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50 Graphic Novels for Kids of All Ages of 2024

Updated
Yes, graphic novels are books too.

Even the best graphic novels have long had a reputation for being trashy, alternatives to “proper” books. Even the phrase “graphic novel” invokes much ridicule as a way to make comics sound more legitimate.

If that’s your impression, you’re not alone. However, as a mom of five, three of whom would rather poke pins in their eyes than read a book at one point, I’m here to let you know the truth.

That truth is that graphic novels are similar to, but distinct from comics. These books have been shown to increase intelligence and vocabulary — by independent scientists who were not graphic novel fans.

What’s more? More than just a gateway drug to “proper” books, graphic novels are a sophisticated, complex, nuanced form of printed entertainment we should all embrace.

Our Top Picks

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Image
Model
Product Comparison Table
Features

Product Image of the The Big Bad Fox
A Twist in the Fox Tail
The Big Bad Fox
  • Beautifully rendered in watercolor
  • Hilarious and surprisingly tender
  • Suitable for children and adults!
Product Image of the Cat Kid Comic Club: From the Creator of Dog Man
The Fabulous Pilkey
Cat Kid Comic Club: From the Creator of Dog Man
  • Features stories-within-the-story
  • Utilizes humor & drama, prose & poetry
  • Introduces children to creative process
Stories of Friendship
Hilda and the Troll: Hilda Book 1
  • Plain smart and moving
  • Odd and amazingly beautiful world
  • Encourages curiosity, bravery, creativity
Product Image of the Baloney and Friends
For Animal Lovers
Baloney and Friends
  • Easy-to-read graphic novel
  • Inspires children to write & draw
  • Includes drawing instructions
Product Image of the Narwhal and Jelly: Books & Poster Box Set
Short and Sweet
Narwhal and Jelly: Books & Poster Box Set
  • Positive, playful, zero conflict
  • 3-book set with 3 stories each
  • Comes with 12x16” poster
Product Image of the The Bad Guys Box Set: Books 1-5
Bad Guys Do Good
The Bad Guys Box Set: Books 1-5
  • Very easy to read
  • Engaging and hilarious
  • Perfect for early readers
Finding Your Place in Middle School
Click: By Kayla Miller
  • Clear-cut visual storytelling
  • Calm pastel colors
  • Readable lettering
Product Image of the Minecraft
Video Game Crossover
Minecraft
  • Easy to read
  • Perfect for Minecraft fans
  • Story about teamwork & friendship
Product Image of the Smile, Sisters, and Guts: The Box Set
Middle School Problems
Smile, Sisters, and Guts: The Box Set
  • 3 full-color graphic novels
  • Story about overcoming difficulties
  • Relatable for anyone with siblings
Product Image of the New Kid
When You’re All Kinds of Different
New Kid
  • Winner of the Newbery Medal
  • Story about diversity and belonging
  • Excellent choice for tween readers


The Best Graphic Novels for Kids (Ages 6-8)

The Best Graphic Novels for Kids (Ages 6-8) Icon

Graphic novels are an excellent way to encourage a love of reading in younger children who are either struggling or reluctant readers.

The Big Bad Fox

A Twist in the Fox Tail

Fox wants to be a big, scary predator who gets to eat the chickens, but when he tries to chase the hens, they laugh at him.

Wolf suggests the fox steal some eggs, raise the chicks himself and eat them, but what Fox didn’t expect was for the little birds to hatch and start calling him mommy.

User Experience

My experience with this book has been nothing short of delightful, as it managed to make me laugh out loud multiple times. The art, reminiscent of Al Hirschfeld's style, is beautifully simple yet effectively communicates the story. The writing is not only hilarious, but also contains an endearing message suitable for both children and adults. I found the translation from French to be impressive, maintaining the essence of the original work. While it may be a bit lengthy for younger readers, older children and parents alike will undoubtedly enjoy this witty and heartwarming tale.

Cat Kid Comic Club: From the Creator of Dog Man

The Fabulous Pilkey

Dav Pilkey, the writer behind the Captain Underpants series, brings you a new line of graphic novels about Cat Kid, chairperson of the Cat Kid Comic CLub, and teacher of 30 baby frogs.

The comic creations of Cat Kid and friends tell shorter stories, within the wider story.

Personal Perspective

This series of books has quickly become a favorite for both my daughter and my nephew. The colorful illustrations and captivating comic book style make them perfect for engaging 7-10-year-olds and getting them interested in reading. I've even caught my child smiling broadly while reading, which shows just how much they enjoy these stories. The books also contain valuable life lessons, such as the importance of making mistakes in order to succeed and the power of forgiveness, making them not only entertaining but educational as well.

Hilda and the Troll: Hilda Book 1

Stories of Friendship

Hilda lives in a magical world of moving mountains, trolls, walking wooden men, and talking crows.

She sets out on a journey during which she intends to illustrate the world around her. But when a snowstorm blows up, things take a troubling turn.

Community Feedback

Great graphic novel for sparking young imaginations, with charming artwork and captivating stories. I personally enjoyed reading this with my child, who was instantly drawn to the beautifully illustrated pages and engaging adventures. This book effortlessly teaches valuable traits such as curiosity, bravery, and kindness. However, be aware that there is one use of mild profanity, which some parents might want to address before sharing with younger readers.

