Nimona by Noelle Stevenson

19351043Nimona by Noelle Stevenson

Nemeses! Dragons! Science! Symbolism! All these and more await in this brilliantly subversive, sharply irreverent epic from Noelle Stevenson. Featuring an exclusive epilogue not seen in the web comic, along with bonus conceptual sketches and revised pages throughout, this gorgeous full-color graphic novel is perfect for the legions of fans of the web comic and is sure to win Noelle many new ones.

Nimona is an impulsive young shapeshifter with a knack for villainy. Lord Ballister Blackheart is a villain with a vendetta. As sidekick and supervillain, Nimona and Lord Blackheart are about to wreak some serious havoc. Their mission: prove to the kingdom that Sir Ambrosius Goldenloin and his buddies at the Institution of Law Enforcement and Heroics aren’t the heroes everyone thinks they are.

But as small acts of mischief escalate into a vicious battle, Lord Blackheart realizes that Nimona’s powers are as murky and mysterious as her past. And her unpredictable wild side might be more dangerous than he is willing to admit. (Description from Goodreads)

Topics: identity, friendship, heroes, villains

Suggested Age Level (Native Speakers): Meant for young adult readers, but lexical analysis shows that this books is acceptable for a 5th grade reading leve

Suggested ESL Level: This book would be good for an intermediate class, and because it’s a graphic novel, it is a fairly quick and easy read. It would be good to read this book in the first half of a semester to get students interested in reading in English, and then transition to a traditional novel.

This Guide: This guide is divided into five sections, and further divided into chapters within those sections. This guide contains suggested vocabulary, comprehension questions, and writing/discussion questions.

Amazon | Goodreads


Nimona was a very fun, interesting read. The first few chapters are short and quirky – they’re fun and adventurous. However, the more you read, the story gets darker and more complicated. ESL students will like the action and readability of Nimona (lexical analysis shows that roughly 87% of the words are K1 words), and advanced students will benefit from analyzing the themes of good vs. evil and hero vs. villain found within this graphic novel.

Click here for the Nimona ESL Reading Guide.

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Ms Marvel: Generation Why

23017947Ms. Marvel: Generation Why by Wilson, Alphona, and Wyatt

Who is the Inventor, and what does he want with the all-new Ms. Marvel and all her friends? Maybe Wolverine can help! If Kamala can stop fan-girling out about meeting her favorite super hero, that is. Then, Kamala crosses paths with Inhumanity — by meeting the royal dog, Lockjaw! But why is Lockjaw really with Kamala? As Ms. Marvel discovers more about her past, the Inventor continues to threaten her future. Kamala bands together with some unlikely heroes to stop the maniacal villain before he does real damage, but has she taken on more than she can handle? And how much longer can Ms. Marvel’s life take over Kamala Khan’s? Kamala Khan continues to prove why she’s the best (and most adorable) new super hero there is! (From Goodreads)

Topics: family, tradition, fitting in, super heroes, religion

Suggested Age Level (Native Speakers): Teens and young adults

Suggested ESL Level: This can be adapted to most ESL levels, depending on how much you want students to read every week, or how in-depth you want to go into discussion and analysis.

 This Guide: This is more like a mini-guide, since comic books are not that long, and a lot of the story is told visually. Trade paperbacks are a collection of five to six issues of a comic, so I’ve divided this guide into six sections – one section per issue. You can always combine sections if you want students to read the book more quickly. This guide contains suggested vocabulary, comprehension questions, writing/discussion questions, and quotation analysis.

 


Ms. Marvel: Generation Why is a continuation of Ms. Marvel: No Normal, so students should probably read the first trade paperback in order to understand Generation Why. I found this to be a really enjoyable read, and younger ESL students (teens to young adults) will really enjoy Kamala Khan as a character. Personally, I found No Normal to be much more interesting than Generation Why, but this one is still pretty great!

Click here for the Ms. Marvel: Generation Why comic book mini-guide!!

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Esperanza Rising by Pam Muñoz Ryan

91esc9felilEsperanza Rising by Pam Muñoz Ryan

Esperanza thought she’d always live with her family on their ranch in Mexico–she’d always have fancy dresses, a beautiful home, and servants. But a sudden tragedy forces Esperanza and Mama to flee to California during the Great Depression, and to settle in a camp for Mexican farm workers. Esperanza isn’t ready for the hard labor, financial struggles, or lack of acceptance she now faces. When their new life is threatened, Esperanza must find a way to rise above her difficult circumstances–Mama’s life, and her own, depend on it.

Themes/Topics: history, family, immigration, new beginnings, discrimination

 Suggested Reading Level (Native Speakers): Ages 8 – 12

Suggested Reading Level (ESL): Low-intermediate to intermediate

 This Guide: This guide is divided into six sections by page number. However, each section is further divided by chapter, in case you want to divide the book in a different way in your class. Each section includes: suggested vocabulary, comprehension questions, writing/discussion questions, quotes (these quotes are good for practicing analysis and using textual evidence to support an opinion), and research/extension activities (these cover topics throughout the entire book).

Click here for the Esperanza Rising reading guide.

 

This book was a very enjoyable, yet emotional read. I picked it because of its universal themes and historical setting, but I did not expect to cry so much at the end of the book! I think all ESL students will find something in Esperanza Rising to connect with.

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Ms. Marvel: No Normal

Ms. Marvel: No Normal Wilson and Alphona51lgrm5dxol-_sx321_bo1204203200_

Marvel Comics presents the new Ms. Marvel, the groundbreaking heroine that has become an international sensation!

Kamala Khan is an ordinary girl from Jersey City — until she’s suddenly empowered with extraordinary gifts. But who truly is the new Ms. Marvel? Teenager? Muslim? Inhuman? Find out as she takes the Marvel Universe by storm! When Kamala discovers the dangers of her newfound powers, she unlocks a secret behind them, as well. Is Kamala ready to wield these immense new gifts? Or will the weight of the legacy before her be too much to bear? Kamala has no idea, either. But she’s comin’ for you, Jersey!  (From Goodreads)

 

Topics: family, tradition, fitting in, super heroes, religion

Suggested Age Level (Native Speakers): Young adult

Suggested ESL Level: This can be adapted to most ESL levels, depending on how much you want students to read every week, or how in-depth you want to go into discussion and analysis.

This Guide: This is more like a mini-guide, since comic books are not that long, and a lot of the story is told visually. Trade paperbacks are a collection of five to six issues of a comic, so I’ve divided this guide into five sections – one section per issue. You can always combine sections if you want students to read the book more quickly. This guide contains suggested vocabulary, comprehension questions, writing/discussion questions, and quotation analysis.

 

I had a lot of fun reading Ms. Marvel, and I think ESL students (especially young adult age) will find her to be a funny and relatable character. Use this link here to download the PDF for the Ms. Marvel reading guide.

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Inside Out and Back Again by Thanhha Lai

Inside Out & Back Again by Thanhha Lai9780061962783

Inside Out and Back Again is a New

York Times bestseller, a Newbery Honor

Book, and a winner of the National Book

Award! Inspired by the author’s

childhood experience of fleeing Vietnam

after the Fall of Saigon and immigrating

to Alabama, this coming-of-age debut

novel told in verse has been celebrated

for its touching child’s-eye view of

family and immigration.

For all the ten years of her life, Hà has

only known Saigon: the thrills of its

markets, the joy of its traditions, and the

warmth of her friends close by. But now

the Vietnam War has reached her home.

Hà and her family are forced to flee as

Saigon falls, and they board a ship

headed toward hope. In America, Hà

discovers the foreign world of Alabama: the coldness of its strangers, the dullness of its food . . . and the strength of her very own family.

This moving story of one girl’s year of change, dreams, grief, and healing received four starred reviews, including one from Kirkus which proclaimed it “enlightening, poignant, and unexpectedly funny.” An author’s note explains how and why Thanhha Lai translated her personal experiences into Hà’s story. (From Goodreads)

Amazon | Goodreads

Topics: family, coming-of-age, Vietnam War, refugees, food

Suggested Age Level (Native Speakers): 8 – 12 years

Suggested ESL Level: Low-intermediate

This Guide: I’ve broken this book down into six ~45 page sections, which is perfect if you

teach in a 7/8 week intensive program, or would also be good for one half of a full semester. For each section, this guide contains: suggested vocabulary words, comprehension questions, writing activities, and research/extension activities. There is also a previewing section and a section for helpful links and cultural references.

Use this link to download the reading guide PDF: Inside Out and Back Again Reading Guide

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A Dog Called Homeless by Sarah Lean

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A Dog Called Homeless by Sarah Lean

“My name is Cally Louise Fisher and I haven’t spoken for thirty-one days. Talking doesn’t always make things happen, however much you want them to.”

When Cally Fisher sees her dead mother, real as anything, no one believes her. So Cally stops talking – what’s the point if no one is listening?

The only other living soul who sees Cally’s mum is a mysterious wolfhound who always seems to be there when her mum appears. But without a voice, how will Cally convince anyone that her mum is still with them, and how will she ever persuade her Dad that the huge silver-grey dog is their last link with her?

An outstandingly assured debut novel from a sparkling new talent. (From Goodreads)

Amazon | Goodreads

Topics: family issues, death, dealing with loss, dogs, friendship

Suggested Age Level (Native Speakers): 8 – 12, or grades 3 – 7

Suggested ESL Level: Low-intermediate or a very motivated/advanced elementary level class

Notes: I would suggest using this in the first half of the semester (if you teach during a regular school semester), as it’s a fairly easy book. The writing is simple, there aren’t very many cultural or topical references that students may have difficulty with, and the themes are fairly universal and understandable. This book is an easy way for students to get started with reading novels in English.

Use this link to download the reading guide PDF: A Dog Called Homeless Reading Guide

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