10 Graphic Novels Perfect for Young Readers
Every year, on the first Saturday in May, local comic book shops celebrate Free Comic Book Day. It’s a day where, nationwide, shop owners can connect with their communities and introduce new readers to the amazing world of graphic novels.
Having worked in a bookstore for several years, I’ve learned two things:
1. Kids LOVE graphic novels!
2. Parents are cautious about what their kids read.
When it comes to graphic novels, some parents fear that “graphic” means “adult” or “explicit.” In reality, it simply describes the art style. Although graphic novels have become popular in the last 50 years, they’ve been around as long as we have. Cave drawings, hieroglyphics, and medieval tapestries are all examples of how illustrations have been used to tell stories for thousands of years.
Graphic novels are a great way to motivate kids into reading. They challenge students who excel in school to build a more imaginative mind. These types of books can boost creativity and teach kids to think outside of their own surroundings. They can also be used to benefit struggling and stubborn readers, special-needs students, and English-language learners. Scholastic has even compiled several lesson plans involving graphic novels.
Below are 10 graphic novels for kids that you and your family will love:
G-MAN by Chris Giarrusso
Chris Giarrusso is a Harvey award-nominated artist, writer, and creator of G-MAN. G-MAN is a comic series that is great for kids and adults as well. It is about a young hero named Mikey G. who gains his powers of super strength, super endurance, and flight when he wears a magic cape.
The butt-kicking, pizza-loving, sewer-dwelling team is back. Based on the animated series, this new adventure is great for all ages of TMNT fans. The turtles are put up against some gruesome villains like Snakeweed, the Shredder, and even a horde of zombies!
RISE: Comics Against Bullying by Northwest Press
RISE, a collection of short stories and comics, is a great source for high school-aged students that aims to bring an end to bullying. Proceeds benefit charitable organizations, including GLAAD, Prism Comics, and Stand For The Silent.
Amulet by Kazu Kibuishi
Written and beautifully illustrated by Kazu Kibuishi, Amulet is about a brother and sister who move with their mother to the home of her deceased great-grandfather after the passing of their father. The house begins to prove that it is full of dark mystery. In an effort to save their mother, Emily and Navin follow her into an underground world inhabited by demons, robots, and talking animals. The story is full of positive messages and role models and is great for children ages eight and above.
Smile by Raina Telgemeier
Great read for preteens. From the book cover: “Raina just wants to be a normal sixth grader. But one night she trips and falls, severely injuring her two front teeth. What follows is a long and frustrating journey with on-again, off-again braces, surgery, embarrassing headgear, and even a retainer with fake teeth attached. And on top of all that, there’s still more: a major earthquake, boy confusion, and friends who turn out to be not so friendly.”
Bone by Jeff Smith
An amazing series that kids always run up and ask for. Seeing excited readers in the bookstore always made the job easier. From the book cover: “After being run out of Boneville, the three Bone cousins—Fone Bone, Phoney Bone, and Smiley Bone—are separated and lost in a vast, uncharted desert. One by one, they find their way into a deep, forested valley filled with wonderful and terrifying creatures … [But] there are dark forces conspiring against them and their adventures are only just beginning!”
The long running BBC series, Doctor Who, has been brought to the graphic novel world. And if you and your family are fans of the Doctor and his companions, this series is a must have. Kids and adults can enjoy reading the side adventures of Doctor while they wait for the newest season to air.
Continuing from where the Nickelodeon series Avatar: The Last Airbender ended, Aang and his friends try to maintain peace throughout the four nations.
Some graphic novels can get extremely violent. Marvel Adventures is a great alternative for young graphic novel readers. The art style and story lines are tamed and perfect for younger kids, but still packed with action. Spiderman, Ironman, Captain America, The Hulk, and even the Fantastic Four have all been retold in this style so that young minds can experience the superhero world in a safe format.
Stone Arch has teamed up with DC Comics to give young readers a series of chapter book comics that is perfect for at-level and challenged readers. With more than 100 comics, your kids are going to need a bigger bookshelf.
Don’t miss out on Free Comic Book Day! Contact your local shops to see if they have any special activities planned for kids.
Paul Merced is design editor of Learning Liftoff. His passion and style for illustrating, photography, and design is a great blend for the educational field. With a BA in digital art from George Mason University, Paul is working on illustrating a children's book that will be released in the next few years. As a former bookseller, Paul loves reading his large collection of books and graphic novels.