10 Best Graphic Novels for Kids Reviewed in 2020
For parents, getting your child to read especially if you have one who’s a picky reader is not always an easy task. While we know that it’s not uncommon for children to hate the idea of reading regardless of whether they’re good at it or not, many parents accept this reality and don’t try to find any other alternatives to inspire their children. One of the coolest forms of reading your child can explore is with a graphic novel. While yes it sounds like a comic book and the general concept is almost the same – it's not. These novels are wonderful options for children, mainly preteens and teens, who refuse to pick up a regular book because they don’t like reading.
In a Hurry? The test winner after 36 hrs of research
Teaches a lesson about hope
Encourages kids to be positive
Shows them what it's like for those with disabilities
Well-detailed and interesting illustrations
Honest story and writing
10 Best Graphic Novels for Kids Reviewed
1. El Deafo
Teaches a lesson about hope
Encourages kids to be positive
Shows them what it's like for those with disabilities
Well-detailed and interesting illustrations
Honest story and writing
The descriptions might be a bit graphic for some kids under the age of eight
A graphic novel with an important message, El Deafo addresses the fact that some kids are different -- Whether they're born that way or go through something that changes them, they deserve just as much acceptance as others. There is strength in what makes us different!Read more
There are some graphic novels that are great stories and then there are some that are full-blown works of art. This novel isn't just an ordinary recounting to overcome a disability, it's a story about discovery, hope, dedication, and determination. The words and illustrations on these pages serve as a beacon of hope to not only those in the Deaf community but to anyone who struggles daily with a disability. El Deafo is the real-life story of the author, Cece Bell, who went deaf as a result of meningitis when she was only four years old. While this might sound like a mature topic for a kid, it serves as an incredible way to inspire and show them that positivity, endurance, and simply changing your perspective can actually change your life. In her own words, Bell tells her story with such honesty that any child is sure to feel a connection to her words. What makes this novel so extraordinary is that fact that it has been retold through feeling rather than fact; while many of these characters are accurate and the situations were real, Bell has focused on the emotions she felt to guide the story rather than retelling it word for word as a biography. The title, "El Deafo", is revealed to be the nickname that she once had for herself, stating that "our differences are our superpowers".
There are not many stories like this out there for younger kids to read and understand, so that sets this graphic novel quite a ways apart from the rest. It's intense in a way, but also full of hope and strength, with a positive message that can be taken away by the end.
Reading this story about the author’s experience will teach your child about some of the struggles deaf people experience every day. This New York Times Bestseller will teach children about diversity while improving their vocabulary. Cece accepting her bulky hearing aid will help other children who may feel different feel more confident in their skin. This novel is written for children between the ages of eight and twelve.
2. The Hobbit
Teaches the power of friendship
The font is big enough, so it makes it easier to read
There are a few blank pages after each illustration but otherwise, customers were mesmerized by the pages that did have an illustration on them.
“One ring to rule them all,” If you’re familiar with the famous series Lord of the Rings, you will love this series, The Hobbit. This is the series that tells the tale of how Bilbo Baggins received the ring before he gives it to dear Frodo. It’s the prequel series to the famous series. You’ll join Bilbo Baggins on his quest as he leaves The Shire – the only home he’s ever known – and he finds the mystical ring that holds tremendous power. You may even meet some unusual witty, funny characters along the way like elves, dwarves (not to be mistaken with Hobbits) and a little creepy critter who lives in the caves and just so happens to love riddles.Read more
This fantasy tale will teach your children about destiny, give them a sense of adventure as they follow along with Bilbo Baggins quest through the Misty Mountains. It might even spark some inspiration to get them to create a journey of their own.
We love this tale because it teaches the power of friendship. While Bilbo had never left his homeland, when Gandalf sends him out on his quest, he finds a purpose in life, gains a sense of adventure and learns a bit more about himself along the way.
Joining Bilbo on his quest will stimulate your child’s imagination and have them diving into a fantasy world. The elves and goblins will open your child’s mind to a world of mythical creatures. As Bilbo makes his way through his quest, readers will learn about bravery. By watching Bibo give away the Arkenstone, your child will learn the importance of being selfless.
