All journeys have a starting place.
This is a weekly place to find books and tools
that you may use with readers at the start of their reading journey.
Join in the conversation at #road2reading.
Each week, Michele Knott and I post about new early readers and chapter books. This week, we are both looking at graphic novels for readers just starting out. One of my favorite sources for graphic novel style books for readers in kindergarten to third graders is Toon Books. For teachers using Guided Reading as part of Balanced Literacy in their classrooms, Toon Books provides a guided reading level for each of their books.
From the Toon Books website:
"TOON Books are the first high-quality comics designed for children ages three and up. Each book in the collection is just right for reading to the youngest child. Perhaps more remarkably, this is the first collection ever designed to offer early readers comics they can read themselves. Each TOON book has been vetted by educators to ensure that the language and the narratives will nurture young minds. Our books feature original stories and characters created by veteran children’s book authors, renowned cartoonists and new talents, all applying their extraordinary skills to fascinate young children with tales that will welcome them to the magic of reading."
Something's Fishy by Kevin McCloskey (April 4, 2017)
Level 1 books typically look more like a picture book with illustrations, labels, and text.
Level 1 books also tend to include dialogue bubbles throughout the book.
Benny and Penny in How to Say Goodbye by Geoffrey Hayes (September 2016)
Benny and Penny is one of my favorite Toon Book series. In Level 2 books, you can see the development of comic style with boxes, dialogue bubbles, and the importance of the illustrations to help tell the story.
I also appreciate that Toon Books provide a teacher's guide for using the books in the classroom.
Written and Drawn by Henrietta by Liniers (September 2015)
Written and Drawn by Henrietta won a Batchelder Award in 2016.
Some other things I love about Toon Books is that there are a number of them that are available in Spanish. At one point, I know they also had a feature on their ebooks that allowed the book to be read in more than one language. I have not downloaded a newer book to confirm that they still do it. However, on the Toon Books website, there are a number of "read along" videos and many other resources.
Look for Toon Books at your favorite indie bookstores or at the public library.
Don't forget to link up your reviews: