My kids have always loved stories. From the time they were tiny we were constantly reading to them, or listening to audiobooks in the car, or just making up our own stories together as a family. Then came the task of actually learning to read. Picture books were fine, and they’d make their way through those slowly but surely. But when they really started to love reading was when we discovered graphic novels.
While some people might not count graphic novels as reading, we found that the kids could access the stories more easily with images, and they were reading longer words with bigger vocabularies than what we could get in picture books. And there are such a variety of graphic novels these days! It’s not just for ‘comic book’ fans anymore.
If you’re looking for something for a reluctant reader, or your reader isn’t reluctant at all but just happens to love graphic novels, the list below has some of my 9 & 12 year old’s favorites:
- Science Comics by various authors: There are a variety of books in this series on many scientific subjects; for real, we’ve learned LOTS of science facts this way!
- Human Body Theater by Maris Wicks: speaking of science, my kids love reading this one all about the systems of the body
- The Cartoon Introduction to series by various authors: These are a very accessible way to tackle complex topics. We’ve only read the two Cartoon Introduction to Economics books, The Cartoon Introduction to Philosophy, and The Cartoon Introduction to Climate Change, but we will definitely be looking up more of these books!
- Roller Girl and All’s Faire in Middle School by Victoria Jamieson
- Percy Jackson by Rick Riordan: Most (if not all) of the Percy Jackson & the Olympians series and some of the Heroes of Olympus follow-up series have also been made into graphic novels.
- Zita the Spacegirl series and the companion Mighty Jack series by Ben Hatke
- Bone series by Jeff Smith (though one of my kids was a bit upset because the last book has a sad ending)
- The Courageous Princess trilogy by Rod Espinosa (it’s a fun fantasy series; despite the name, my son loves these stories as much as my daughter does)
- Princess Ugg by Ted Naifeh a fantasy story in two volumes
- Making Friends series by Kristen Gudsnuk (there are tons of fun easter eggs packed into the drawings in these)
- Four Points series by Hope Larson
- The Nameless City series by Faith Erin Hicks
- Lumberjanes by Noelle Stevenson
- The Time Museum duology by Matthew Loux
- Dream Jumper series by Greg Grunberg
- Cleopatra in Space series by Mike Maihack
- The Witch Boy series by Molly Ostertag
- Hilo series by Judd Winick (billed as “Dog Man meets Big Nate”)
- Bird and Squirrel series by James Burks
- Rutabaga the Adventure Chef 1 & 2 by Eric Colossal
- Poptropica series by various authors
- Big Nate series by Lincoln Pierce; this series has both “comics” and also books with lots of comics in them (kind of like Diary of a Wimpy Kid)
- Phoebe and Her Unicorn by Dana Simpson; billed as sort of Calvin and Hobbes, but with a girl and her (possibly imaginary?) unicorn
- Just about anything by Raina Telgemeier (my daughter especially loves Guts, Drama, and Smile)
- Amulet series by Kazu Kibuishi
This is by no means an exhaustive list. These are just a few from the top of my head that the kids ask to check out from the library over and over again—some we’ve read so many times that we ended up purchasing our own copies of them.
Do you or your kids enjoy graphic novels? What are you / they reading right now? Let us know in the comments.