Graphic novels give readers a variety in format since children need variety and choice to become good readers. Readers need to read different genres of fiction and nonfiction as well as different formats of books.
Kids love visual storytelling, and the graphic novel format appeals to almost all kids–and requires reading comprehension strategies like inference and an understanding of sequence, narrative story elements, and dialogue. Read 8 reasons you should let kids read graphic novels.
38 Kid-Favorite Graphic Novel Series
Beginning Chapter Books (Ages 7 – 9)
Growing readers need plenty of books that will engage them, help them fall in love with stories, and improve their reading skills. Try one of these…
Owly: The Way Home by Andy Runton
It’s hard for a predator like Owly to make friends. But when he saves a worm from a rainstorm and helps him find his home, he makes a friend for life. Not to mention, his kindness and gentle spirit make him even more new friends than he could have imagined. Readers who like graphic novels, as well as sweet, relatable stories, will enjoy this charming book for beginning readers.
The Sleepover and Other Stories (Fox + Chick) by Sergio Ruzzier
Fox is serious and kind, while Chick is goofy and playful. In this group of stories, they have a sleepover where Chick is scared of kangaroos but needs his stuffed kangaroo to sleep. Fox is puzzled by this. In another story, Chick asks Fox for a surprise birthday party — which is hilarious because it turns out that it’s not even Chick’s birthday.
Baloney and Friends Going Up! by Greg Pizzoli
From writing a theme song to sleepovers to thinking deep thoughts, this book of stories showcases characters you can’t help but love, including Baloney the pig, Bizz the bumblebee, Peanut the horse, and Krabbit the rabbit. Plus, read directions for drawing the characters with emotions in the back.
Bird and Squirrel on Ice by James Burks
In this hysterical first book of the series, 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 dubbed the “Chosen One” meant to save the penguins from the Great Whale.
Cat Ninja by Matthew Cody, illustrated by Yehudi Mercado
By day Claude is Leon’s pet, but by night, he’s Cat Ninja, Metro City’s protector! His nemesis is Leon’s sister’s evil hamster, Master Hamster. Learn the Cat Ninja’s origin story and then follow his perilous, exciting, and humorous adventures!
Cat Kid Comic Club by Dav Pilkey
Cat Kid teaches a class for the tadpoles about making your own comic books…which doesn’t go well until the tadpoles get excited about failure and get started writing and drawing. If you like a lot of silliness (including potty humor) with great messages about writing, creativity, and persistence, read this graphic novel series next.
King of the Birds by Elise Gravel
Arlo is the self-proclaimed king of the birds. He befriends a cute yellow bird named Pip and shares with her his many talents. As the friends go on many adventures, like visiting the big city and hunting for shiny things, learn facts about crows like big brains and counting up to 6 objects.
Mr. Wolf’s Class: Mystery Club by Aron Nels Steinke
The kids in Mr. Wolf’s class start a birthday and mystery club. First, they’ll investigate what happened to Mr. Green. Then Aziza’s frisbee. And also, if the girls’ bathroom really is haunted. Relatable friendship and school situations told in graphic format. This new graphic novel series is VERY popular with growing readers.
Magic Tree House The Graphic Novel Dinosaurs Before Dark by Mary Pope Osborne, adapted by Jenny Laird, illustrated by Kelly & Nichole Matthews
In this first (excellent) graphic novel Magic Tree House adaptation, brother and sister Jack and Annie find a magical treehouse filled with books. Jack begins a book on dinosaurs and wishes that he could travel to see them and zoom; they do! Annie befriends a flying dinosaur, and they help save some baby dinosaurs.
Hilo The Boy Who Crashed to Earth by Judd Winick
Hilo can’t remember what happened to him before D.J. finds him crashlanded on Earth except for an evil monster robot who has followed him to Earth. A great page-turning adventure!
Pup Detectives by Felix Gumpaw
Someone keeps stealing the lunches at Pawston Elementary, and it’s up to the mystery-solving dogs to find the culprit! Join Rider and her friends as they crack this lunchroom mystery case once and for all.
Middle-Grade Books (Ages 9 – 12)
Middle grade readers continue to improve their reading skills and need many good middle grade book series choices like one of these…
Act by Kyla Miller
Olive is upset when she learns that a classmate can’t afford the fees for a class field trip. Her aunt suggests that Olive organize a protest. So she researches at the library and starts both a petition and a sit-in. When no one else seems to care, Olive runs for student council to make a difference –and she learns about other big issues students face that should be changed, too.
Katie the Catsitter by Colleen AF Venable, illustrated by Stephanie Yue
Katie desperately wants to join her friends at their summer camp. To earn money, she gets a job for her neighbor Madeline catsitting 217 super-smart cats with destructive behaviors and powerful abilities. Just when she realizes that her neighbor might be the supervillain, Moustress, Moustress gets captured. Katie decides she and the cats must save their friend.
