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Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky Graphic Novel Review and Study

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The Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky graphic novel is one of the graphic novels I chose for my kid’s graphic novel online book club in 2023. I read the chapter book version of Tristan Strong a few years ago and loved the story. I was eager to read the graphic version!

Overall, this was such a fun graphic novel with a ton of great discussion topics, but it is definitely a skim across the surface of the story compared to the chapter book.

The Tristan Strong graphic novel is a great option for a homeschool study.

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Tristan Strong Punches
a Hole in the Sky Graphic Novel

Kwame Mbalia

Genre: Graphic Novel, Fantasy
Length: 128 pages
First Published: 2022

View on Amazon | View on Goodreads

Publisher’s Description: Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky (Graphic)

“Seventh-grader Tristan Strong feels anything but strong ever since he failed to save his best friend when they were in a bus accident together. All he has left of Eddie is the journal his friend wrote stories in. Tristan is dreading the month he’s going to spend on his grandparents’ farm in Alabama, where he’s being sent to heal from the tragedy.

But on his first night there, a sticky creature shows up in his bedroom and steals Eddie’s notebook. Tristan chases after it–is that a doll?–and a tug-of-war ensues between them underneath a Bottle Tree. In a last attempt to wrestle the journal out of the creature’s hands, Tristan punches the tree, accidentally ripping open a chasm into the MidPass, a volatile place with a burning sea, haunted bone ships, and iron monsters that are hunting the inhabitants of this world.

Tristan finds himself in the middle of a battle that has left Black American folk heroes John Henry and Brer Rabbit exhausted. In order to get back home, Tristan and these new allies will need to entice the god Anansi, the Weaver, to come out of hiding and seal the hole in the sky. But bartering with the trickster Anansi always comes at a price.

Can Tristan save this world before he loses more of the things he loves? Find out by diving into this stunning graphic novel adaptation of the original book.

My Goodreads Review

Think “Percy Jackson meets West African and African-American Folktales” in this graphic adaptation of this fantastic adventure story by Kwame Mbalia. Tristan is spending a month with his grandparents to heal from the death of his best friend in a tragic accident. While there, a strange and tiny creature sneaks into his room to steal his best friend’s journal. Tristan chases the creature and during the fight for the journal, he tears open a hole into another world and begins his adventure to save the world.

This graphic novel includes fun illustrations and intriguing graphics. Unfortunately, the graphic version feels a bit like water skiing over the plot from the original story. It was challenging to follow the story because this version jumped from one big event to the next big event without connecting them well.

Overall, the graphic novel is a fun version to discuss. There is a lot of great discussion to be had about the use of color symbolism in the conversation bubbles and so much more. The students in my graphic novel class enjoyed this one overall though many felt somewhat confused by the plot.

My Rating: ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

This Trisitan Strong Graphic Novel book review has discussion questions and more.

Tristan Strong Graphic: Discussion Questions for Your Homeschool Study

1. Discuss the different colors used for the speech bubbles. Why do you think those colors were selected?

2. There are so many colorful characters in this graphic novel. Who was your favorite character and why did you like them?

3. What do you think this book has to say about the importance of storytelling?

Homeschooling With Graphic Novels: Discussion Questions To Help You Get Started

Grab this set of questions designed to facilitate a great discussion about any book with your kids:

Grab a set of questions to discuss any graphic novel with your middle school child.

The Tristan Strong Book Series

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