Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Slice of Life: A Reluctant Reader Reads

A boy crashes to the earth and he’s only wearing his underwear.  It turns out that he’s not even a boy.  He’s a robot. 

I think my readers were hooked at the underwear part.  I have never met an elementary student who didn’t giggle over any mention of underwear.

It turned out the rest of the book did not disappoint.  Action. Adventure.  Humor. Friendship.  Good guys versus bad guys.  And it’s a graphic novel.  I have not yet had a student who read Hilo: The Boy Who Crashed to Earth and did not think it was just awesome. 

One of my most reluctant readers was the first to read it back in October.  He immediately asked for the second one, which to his disappointment, I told him was not going to be published until May.  Until this book, this reader of mine has never shown interest in wanting to read a book or much excitement about anything that he has read.  Since he has asked to read and really liked several other graphic novels.

Many of the other students who have read it have also asked for the second book in the series. Of course, I had to preorder it.  I placed a picture of the book with a “Coming Soon…” sign and a sign-up sheet. I’ve heard multiple times, “When is it coming?” or “Have you gotten it, yet?”

When it finally arrived last week, it was like receiving a present in the mail.  I knew my students would feel the same excitement.  I walked into the classroom of that reluctant reader and showed it to him.  He had a huge smile on his face.

Word is getting around that I am now in possession of the second book, Hilo: Saving the Whole Wide World.  Now I am asked, “When do I get it?” One student has come to my room every morning since I got the book to find out if it is his turn to read it.

Hilo is a character that my students have fallen in love with. They love the graphic format and they love the plot.  For a reading teacher there are not many things more enjoyable than seeing students excited about books.  I love this book as much as my students.  As an adult it was enjoyable for me to read.  More enjoyable than many of the graphic novels I have picked up and tried to read.  But, most important this is the type of book kids really want to read.  There are so many things about it that appeal to kids, from the underwear at the beginning to the cliff-hanger at the end.  Even if a book doesn’t appeal to me, if it gets my students reading it is a book I love, too. 

I am thankful to Judd Winick for creating this book.  I just wish he would write faster.   My readers will definitely want to read the third because there is a heart-wrenching cliffhanger at the end of the second.  I checked Amazon and the third book is not available until February of next year.  Students have already asked if there is going to be a third book and I almost don’t want to tell them how long they have to wait.  Even so, I am thankful this sort of book exists, providing my most reluctant readers with books that get them excited about reading.


  1. Great title to your post .... had to read it!! It is a great book and so many kids have fallen in love with it. It would be interesting to see if it is the character or the structure they love. Have you tried other series with characters like Hilo or other graphic novels with different characters? It might be a way to fuel them until February!! Thanks for sharing

    1. I think it's a combination of humor and the fast-paced action that my students enjoy. A lot of students have also like the Bird and Squirrel series, I think for the same reasons. Graphic novels are such a hit with so many of my students!

  2. I've had the same reaction in my classes with this book and the reluctant readers who find Hilo. I, too, am thankful that books and authors like this exist.

    1. Graphic novels have really helped to get some of my students reading more!

  3. I've had the same reaction in my classes with this book and the reluctant readers who find Hilo. I, too, am thankful that books and authors like this exist.

  4. Isn't it great when students are basically chasing the authors down to write FASTER!!!? Loved this story!

  5. I haven't read Hilo yet, but based on your student's response, I'll have to see if we have it in our library. Thanks for sharing!