Last Thursday, First Second sent out a press release announcing that Rainbow Rowell (Eleanor and Park, Landline) and Faith Erin Hicks (Friends With Boys, Nothing Can Possibly Go Wrong) are teaming up to create a graphic novel together. But, because they are both currently working on other projects, it’ll be quite some time before said book is released.
Both Faith and Rainbow are active participants on Twitter, sharing current obsessions, interacting with fans, and geeking out in general, so I wasn’t surprised when Twitter went wild at the news. I tried to stay out of the congratulatory frenzy, I really did! But when I spotted a text from Faith that said, “To those lovely people saying this will be their first graphic novel, I hope you enjoy our book so much that you’ll keep reading comics!” I knew the Good Comics for Kids group could help.
“How about we put together a quick “What to Read While You’re Waiting for Faith and Rainbow’s Book to Come Out” list?” I asked. “One that could give Rainbow’s non-comics reading fans an opportunity to get comfortable with the format and introduce Faith’s readers to some really good read-alikes while they wait, and wait, and possibly wait for the new book to be released?”
With the help of Super Librarian Barbara Moon, we have done just that. Below are a list of books that we feel are both great read-alikes for Rainbow and/or Faith’s books and are a good introduction to comics for those readers new to the format. Please feel free to suggest more titles in the comments. We love your feedback!
American Born Chinese (Gene Luen Yang): Danny, a “normal white”, struggles to come of age while facing questions about family vs. stereotype vs. identity. –Barbara Moon
Blankets (Craig Thompson): As snow falls heavy and thick during a cold Wisconsin winter, a young man comes of age as he questions his faith, defines his relationships with his family, and falls in love for the first time. –Eva Volin
Brain Camp (Susan Kim, Lawrence Klaven, and Faith Erin Hicks): Things at this summer camp may be far more creepy than anyone realizes. –Barbara Moon
Breaking Up (Aimee Friedman and Christine Norrie): “There’s a fine line between a friend and an enemy. One minute there’s all this trust, and laughter, and love. And the next minute . . . there’s hurt. And cruelty. And betrayal.” –Barbara Moon
Friends With Boys (Faith Erin Hicks): It’s one thing to start your freshman year with no friends, no mom at home, and a pack of wild brothers watching your back. It’s another to do all those things while being haunted by a ghost. –Robin Brenner
I Kill Giants (Joe Kelly and K. M.Ken Niiamura): Barbara Thorson battles monsters and faces her greatest fear. Easy-follow manga style art which reads from left to right. –Barbara Moon
Mercury (Hope Larson): Two girls separated by 150 years. How can one man change both girls’ lives forever? –Robin Brenner
The old Minx line is accessible to those new to comics. Although the line is no longer in print, most of these books are easy to find at your local library. Titles in the line include Plain Janes (Cecil Castellucci and Jim Rugg); Good As Lily (Derek Kirk Kim); Re-Gifters (Mike Carey); Emiko Superstar (Mariko Tamaki). –Barbara Moon
Page by Paige (Laura Lee Gulledge): Moving to a new city in the middle of high school and mid-year is a challenge for any teen. For Paige Turner it’s an opportunity to discover herself. –Esther Keller
Skim (Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki): Love, crushes, heartache. –Barbara Moon
Translucent, vols 1-3 (Kazuhiro Okamoto): Every middle schooler feels invisible at times, but what do you do when a medical condition slowly turns you translucent? –Esther Keller
Wandering Son, vols 1-6 (Shimura Takako): A sensitive, perceptive story of two transgender children coming to terms with their places in the world. –Eva Volin
War at Ellsmere (Faith Erin Hicks): Unlike most “new girl faces school bully” books, this one rings true on all fronts. The new girl at the boarding school isn’t a milquetoast, the bully isn’t the popular girl, and the twist that comes out of nowhere is so out of this world that it grounds the rest of the story. –Eva Volin
Year of the Beasts (Cecil Castellucci and Nate Powell): Two sisters, one guy, one summer, one nightmare. Told through interwoven comics and prose.–Barbara Moon