Review: Annie Sullivan and the Trials of Helen Keller by Joseph Lambert


Hub Challenge: Graphic Novels Review

Annie Sullivan and the Trials of Helen Keller by Joseph Lambert

Ages 10+

How do you show a reader the world through Helen Keller’s eyes? Lambert does just that, exploring the amazing relationship between Helen and her mentor, teacher & advocate Annie Sullivan.  Suitable for readers ages ten and up, this graphic novel will appeal to a wide range of readers, and the unique format of this Helen Keller biography will draw in readers who may not normally have read a more traditional biography about this important figure.

For a more in depth view of the graphic novel’s images, and other reviews, please visit any of the following sites:

Kirkus Reviews:  


School Library Journal:



Provo Library:

Schulz Library Blog:–keller-is-out/

From Novel to Graphic Novel: Warriors and Redwall

Anthropomorphism: a literary device, typically attributing human characteristics to non-human animals or non-living things

This popular literary device is seen in many tween novels and manga adaptations, in which animals display human characteristics. Two wonderful examples of this is the Redwall series by Brian Jacques and the Warriors series by Erin Hunter. Both of these series have recently been adapted into a graphic novel format suitable for tweens.

The Lost Warrior (Warriors)
Written by Erin Hunter & Dan Jolley
Illustrated by James L. Barry

Reading level: Ages 9-12

Paperback: 96 pages

Publisher: Tokyopop (April 24, 2007)


Meet Graystripe, a lost warrior of the Thunderclan, who finds himself trapped in a human’s house, being treated as a ‘kittypet’. A warrior at heart, Graystripe despises his new surroundings and yearns to find his way home. Our protagonist feline friend must discover himself, remembering his past and understanding his present, and through the aid of a neighborhood cat named Millie, tries to find his way back to the Thunderclan.

A great introduction to manga adaptation, The Lost Warrior is a short but engaging fantasy read. Just under 100 pages, this graphic novel adaptation of Erin Hunter’s Warriors series is perfect for a beginning to read ‘tween’ manga reader.

HarperCollins Review: Recommended for AGES 8 to 12.

Redwall: The Graphic Novel

By Brian Jacques

Illustrated by Bret Blevins

Reading level: Ages 9-12

Paperback: 148 pages

Publisher: Philomel (October 4, 2007)


Villians beware, there is a new hero in town! When a vicious rat called Cluny the Scourge begins to terrify Redwall Abbey, a young mouse named Matthias must step into action.  In order to save Redwall, Matthias must summon the courage and bravery, as well as the  sword, of legendary Martin the Warrior.  Fast-paced and full of interesting characters, like Chickenhound the fox and Cornflower the fieldmouse, the Redwall graphic novel captures the essence of the novel series without leaving too much out. While the story is somewhat condensed, the adventurous spirit of Redwall is still very much captured.  Bret Blevins chooses to portray the novel in black and white, creating the convincingly magical world of Redwall and its characters.

This graphic novel adaptation is recommended for ages 9-12, with School Library Journal recommending the novel for grades 4 & up.  Since the Redwall book series is targeted at an slightly older, Young Adult audience, the graphic novel adaptation, much like the Warriors series, serves as a great introduction for tweens.  A tween does not have not to read the Redwall book series to enjoy this graphic novel adaptation.

From Novel to Graphic Novel: Artemis Fowl

Artemis Fowl: The Graphic Novel by Eoin Colfer
Reading Level: Ages 10-14
Paperback: 112 pages
Publisher: Hyperion Book CH (October 2, 2007)


Having not read the Artemis Fowl book series, I began reading this manga adaptation with very little knowledge of the plot & characters.  From reading book reviews & skimming the book in the past, I vaguely recollected that this series was about a 12 year old criminal mastermind. 

Despite my lack of knowledge about the book series, I was able to fairly easily follow the graphic novel’s version of the book, grasping the plot and characters without much trouble. Character snapshots displayed throughout the graphic novel, usually at the end of the chapter in which that character is introduced, helped establish the characters’ backgrounds.

While the reading level for this graphic novel is recommended at ages 10-14, some of the content may be more suitable for an older tween audience, perhaps a 11+ audience. Publisher’s Weekly recommends the Artemis Fowl novel format for ages 12 & up and the content from the novel remains very much the same in the graphic novel adaptation. This includes a mentally ill mother who displays bizarre & frightening behavior, dark magic, & criminal actions are all still very much present in the manga version and may not be suitable for younger tween readers.

For older tweens, however, who are interested in a fast-pace, dark fantasy adventure, this graphic novel adaptation is definitely for you! An action-packed story, readers will enjoy whimsical characters like fairies & trolls, as well as the witty and humorous dialogue.  Tweens will be able to relate to Artemis Fowl as a young boy genius trying to help his ill mother, while also trying to restore the family name.  Themes of identity, danger, adventure & magic will surely engage the tween audience and teens alike.

From Novel to Graphic Novel: Percy Jackson

It’s Manga Adaptation Week!
Not sure about what type of manga is out there that you can  recommend to tweens? Then try a manga adaptation, from novel to graphic novel!

All of this week, I will be reviewing manga adaptations of popular tween novels, starting with Percy Jackson & The Lightning Thief. Some of the reviews may contain spoilers (revealing key elements of the plot) if you have not read the novel.

Percy Jackson & The Olympians The Lightning Thief: The Graphic Novel by Rick Riordan
Adapted by Robert Venditti
Reading level: Ages 10-14
Paperback: 128 pages
Publisher: Hyperion Book CH (October 12, 2010)


Authentic in spirit to the original novel version, the manga adaptation of Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief is a vivid portrayal of fantasy, adventure and friendship. When young Percy Jackson finds himself in a world where the Greek Olympian Gods still very much exist, as do their half-blood children, he goes on a quest to retrieve Zeus’s stolen lightning bolt. As Percy tries to prevent a potentially catastrophic war between the Gods, he strengthens the bonds of friendship with friends Annabeth & Grover in this thrilling, mythological adventure.

The graphic novel version brings to the life the settings of the original novel, like Camp Half-Blood, without great additional alteration. However, some key plot elements are left missing, such as the great battle with Medusa, or shortened greatly, like ascene with the Lotus Eaters.

Graphically portraying dark fights with monsters & Greek Gods, this manga version is suitable for ages 10 & up. If a tween has recently devoured the Percy Jackson series, then they will surely enjoy the manga version for both its authenticity to the characters of book & its detailed drawings of the settings.  While not all of the plot translates into the manga adapation, tweens will still yearn for the next one in this adaptation series.