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Good Comics For Kids
Inside Good Comics For Kids

Great Graphic Novels for Kids

Eva Volin

Last year at about this time, the GC4K gang got together and presented a few workshops and wrote an article on collecting graphic novels in libraries. Since our focus is on comics for kids, so were our presentations – our hope being to convince reluctant librarians and teachers that comics have a place in collections and in curricula.

As a part of both our presentations and our article, we included a list of books broken out by grade level that we consider to be core titles. After receiving many requests, we have updated that original list and are posting it here. If you are familiar with that original list, you’ll find that some of the books are no longer there or have moved to another section of the list. Graphic novels go out of print very quickly, so many books we loved are no longer readily available. (Please consider this to be a teaching moment – if you see something on this list you think will be great for your collection, buy it now!) Some of the manga titles have “aged up,” meaning the stories have gotten more sophisticated as the series has progressed.

You’ll also notice that the listings for books for younger teens is really short. The original list was written for teachers and librarians serving children from kindergarten through eighth grade. Since we review books for kids up to age sixteen here on the blog, we decided to add in a listing for grades nine and ten. This list will grow with time, until it is as robust as the listings for the other grade levels.

beauty Great Graphic Novels for KidsRecommended Graphic Novels for Children’s Collections
Grades K-2

Western Comics
Alley, Zoe. There’s a Wolf at the Door. Illus. by R. W. Alley. Roaring Brook, 2008. 40p.
Bliss, Harry. Luke on the Loose. Illus. by author. TOON Books, 2009. 32p.
Bravo, Emile. Beauty and the Squat Bears. Illus. by author. Yen Press, 2011. 48p.
Coudray, Philippe. Benjamin Bear in Fuzzy Thinking. Illus. by author. TOON Books, 2011. 32p.
Davis, Eleanor. Stinky. Illus. by author. TOON Books, 2008. 40p.
Duffy, Chris, ed. Nursery Rhyme Comics: 50 timeless rhymes from 50 celebrated cartoonists. First Second, 2011. 119p.
Faller, Regis. The Adventures of Polo. Illus. by the author. Roaring Brook, 2006. 80p.
Hayes, Geoffrey. Benny and Penny series. Illus. by the author. TOON Books, 2008-2010. 3 vols.
Hayes, Geoffrey. Patrick in A Teddy Bear’s Picnic and Other Stories. Illus. by the author. TOON Books, 2011. 32p.
Kochalka, James. Dragon Puncher series. Illus. by author. Top Shelf, 2010-ongoing. 2 vols.
Kochalka, James. Johnny Boo series. Illus. by author. Top Shelf, 2008-ongoing. 5 vols.
Knight, Hilary and Steven Kroll. Nina in That Makes Me Mad. Illus by Hilary Knight. TOON Books, 2011. 32p.
Luciani, Brigitte. Mr. Badger and Mrs. Fox series. Illus. by Eve Tharlet. Lerner/Graphic Universe, 2010-ongoing. 3 vols.
O’Malley, Kevin. Captain Raptor series. Illus. by Patrick O’Brien. Walker, 2005-2007. 2 vols.
Pien, Lark. Long Tail Kitty. Illus. by author. Blue Apple, 2009. 51p.
Runton, Andy. Owly series. Illus. by author. Top Shelf, 2004-ongoing. 6 vols.
Slade, Christian. Korgi series. Illus. by author. Top Shelf, 2007-ongoing. 3 vols.
Smith, Jeff. Little Mouse Gets Ready. Illus. by author. TOON Books, 2009. 32p.
Spiegelman, Nadja. Zig and Wikki series. Illus. by Trade Loeffler. TOON Books, 2010-ongoing. 2 vols.
Spires, Ashley. Binky the Space Cat series. Illus. by the author. Kids Can Press, 2009-ongoing. 3 vols.
Wheeler, Lisa. Seadogs: An Epic Ocean Operetta. Illus. by Mark Siegel. Atheneum, 2004. 40p.
Wiesner, David. The Three Little Pigs. Illus. by author. Clarion, 2001. 40p.