5 Worlds: The Sand Warrior by Mark Siegel, Alexis Siegel, Xanthe Bouma, Matt Rockefeller, and Boya Sun
Gorgeous artwork sets the tone for an otherworldly story of five worlds that are falling into chaos. When one world attacks another, Oona Lee, a sand dancer, rescues two boys and they journey on a mission to light the unlit Beacons in order to save the worlds. But, they face a dark force and a devastating betrayal.
Wallace the Brave by Will Henry
If you like the humor in Calvin and Hobbes, you must read Wallace the Brave. You’ll laugh your way through stories of Wallace’s life on the school bus, on the playground, playing with friends, hanging with his fisherman dad, and more.
Cucumber Quest 1: The Doughnut Kingdom by Gigi D.G.
When the kingdoms of Dreamside need a hero, his parents send Cucumber, a not-adventurous or brave magician. Fortunately, his heroically inclined little sister, Almond, arrives just in the nick of time to save Cucumber the first of many dangers. Together, they set off to find the Dream Sword and stop the evil queen and her Nightmare Knight.
Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales: Big Bad Ironclad! by Nathan Hale
Boy readers especially like this series much more than me with its sarcastic tone and the violence. No doubt, these introduce kids to history and can motivate kids to read, so those are good things. This particular story takes place during the American Civil War focusing on the ironclad steam warships with the battles, other military aspects of the war, and real people like William Cushing.
Phoebe and Her Unicorn: A Heavenly Nostrils Chronicle by Dana Simpson
Sarcastic and hilarious, this is a laugh-out-loud comic book series about a precocious young girl and her reluctant unicorn “best friend.” My kids and I adore these characters and love this book series SO MUCH.
The Baby-Sitter’s Club by Ann M. Martin, illustrated by Raina Telemeter
This classic chapter book series is now retold in cartoons! Four best friends work together to handle all sorts of issues — from babysitting to emergencies to competition from other babysitters. Your kids will love these excellent, addictive stories.
Ham Helsing Vampire Hunter by Rich Moyer
If you like adventure, some potty humor, surprising plot twists, and characters like treasure-seeking rats, a vampire hunting pig, an evil chicken, a vampire pig, and a wolf-shifter boy, then do not miss this entertaining story with heart and humor. And instead of vampire hunting, the hunter and vampire team up to fight the evil spider-woman who has been terrorizing the town, becoming friends instead of enemies. And the ending?–Perfection!
Amulet by Kazu Kibuishi
When two siblings and their mom move into a creepy inherited house after losing their father, they discover a magical amulet that warns them of danger. But their mom gets kidnapped, and the siblings embark on an epic adventure to save their mom in an underground world of elves, demons, robots, and talking animals.
Strubble Town Squirrel Do Bad by Stephan Pastis
Wendy the Wanderer is stuck inside all day until her dad takes a trip and she gets an inattentive teenage babysitter. And soon, a cascade of domino-like chain mishaps occurs when Wendy gets her first taste of freedom and makes decisions with unexpected consequences. A laugh-out-loud book.
Sanity & Tallulah by Molly Brooks
Sanity and Tallulah are two good friends who live on a space station. Sanity is a brilliant inventor — but her newest (illegal) creation, a three-headed kitten named Princess Destroyer of Worlds has escaped and is living up to her name — Destroyer. The friends look for their missing kitten but instead discover a big problem that will destroy the space station. I love the space station setting, the super-smart problem-solving main characters, and the non-stop action.
The Okay Witch by Emma Steinkellner
The other kids bully Moth when she dresses up as a witch for Halloween, prompting a reaction that can only be MAGIC! Her mom reluctantly reveals to Moth that her family of witches gets their powers around age 13. Moth is helped by a talking cat and her mom’s magical diary. Growing up is never easy — but it’s a lot trickier when you get magic that you can’t control.
Major Impossible by Nathan Hale
After the Civil War, Major John Wesley Powell sets off on a perilous expedition through the Grand Canyon. The story begins with his life as a child and is 100% action and dialogue.
The Nameless City by Faith Erin Hicks with Jordie Bellaire
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.
Hera: The Goddess and her Glory by George O’Conner
Both my kids love O’Conner’s graphic novels and can’t wait for his next book, Hades. If you’re big Greek mythology fans, check out his other books, Athena and Zeus: King of the Gods.
Oh My Gods! by Stephanie Cooke and Insha Fitzpatrick, illustrated by Juliana Moon
I’m not a fan of the title, but the Greek mythology story is enjoyable and engaging, not snarky or cliquey like the title implies. Karen moves in with her dad, Zed, on Mount Olympus. The kids at her new school are actually gods and goddesses! When her friend Apollo gets turned to stone, Karen and her new friends have to clear her name and save Apollo.