Baloney and Friends

For Animal Lovers

Join Baloney and his quirky animal friends — including a horse and a “krabbit” as they try new things and have fun adventures. This is a fan favorite for kids fresh out of kindergarten.

First-Hand Impression

I recently purchased this book for my six-year-old, and it quickly became a hit with the whole family. We all enjoy doing the voices and laughing together, while our daughter learns new subjects and words. It's wonderful to see my child develop a love for reading through these funny stories and engaging illustrations.

Narwhal and Jelly: Books & Poster Box Set

Short and Sweet

Cute but silly Narwhal and Jelly books are for the youngest of readers in grades one to four. The unlikely pair discover friendship, fun, and a healthy dose of adventure in the first three of the series.

User Experience

I'm delighted by the humor and simplicity of these Narwhal comics, making them a fun and engaging read for both kids and adults. My child and I enjoy reading them together, taking on different character roles and learning about marine life in a lighthearted way. These books have not only improved my child's reading confidence but also brought endless giggles and laughter to our reading sessions, making them a cherished addition to our library.

The Bad Guys Box Set: Books 1-5

Bad Guys Do Good

These mean-looking animals are not the bad guys they appear to be; in fact, they’re positively good guys, and the under-tens adore these books.

Personal Perspective

In my experience as an elementary reading coach, I found that these books, with their humor and engaging storylines, not only captured the attention of my own child but also helped struggling readers become more enthusiastic about reading. The graphic novel style and comedic aspects were perfect for fostering my child's interest in chapter books, leading to multiple re-readings and shared laughter during our reading sessions. Although there is a fair share of fart jokes that may not appeal to everyone, I believe the well-written plot and advanced vocabulary make these books an excellent choice for young readers looking to transition into more independent reading.

The Best Graphic Novels for Middle Schoolers (Ages 9-12)

The Best Graphic Novels for Middle Schoolers (Ages 9-12) Icon

Just as with regular kids and young adult books, graphic novels use age-appropriate language and images. These are the graphic novels I would be happy for any middle schooler to read.

Click: By Kayla Miller

Finding Your Place in Middle School

Fifth-grader Olive gets on with everyone but doesn’t have a “best” friend. When the school talent show is announced, she discovers everyone else has joined an act, and there’s no room for her.

How will Olive navigate the talent show?

Community Feedback

Great graphic novel for both kids and adults! I recently discovered this cute and engaging story, and I couldn't wait to share it with my nieces and nephew. The illustrations are beautiful, the story is relatable, and it showcases the importance of friendship and finding your place in the world.

Minecraft

Video Game Crossover

When Tyler moves to a new town, he can still connect with his friends in the online world of Minecraft.

This is the first of an entire series of Minecraft graphic novels about Tyler and friends. We are particular fans of the way the illustrations give the Minecraft world a softer look.

First-Hand Impression

After reading this graphic novel with my young ones, I can confidently say it's a wonderful addition to any Minecraft-loving child's library. The engaging and charming artwork kept my 6-year-old son hooked, while the storyline incorporated valuable lessons on friendship, teamwork, and expressing emotions. The characters' respectful and open interactions, particularly between the two girls, set a great example for kids and emphasize genuine self-esteem.

Smile, Sisters, and Guts: The Box Set

Middle School Problems

This set of three graphic novels follow Raina through such childhood problems as falling and knocking out your teeth, new babies in the family, and getting on with siblings as you grow. Plus, puberty.

This set’s especially good for kicking off discussions you or your child may be struggling to start.

User Experience

My eight-year-old niece and I have both enjoyed these books, as they've become some of her favorites in her collection. As a parent, I appreciate that these books have even managed to spark interest in my son, who isn't usually fond of reading. The collection looks great on the shelf and the books arrived in new condition, nicely packaged.

New Kid

When You’re All Kinds of Different

Jordan hopes his mom will send him to the art school of his dreams. Instead, she sends him to a prestigious private academy where art is soft, and he’s one of the only kids of color.

Now he’s out of place in his neighborhood and at school. How will he cope?

Personal Perspective

I've recently read this graphic novel and found it to be a truly engaging and realistic portrayal of a young person of color navigating through a predominantly white private school. The storyline is captivating, with well-developed characters and relationships that make it easy to connect with. The illustrations, though not my favorite, effectively convey the story's emotions and themes. What I appreciated most about this novel was its ability to tackle heavy topics such as racism, class differences, and privilege, all while maintaining a light and fun tone. It's refreshing to see a mixed-race lead character in a story that doesn't solely focus on serious issues, reminding us that kids are just kids, regardless of their background.

The Last Kids on Earth: Thrilling Tales from the Tree House

TV Tie-In

The seventh book, but first graphic novel in the Last Kids On Earth Series & a new Netflix series.

Unlike other graphic novels, this book has a series of shorter stories, each drawn by a different artist. Consequently, there’s a beautiful range of illustrative styles, each one bringing something different to the book.

