Our Summer of Graphic Novels

I look forward to summer reading all year long.

I usually have some sort of plan—first I tackle a big non-fiction book I’ve been waiting to read all year. Then I’ll read some light breezy fiction followed by some kind of meaty, intense novel.

But this summer my stack of reading has been pushed aside for something better.

Graphic novels.


I’m reading a bunch with my 11-year-old since we both share a love of graphic novels. And I wouldn’t trade even one of them for the most well reviewed “everyone is reading it” summer novel.

This summer we’re delving into history. Mostly, we’re exploring stories about brave young Jewish men and women who, against the odds, survive the Holocaust. But we are also entering the worlds of a young girl and boy during The Boxer Rebellion, an African American Infantry unit during WWI, an intermittent camp for Japanese Americans in San Francisco in 1941 and more.

Below are our favorites so far. (I’ve written very short descriptions about each book because I didn’t want to give away too much.)

We’d love suggestions! If you’ve got any graphic novels you’ve read with your kids or grandkids and loved please share.


Lily Renee, Escape Artist: From Holocaust Survivor to Comic Book Pioneer

In 1938 Lily Renee is a 14-year-old Jewish girl living in Vienna. When the Nazis invade, Lily leaves her family and travels alone to England. We follow Lily’s journey as she endures hardship but ultimately triumphs.


Hidden: A Child’s Story of the Holocaust

Dounia is a young Jewish girl living in Paris in 1942. After her parents are sent to concentration camps, neighbors and friends risk their lives to hide her from the Nazis.



Resistance: Book 1
Defiance: Resistance Book 2
Victory: Resistance Book 3

Paul and his sisters Marie and Sophie join the French Resistance in Southern France after the Nazi’s invade their country.







A Family Secret and The Search

 Jeroen’s grandmother shares her memories of living in Amsterdam as a young girl during the German occupation of the Netherlands.

A Family Secret

The Search




 Breath of Bones: A Tale of the Golem

A British plane crashes on the outskirts of a small Jewish town, which draws the attention of the Nazis. The townspeople bring to life a giant monster—the golem—out of clay and mud from the river and it battles for their freedom.

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The Harlem Hellfighters

The story of the 369th Infantry Regiment—an African American unit in WWI that spent more time in combat than any other American unit. Even though they won many accolades, they still faced discrimination.




March: Book One

John Lewis tells the story of his childhood from sharecropper’s son to Civil Rights leader to Congressman.

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 Boxers and Saints

The parallel stories of two young people on opposite sides of the Boxer Rebellion in China in 1898.






Gaijin: American Prisoner of War

After Pearl Harbor is attacked, a young boy is sent to an intermittent camp in San Francisco.




We look forward to hearing your recommendations!



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4 Comments on Our Summer of Graphic Novels

  1. helene
    August 3, 2014 at 2:59 am (8 years ago)

    Sounds heavy duty for an 11 year old. What has been the response ?

    • Julie Levine
      August 3, 2014 at 6:20 am (8 years ago)

      Samuel read most of these graphic novels before I even
      did. He loved them all. But I suggest reading them first (before your children) if you have concerns.

  2. Sophie Ziegler
    August 4, 2014 at 3:48 am (8 years ago)

    Thank you, thank you for this post!! These look amazing. I can’t wait to share them with the kids.

    • Julie Levine
      August 4, 2014 at 1:41 pm (8 years ago)

      You are welcome! I’m so thrilled you’ll share them with your kids. Let me know which are their faves.


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