who’s chained up in a cave hidden in a location known only by the gods. Her travels lead mainly to many foes, but a few enemies become friends, persuaded by Gunhild’s unwavering determination and burning passion for her own cause. Being a tiny Jotun against a big, powerful world, Gunhild must fight smart and learn a trick or two from Loki to earn the title of godhood. Certainly, Gunhild will stop at nothing to forge her own fantastic path and make her dream come true.

Watch the Graphic Novel Committee Debut Middle-Grade Buzz Panel Video here!

Check out our previous post: Debut YA Graphic Novels

Learn more about the CBC Graphic Novel Committee.

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