Community Feedback

This book series has captured the attention of my 13-year-old son, who eagerly devoured the latest installment in just a few hours. As a parent, I appreciate the diverse art styles and collaboration among the artists, which piqued my son's interest in both reading and potentially pursuing a creative career. Although this particular book deviates from the standard writing format in favor of a comic book style, my son still enjoyed the engaging stories and action. I've observed that these books appeal to a wide range of children who enjoy video games, fantasy, world-building, and adventure. The series has become a favorite in our household, sparking fun discussions and fostering a love of reading.

Primer

Super Powers and Danger

Ashley’s dad is in prison, and she bounces around foster homes before landing with a loving family. There she finds a set of magical body paints that bestow superpowers, but the government wants them back.

Can she protect her new family and deal with the past?

First-Hand Impression

This graphic novel captivated me from the moment I opened it. The vivid artwork and unique storyline about a girl named Ashley discovering magical paints that give her superpowers, pulled me in immediately. As I followed her journey as 'Primer', I found the characters to be engaging, although some parts of the story could have been better developed. The bold colors and beautiful illustrations were truly eye-catching, making it a pleasure to read.

The Dragonet Prophecy: Wings of Fire Graphic Novel #1

Epic Dragon Fantasy

There are 10 Wings of Fire books written for children aged 8+ and The Dragonet Prophecy is the first of a series of graphic novel representations of those ten books.

This is a relatively gruesome series, so it may not be suitable for the younger end of the age range.

User Experience

In my experience, this book offers an adventurous, exciting, and humorous story with captivating dragon illustrations. I found the small text size a bit challenging to read, but the engaging plot made up for it. My child, like many others, thoroughly enjoyed this book, finishing it quickly and eagerly anticipating the next installment in the series.

The Best Graphic Novels for Teens

The Best Graphic Novels for Teens Icon

Kids at the top end of the teen spectrum have no trouble finding suitable graphic novels, but it can be a struggle to find grown-up, but not adult options for younger teens. Here are our top picks.

Heavy Vinyl: Riot on the Radio

More Than a Record Store

When Chris snags her dream teen job at Vinyl Mayhem, she’s excited to bond with the all-female staff. However, what she didn’t bargain for was discovering that Vinyl Mayhem is also a front for an all-girl teen vigilante fight-club intent on pushing back against the patriarchy.

Personal Perspective

My experience with this graphic novel set in the 90's was delightful and enjoyable. The story follows a new girl named Chris who works at Vinyl Destination, trying to find herself through music alongside her coworkers. The characters are well-developed, relatable, and empowered, making me wish they were real. I appreciated the beautiful artwork and the nostalgic vibe throughout the story, which adds a touch of charm. Though the storyline can be a bit silly at times, it still manages to be engaging and heartwarming, making it a worthwhile read.

Long Way Down: The Graphic Novel

Revenge Or Not

Will’s brother’s been shot dead and the neighborhood expects him to take revenge. So, armed with a gun, he takes the elevator in his building, going down.

This achingly beautiful adaptation of Long Way Down describes Will’s journey as on each floor, a new, deceased person enters the elevator to tell their story.

Community Feedback

In my experience, this graphic novel adaptation of a beloved book offers a fresh and captivating perspective. The watercolor illustrations beautifully complement the original story, adding depth to the characters and their experiences. As a reader familiar with the original novel, I found the comparison between the two versions insightful and thought-provoking. This graphic novel touches on themes of loss, sadness, and the complexities of the human soul, making it a powerful and moving read. While the content may be intense for younger readers, it has the potential to spark meaningful discussions and foster a love for literature in older students.

Sentient: The Complete Series

Sci-Fi Thriller

The USS Montgomery is a deep space colony ship. When the ship is attacked by dark forces, all of the adults die, and the kids are left alone with only VALERIE, the AI, to care for them.

Can VALERIE keep the kids alive and evolve to become the parent they need?

First-Hand Impression

My experience with this graphic novel was fantastic! The captivating storyline kept me on the edge of my seat, with the ship's AI raising orphaned children and questioning its own intentions. The unique and beautiful art by Gabriel Walta further enhanced the reading experience. While I felt that the character development could have been deeper, this graphic novel is still a valuable addition to Jeff Lemire's collection.

Honor Girl: A Graphic Memoir

A True Tale

Maggie Thrash spends every summer at Camp Bellflower for Girls. However, this year 15-year-old Maggie, who has never kissed a boy, is both surprised and puzzled when a chance, innocent, physical encounter with a female camp counselor makes her heart leap.

User Experience

I'm truly impressed with Honor Girl by Maggie Thrash, a beautifully illustrated graphic memoir that shares an authentic coming-of-age story set in a summer camp. The narrative perfectly captures the emotions and experiences of adolescence, making it easy to relate to the protagonist, Maggie. As I read, I found myself immersed in the story, feeling as if I was at summer camp with the characters. The artwork, which appears like watercolors, adds to the overall charm of the book.

Be More Chill: The Graphic Novel

Be Careful What You Wish For

Jeremy’s a dork, so when he hears of the Squib, a tiny supercomputer you can swallow, and it will transform your life, he doesn’t think twice.

He transforms into the most popular, cool kid at high school, but there are consequences.

