Kids reading booksGraphic Novels for Kids

Why Graphic Novels?

We often speak with parents and caregivers concerned that their children only want to read graphic novels (a.k.a. comic books). How can children become better readers when they stick to “easy” books? Won’t they miss out on great literature? In response, we’d like to highlight a few benefits of graphic novels.

  • Graphic novels motivate children to read.
    Children learn to love reading by reading what they love. The more fun reading is, the more children want to read, and the better they get. Leave assignments to school, and let free reading time be truly free. If your children gravitate toward graphic novels, encourage them!
  • Graphic novel reading is deep reading.
    Graphic novels provide rich visual information about setting, characters, and plot, supporting readers’ understanding of the text and vocabulary. In fact, multimodal storytelling allows readers to establish stronger connections with the material and improve inferencing skills.
  • Graphic novels are great literature.
    Or, certainly, they can be, offering complex stories that inform, entertain, and create connections between readers and the world. Graphic novels have been honored with some of the most prestigious awards in children’s literature! Please ask a librarian for suggestions.

For more information, we suggest this Scholastic Guide to Using Graphic Novels with Children and Teens.


Staff Picks: Graphic Novels for Kids

Check out some of your Wilmette librarians' favorite graphic novels in different genres. Dig into a world where text and images come together in fun, adventurous, and often beautiful ways!

Adventure & Science Fiction

CatStronauts: Mission Moon

CatStronauts (series)

By Drew Brockington

Endlessly fun and silly books about cats in space. Start with Mission Moon, in which the CatStronauts help the president solve a global energy crisis! Suggested for grades 1–5.


Hilo: The Boy Who Crashed to Earth

Hilo (series)

By Judd Winick

Check out number one in this series, The Boy Who Crashed to Earth, in which a mysterious boy falls from the sky. His friends D.J. and Gina must discover the secrets of his identity and help him save the world. These full-color stories are action-packed, heartfelt, and hilarious with a diverse group of kids including some powerful girls. Suggested for grades 2 and up.


Ms. Marvel: No Normal

Ms. Marvel (series)

By G. Willow Wilson & Adrian Alphona

Kamala Khan is a Muslim girl from Jersey City. She’s totally ordinary, until she develops superpowers and must discover how to use them. No Normal is the first book in the series. Suggested for grades 7 and up.


One Dead Spy

Nathan Hale's Hazardous Tales (series)

By Nathan Hale

Hilarious, gruesome, and packed with facts, this series introduces readers to some of strangest and most notorious events in American History. The first book is One Dead Spy, but they can be read in any order. Suggested for grades 3–6.


May's Wild Walk

The Whiskers Sisters (series)

By MissPaty

Three forest-dwelling sisters whose grandfather is the Guardian of the Forest adventure with wild animals. The first volume is May's Wild Walk. Suggested for grades K–3.

 

Additional suggestions

  • Amulet (series), by Kazu Kibuishi
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender (series), by Gene Luen Yang
  • Dungeon Critters, by Natalie Riess & Sara Goetter
  • Zita the Spacegirl (series), by Ben Hatke

Fantasy

The Deep & Dark Blue

The Deep & Dark Blue

By Niki Smith

After a deadly political coup, twins Hawke and Grayson go undercover in a community of magical women. In their new identities, they discover new talents and hatch a plan to retake their beloved home. This exciting, fantastical graphic novel will appeal to fans of Witch Boy and The Prince and the Dressmaker. Suggested for grades 4–8.

 

Hilda and the Troll

Hilda and the Troll (Hildafolk #1)

By Luke Pearson

The story is about Hilda, who is adventurous and brave and always finds a way to explore her enchanting world! This is a fun and magical story about fearless Hilda! Suggested for grades 2–5.

 

The Red Shoes and Other Tales

The Red Shoes and Other Tales

By Metaphrog

Fresh takes on Hans Christian Andersen's "Red Shoes" and "Little Match Girl," along with original work by Metaphrog, make this a surprising and delightfully dark trip down fairy tale lane. Suggested for grades 3–6.

 

The Runaway Princess

The Runaway Princess

By Johan Troïanowski

Princess Robin is on the run to the Aquatic Carnival and beyond. Menacing characters are easily turned into friends and problems are solved with ingenuity as Robin jumps from one colorful, fantastical situation to another. This volume collects three books in one. Suggested for grades 2–6.

 

The Witch Boy

The Witch Boy (The Witch Boy #1)

By Molly Ostertag

As a boy, Aster is supposed to be a shapeshifter, but his talents lie in witchcraft. Defying gender norms can be dangerous, though—literally. Aster and his diverse group of friends come into their powers in a series of adventures, while discovering and remaining true to themselves. Suggested for grades 3–7.

