Do your kids or students love reading graphic novels? From history to science and fantasy, this group of new graphic novels offers a wide variety of genres and topics for middle-grade readers. And they’re all really good!
13 New Graphic Novels, January 2023
Travis Daventhorpe by Wes Molebash
Travis is a science-loving kid with an intelligent robot named Travbot who flies. After pulling a sword from a stone, Travis learns that he’s the prophesied hero who will defeat the evil Nol Invictus. Add in a black-hand birthmark, portals between the worlds, video-game-like character profiles, terrible swordsmanship, and intelligent dialogue and you have a super-compelling, totally hilarious story.
Leviathan: Adventures in Comics by Jason Shiga
CHOOSE YOUR OWN ADVENTURE
Original and interactive, this choose-your-own-adventure comic takes readers on a quest for a magic wand that will stop the Leviathan. But what is the history of the coastal town and the Leviathan? And how did Leviathan’s attacks stop crime in the village? I predict kids will totally enjoy this captivating adventure/mystery!
Rosa Parks & Claudette Colvin: Civil Rights Heroes by Tracey Baptiste, illustrated by Shauna J. Grant
CIVIL RIGHTS HISTORY
This is a must-read, compelling historical look at the important contributions of Black women like Rosa Parks, Claudette Colvin, and Jo Ann Robinson to the Civil Rights Movement. Because before Mrs. Parks, there was a girl named Claudette Colvin who also refused to move to the back of the bus and was arrested. When Rosa Parks also got arrested for not moving to the back of the bus, another woman named Jo Ann Robinson thought of the bus boycott idea. The bus boycott dragged on and on, but eventually, the persistence of many brave individuals made a change to the unjust system.
Miles Morales Stranger Tides by Justin A. Reynolds, illustrated by Pablo Leon
Miles discovers a new villain in town— the Stranger who freezes people using a video game, including Miles’ best friend and parents. The Stranger has judged humans lacking so he plans to destroy half the population. To defeat the Stranger, Miles gets help from an old nemesis, Trinity, and Mr. G., who use their time travel and electric superpowers to send The Stranger far away from Earth. It’s another exciting adventure for readers who love superheroes.
Into the Heartlands (A Black Panther Graphic Novel) by Roseanne A. Brown, illustrated by Dika Araujo, Natacha Bustos, Claudia Aguirre
FANTASY / SCI-FI
Shuri’s experiment goes wrong and she unleashes a deadly curse on Wakanda. It’s up to Shuri and her brother T’Challa to save Wakanda and stop the sickness from spreading. Interesting and exciting, this is a great adventure that mixes fantasy and science fiction.
Maker Comics Design a Game by Bree Wolf and Jesse Fuchs
Kids from all over the galaxy attend the summer camp for game design. As the teacher guides the students step by step to think about what they like, the basics of a good game, scoring, and more, kids and readers get to play games and learn design principles. I LOVE this book! And even though it’s instructional, kids will love it too because it’s got a storyline, interesting characters, and reliability. After all, who doesn’t love games?
Science Comics The Periodic Table of Elements Understanding the Building Blocks of Everything by Jon Chad
Mel is a middle schooler who freezes up on tests even though she knows the material. She enters the Land of Elements, where she must overcome fear and use her knowledge to defeat Elementor, the villain who wants to poison the world. Mel teaches what she knows to her new friend Hydrogen and the readers will learn about the building blocks of the elements of the periodic table as well. Educational with a storytelling adventure!
Beaky Barnes Egg on the Loose by David Ezra Stein
A kooky adventure of eggs and friendship! The police inspector wants to eat an egg sandwich but the entire town is out of eggs. When Beaky arrives to eat at the restaurant, too, the chef asks for an egg as payment. Beaky’s friend says no way, and Beaky leaves after an argument with her friend. Chaos and hilarity ensue with chases, life lessons, misunderstandings, and disguises…it’s all very silly.
Bomb by Steve Sheinkin, illustrated by Nick Bertozzi
Three major storylines depict the significant historical events around the making of the atomic bomb: the Germans breaking the atom, the spy who was caught after giving the Russians the American plans for a nuclear bomb, and the American scientists working in New Mexico at a secret site to develop the atomic bomb. The stories are fascinating, more so because they’re based on actual events, but I did get bogged down with some of the science. Sheinkin and Bertozzi successfully capture the urgency scientists felt to compete with other countries and their singular focus. *some bad language
A First Time for Everything by Dan Santat
MEMOIR (ages 10+)
In this memoir, Dan describes a transformative trip during the summer before high school that helped him grow from awkward and insecure to confident and outgoing. The trip gave the students lots of freedom. He tries beer and cigarettes. He meets a cute girl and finds the courage to get to know her, even sharing a kiss. He falls in love with the cultures and languages, too. Readers will probably want their own European experiences, too. Although, I hope that the kids would be better supervised than Dan was!
Captain America The Ghost Army by Alan Gratz, illustrated by Brent Schoonover
Set during WWII, Captain America and Bucky fight against an evil magician who has created a ghost army that has the power to kill. The only way to stop the ghosts temporarily is with water, but how can they defeat the ghosts for good? It’s an exciting, dangerous, and action-packed story.
Hoops by Matt Tavares
Judi is growing up in the 1970s. She loves playing basketball so she’s excited when her school starts a girls’ basketball team. Unfortunately, they’re not treated the same as the boy’s team. The girls make their own uniforms, practice at 7 pm, and don’t get a bus to away games. After the girls push through and keep playing to victory, they change the mind of the high school athletic director. It’s an atmospheric story that shows the struggles for gender equality in sports.
Dragon Kindom of Wrenly: The Coldfire Curse by Jordan Quinn
FANTASY (ages 7-10)
Book one launches the series with a bang! When Cinder’s father crashes, it’s clear that he’s sick from the dreaded “cold curse” so Cinder must ask the king for help. Cinder flies to the castle of the human king and meets a red dragon named Ruskin, the pet of the human king. Cinder, Ruskin, and Groth travel to the fairies in order to get the ingredients to cure the curse. But the witch-dragon is NOT pleased with their success. A fast-paced and excellent story with a hook that will keep you reading the series!