Personal Perspective

This graphic novel adaptation of Ned Vizzini's Be More Chill offers a faithful retelling of the original story, with charming artwork by Nick Bertozzi that effectively uses a limited color palette. While the plot is simplified compared to the original novel, the adaptation by David Levithan maintains the charm and wit of the source material, making it a quick and enjoyable read. Fans of the musical should be aware that this version is based on the novel, not the musical, and therefore has some differences, but it still provides an engaging experience for those who enjoy contemporary stories with a touch of speculative fiction.

Trickster: Native American Tales

Cultural Retelling

In Trickster, 24 Native American storytellers share traditional tales, each one illustrated by a different artist. The illustrative quality varies; some are fabulous, others not so much, but on the whole, a worthwhile collection.

Community Feedback

My experience with this beautifully illustrated comic-style book was incredibly enjoyable. The diverse stories, each crafted by a talented artist, offer valuable morals and insights into Native American philosophy. My daughter was completely captivated and finished the book in one sitting. The unique, visually engaging format made it a hit in my classroom, sparking interest in learning about other cultures and their histories. While the digital version can be a bit challenging to read, the physical book is a fantastic addition to any library, and I'm proud to share it with others.

Displacement

US History Lesson Through Time-Travel

When Kiku vacations in San Francisco, she finds herself pulled back in time to the 1940s. There she’s trapped in the same internment camp for Japanese Americans to which her grandmother was sent.

First-Hand Impression

I've recently read Displacement, a captivating graphic novel that sheds light on the internment camps for Japanese Americans during WWII. As someone who enjoys history, this book brought a much-needed perspective to a lesser-known part of our past. The vivid illustrations and compelling narrative truly immersed me in the story, helping me understand the struggles faced by those in the camps. I appreciated the author's inclusion of recommended reads to further explore this topic. This book not only educated me about a significant historical event, but also resonated with my own experience of learning about my ancestry.

Bloom

First Love

Ari is expected to take over the family bakery, which is a problem because he wants to leave and start a band. When he hires Hector as his replacement, their relationship grows deeper against a hefty dose of angst.

User Experience

I've recently read Bloom, a heartwarming graphic novel about a young man named Ari struggling between his big city dreams and the expectations of his family's bakery. The beautiful illustrations and engaging story made it hard to put down. I found the portrayal of family dynamics, friendship, and economic uncertainty to be authentic and relatable. This LGBTQ+ romance is perfect for those who appreciate a slow-burn love story and the personal growth of characters, all while being surrounded by delicious baked goods.

Hey, Kiddo

Family Dynamics

Jarrett is being raised by his grandparents, and Hey, Kiddo is 320 pages of visual memoir that is as touching and moving as it is captivating.

Personal Perspective

I'm thoroughly impressed with this graphic novel, which provides a raw and honest account of the author's coming-of-age story amidst family struggles with addiction. The compelling illustrations and inclusion of real notes and mementos from the past make the reading experience truly immersive. The author's journey of perseverance and achieving his dream of becoming an author and illustrator is inspiring. I found the book to be thought-provoking, and it can offer hope to many young people facing similar family situations. Reading this graphic novel felt like making a new close friend, and even served as a sort of therapy session, making it a truly unique experience.

Space Boy, Volume 1

Future Lives

What happens when you move back to Earth from a space mining colony and have to spend 30 years cryogenically frozen in the process? Find out in the first of the fantastic Space Boy series.

Community Feedback

My experience with this unique and captivating book began when I stumbled upon it as a Webtoon comic. I was instantly hooked by the intriguing storyline and stunning artwork. As I dove deeper into the story, I found myself resonating with the protagonist, Amy, as she navigates her new life on Earth after being in cryosleep for 30 years. The futuristic technology, like the "net gear" glasses, added an extra layer of depth to the story. Stephen McCranie's storytelling ability is remarkable, and his characters are both relatable and engaging. Although there were some minor printing issues in my copy, it didn't detract from the overall enjoyment of the book. As I eagerly await the sequels, I can't recommend this book enough to anyone seeking an immersive and heartfelt story.

The Best Graphic Novel Adaptations for Kids

The Best Graphic Novel Adaptations for Kids Icon

If you’re having trouble getting past the graphic novel “proper” book issue, then perhaps one of the best graphic novel adaptations of classic books will be suitable.

A Wrinkle in Time: The Graphic Novel

True to Original

Hope Larson brings her visual interpretation of A Wrinkle in Time while remaining faithful to the characters, story, and even the chapter format. Although the story is abridged, all of the essential elements are still there.

First-Hand Impression

If you're a fan of Madeleine L'Engle's "A Wrinkle in Time," this graphic novel adaptation by Hope Larson offers a fresh and engaging perspective on the beloved story. Although some parts of the story have been abridged and the characters may not appear exactly as you've imagined them, the essence of the original tale remains intact. The artwork is unique and interesting, featuring blue-toned shading that grows on you as you read. While some character depictions may differ from your own interpretations, it's fascinating to see another person's perspective and it adds a new dimension to the story.

The Hobbit: The Graphic Novel

Bilbo In Pictures

With text and dialogue taken directly from the novel, Chuck Dixon’s The Hobbit is ideal for those who want to read the book but are intimidated by hundreds of pages of solid text.