3. The Stonekeeper
Appropriate for all ages
Very easy to read and follow
Full of fantasy elements
Might be a bit dark for some children
Follow the story of two brave kids as they save their mother from forces they don't quite understand. This novel is filled with adventure, wonder, and at times, magic!Read more
For lovers of fantasy fiction, The Stonekeeper is a must-read as far as graphic novels go. It's a spellbinding story that will keep kids hooked with various feats of courage, outlandish creatures, and just a little bit of enchantment to keep things interesting. The novel starts off with the main characters, Emily and Navin, who are sent off to live with their mother in a house that's not quite what they expected. Before long, they find themselves swept into another universe altogether, fighting to save their mother from the darkness that awaits them on the other side. This book paints the picture of a harrowing tale of bravery, determination, and above all, love for those who matter the most. It's an intriguing story with characters kids will easily relate to, as well as simple reading that adds just enough detail to the stunning artwork that fills these pages.
This novel follows two children as they learn how to depend on each other for survival in a world they know nothing about. It's riveting and kids of all ages will find it to be a real page-turner since it's age-friendly for anyone older than eight.
Readers will learn about bravery, compassion, and selflessness as they read about the children surviving in a fantasy land. The characters display an excellent sense of determination as they work to overcome any obstacle that stands in their way.
4. A Wrinkle in Time
It's a much-simplified read
Stunning artwork to accompany the story
Great alternative to reading the full novel
Well-received by a majority of its readers
It's a nice in-between for movie and book lovers
The comic panels themselves aren't very colorful
Based on the well-renowned novel and major motion picture, A Wrinkle in Time is a story that has touched the hearts of many. Now, your child can read it as well with a little help from some fun illustrations.Read more
This is the perfect way for kids who haven't read A Wrinkle in Time to get just as much satisfaction from the story without having to read a long novel. Plus, there's some stunning artwork in here! Everyone knows that the novel had worldwide reception and still holds that reputation to this day, but not many know about the graphic novel. It's the same story with incredible pictures to go along with it, and the entire book is done in a comic-style art so that it's easy to follow and entertaining. This is a great adaption for lovers of the novel as well and offers a different way of imaging things. James Patterson referred to this graphic novel as being "page-turning eye candy of the highest order" and we would definitely have to agree with that. Your child won't be able to put this one down!
Having alternatives is a great way to deal with non-readers. This novel is home to such a tremendous story that kids really shouldn't miss out on, and the creation of this graphic novel is one way they can experience it first-hand.
Behind the awesome artwork, the pages are full of lessons for your child to learn. Your child will learn the power of self-love as they watch Meg learn to love herself. The story will teach your child to be empathetic toward bullies as it unveils the real reasons why the characters were mean. It also will introduce your child to adoption as one of the main characters was adopted. Meg’s display of strength and bravery will show readers how strong women can be.
5. The Last Kids on Earth
A horror novel that's not too intense
Has its comic relief
The monsters are imaginative and interesting
More of a novel-style
The writing is entertaining and action-packed
Some kids might not be impressed with the black and white illustration
This modern twist on a zombie apocalypse story takes things a step further when Jack Sullivan needs to fight for his survival in a world that's been taken over by monsters. Fight alongside him in this awesome, black and white graphic novel.Read more
The Last Kids on Earth is just a fun read that's jam-packed with tons of adventure. Everything seems to be centered around the (unlikely) event of a zombie apocalypse these days and rather than watch something gory and gruesome on television, kids can now read about it in an age-appropriate graphic novel. This story takes place when a group of teens bands together to, quite literally, survive the end of the world. It follows the main character, Jack Sullivan, as he finds others and fights his way out of hoards of monsters that have taken over his home. It becomes a test of strength, a trial of willpower, and a determined story that will stick with kids from the second they begin reading it.
The layout of this graphic novel is interesting because it doesn't feature a classic comic-panel layout as most do. Instead, each page is comprised of an illustration in black and white along with a short paragraph to describe what's happening and further the story.
Your child will learn about the importance of friendship as they read about Jack and his friends during the Monster Apocalypse. The gang shows readers the value of teamwork and how to overcome differences that may arise within a group of friends.
6. Narwhal: Unicorn of the Sea
Very easy to read
The illustrations are amusing and fun
It would work well for parent-child bonding time
Good option to improve reading skills
Perfect first option for a graphic novel
There aren't many colors used to create the illustrations
It's perfect for preschool-aged kids as well as those in elementary school and lends itself to an easy read. Not to mention, it features a narwhal as the main character!Read more
We even have graphic novels for the younger kids, too! The Narwhal and Jelly Book series is suitable for kids aged six to nine and would make an excellent first "novel". The series is only three books long which makes it a quick and easy read and it features minimal wording (mostly illustrations) so that your child won't be frustrated or bummed out when they're trying to understand what's going on. The illustrations themselves are adorable depictions of underwater life and kids will absolutely fall in love with both Narwhal and Jelly. What truly makes this book awesome are the expressions each character has; for being such simple sketches, they're drawn out to be highly expressive creatures with a lot to say.
If your child can't yet read comfortably on his or her own, this book is a great way to bond with them. The pictures alone are descriptive enough to tell a story and it's a great motivator for improving their literacy skills.
This lighthearted tale will show the joys and benefits of working together. The unlikely pair will encourage readers to befriend those who may be different from themselves. While the jellyfish questioning the narwhal’s appearance is funny, it also shows children to be comfortable in their own skin. Written for grades one through four, elementary students can improve their vocabulary with each page.
7. Phoebe and Her Unicorn
Vibrantly colored and highly detailed
The story is hilarious
Marigold is an interesting character
Phoebe is relatable for most kids
It's done in comic book-style
The issue of bullying does come up in this book
Marigold Heavenly Nostrils is the name and it's one that your kids won't soon forget. Phoebe is just an ordinary girl with a knack for adventure a friend who just happens to be an arrogant unicorn.Read more
Similar to the previous book, Phoebe and Her Unicorn features somewhat of a fantasy element. We know there are plenty of unicorn fans out there and we're sure they're bound to love this novel. It's been compared to the Calvin series as well as Charlie Brown and holds the same endearing qualities as both. This story follows Phoebe, who is just your average little girl. It starts off with a bit of a hilarious incident that many kids will find amusing and even laughable. After Phoebe accidentally hits a unicorn in the head while skipping rocks at the pond one day, her life changes in a way she could never possibly imagine. With the granting of a wish, her journey starts and kids have the chance to read all about her unicorn adventures.
The name of the unicorn in question is Marigold Heavenly Nostrils. There's not much more to be said about it, because we can guarantee you're trying pretty hard not to laugh right now -- Which means your child will be laughing twice as much while reading this fun novel.
Phoebe and Marigold’s relationship shows just how important and beautiful having a best friend can be. Just as Marigold teaches phoebe, readers will learn how to love themselves. The humorous storyline will help readers relax and destress from the day.
8. Zita the Spacegirl
Amazing art quality
The story takes place in outer space
Zita is a great superhero and role model
Entertaining and unique in its storytelling
The alien characters are fun and creative
Some thought the story was just mediocre
Outer space never looked like so much fun! Zita is the little girl-turned-superhero whose job it is to now save the world from impending doom in the form of some crazy aliens. We guarantee you're in for an adventure!Read more
It's safe to say that this list has truly gone above and beyond as far as various types of graphic novels go and there's something for everyone. So far, we've covered a monster takeover, magical unicorns, underwater tales, superpowers, and now, outer space! Zita is just your average girl who has a big job: Saving her best friend from the aliens that have just taken over the earth. We know there are science fiction lovers out there and if that's the case, this graphic novel is right up your alley. There are plenty of space creatures, quirky characters, and galactic space fighting to go around with this story. The artwork is wonderful and even features a back panel where the artist has included her early renditions of the main character, which is highly appealing to kids who love drawing.
Zita is the little kid that all of us have wished to be. During an average day of playing, she stumbles upon an object from outer space and thus begins her journey. The best part is that anyone who reads this novel will be able to go on it with her!
The unique illustrations will foster a love of art in your child. Zita will inspire young girls to be strong and courageous. Zita’s space adventures will stimulate your child’s cognitive development by encouraging them to engage in a world of imagination. While most of the book is fantasy, children will get more knowledge on the planets as Zita moves through the galaxy.
9. Supernatural Hero
Perfect for young adolescents
Some customers complained that the pictures were scattered but overall were impressed with character development and the story itself
While it’s obvious that our main character Andy is not the most popular kid in school, he is full of witty remarks. This lovely start to a wonderful series takes you on Andy’s journey as he enters the world of growing up.Read more
Not only will your children be able to relate to some of the things that Andy experiences, but they’ll laugh along with some of the situations that he ends up finding himself in.
This inspirational graphic novel shows the story of Andy and how once he starts standing up for himself from his sister’s bullying antics and to everything else his whole world changes around him. While reading along your child will learn and feel empathy towards Andy and understand everything that he’s currently experiencing.
Middle school children may be able to relate to the struggles and bullying Andy experiences. The book shows children that they can be just as cool as they are smart. The story encourages children to always stay true to themselves and to believe in themselves.
10. Dawn and the Impossible Three
Same great Baby-Sitters Club series
The characters are relatable and feel real
The artwork is fun and engaging
It's in a comic-style which makes for a fun read
Great option for kids who love comics but hate reading
Some agreed that the artwork was distracting compared to the prior graphic novel style
The same author who brought you the best-selling Baby-Sitter's Club books is back with a graphic novel series that's fun and addicting. Follow Dawn on her babysitting adventure in this Archie Comic-style graphic novel.Read more
That's right, your favorite babysitters are back in a brand new graphic novel series! The Baby-Sitters Club got their start in the early 90s and continues to be a book series that's both relevant and popular today. While the novels contained any adventure possible for this fabulous club, the graphic novels depict all of them in surprising color and illustrations that accurately match the artwork found on the cover of each novel. This book, in particular, follows the newest member of the club, Dawn, as she tackles some impossible babysitting clients. This novel manages to bring to life Ann M. Martin's incredible stories with some stunning comic art that echoes those of the Archie comics and will have kids engaged and loving every moment spent reading. This was a great way to update the 90s books and make them more relatable to kids in today's generation but it's also the perfect way to get to know the Baby-Sitter's Club!
While it's nostalgic for some, the Baby-Sitter's Club is brand new for others. These novels contain all the great stories you knew from your teenage years and now they're complete with fantastic illustrations and comic-style artwork.
Children between the ages of eight and twelve will enjoy this witty and light-hearted story. As the main character struggles to make friends with a fellow babysitter named Kristy, children will learn that is completely fine to not be friends with everyone. Children will learn about determination and hard work as they read about Dawn overcoming the obstacles that come with babysitting three small children. Young readers can continue to improve their literacy skills and enjoy tales of the babysitter club long after they finish this book as it is part of a series.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
If you're wondering what makes this piece of literature different from a normal novel, then we have the answer. When a child picks up one of these books, they know they're in for an adventure. Due to all of the illustrations and the artwork found in these books, they help to condition the reader to actually picture the story rather than just read it. It can be challenging for an avid reader to understand what reading a book is like from a non-reader's standpoint, and this is where we come in to help. When you can't picture the story, then it truly remains as just words on a piece of paper. Having pictures readily available help kids to focus on the story at hand and have some way of connecting scenery with what they're reading. This helps them to grow their imagination as well as spark some creativity within themselves. Graphic novels can be especially helpful if you know that you have a visual learner on your hands, because they'll already have an appreciation for the illustrations in the book and won't struggle to create their own.
You might be wondering how a graphic novel could help your child in the way of improving their reading skills and we don't blame you. For starters, let us reference a valid point that was made during the 2014 New York Comic Con by several librarians as well as teachers. They claimed that comics and, in turn, graphic novels as well, helped their students to become much more motivated to read as well as helping with memory, understanding, comprehension, vocabulary, and overall literacy. This is a first-hand account based on people who have used these sources of literature in their own classrooms, therefore it cannot be discounted and thus became part of our research as well. By reading a graphic novel, kids are motivated by the illustrations but also encouraged to read the text in order to have a more thorough and in-depth understanding of what is actually happening. This produces results that aren't often seen when kids are just being handed text-only novels and can help to improve their reading skills rather than forcing them to do something that's frustrating and at times, defeating.
