Drawings plus text, telling stories, for kids

There’s no fully comfortable label for cartoons, comics, and graphic novels — drawings plus text that together tell stories — taken together, but here are two more of these things meant for kids (in two different age ranges): the various Big Nate materials by Lincoln Pierce (daily comics, comic collections, longer stories in comic form, animated cartoons, etc.), aimed at readers 8 to 12, with a male central character; and the graphic novel In Real Life, by Cory Doctorow & Jen Wang, aimed at readers 12 to 18, with a female central character.

(Hat tip to Opal Armstrong Zwicky.)

A Big Nate book cover (in a series of eight books, each of which tells an extended story):


From Wikipedia:

Big Nate is an American comic strip written and illustrated by Lincoln Peirce [pronounced like purse]. The strip launched on January 7, 1991, and has spawned book collections [and other materials].

Big Nate follows the adventures and misadventures of Nate Wright, a spirited yet rebellious sixth-grader, and his classmates and teachers. He is portrayed as a boy with little interest in studies or conforming to standards, which has led him into several conflicts with his social studies teacher Mrs. Godfrey, whom he considers to be his nemesis. Strips also focus on Nate’s home life and friendships with his best friends Francis and Teddy.

The cover of In Real Life (text by Doctorow, drawings by Wang)”


Doctorow is a person of multiple talents. From Wikipedia:

Cory Efram Doctorow (… born July 17, 1971) is a Canadian-British blogger, journalist, and science fiction author who serves as co-editor of the blog Boing Boing. He is an activist in favour of liberalising copyright laws and a proponent of the Creative Commons organization, using some of their licenses for his books.

On Doctorow & Wang, In Real Life (2014) (described by one reviewer as “a graphic novel for gamer girls”), from the publisher’s blurb:

Anda loves Coarsegold Online, the massively-multiplayer role playing game that she spends most of her free time on. It’s a place where she can be a leader, a fighter, a hero. It’s a place where she can meet people from all over the world, and make friends. Gaming is, for Anda, entirely a good thing.

But things become a lot more complicated when Anda befriends a gold farmer — a poor Chinese kid whose avatar in the game illegally collects valuable objects and then sells them to players from developed countries with money to burn. This behavior is strictly against the rules in Coarsegold, but Anda soon comes to realize that questions of right and wrong are a lot less straightforward when a real person’s real livelihood is at stake.

From acclaimed teen author Cory Doctorow and rising star cartoonist Jen Wang, In Real Life is a sensitive, thoughtful look at adolescence, gaming, poverty, and culture-clash.


One Response to “Drawings plus text, telling stories, for kids”

  1. [BLOG] Some Saturday links | A Bit More Detail Says:

    […] Zwicky notes some prominent children’s graphic […]

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