User Experience

This graphic novel adaptation of The Hobbit is a fantastic way to introduce younger readers or those with dyslexia to the classic story. With stunning artwork and a faithful retelling of the original tale, it has managed to capture the essence of the book without losing any major plot points. However, the small text size can be challenging for some readers, especially those with glasses. As a Tolkien fan, I also appreciated the fact that the storyline remained true to the original and didn't change it significantly like the movie adaptations did.

The Golden Compass: His Dark Materials

Enticing

If you want to encourage a reluctant reader, consider this graphic novel version of Phillip Pullman’s The Golden Compass. This is the first of the three books which were adapted by HBO as His Dark Materials.

Personal Perspective

Love how this graphic novel adaptation captivated my son, who isn't a fan of reading but adores graphic novels. The artwork is visually stunning, with great attention to detail, particularly the scenery and the dæmons. Although some may find the wording a bit small, the narrative is solid and it retains the adventurous spirit of the original story. My younger brother, who is also not an avid reader, finished it quickly and eagerly awaited the rest of the series.

Coraline: The Graphic Novel

Gorgeous And Riveting

Neil Gaiman’s works feel perfect for graphic novelization. P. Craig Russel’s illustrations do justice to Gaiman’s descriptive narrative and provide an enjoyable alternative visual for those familiar with Tim Burton’s movie treatment.

Community Feedback

This graphic novel adaptation of Coraline is a captivating and visually stunning experience. The detailed and vivid illustrations by P. Craig Russell truly bring the eerie story to life, making it even creepier than the original novel and movie. The characters are well-developed and the plot closely follows the original novel, making it an excellent companion piece. Both fans of Coraline and newcomers to the story will find this version to be an engaging and thrilling read.

The Call of the Wild: The Graphic Novel

Old Words That Never Age

This short, only 68 pages, adaptation of Jack London’s classic is a good choice for younger reluctant readers who may be put off by a significantly thicker book.

First-Hand Impression

As a gift for my grandson who isn't usually a fan of reading, this graphic novel turned out to be a delightful surprise. The outstanding drawings captured the mood perfectly and managed to engage both of my boys with its heart-tugging story. Although it's a thin, 68-page book, more like a comic book version of Call of the Wild, it still provides an enjoyable experience. The artwork is excellent and remains true to the original book's essence and feel, making it suitable for all ages. My 12-year-old, who typically hates reading, loved this graphic novel so much that I'm now on the hunt for more renditions of literary classics in this format.

The Giver (Graphic Novel)

Dystopian Classic

In an ideal but colorless world, there’s no conflict, no choices, and no emotions. The Giver selects Jonas to become the Receiver of Memories, the only person to experience love, joy, and terror.

Will Jonas keep the memories and allow society to continue uninterrupted, or will he take another path?

User Experience

I've recently purchased this graphic novel adaptation of The Giver for my 12-year-old, and it has been a fantastic addition to our reading collection. The artwork is captivating and stays true to the original story while making it more accessible for younger readers. Reading it together has sparked many engaging discussions and my child has even taken the initiative to look up words and research concepts.

Alice in Wonderland: Illustrated by Simona Bursi

Follow the Rabbit

Rather than a faithful adaptation, this is a retelling of Lewis Carrol’s classic fairy tale. Subsequently, think of this as a graphic taster rather than an entire graphic novel.


Kindred: A Graphic Novel Adaptation

Multi-Genre Classic

Dana is a young black woman who is inexplicably transported back and forth between the Antebellum South and 1970’s California. While it doesn’t contain all of the plot elements of the entire novel, it does have all of the punch.

Community Feedback

Bought this graphic novel adaptation of Kindred and found it to be a captivating and powerful read. The illustrations are vibrant and effectively convey the intense emotions and historical context of the story. While some details from the original novel are omitted, the overall essence and thought-provoking themes remain true to Octavia E Butler's work, making it a worthwhile experience.

Poe: Stories and Poems: A Graphic Novel Adaptation

Darkness

Four of Edgar Allen Poe’s stories and three poems are brought to life by Gareth Hinds, and the recurring themes are teased apart in endnotes, so there’s no chance of missing salient points.

First-Hand Impression

I'm thrilled with this Edgar Allan Poe graphic novel adaptation by Gareth Hinds. The illustrations are captivating and really bring Poe's work to life, especially the poems like "The Raven" and "Annabel Lee." As a teacher, I found this book helpful for my students who struggle with visualizing the content they read. The only downside was the occasional use of a plain font that didn't quite match the stunning artwork. Despite that minor issue, this book is a fantastic way to introduce Poe's work to younger readers or anyone interested in the macabre.

Romeo and Juliet (Shakespeare Classics Graphic Novels)

Not A Love Story

Shakespeare’s original words are not adapted to contemporary English, but the text is abridged, and difficult words are explained in the footnotes. Together with the watercolor illustrations, this adaptation is as authentic as it is accessible.

User Experience

This graphic novel adaptation of Romeo and Juliet is an excellent tool for engaging students and making Shakespeare more accessible. I used it in my English class, and not only did it help struggling readers, but my students also appreciated the multicultural representation within the illustrations. The visuals, like the breathtaking scenery and unique character costumes, add depth and symbolism to the story. Although some scenes and text are abridged, Gareth Hinds' adaptations of classical stories still manage to capture the essence of the original works.