 

Additional suggestions

  • Aster and the Accidental Magic, by Thom Pico & Karensac
  • Giants Beware! (Chronicles of Claudette #1), by Jorge Aguirre & Rafael Rosado
  • Snapdragon, by Kat Leyh
  • Witches of Brooklyn, by Sophie Escabasse

Humor

Akissi: Tales of Mischief

Akissi: Tales of Mischief (Akissi #1)

By Marguerite Abouet & Mathieu Sapin

Funny short stories relay the adventures of Akissi, an exuberant girl growing up in an Ivory Coast village. Her scrappy, mischievous nature brings to mind Calvin of Calvin and Hobbes and Ramona Quimby, and the unique setting adds an extra layer of interest. Suggested for grades 2–6.

 

Mr. Wolf's Class

Mr. Wolf's Class (Mr. Wolf's Class #1)

By Aron Nels Steinke

It is the first day of Mr. Wolf’s class, and he is ready for the exciting day. This is a very funny story which captures the first day of school in a delightful way! Suggested for grades 2–4.

 

Narwhal: Unicorn of the Sea

Narwhal and Jelly (series)

By Ben Clanton

Happy-go-lucky Narwhal and no-nonsense Jelly find their inner superheroes in these under-the-sea adventures. Each book of three short and silly stories will charm the youngest graphic novel readers. The first book is Narwhal: Unicorn of the Sea. Suggested for kindergarten and up.

 

A Tale of Two Sloths

Peter & Ernesto: A Tale of Two Sloths (Peter & Ernesto #1)

By Graham Annable

Peter loves their tree and wants to stay there forever. Ernesto hopes to go on an adventure to see all the places. This is a sweet story about two sloth friends who are so different, but they are good friends to each other! Suggested for grades 1–4.

 

Additional suggestions

  • Breaking Cat News (series), by Georgia Dunn
  • Johnny Boo (series), by James Kochalka
  • The Great Pet Escape (Pets on the Loose #1), by Victoria Jamieson
  • Squish (series), by Jennifer L. Holm & Matthew Holm
  • Captain Underpants Read-Alikes

Realistic Fiction & Memoir

The Cardboard Kingdomy

The Cardboard Kingdom

By Chad Sell

Follow the adventures of a group of neighborhood children who create costumes from cardboard to transform themselves into knights, robots, and monsters. After you read this book, you will be saving your delivery boxes to create a fantasy world of your own! Suggested for grades 3 and up.

 

New Kid

New Kid (New Kid #1)

By Jerry Craft

Being new is always hard, but Jordan finds it’s even more challenging as one of the few Black students at an elite private school. Humorous and relatable, this Newbery Award winner is a great jumping off point for discussions of racism. Be sure to check out its follow-up, Class Act. Suggested for grades 4–8.

 

Real Friends

Real Friends (Real Friends #1)

By Shannon Hale & LeUyen Pham

When her best friend Adrienne starts hanging out with the most popular girl in class, Shannon questions whether she and Adrienne will stay friends, and if she is part of the clique. Suggested for grades 3–6.

 

Stargazing

Stargazing

By Jen Wang

Being Chinese American is almost the only thing straitlaced Christine and free-spirited Moon have in common, yet their friendship works…mostly. Each girl has insecurities, and when Moon receives terrible news, their friendship is tested as never before. Heartfelt and moving. Suggested for grades 3–7.

 

Twins

Twins

By Varian Johnson & Shannon Wright

Maureen and Francine: twin sisters with very different personalities, both vying for the student council presidency! What could possibly go wrong? Everything, of course. Fans of Smile and New Kid will gobble up this thoughtful, slice-of-life graphic novel. Suggested for grades 3–6.

 

When Stars Are Scattered

When Stars Are Scattered

By Victoria Jamieson & Omar Mohamed

The author of reader favorite Roller Girl teamed up with Omar Mohamed, a Somali refugee and social worker now living in the United States, to tell his story. Omar and his brother have been living in a refugee camp for years. What will it take for them to survive, thrive, and get resettled? This graphic novel tells an urgent, emotionally wrenching, and ultimately hopeful story. Suggested for grades 5 and up.

 

Additional suggestions

  • All's Faire in Middle School and Roller Girl, by Victoria Jamieson
  • El Deafo, by Cece Bell
  • Sunny Side Up (Sunny #1), by Jennifer L. Holm & Matthew Holm
  • Smile Read-Alikes

 

  • Inside Block Kids' E-books

    E-Books, Movies & More

    Access e-books, e-audiobooks, movies, music, and more, free with your Wilmette Public Library card.
     




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