Great Summer Reads with Carol Jago: Graphic Books for Grades 6-8

Carol Jago Blogs 9

Graphic novels are hugely popular with readers of all ages. They capture our attention and keep us turning pages compulsively. Best yet, upon completion of one, we reach for another, and another, and another!

Dear Readers,

At first, I was highly suspicious of graphic books. I mean, what teacher assigns comic books? Then I started reading the new generation of graphic novels and autobiographies that were coming out. Though not all graphic works are equally excellent, the remarkable ones I describe below (along with many others) are genuine works of art.

Happy reading!



Graphic Novel by Jerry Craft

Jordan Banks would love nothing more than to spend all of his time drawing cartoons about his life in Washington Heights. When his parents enroll him at a prestigious new school with only a few students of color, however, he ends up spending most of his time trying to fit into his two different worlds.


Graphic Novel by Gene Luen Yang

In his latest graphic novel, Gene Luen Yang (author of American Born Chinese) tells the real-life story of an Oakland high school basketball team as it plays its way to the California state championship. On one level, the book reads like a documentary; on another, it is autobiographical. Yang was a computer science teacher at Bishop O’Dowd High School for many years. A conversation with the team’s coach sparked the idea for this novel about American identity along with American anxiety.


Graphic Novel by Raina Telgemeier

Raina just wants her life to be normal. Unfortunately, that proves to be difficult when a hard fall severely injures her two front teeth and she spends years dealing with braces, surgeries, headgear, and even a retainer with fake teeth attached. Additionally, she still has school and boys and natural disasters to worry about!

As you read these titles, consider:

  • How do images enhance our understanding of a text?
  • What do the characters learn about themselves in the course of the story?

Try out one of these activities to further your reading:

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of HMH.

Note: HMH is not responsible for the content of third-party websites.

Photo of Carol Jago provided by ©Andrew Collings

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