September 1, 2017

First Friday 5: Making Friends

Comics exist in the same sphere as picture books: they both use text and illustration to create a cohesive story, and they both require a certain understanding of how visual narratives flow across the page. With the added length in pages, though, comics––or graphic novels, but for simplicity I'll just call them all comics––stand apart as a unique way to show and tell longer, more complex stories to an audience that appreciates visual storytelling as much as textual (ie picture books for adults!).

Because of these overlaps in concept and form (and because I can't stop thinking about them), I'm starting First Friday 5: five themed comics on the first Friday of each month. I'll include a spread from each book so you can sneak a peek at their illustration styles and their storytelling techniques, and I hope you'll join me as I explore them more closely.

The first theme is a timeless one: making friends. Whether it's starting a new school, getting a new neighbor, or having a new crush, we've all experienced the universal trial of making friends in unfamiliar circumstances. Here are five comic novels that show us the ins and outs of making new friends, one awkward moment at a time.

Written and illustrated by Victoria Jamieson

Imogene "Impy" is from a family of Renaissance Faire workers. When she decides she wants to become a squire at the Faire, she sets out to prove her bravery by attending public school after being homeschooled all her life. But just like the battles between knights and dragons, Impy quickly discovers that making friends and being cool come with a price.

Written and illustrated by Lincoln Peirce

The gang is back! Nate is back in middle school, and he's taking full advantage: hanging out with friends, falling for girls, learning the ins and outs of baseball, and giving well-deserved wedgies. Sixth grade has never been so funny.

Graveyard Shakes
Written and illustrated by Laura Terry

Katia and Victoria are scholarship students at a private boarding school, and though Victoria works hard to fit in, her wilder sister Katia chooses to be a lone wolf. But they both quickly find themselves on the same team when they encounter a magical world in their local graveyard full of ghosts, ghouls, and a man named Nikola who is preparing a spell that would take Katia's life.

Written by Shannon Hale and illustrated by LeUyen Pham

Shannon and Adrienne have been best friends since they were little. So when Adrienne starts hanging out with Jen, the most popular girl in school, Shannon is determined not to lose her best friend. Though Shannon remains on the periphery of The Group, she quickly learns how hard it is to find real friends and why it's worth the journey.

Written by Jennifer L. Holm and illustrated by Matthew Holm

The second book in the series follows Sunny after the summer ends and she sets out to attend her first year of middle school. In addition to the normal insanity that is middle school, though, Sunny also continues to struggle to understand her new dynamic with her brother Dale and her family. Luckily, Sunny stays positive, befriending a new neighbor who gives her a new perspective on her situation.

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