Now with linky goodness.
Sophie Brookover, my partner in crime when speaking at ComicCon this past week-end, is much smarter than I. She has turned her handout into a delightful pdf, and has included it on her blog Pop Goes the Library. I, on the other hand, am not only putting this post within my blog but I’m also going to link every title I can. Because apparently I just have oodles of time. Better still, this was one of the early drafts of my list, so I suspect that things are missing and horrendously misspelled. Insert growls and indistinct mutters under the breath here.
Recommended Book List
of Children’s Graphic Novels, Ages 0-14
Easy Readers (7-10):
There’s a Wolf at the Door: Five Classic Tales by Zoe B. Alley, illustrated by R.W. Alley – In a picture book format this amusing story follows a single wolf as he traipses from fairytale to fairytale, creating havoc along the way.
Stinky by Eleanor Davis – Winner of the Theodore Geisel Honor for early readers, this is one of the rare comics to win an American Library Association award. Part of the easy reading TOON Books meant to encourage children to read with the aid of graphic novels.
The Strongest Man in the World: Louis Cyr by Nicholas Debon – A wonderful Canadian picture book retelling of the life and times of one of the most famous strong men in the world: The irrepressible Louis Cyr.
Fashion Kitty by Charise Mericle Harper – Though better known for her Just Grace books, it is difficult to resist this adorable graphic novel about a small cat with big dreams.
Babymouse by Jennifer Holm (ill. Matthew Holm) – A smash hit with both boys and girls, this pink-infused series follows the adventures of Babymouse as she navigates the trials and tribulations of everything from camping and ice skating to starring in her own musical.
Big Fat Little Lit, edited by Francoise Mouly and Art Spiegelman – Before the creation of TOON Books, Mouly and Spiegelman regularly collected the brightest children’s literary talents to create collections of short graphic stories utilizing a variety of different styles.
Magic Trixie by Jill Thompson – Thompson’s a well known name in adult graphic novel circles, but with Trixie she has aimed her age range much lower to present a fun and fabulous series of stories about a small witch and her otherworldly friends.
Middle Grade Reads (9-12):
Coraline: The Graphic Novel by Neil Gaiman (ill. P. Craig Russell) – Though perhaps best-known for the movie of the same name coming out right now, Russell lends his distinctive style to this creepy graphic novelization of Gaiman’s first middle grade tale. Penned by brand new Newbery winner Neil Gaiman!
Rapunzel’s Revenge by Shannon and Dean Hale (ill. Nathan Hale) – The tale of Rapunzel gets an infusion of wild west antics in this tale of a girl and her lasso-like hair. You physically cannot keep this one on your shelves.
Redwall: The Graphic Novel by Brian Jacques (adapted by Stuart Moore, ill. Bret Blevins) – Another graphic take on a successful middle grade series. In this case, the tale of the mice of Redwall is presented in its entirety, action sequences and all.
Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney – Is it a graphic novel? This webcomic turned book has proven to be a surprising smash hit, sitting cozily on the top of the New York Times bestseller list for full weeks at a time. It doesn’t hurt matters that it’s hilarious to boot.
Salt Water Taffy Part One: The Legend of Old Salty by Matthew Loux – Loux’s foray into younger fare is story of two brothers investigated the strange goings on in their seaside town. The book provides just the right mix of whimsy and downright bizarre content.
Magic Pickle by Scott Morse – Bad puns aside (The Romaine Gladiator???) this story about living, crime-fighting produce is bound to charm boys and girls alike.
To Dance by Siena Siegel, illustrated by Mark Siegel – A non-fiction autobiography of Ms. Siegel’s life growing up as a young ballerina. A wonderful mix of fact and great visual images.
Jellaby by Kean Soo – Just your everyday average girl and her gigantic purple monster story. A complete and utter charmer that dares the reader not to fall in love with it.
Tiny Tyrant by Lewis Trondheim (ill. Fabrice Parme) – An ill-natured tyrant tot who is king of all he surveys works himself into a variety of different difficult situations, all thanks to his greedy personality.
Robot Dreams by Sara Varon – An utterly wordless, not to mention poignant, tale of a dog and his best robot friend. Varon is a Brooklyn-based artist with a drawing style that can only be described as sublime.
Princess at Midnight by Andi Watson – The night-time antics of a regular girl who becomes a princess when the day is done are threatened by both her own desire for power and her nasty neighbors (led by her twin brother).
Upper Middle Grade Reads (11-14):
Laika by Nick Abadzis – The first dog in space gets her frighteningly realistic story told, all thanks to the meticulously well-researched brain of Nick Abadzis.
The Savage by David Almond (ill. Dave McKean) – Though it looks like a dark and violent story, Almond’s sweet text and McKean’s expressive style render this a complex tale of grief and recovery.
The Plain Janes by Cecil Castellucci (ill. Jim Rugg) – Though marketed as a teen graphic novel, there’s nothing in this story of five friends creating outsider art that a middle grade reader wouldn’t enjoy. Nothing inappropriate either.
Howtoons: The Possibilities are Endless by Saul Griffith and Joost Bonsen (ill. Nick Dragotta) – Science experiments meet graphic imagery in this do-it-yourself look at everything from marshmallow shooters to homemade terrariums.
Chiggers by Hope Larson – Summer camp has never EVER been better realized than in Larson’s dead-on encapsulation of the months spent swimming, hiking, and sinking deeper and deeper into self-conscious behaviors.
Kampung Boy by Lat – He’s Thailand’s most famous cartoonist, and now we here in the States can learn about him too. In this first autobiography, we hear about how Lat grew up in a village and how he eventually left.
Town Boy by Lat – A little older and now too cool for school, Lat’s crazy antics continue with mixed results.
Missouri Boy by Leland Myrick – A book that pins down the moments, both big and small, that make up a human life. Thoughtful.
Mouse Guard: Vol. 1 – Fall 1152 by David Petersen – Originally published in small comic books, this collection of stories tells a tale of armed mice uncovering a dastardly plot. The art is the real lure here, though.
Thoreau at Walden by John Porcellino – Quiet and contemplative, this simple study of Thoreau’s life makes for a good non-fiction introduction to his works.
Satchel Paige: Striking Out Jim Crow by James Sturm (ill. Rich Tommaso) – A stunning look at the age of Satchel Paige and the Negro Baseball League, from the point of view of a sharecropper and his son.
The Arrival by Shaun Tan – One of the most stunning graphic novels ever conceived. Entirely wordless, it tells the tale of an immigrant trying to navigate a world as foreign to him as it is to the reader. If you purchase no other graphic novel, purchase this one.
Into the Volcano by Don Wood – Picture book author/illustrator Don Wood creates something entirely new in this story of two brothers sent to live with their aunt in Hawaii and the exciting adventure that awaits them there.