Graphic Novels for Kids
Gryphons Aren’t So Great by James Sturm, Andrew Arnold, and Alexis Frederick-Frost ages 3+
Prepare to laugh at this silly friendship story. The knight’s horse, Edward, gets jealous when his knight becomes enamored with a gryphon. When the gryphon takes the knight too high and too fast and Edward saves him. (Proving gryphons aren’t all that great!) Look for the step-by-step drawing instructions on the inside covers for drawing a bat, gryphon, knight, and horse.
Bird and Squirrel on Ice by James Burks ages 7 – 10
Okay, this might be my new favorite graphic novel series– it’s absolutely hysterical! In this first book, Bird’s over-confident, laissez-faire character pairs perfectly with Squirrel’s logical, fearful one. The duo crash land in the Penguin world where Bird is thought to be the “Chosen One” meant to save the penguins from the Great Whale. Absolutely everything is pitch-perfect — the illustrations, the characters, the dialogue, and the pacing. I highly recommend it.
Awkward by Svetlana Chmakova ages 10+
My 10-year old found this book SO RELATABLE — just like she struggles with confidence and speaking up, so does the main character, Peppi. This well-done graphic novel tackles the issues of friendships and confidence, among other things. (So glad I’m not in middle school anymore.) We highly recommend this graphic novel.
Human Body Theater: A Nonfiction Revue by Maris Wicks ages 10 – 14
This nonfiction graphic novel ROCKS! It should be required reading for students studying the human body because the information presented this way is so memorable and understandable. I love Skeleton’s narration and the awesomely cute illustrations of every body system from the smallest cell parts to the biggest organs.
Fable Comics edited by Chris Duffy ages 6 – 12
My kids and I ADORE this book — as well as the series’ previously published books, Nursery Rhyme Comics and Fairy Tale Comics. We love that 17 different cartoonists created one or more of the 28 illustrated fables, sometimes retelling a traditional, often unknown fable, and sometimes retelling with their own twist. The neat thing about this diversity in cartoonists, is seeing what the artist envisions for the style and tone of the art for each story. (That concept could be an entire lesson in itself!) I highly recommend this book not just for all kids but for kids with short attention spans, or reluctant readers, since the stories are short and fairly different. It holds your attention and you can stop and start anywhere in the book.
Little Robot by Ben Hatke ages 6 – 9
I found this to be a lovely, heart-warming story about the friendship between a little girl and a robot. The little girl takes good care of the robot she finds, and even makes him robot friends. As always, Ben Hatke’s artwork is gorgeous.
Secret Coders: Get with the Program by Gene Luen Yang and Mike Holmes ages 8 – 12
What’s happening at Hopper’s new school? She and her friends discover something very amazing about the birds — they’re robotic and can be controlled by numbers. Which leads the kids to go up against the scheming, evil janitor. Readers learn some basics of how to use the programming language Logo with sequence, iteration, and selection, and must apply their knowledge to help the characters. I love the interactivity, the diverse main characters, and the progressive way the authors teach the logical thinking of programming. Very well-done!
Hilo The Boy Who Crashed to Earth by Judd Winick ages 8 – 12
Hilo can’t remember what happened to him before D.J. finds him crashed into the earth. Hilo remembers an evil monster robot, and that he is a robot meant to protect his world from the bad robots — but those robots have followed Hilo to Earth. This ends of a cliff-note but is worth it — it’s a great page-turning adventure!
Big Nate Welcome to My World by Lincoln Peirce age 8 – 12
I think the Big Nate comics are even better than the novels — they are just so stinking funny! Lincoln Peirce “gets” kids and their struggles — the episodes will keep both you and your kids cracking up.
Rudyard Kipling’s How the Camel Got His Hump adapted by Louise Simonsson, by Rudyard Kipling, illustrated by Pedro Rodriguez ages 8 – 11
I had no idea the REAL story behind the camel’s hump. How about you? Read this fantastic story to learn the truth. It’s about a lazy camel who always said “HUMPH,” and a magical genie (djinn) who teaches the camel a lesson.
Nimona by Noelle Stevenson ages 12+
This is dark humor at it’s best! Shape-shifter, Nimona, appoints herself the sidekick to villain, Lord Ballister Blackhart. But Nimona is way more serious about real villainy than Lord Blackhart. She kills and creates chaos whenever possible which distresses Lord Blackhart. Nimona thinks Lord Blackhart’s rules are weird and totally unnecessary. But, despite Nimona’s dark side, together they set out to prove that the heroes are not really heroic. The main characters are very well-developed and both have back-stories that make them really interesting. I love that Nimona isn’t a sexed-up heroine, she’s just a regular-looking girl. I highly recommend this book and so does my 10-year old. Also, it on the long-list for the National Book Awards.
The Stratford Zoo Midnight Revue Presents: Romeo and Juliet by Ian Lender and Zack Giallongo ages 7 – 10
Whoa. This is a crazy, cool, really great, reimagined star-crossed
lovers friends story of a “petter” rooster named Romeo and a “wilder” bear named Juliet who meet and become friends. Unfortunately, the wild animals despise the petting zoo animals so they must be secret friends. And, in this version, the pair of friends do not die, but go into a hibernation sleep. Simultaneously, the audience of zoo animals give us another story line to follow particularly with two argumentative children and two hilarious vultures. (*Parents, just to mention that there is the use of the double meaning of the word ass.*)
Baba Yaga’s Assistant by Marika McCoola, illustrated by Emily Carroll ages 10+
Courageous and adventurous Masha knows Baba Yaga from her grandmother’s stories. After her grandmother dies, and her father remarries, Masha decides to become Baba Yaga’s assistant. To pass Baba Yaga’s tests, Masha uses her wits and the stories from her grandmother. She thinks she will fail when she rescues three children from Baba Yaga’s cage but she passes. Excellent storytelling and illustrations kept me totally enthralled in this not-your-average-fairy tale story.
Not convinced that graphic novels are okay for reading? Read my arguments for reading graphic novels here.