Grades 3-5
Non-Fiction
Hughes, Susan. No Girls Allowed: Tales of Daring Women Dressed as Men for Love, Freedom, and Adventure. Illus. by Willow Dawson. Kids Can Press, 2008. 80p.
Manning, Mick and Brita Granstrom. Tail-End Charlie. Illus. by authors. Frances Lincoln, 2009. 40p.
O’Donnell, Liam. Max Axiom, Super Scientist series. Illus. by Richard Dominguez and Charles Barnett III. Capstone. 2007-ongoing. 22 vols.
Sis, Peter. The Wall: Growing Up Behind the Iron Curtain. Illus. by author. Farrar Straus Giroux, 2007. 56p.
Sturm, James, Andrew Arnold, and Alexis Frederick-Frost. Adventures in Cartooning: How to Turn Your Doodles into Comics. Illus. by authors. First Second, 2009. 112p.

Western Comics
Aguirre, Jorge. Giants Beware! Illus. by Rafael Rosado. First Second, 2012. 208p.
Archie & Friends All Stars series. Various authors and illus. Archie. 2009-ongoing. 8 vols.
Baltazar, Art and Franco. Tiny Titans series. Illus. by Art Baltazar. DC Comics.  2009-ongoing. 5 vols.
Baum, L. Frank. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Retold by Eric Shanower. Illus. by Skottie Young. Marvel, 2009. 192p.
Big Fat Little Lit. Ed. by Art Spiegelman and Francoise Mouly. Puffin, 2006. 144p.
Buell, Marge. Little Lulu series. Illus. by author. Dark Horse. 2005-ongoing. 27 vols.
Cammuso, Frank. Knights of the Lunch Table series. Illus. by author. Scholastic. 2008-ongoing. 3 vols.
Chantler, Scott. Three Thieves series. Illus. by author. Kids Can Press, 2010-ongoing. 2 vols.
Collicut, Paul. Robot City Adventures series. Illus. by author. Templar. 2009-2010. 4 vols.
Crane, Jordan. The Clouds Above. Illus. by author. Fantagraphics, 2005. 216p.
Fisch, Sholly. The All-New Batman: Brave and the Bold, vol 1. Illus. by Rick Burchett. DC Comics, 2011. 128p.
Giarrusso, Chris. G-Man series. Illus. by author. Image. 2009-2010. 2 vols.
Goscinny, Rene. Asterix series. Illus. by Albert Uderzo. Orion. 2004-2005. 24 vols.
Gownley, Jimmy. Amelia Rules series. Illus. by author. Simon and Schuster. 2009-ongoing. 5 vols.
Guibert, Emmanuel. Sardine in Outer Space series. Illus. by Joann Sfar. First Second. 2006-2008. 6 vols.
Harper, Charise Mericle. Fashion Kitty series. Illus. by author. Hyperion. 2005-2009. 3 vols.
Hatke, Ben. Zita the Spacegirl. Illus. by author. First Second, 2011. 182p.
Herge. The Adventures of Tintin series. Illus. by author. Little Brown. 1994-1997. 7 vols.
Holm, Jennifer. Babymouse series. Illus. by Matt Holm. Random House. 2005-ongoing. 14 vols.
Hunter, Erin, et al. Warriors series. Various illustrators. Tokyopop. 2007-ongoing. 10 vols.
Explorer: The Mystery Boxes. Ed. by Kazu Kibuishi. Scholastic. 2012. 128p.
Krosoczka, Jarrett. Lunch Lady series. Illus. by author. Knopf. 2009-ongoing. 5 vols.
snarked 195x300 Great Graphic Novels for KidsKruse, Jason. The World of Quest series. Illus. by author. Yen Press. 2007-2008. 2 vols.
Labatt, Mary. Sam & Friends Mystery series. Illus. by author. Kids Can Press, 2009-ongoing. 4 vols.
Langridge, Roger. Snarked: Forks and Hope. Illus. by author. BOOM! Studios, 2012. 128p.
Lobdell, Scott. Hardy Boys series. Illus. by Lea Hernandez and Daniel Rendon. Papercutz. 2005-2010. 20 vols.
Loux. Matthew. Salt Water Taffy series. Illus. by author. Oni Press. 2008-ongoing. 4 vols.
Martin, Ann. Baby-sitters Club series. Retold and illus. by Raina Telgemeier. Scholastic. 2006-2008. 4 vols.
Morse, Scott. Magic Pickle. Illus. by author. Scholastic, 2008. 112p.
Nykko. Elsewhere Chronicles series. Illus. by Bannister. Lerner. 2009-2010. 4 vols.
Parker, Jake. Missile Mouse series. Illus. by author. Scholastic. 2010-ongoing. 2 vols.
Petrucha, Stephan and Sarah Kinney. Nancy Drew series. Illus. by Sho Murase. Papercutz. 2005-2010. 20 vols.
Renier, Aaron. Unsinkable Walker Bean. Illus. by author. First Second, 2010. 208p.
Santat, Dan. Sidekicks. Illus. by author. Scholastic, 2011. 215p.
Sfar, Joann. Little Vampire. Illus. by author. First Second, 2008. 96p.
Shanower, Eric. Little Adventures in Oz series. Illus. by author. IDW. 2010. 2 vols.
Shiga, Jason. Meanwhile: Pick Any Path — 3,856 Story Possibilities.  Illus. by author. Amulet, 2010. 80p.
Smith, Jeff. Bone series. Illus by author. Scholastic. 2005-2009. 9 vols.
Star Wars Adventures series. Various authors and illustrators. Dark Horse. 2009-ongoing. 4 vols.
Star Wars Clone Wars Adventures series. Various authors and illustrators. Dark Horse. 2004-2007. 10 vols.
Steinberg, D.J. The Adventures of Daniel Boom aka Loud Boy series. Illus. by Brian Smith. Grosset & Dunlap. 2008-2010. 4 vols.
Stilton, Geronimo. Geronimo Stilton series. Papercutz. 2009-2011. 7 vols.
Thompson, Jill. Magic Trixie series. Illus. by author. Harpercollins. 2008-2009. 3 vols.
Townsend, Michael. Kit Feeny series. Illus. by author. Knopf. 2009. 2 vols.
Torres, J. Alison Dare series. Illus. by J. Bone. Tundra. 2010. 2 vols.
Transformers Animated series. Various authors and illustrators. IDW. 2008-2010. 13 vols.
Trondheim, Lewis. Tiny Tyrant series. Illus. by Fabrice Parme. First Second. 2009. 2 vols.
Venable, Colleen A.F, Guinea Pig, Pet Shop Private Eye series. Illus. by Stephanie Yue. Lerner/Graphic Universe, 2010-ongoing. 4 vols.
Walker, Landry Q. Supergirl: Cosmic Adventures in the 8th Grade. Illus. by Eric Jones. DC Comics, 2009. 144p.
Varon, Sara. Bake Sale. Illus. by author. First Second, 2011. 157p.