The Best Non-Fiction Graphic Novels for Kids

The Best Non-Fiction Graphic Novels for Kids Icon

Not all graphic novels are fictional. These are our favorite graphic novel true stories and biographies.

It's Her Story: Rosa Parks: A Graphic Novel

Civil Rights Icon

Aimed at kids in the six to nine-year-old range, this biography of Rosa Parks includes plenty of information about her life before the Montgomery Bus Boycott.

Personal Perspective

I've recently purchased this book for my 10-year-old daughter, and she absolutely loved it! The storyline is engaging and the illustrations are beautiful, making it easy for her to understand and appreciate Rosa Parks' story. As a parent, I found that the author did a fantastic job capturing this important historical figure in a way that appeals to both children and adults. This book has not only provided my daughter with an enjoyable reading experience, but it has also sparked her interest in learning more about history.

Conquest: Julius Caesar's Gallic War

Ancient History

This graphic novel is an adaptation of Julius Caesar’s Commentaries on the Gallic War. It tells, from Caesar’s own words, the story of the Roman invasion and conquest of Gaul.

Community Feedback

If you're looking for a historical graphic novel, Tarek and Pompetti's adaptation of Caesar's "Commentarii de Bello Gallico" is an interesting option. While reading this hardbound book with glossy pages, I appreciated the quality of the artwork and the inclusion of both historical and fictional characters. However, I found the story a bit confusing at times due to the numerous unfamiliar tribes and names. This graphic novel is also only part one, which means you'll have to wait for the next installment to get the full story. Despite these drawbacks, it's a unique and engaging read for those interested in Ancient Rome or historical graphic novels.

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

Teenage Discovery

Would-be cartoonist Junior leaves his school “on the rez” and instead attends the nearest local high school where he and the school mascot are the only Indians.

First-Hand Impression

Excellent storytelling and compelling characters make The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian a must-read for young adults. As someone who isn't much of a reader, I found myself captivated by the humor and relatability of Arnold Spirit Jr., and the unique challenges he faces as a Native American teenager. The book also delves into controversial topics such as alcoholism, abuse, and bullying, making it an eye-opening and educational experience.

They Changed the World: Bell, Edison, and Tesla

Terrific Trio

An engaging and concise graphic novel, Bell, Edison, and Tesla, tells how the three men from very different backgrounds changed the world with their discoveries and inventions. It also talks of their family lives and interactions with each other.

User Experience

I found this book to be a captivating blend of biographical insight and historical context, shedding new light on the lives of Edison, Tesla, and Bell. The narrative is fair and balanced, treating the subjects with an equal measure of critique and respect, revealing facets of their persona I hadn't known before. The illustrations are beautifully done and supplement the brisk, jargon-free writing style, making it accessible and appealing to readers of all ages. While the tales of these three geniuses are cautionary, they also inspire a sense of awe and admiration, making this book a fascinating read.

Ambedkar: India’s Crusader for Human Rights

Little Known Story

Born into a lower caste, India’s Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar overcame his predetermined status, earned a law degree in the UK, attended Columbia University, and helped craft an independent India’s constitution.

Personal Perspective

My experience with this graphic novel about Babasaheb Ambedkar was enlightening and engaging. The visuals and storytelling helped me gain a deeper understanding of India's civil rights struggles and Ambedkar's role in fighting for equality. Although the narration style was unusual for a graphic novel, it effectively conveyed the vast amount of history and information packed into the book. The illustrations were detailed, realistic, and expressive, adding an immersive element to the reading experience. I would recommend this book to older middle schoolers, high schoolers, and adults looking to broaden their cultural and historical knowledge, but be aware that some violent content may not be suitable for younger readers.

It's Her Story: Marie Curie: A Graphic Novel

Science Icon

For the kids too old for picture books but not yet ready to move to chapter books, this series of books by Phoenix International provides an age-appropriate alternative. In this case, you discover the life of Marie Curie.

Community Feedback

My kid's interest in Marie Curie for a school project led us to this book, and they absolutely loved it. Unlike some children's biographies, this one struck the perfect balance, being engaging without being cheesy or overdramatic. This book was equally appreciated by my son, debunking the idea that it's only meant to inspire girls. In short, it's a great book without any controversy, and can be enjoyed by all kids.

When Stars Are Scattered

A Different World

Life in the refugee camp is difficult, with no medical care and not enough food. What will Omar do when he has the opportunity to attend school but will have to leave his brother behind?

First-Hand Impression

I was deeply moved by the poignant narrative of "When Stars are Scattered," a graphic novel that offers an honest insight into the life of a refugee. The simple yet expressive art style perfectly complements the emotional rollercoaster of frustration, kindness, heartbreak, and hope that unfolds in the story. This book particularly resonated with me for its portrayal of the resilience of two Somali brothers, living in a Kenyan refugee camp, never losing hope amidst their struggles. Whether you're an aficionado of graphic novels or just someone looking for a touching, inspirational story, this book provides a meaningful and thought-provoking reading experience.

