Fantastic Graphic Novels for Kids
Summer is a great time to enjoy a good book, but what if you have a reluctant or emerging reader? Try graphic novels! The visuals help with reading comprehension, so they don’t get quite so bogged down in the text. Plus, these days graphic novels have evolved into an art form that any reader will enjoy! Below are some of our favorite graphic novels for kids, from elementary age to middle grade.
Disclosure: I received complimentary copies of the books below for review purposes; however, all opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, I receive a small commission at no extra charge to you.
Fantastic Graphic Novels for Kids
Even reluctant readers will love these wonderful graphic novels for kids!
My kids simply adore the Astrid and Stella graphic novels. They are simple enough to be enjoyed by younger elementary aged kids, but funny enough to keep the attention of older kids as well. Kids will laugh out loud at the silly intergalactic adventures of these two best friends and their robot sidekick, while adults will appreciate that readers learn about friendship and being true to yourself along the way. My daughter’s favorite part was visiting the adorable planet Caturn!
The award-winning Benjamin Bear books are silly adventures of a lovable bear that tries hard but never quite gets it right. In Bright Ideas we see his offbeat approach to solving problems, while in Brain Storms he seems to break the laws of physics. Each goofy adventure is completed in just one page, making it perfect for younger readers, who will enjoy the visual gags.
Wildflowers is an ode to imagination and adventure, as three sisters find themselves stranded in a jungle after a plane crash. They discover exotic plants, a tiny gorilla, and even a dragon! But don’t worry, the twist ending reveals that the jungle is really their backyard, and the adventure is purely a product of their wonderful imaginations. A fun adventure that also teases out sibling dynamics, as the sisters create their imaginative world together.
Good Night, Planet is also from the author of Wildflowers, and is similarly inspired by his own daughters. This award-winning book is a look at what really happens when we go to sleep – and our toys come out to play! A gentle adventure story of a young girl’s stuffed animals at night. Its spare text and subject matter make it perfect for younger readers.
Young artists will enjoy this story of a young girl determined to create her own book. Readers will enjoy the dual story of Henrietta and her (talking) toys plus the story that she is creating on paper. Along the way, Henrietta introduces elements of good fiction, like how the action in a story should always happen “suddenly.” This celebration of creativity will surely inspire readers to try to make their own!
Leviathan is the first in the interactive Adventuregame Comics series. My older son was excited to read it, as he loved the author’s hit graphic novel Meanwhile. As in that popular book, readers of Leviathan follow tubes that connect one panel to another to create criss-crossing paths throughout the book. When the path splits, the reader decides what will happen next! When a giant sea creature attacks a medieval coastal town, it is up to you to find a way to defeat him! A great adventure book that my son devoured as soon as it arrived at our house!
Okay, okay, I can hear some of you asking, Is Diary of a Wimpy Kid really a graphic novel? Technically, no, but it is often thought of as one because of its heavy reliance on comic book-like illustrations. So much so, that’s its popularity has helped boost the graphic novel genre! It is famous for enticing a generation of reluctant readers to grab these books off the shelves and start reading. My kids were thrilled to read this newest adventure from Greg Heffley and crew, as Greg tags along on tour with his older brother’s band. Will Greg be turned off by the not so thrilling side of life on the road, or can he rise above to help the band succeed?
My kids and I thoroughly enjoyed Hoops, an inspiring story based on the real life struggle for gender equality in high school sports. It is based on the real story of an Indiana basketball team that started off without uniforms, buses, or equal access to their own gym but eventually won the hearts of all of Indiana – and the state championship! This graphic novel pays tribute to those trail blazers and helps kids appreciate how far we have come and how far we have to go. A great read for any young sports lover.
The Legend of Auntie Po was a lucky library find that got me through several of my daughter’s soccer practices! It is the fascinating story of a young Chinese girl in a mining camp in the Sierra Nevada mountains during the Gold Rush. Not only does it take on racial discrimination in a very nuanced and thoughtful way, it also addresses gender roles and sexual identity. As if that weren’t enough, it includes a wonderful fantastical element in the character of Auntie Po, as a reimagined Paul Bunyan. An endearing coming of age adventure that also teaches about a side of history that is often glossed over.
Fibbed is another wonderful adventure story that incorporates a famous mythical character. No one believes Nana’s incredible tall tales, even though she is simply telling the truth! Her family decide that an extended trip to visit family in Ghana will help her change her ways, but in fact it only brings her closer to Ananse, the famed trickster spider. As Nana struggles to fit in, she also stumbles onto a plot to steal the nearby forest’s magic. Can she and her newfound friends learn to work together and save the day? This middle grade novel is a terrific read, deftly incorporating ideas about friendship, magic, and colonialism into a riveting adventure tale.
Naji and the Mystery of the Dig is the graphic novel version of the wonderful middle grade chapter book set in 1940s Iran (read my review). I love this new adaptation, which will open the story up to a new audience of readers. The illustrations bring to life Naji’s vivid imaginings of the monsters that she is sure the workers will expose as they dig on the family’s property. Will her fears be realized, or will they discover something even more unexpected? A wonderfully suspenseful story that also showcases daily life in Iran in a way that most readers will not have experienced.
From the best-selling author Max Brallier comes a graphic novel spin-off of his wildly popular Last Kids on Earth books. This time, the kids have decided to make their own comic, since one consequence of the apocalypse is no more issues of their favorite comic book. What follows is a lively romp through comic book tropes and styles, as the (now super hero) friends fight a villain threatening their beloved Apocalyptia. Will the heroes be able to overcome their egos and learn to work together? A super fun read for anyone who loves comic books.