Manga
Azuma, Kiyohiko. Yotsuba&!. Illus. by author. Yen Press. 2009-ongoing. 8 vols.
Hakamada, Mera. Fairy Idol Kanon. Illus. by author. Udon. 2009-2010. 4 vols.
Konata, Konami. Chi’s Sweet Home. Illus. by author. Vertical. 2010-ongoing. 5 vols.
Kusaka, Hidenori. Pokemon Adventures. Illus. by author. VIZ. 2009-ongoing. 10 vols.
Maeda, Shunshin. Ninja Baseball Kyuma. Illus. by author. Udon. 2009-2010. 3 vols.
Mizuna, Tomomi. The Big Adventures of Majoko. Illus. by author. Udon. 2009-2011. 5 vols.
Shioya, Hitoshi. Dinosaur Hour. Illus. by author. VIZ, 2009. 200p.
Sonishi, Kenji. Leave it to PET. Illus. by author. VIZ.  2009-2010. 4 vols.
Tatsuyama, Sayuri. Happy Happy Clover. Illus. by author. VIZ, 2009-2010. 5 vols.
Toriyama, Akira. COWA!. Illus. by author. VIZ, 2008. 208p.
Yamamoto, Lun Lun. Swans in Space. Illus. by author. Udon. 2009-2011. 3 vols.