Alexander Hamilton: The Fighting Founding Father

Without Music

Discover the exciting life of Alexander Hamilton without having to study dry textbooks or ever set foot in a theater. The publishers also have additional, free, downloadable resources available for this book.

User Experience

From the moment my 4th grader picked up this Show Me History book, he was hooked and constantly shared fascinating facts with us. This series has been a fantastic way to engage my 9-year-old on the spectrum, who has read the entire collection multiple times. While the book's format may not be suitable for children with autism who struggle with understanding back and forth storytelling, it has been a hit for many kids, including as a birthday gift. The books not only reference Hamilton the Musical but also expand on the history, making them an enjoyable and informative read for young history enthusiasts.

Parenthesis: By Élodie Durand

Unexpected Life

Élodie Durand shares her story of having just emerged from her teens; she found herself in an unexpected life of epilepsy, memory gaps, and a loss of her sense of self.

Personal Perspective

This graphic novel captivated me with its powerful storytelling of illness and recovery, using images and narratives to evoke empathy and understanding. As someone with personal experience dealing with epilepsy, I found the author's portrayal of the condition to be insightful and relatable. Although the pages may seem dense with content, the visuals and dialogue blend seamlessly, creating a memorable and impactful reading experience for all ages.

They Changed the World: Crick & Watson - The Discovery of DNA

Teamwork

While this book focuses on the work of Crick and Watson, it also touches on the other scientists who came before them, supported them at the time, and followed them. Understandable science, beautiful graphics, and a gripping story.

Community Feedback

Excellent is the first word that comes to mind when I think of this book. My personal journey through the pages was enlightening, as it provided an in-depth look at the history of DNA discovery. While the narrative was a bit dense in places, the overall experience was enriched by the detailed information and comprehensive research, making it a valuable addition to my library.

The Best Graphic Novel Box Sets for Kids and Teens

The Best Graphic Novel Box Sets for Kids and Teens Icon

For those who already adore graphic novels, these are our favorite box sets, which make ideal gifts.

Olympians Boxed Set

Ancient Action

Fast-based, exciting, and unflinching, Olympians tell the stories of Poseidon, Aphrodite, Hera, Hades, and Athena. While not gratuitous, the inherent violence of the myths is clearly illustrated, so this isn’t a set for kids under 12.

First-Hand Impression

Love the entrancing art and engaging stories of these books, which brilliantly introduce Greek mythology to young readers. My personal experience with these graphic novels has been delightful, even though they do not encompass all the intricate details about the Gods and Goddesses. Be aware that the tales are accurate renditions of Greek myths which might be a tad graphic for some children, yet they offer a wonderful opportunity for parents to discuss and interpret the content with their young ones.

DC Super Hero: Girls Box Set

Girl Power

Travel to Super Hero High and discover how Wonder Woman, Harley Quinn, Katana, Bat Girl, and others learned how to be superheroes.

User Experience

I'm a parent who gifted this DC Super Hero Girls series to my daughter, who had a lukewarm reaction to it. The only part she particularly enjoyed was the Wonder Woman booklet. However, I found the content to be delightful and wholesome, definitely in line with the old comics code. Another positive aspect is the empowering message for young girls, demonstrating that they can also be strong superheroes. The one downside was the box cover received was not the one advertised, which was a bit of a letdown.

Amulet #1-8: Box Set

Bestsellers

The first eight editions of Kazu Kibuishi’s bestselling series are brought together in one high-quality box set. Ideal for grades three to seven, Amulet is popular among teachers trying to encourage reluctant readers.

Personal Perspective

My experience with these books has been somewhat mixed. The content itself is captivating; my daughter was enthralled by the engaging storyline and couldn't put them down. However, the quality of the physical product left a lot to be desired, with printing errors and some pages even left uncut. While the books themselves were well-received by my children, I was disappointed to see that they arrived with noticeable damage and marks. Despite this, the series has been an effective tool in sparking my child's interest in reading, which is a valuable outcome in itself.

Hilo: The Great Big Box (Books 1-6)

Humanoid Alien Robots

Meet Hilo, the alien robot boy who fell to earth. He has no idea how he got here or what he’s suppressed to do. Luckily he has new friends Gina and DJ to guide him.

Community Feedback

My experience with this book series for my son has been nothing short of incredible. Initially, he struggled to find interest in reading, but these books sparked his curiosity and he would even take them to bed to read, completely immersing himself in its captivating stories. Now, both my kids have gone through the series multiple times and we're all eagerly waiting for the release of the next book!

Dog Man: The Supa Epic Collection

Canine Crime Fighter

From the creator of Captain Underpants, Dog Man, a new breed of justice with the body of a man and the head of a dog.

First-Hand Impression

My experience with this set of books has been nothing short of delightful, as they offer fun stories that capture both kids' and adults' attention. My 7-year-old and I enjoyed reading these hardcover copies together, and they seem to withstand the test of time when handled with care. These six books have been instrumental in rekindling my grandson's love for reading after a challenging year at school. I've found this series to be perfect for 3rd-5th graders of any gender, and both my grandson and granddaughter have expressed their love for these books.