Some of these novels focus on topics that might be hard to talk to your children about but can teach them very valuable lessons about life. El Deafo is a perfect example of this, and not only shows kids what life is like from the perspective of someone with a disability but encourages them to embrace it and love what makes them different. Phoebe and Her Unicorn touches on the issue of bullying but also shows kids how to remain strong and continue being just who they are because words only have the power that you give to them. Each of these novels carries an important message that can be conveyed much more easily through illustrations in combination with words than they can by words alone. The impact they have on a reader is often much more so in this sense because kids are able to make visual impressions with what they've read and seen as opposed to just what they've read. It's more helpful than most parents think and there's an entire world of literature out there just waiting to be read.
As comics have increased in popularity, so have the number of comics being published. For instance, now there are comics available for any age and gender, and any topic. Comics allow children to easily broaden their vocabulary and expand their visual literacy skills.
Comics challenge children to develop a creative mindset. By reading the comics, children can enter the world of their favorite cartoon characters and even start to identify with some of them. The books can be used as a tool to learn English and for those who struggle with reading in school.
Other Factors to Consider
In order to create a list of graphic novels that would be both helpful as well as entertaining to kids between the ages of four and 12, we had to first combat the stereotype that often comes with them -- That they're glorified comics. This is absolutely not the case, and they have some extenuating differences that we'll go into a bit later on. Once we were able to find comics that suited the "graphic novel" nature and not so much the "comic book" debate, we moved on to the next qualifying factor. What makes a graphic novel helpful in the way of reading skills? We evaluated the text, vocabulary level, as well as the storyline of each one in order to determine who it would help and how. In addition to that, we had to use our discretion to ensure that there was nothing inappropriate or mature for kids who might be under the age of ten, and so we went a step further and included several novels that would be just perfect for younger children. All of these factors, when combined, brought into existence the list that you've been given here.
Ease of Use
Reading is not an easy thing to do. It's not a skill that many kids just understand and pick up right off the bat with no problem, which is where graphic novels can lend a bit of a helping hand. The text is often simplified in these stories and with the aid of illustrations, the story can be made a bit easier to understand. The artwork in these books also helps to motivate readers because they'll be so intrigued by what they're seeing, that they'll actually want to read so they learn the whole story. Going back to the point of the simplified text, this makes it much easy on first-time readers or those who struggle with reading to understand and slowly make their way through each sentence. It's the illustrations that will pull new readers in and encourage them to learn how to read in order to learn the story that's so beautifully depicted throughout the book in-hand.
The bright and colorful illustrations in graphic novels often keep readers engaged in the story. Books without pictures require your child to imagine their own characters and settings. Graphic novels are great for children who struggle to enjoy reading as the pictures break up the long storylines. With art coming in many different forms, each graphic novel offers new and exciting illustrations. In fact, as your child reads a variety of graphic novels they will grow an appreciation for art. The colors and images will stimulate your child’s sensory skills while also encouraging them to unleash their creativity.
Frequently Asked Questions
q: How will I know what age this is appropriate for?
We've made sure to include age ranges in every listing. Most of these books are suitable for kids between the ages of eight and 12, however, some are even better for readers as young and four and up, like the Narwhal series.
q: Are issues such as bullying and disabilities really appropriate reading for kids in that age range?
That's left up to your discretion as a parent. The important thing to remember is that these novels contain powerful messages that will impact kids in a positive way, not leave them feeling sad and upset. While some novels (such as El Deafo) do have illustrations that are a bit strong for kids under the age of ten, we feel that the message they convey far outweighs that. It's a good way to introduce these things to children and encourage positivity and acceptance rather than tiptoe around them until the topic eventually comes up on its own.
q: Can these be downloaded digitally?
Yes! Many of them do have a digital download option for Kindles and iPads.
q: What would catch a child's attention more, comic-style art or sketch-art?
That all depends on what your child has an affinity for. Some kids find that comic-style art is more entertaining and fun to read because of the colors and design, while others find sketch-art to be relatable because it's what they do when they draw. Either would be just as captivating.
q: How can I go about getting my child interested in reading these novels?
You could start by showing them the art style of the graphic novel of your choosing. Once they see that it's more illustration than text, they might be a bit more inclined to read it for themselves. It might be a bit of trial and error because not every child will immediately fall in love with every book.
q: Am I able to buy the complete collection of some of these series?
Yes. We don't have any complete collections listed here, but for many of them, you can find a box set or a digital download package.
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