Boys in realistic middle grade graphic novels

I work in an elementary school library. It will come as no surprise to learn that graphic novels are EXTREMELY popular there. And, you maybe know this about me, I also love graphic novels. I read as many as I can obtain and have had many conversations with staff and even admin at school where I try to be at least fake nice while I explain through gritted teeth that graphic novels ARE real books, ARE real reading, and no, I will not dissuade anyone from reading them or even them.

One of my favorite shirts to wear to work.

But here’s what I want to write about in this post: This school year, the fifth grade boys all started tearing through The Baby-Sitters Club graphic novels. Now, if you know me even a little teensy bit, you KNOW there is no world where I would classify anything as a “boy book” or a “girl book” (nor would I ever classifying gender as just “boys and girls”! ). All books are for all readers, period. BUT. Traditionally, in my school, the boys have not locked up to BSC. So when they started to check them out earlier in the year, they came up to the desk with them sort of hidden, or slid them to me with a smirk or weird look on their face. I heard them defending reading them to other boys. And then, something happened: so many boys read them. And then started reading other graphic novels that were more realistic (moving on from Dog Man, or Pokemon, or other fantasy-style graphic novels largely featuring creatures or animals). They started reading the graphic novels by Kayla Miller, Victoria Jamieson, Terri Libenson, Jennifer Holmes, and Shannon Hale.