Hi there! Welcome to one of today's stops in First Second's blog tour all about girl power graphic novels. These are all books that feature different kinds of girls, strong girls and scared girls and powerful girls and intelligent girls and clueless girls, as the main character. Seeing different kinds of heroes, heroines, and other main characters is so important for readers of kids books, no matter their gender. There's no one way to be, everyone is different, and everyone is amazing.
And so, here's a look at some very different young girls that can be found leading the way and falling into trouble in some recent graphic novels. :)
First is Claudette in Giants Beware!, Dragons Beware!, and Monsters Beware! by Jorge Aguirre & Rafael Rosado. Claudette is brash, rough and tumble. She's uncouth, head-strong, and bold. All she thinks about, dreams about, is fighting giants and monsters. All she thinks about is defeating evil and being a hero. Saving those in peril. And, as everyone around her constantly points out, she has no sense of propriety or delicacy. She speaks her mind and rushes too far and too fast into situations. She doesn't listen to sense. She's reckless. Claudette's more of an act first and ask questions later kind of girl, which can be very dangerous. But Claudette is staunchly loyal, to her blacksmith father and her aspiring chef brother Gaston, to her princess in training friend Marie, and to her dog Valiant. When the chips are down, Claudette will rush in with her sword, ready to bash any and all monsters. The entire series is a wonderful mixture of silliness, curious magic, complicated characters, and hard decisions.
Next is Isabel in The City on the Other Side by Mairghred Scott & Robin Robinson. Isabel is a quiet, lonely girl looking for a place of her own. Her life is far from exciting or even interesting, kept safe from dirt smudges and any hint of fun from her posh society mother and her distant artist father. She wonders if they truly love her, care about her, because they seem far more interested in their own lives than spend time with their daughter. But then, on a trip to Carmel to visit her father, Isabel ends up falling through to the fairy world and right into the middle of a war. A war that could impact her world as well. Drawn to a magical necklace, sure that no one back home will miss her, Isabel sets out on an epic quest. She comes into her own on this journey. She takes risks, falls into danger multiple times, and refuses to stop until everyone is saved. This is a girl who's finally found something she can do, finally found something that could be hers, if only for a little while. A girl who's, hopefully, found somewhere to be.
Then there's Avani in Star Scouts and The League of Lasers by Mike Lawrence. Avani is new to town, lonely because she doesn't have any friends and annoyed because her father signed her up for Flower Scouts where all the other girls do is talk about boys and makeup. She's bored, waiting for something she's interested in. And then she's mistakenly abducted by an alien. And so Avani joins Mabel and her Star Scout troop, made up of other aliens, and begins to lead a secret life of robotics and teleportation and weird space camp. Avani's like any kid who moves to a new town, she's looking for something familiar in a new place, and she sort of finds it with Mabel. She's met other kids who like doing interesting (to her) activities. But there's something that comes across in the first book, and that's that Avani can be rather bossy. After she finds the Star Scouts, when they compete against other groups at camp, she needs help from the others. But she's pushy in that she only wants the help that will make sure she wins. Both books are good looks at how friendship isn't easy, how everyone is different and that's okay, how strong personalities will butt heads over and over again. How it's okay to be wrong, about something or someone. How it's a lot more fun when you try to get along instead of argue all the time. Avani isn't perfect, but she's learning how to be a good friend.
If you're a middle grade reader, if you're a kid looking for new comics to read, maybe check out these, as well as Gigi D.G.'s Cucumber Quest and Scarlett Hart: Monster Hunter by Marcus Sedgwick & Thomas Taylor. There's no one way for a young girl to be a young girl. You can want to fight monsters, you can want to be a princess, you can be quiet and studious, you can be loud and active. You can be smart, athletic, quiet, lonely, short, tall, thin, fat. You can have caring parents, you can be an orphan, you can have a single parent trying their best. You can be anything you want. Just be you.
Thanks so much to Gina at First Second Books for sending me physical copies and e-galleys of all of the above mentioned books (especially when we thought they were lost in the mail, they weren't!). You can definitely check out First Second on Twitter or Tumblr, or at your local library or bookstore. Happy reading!