The Baby-Sitters Club: Graphic Novels #1-7

Graphic Twist on a Classic

Existing fans and newcomers alike will enjoy these graphic novel adaptations of the classic The Baby-Sitters Club series. I especially like how these adaptations allow readers who struggle to share the same stories as their more fluent peers.

User Experience

Best thing about these books is how much they're loved by kids of various ages, from my 9-year-old granddaughter to my teens. This series brings excitement, and my children are eager to collect them all. It's great to see them enjoy reading so much, and to witness their delight in the undamaged collection. These books have definitely sparked a love for reading in my household.

DC Graphic Novels for Kids: Box Set 1

Superhero Teen Life

The first of a series of box sets, this slipcase contains four graphic novels in a distinctly middle school cartoon style. So you can be comfortable with your child enjoying superheroes without encountering adult content.

Personal Perspective

Bought this set of books for my kids and they absolutely loved the content. However, I was a bit disappointed with the binding quality as pages started to fall out as soon as we opened them - it wasn't a case of mishandling. While the inconsistency in writing across the books was noticeable, the comic format made the reading experience enjoyable for my not-so-enthusiastic readers. In spite of the binding issues, these books were a hit with the entire family.

What’s the Difference Between Graphic Novels and Comics?

While both comics and graphic novels tell stories with words and pictures, comics are usually relatively short and tell a story in installments over several issues. Graphic novels are longer and, although they may be part of a series, tell an entire story in one volume (1).

Some would also argue that graphic novels have richer, more in-depth stories with better character development and a more sophisticated story arc.

Do Graphic Novels Count As Reading?

Absolutely! Graphic novels not only count as reading but have been shown to help kids get excited about reading in general and develop a more comprehensive vocabulary.

A study by Anne E. Cunningham and Keith E. Stanovich of California State University showed that the language and vocabulary used in the graphic novels they evaluated were more complex and more advanced than the oral communication of the college graduates they assessed (2).

The same study also saw twice as many difficult or rare words in the graphic novels than in the children’s literature written for the same age group.

And don’t just take my word for it; graphic novels are accepted by librarians and educational experts as mainstream literature for readers of all ages.

The American Libraries Association publishes an annual list of the Best Graphic Novels. It also publishes multiple resources to help you choose the best quality, age-appropriate graphic novels for kids (3).

There are also other significant benefits to reading graphic novels, which we’ll share at the end of our top 50 list. I had trouble keeping this list down to 50, but here are some favorite graphic novels of our family, friends, and assorted graphic novel enthusiasts of our acquaintance.


Benefits of Graphic Novels for Kids

Graphic Novels Can Be a Gateway to Reading

Some people tolerate graphic novels as a way to encourage reluctant readers. We were guilty of this. I gritted my teeth and told myself it was a good thing long-term when our son wanted to read nothing but the Bone books.

However, while some kids get into graphic novels and then segway into other forms of literature, we now know it’s not moving on or graduating to “proper” books. Instead, graphic novels are a valid, educational reading experience in their own right (4).

Graphic Novels Reduce Reading Anxiety

Our youngest daughter struggled with reading because the idea of reading a chapter book was overwhelming and made her anxious. That anxiety prevented her from concentrating; she didn’t get the story and then felt stupid.

With graphic novels, she wasn’t overwhelmed by a large bank of text. Then she began to read and understand the books, which resulted in her feeling more confident (5).

Graphic Novels Improve Reading Comprehension

Some kids need more time or struggle to process written descriptions of places, people, and events. This stopping, starting, and rereading interrupts the flow of reading and impacts overall comprehension of the story.

Graphic novels allow kids to absorb information about setting, facial expressions and even help to differentiate between characters. Consequently, without the distraction of processing word-based descriptions, some kids find it easier to get what’s going on in the story (6).

Age-Appropriate Options for Kids With Learning Disabilities

Kids with learning disabilities, developmental disabilities, for whom English is a second language, or those who have any other additional barrier to literacy can end up with reading materials appropriate for children way younger than them.

Not only is this a cause of embarrassment and sometimes shame. It also discourages such kids from exploring books and experiencing the potential sense of achievement successful reading can bring. Graphic novels are an excellent, age-appropriate book form for these kids (7).

Graphic Novels Help You Share Books

I am an avid reader and almost always have a book within arms reach, so I have to admit I struggled when it turned out our youngest daughter couldn’t be less interested in books. Graphic novels have been a way for us to bond that would never have been possible with a text-only book.


Embrace Graphic Novels for Kids

Graphic novels are a magnificent way for kids to enjoy books, especially if they are reluctant or struggle to read. These are sophisticated book forms recognized as such by academics, librarians, and educators alike.

We have found them to be a way to encourage reading and bond with the kids. Plus, we’ve been thoroughly put in our place when we mistakenly asserted that they were not proper books.

Embrace, enjoy together, repeat.

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Headshot of Patricia Barnes

About the Author

Patricia Barnes

Patricia Barnes is a homeschooling mom of 5 who has been featured on Global TV, quoted in Parents magazine, and writes for a variety of websites and publications. Doing her best to keep it together in a life of constant chaos, Patti would describe herself as an eclectic mess maker, lousy crafter, book lover, autism mom, and insomniac.