I’m a BIG believer in the power of graphic novels to get kids reading and engaged in story. My own kids both love reading graphic novels and comic books. They say that it’s easier on their brains — like a brain break — because there is so much visual support. irresistible
What my kids don’t realize is that it’s not actually a break, it’s a different delivery method for the story and possibly one that is easier for them. Because all our kids are accustomed to visuals everywhere, I suspect that the imagery of graphic novels feel comfortable and familiar.
Read more about the specific benefits of reading comic books and graphic novels.
Oh, and if your kids are Marvel fans like mine are, get them reading Marvel comic books! There are A KAZILLION!
Here are new and engaging graphic novels I think your kids will enjoy reading. All but one are 2016 publication dates.
See my list of the best graphic novels that will get kids reading here.
New and Engaging Graphic Novels
Maddy Kettle The Adventure of the Thimblewitch by Eric Orchard (ages 9 – 12)
In this beautifully illustrated graphic novel, our heroine Maddy searches for a way to change her parents from rats back into humans. She and her friends travel by balloon to find the Thimblewitch responsible. This is a lovely, adventurous story of a brave girl and her new friends.
Rutabaga: The Adventure Chef, Feasts of Fury 2 by Eric Colossal (ages 8 – 12)
This is delightful, quirky book about a young chef and his magical cooking pot named, uh, Pot. Rutabaga has several crazy adventures — finding the secret ingredient for a special soup (spider webs?!) and stopping costume-stealing, nasty gubblins from taking over the kingdom, and such. Each story comes with a recipe although they’re as kooky as these stories! Bubbling Bog Fondue with stinky cheese and Gubblin Snot! (smoothie) are just a few of the culinary delights shared in this book. Yum?
Dragons Beware! (The Chronicles of Claudette) by Jorge Aguirre, illustrated by Rafael Rosado (ages 7 – 10)
Claudette is one of my favorite graphic novel heroines (Rapunzel in Rapunzel’s Revenge still holds my #1 spot). Claudette is brave, smart, and kind — all the qualities you need in a hero! This is a must-read adventure with everything you need in a good narrative: an evil wizard, gargoyles, a dragon, a sword, a quest, and good friends!
The Wrong Wrights (Secret Smithsonian Adventures) (ages 9 – 12)
Four friends discover that they are urgently needed to fix the history that someone has tampered with. In this story, they discover that the Wright brothers were thwarted, affecting all of flight history.
Penny Dora by Michael Stock, Sina Grace, Tamra Bonvillain (ages 9 – 12)
A modern type of Pandora’s box story, this is about Penny, a girl who finds a box that grants wishes. She quickly learns that not all wishes are a good idea. Unfortunately, Penny shares the box with a friend (because we all want to think our friends are worthy and want them to like us) and her friend doesn’t have the sense that Penny does, things get very bleak. Now Penny’s friend is crazed with power and greed. How will Penny stop her? Great adventure and plenty of discussion fodder.
Little Dee and the Penguin by Christopher Baldwin (ages 7 – 9)
I thought the story was a bit disjointed at the beginning, it’s about a group of seemingly random animals (penguin, dog, brown bear, polar bears, vulture) and the little girl, Dee. They’ve taken off on a world adventure which is fun and silly but has a bigger message about belonging.
Red’s Planet by Eddie Pittman (ages 8 – 12)
Gorgeous drawings share the story of a foster girl named Red who is kidnapped by a UFO and marooned on a planet with her fellow UFO alien companions where a grumpy planet guardian lives. Red finds that with her new friends, anywhere can be a home. They’ll be more about Red and her adventures in another volume.
Science Comics Coral Reefs Cities of the Ocean by Maris Wicks (ages 8 – 12)
An adorable yellow fish narrates this informative book about his habitat, coral reefs. It’s all facts though so it’s not the kind of book that most kids (or adults) will want to sit down and read in one sitting. Read it in chunks and you’ll soon be an expert on coral reefs.
Science Comics Dinosaurs Fossils and Feathers by MK Reed, Joe Flood (ages 9 – 12)
Despite the Darwinian leaning, I generally liked this book. We learn about the people who made significant contributions to the study of dinosaurs such as Mary Annie of England, an amateur fossil hunter, and even how dinosaurs got their names. (Did you know there’s a dinosaur named after Hogwarts!?) Readers will enjoy the narrative filled with facts.
Breaking Cat News: Cats Reporting on the News that Matters to Cats by Georgia Dunn (ages 9+)
These are hilarious, tongue-in-cheek cartoons of cats reporting the very latest news from their oh, so news-worthy lives. As you can imagine, they report breaking news about empty food bowls, the best sun spots, and the vacuum cleaner’s return as well as life’s many mysteries such as why is there glass in the way of the birds. Good stuff, right?! Very funny.
Shadow Hero by Gene Luen Yang & Sonny Lieu (ages 12+)
A few years ago this was published to high praise. This is the superhero story about the origins of the Green Turtle, a 1940’s masked Asian-American man. I loved everything about this man who is a reluctant vigilante! His overbearing mother pushes him to become a hero and is disappointed in him, thinks him a failure. There’s a cool element of Chinese mythology (the turtle spirit) that comes into play, affecting Hank, who steps up to fight the Chinatown gangs, a hero at last.