Kids love graphic novels (and comics) and who can blame them? They’re totally visual, highly entertaining, and sometimes even educational! Check out these recent graphic novel choices from 2016 and 2017.
Also, don’t miss my big list of the best graphic novels for kids ages 5 – teen.
What’s New in Graphic Novels for Kids
Fuzzy Baseball by John Steven Gurney (ages 6 – 10)
It’s the game of the year — the Fuzzies versus the Red Claws! The Fuzzies are losing badly but their newest team member, Blossom Honey Possum, steps up to save the day. Easy to read with larger than normal font, this is an excellent introduction to baseball within a fun story.
Action Lab: Dog of Wonder Volume One: Who Let the Dogs Out? by Vito Delsante, Scott Fogg, Rosy Higgins, and Ted Brandt (ages 7 – 10)
These action dogs are superheroes who rescue maltreated pets and pets at kill-shelters. The stories are exciting adventures with bigger font for younger readers and a positive message. (This isn’t a graphic novel, it’s a comic book and #1 in a series which means the story continues in the next comic.)
Stinky Cecil in Terrarium Terror by Paige Braddock (ages 7 – 10)
If you like misadventures and irony, you’ll love this funny graphic novel about a kidnapping and daring rescue. Cecil gets snatched by a 3rd grade classroom on a field trip and is taken to the classroom terrarium where he meets a very goofy, motley group of animals. Not to worry though, most of Cecil’s friends pile in to Jeff the hamster’s radio controlled helicopter to rescue him. But when they arrive, Cecil is gone! (You’ll love the twist.) This is a perfect book for newer readers who will appreciate the big font and easy-to-follow sequence of images.
Big Nate: What’s a Little Noogie Between Friends? by Lincoln Peirce (ages 8 – 12)
Another hilarious winner in the Big Nate series of books. From school picture fiascos to girl trouble and detentions, these are laugh out loud funny and a kid-favorite! (attn: Diary of a Wimpy Kid fans, you will LOVE this series!)
Caveboy Dave More Scrawny Than Brawny by Aaron Reynolds and Phil McAndrew (ages 7 – 10)
Dave Unga-Bunga isn’t much of a hunter, mostly because he’s more of an inventor like his grandfather and father only his inventions aren’t taken seriously (the torch, the fork, underwear?!). But things change during a terrifying and disastrous hunting class experience and Dave’s inventions save he and his friends. The story is goofy and comical with a good dose of potty humor.
The Nameless City by Faith Erin Hicks with Jordie Bellaire (ages 9 – 12)
First in an Asian-influenced series about an occupied city, we meet two kids from different clans and backgrounds who become unlikely friends. Kaidu is a Dao and new to the Nameless City where he’s studying to be a soldier. Rat is a street girl who teaches Kaidu how to survive in the city. Together they save the city’s leader from an assassination plot. The action and characters are compelling and thought-provoking. I can’t wait for the next book in this series, The Stone Heart.
Space Dumplins by Craig Thompson (ages 8 – 12)
Enchanting illustrations, warm-hearted characters, random Bible story references (Jonah and the whale), and an action-packed plot make this a stand-out sci-fi graphic novel. Violet lives with her mother and father in space but her father suddenly disappears, her mother gets detained at work so it’s up to Violet to rescue her dad. What else does this book have? Good friends, whale diarrhea, an evil science station with a captured whale baby, a dad trapped in the belly of a whale, plus danger and humor. Love it!
The Drawing Lesson: A Graphic Novel That Teaches You How to Draw by Mark Crilley (ages 8 – 12)
The lessons within this graphic novel story will inspire and educate young artists. I especially liked the juxtaposition of the boy, David’s, eagerness to his teacher, Becky’s, reluctance. The lessons are woven within the larger story of a young boy named David who asks a young woman named Becky to give him drawing lessons. She reluctantly agrees, first asking him to draw her watch. This becomes a lesson in seeing scale, the blank spaces, and the differences between the real watch and the drawing. She declines other lessons saying she’s not a teacher but David bumps into her (even finding her house!) and she continues (reluctantly) to give him lessons on shadowing, loose sketching, negative space, proportions, and more. The Drawing Lesson is marvelous graphic novel that both entertains and teaches. Great for aspiring artists.
Fish Girl by David Wiesner and Donna Jo Napoli (ages 8 – 12)
I expected more depth (no pun intended) with Fish Girl’s story. It’s very straight-forward but misses any layers of deeper meaning or insight. Yes, that’s okay, it’s just disappointing for this long-time fan of Wiesner. Fish Girl is a captured mermaid living in an aquarium who simultaneously befriends a human girl and begins to realize that her capturer is not King Neptune nor are his stories of her birth and her mother true. Her inquiries lead her to investigate and eventually escape, freeing her sea creature friends as she does.
Apollo: The Brilliant One by George O’Connor (ages 10 – 14)
The muses narrate Apollo’s origin story, his tragic love story with Daphne and Hyacinth, the story of his son Askepios raised by Chiron, and other classic tales. Parents: these are not watered down versions of the originals stories.
Artemis: Wild Goddess of the Hunt by George O’Connor (ages 10 – 14)
Apollo’s twin sister, Artemis is a fierce and often vengeful woman. Her stories are filled with conflict which O’Connor makes Artemis more understandable by capturing her motivations and emotions as well as makes the stories of the Greek gods memorable. Just ask my 14-year old who just aced her Greek English exam thanks in part to this graphic novel series and Rick Riordan’s books. 🙂
Gods and Thunder: A Graphic Novel of Old Norse Myths by Carl Bowen and Eduardo Garcia
If you know Norse mythology, you know the stories are often quite violent, among other characteristics. So if that’s not your thing, this isn’t the book for you. These stories show some of the background of Odin and his sons and depict Loki as the villain, not as a trickster. This graphic novel is well done and easy-to-read with excellent illustrations.