Grades 6-8
Non-Fiction
Lat. Kampung Boy. Illus. by author. First Second, 2006. 144p.
Lutes, Jason. Houdini: the Handcuff King. Illus. by Nick Bertozzi. Hyperion, 2007. 96p.
O’Connor, George. Olympians series. Illus. by author. First Second.  2010-ongoing. 3 vols.
Phelan, Matt. Around the World: three remarkable journeys. Illus. by author. Candlewick, 2011. 235p.
Siegel, Siena Cherson. To Dance: a ballerina’s graphic novel. Illus. by Mark Siegel. Atheneum, 2006. 64p.
Telgemeier, Raina. Smile. Illus. by author. Scholastic, 2010. 224p.
Townsend, Michael. Amazing Greek Myths of Wonders and Blunders. Illus. by author. Dial, 2010. 160p.

Western Comics
Abadzis, Nick. Laika. Illus. by author. First Second, 2007. 208p.
Busiek, Kurt. The Wizard’s Tale. Illus. by David Wenzel. IDW, 2010. 144p.
Davis, Eleanor. The Secret Science Alliance and the Copycat Crook. Illus. by author. Bloomsbury, 2009. 160p.
Hale, Shannon and Dean Hale. Rapunzel’s Revenge series. Illus. by Nathan Hale. Bloomsbury. 2008-2010. 2 vols.
Heuvel, Eric. A Family Secret. Illus. by author. Farrar Strauss Giroux, 2009. 64p.
Heuvel, Eric, Ruud van der Rol and Lies Schippers. The Search. Illus. by authors. Farrar Strauss Giroux, 2009. 64p.
Jablonski, Carla. Resistance series. Illus. by Leland Purvis. First Second, 2010-ongoing. 2 vols.
Kibuishi, Kazy. Amulet series. Illus. by author. Scholastic. 2008-ongoing. 3 vols.
Kim, Susan and Laurence Klavan. City of Spies. Illus. by Pascal Dizin. First Second, 2010. 176p.
Kovac, Tommy. Wonderland. Illus. by Sonny Liew. Disney, 2009. 160p.
Kunkel, Mike. Billy Batson and the Magic of Shazam!. Illus. by Art Baltazar. DC Comics. 2010-2011. 2 vols.
Lee, Tony. Outlaw: The Legend of Robin Hood. Illus. by Sam Hart and Artur Fujita. Candlewick, 2009. 160p.
chimichanga 194x300 Great Graphic Novels for KidsNaifeh, Ted. Courtney Crumrin series. Illus. by author. Oni Press. 2003-ongoing. 4 vols.
Petersen, David. Mouse Guard series. Illus. by author. Archaia. 2008-ongoing. 3 vols.
Phelan, Matt. The Storm in the Barn. Illus. by author. Candlewick, 2009. 208p.
Poe, Marshall. Little Rock Nine. Illus. by Ellen Lindner. Aladdin, 2008. 128p.
Powell, Eric. Chimichanga. Illus. by the author. Dark Horse, 2011. 104p.
Sakai, Stan. Usagi Yojimbo series. Illus. by author. Fantagraphics. 2007-2009 Vols 1-7. Dark Horse. 1997-ongoing. Vols 8-25.
Schweizer, Chris. Crogan Adventures series. Illus. by author. Oni Press. 2008-ongoing. 2 vols.
Siddell, Tom. Gunnerkrigg Court series. Illus. by author. Archaia. 2008-ongoing. 2 vols.
Sturm, James. Satchel Paige : Striking out Jim Crow. Illus. by Rich Tommaso. Hyperion, 2007. 96p.
Tan, Shaun. The Arrival. Illus. by author. Arthur A. Levine, 2007. 128p.
Taylor, Sarah Stewart. Amelia Earhart: This Broad Ocean. Illus. by Ben Towle.
Hyperion, 2010. 96p.
TenNapel, Doug. Bad Island. Illus. by author. Scholastic, 2011. 218p.
TenNapel, Doug. Ghostopolis. Illus. by author. Scholastic, 2010. 272p.
Trondheim, Lewis. Kaput & Zosky. Illus by author. First Second, 2008. 80p.
Varon, Sara. Robot Dreams. Illus. by author. First Second, 2007. 208p.
Yolen, Jane. The Last Dragon. Illus. by Rebecca Guay. Dark Horse, 2011. 141p.

Manga
Adachi, Mitsuri. Cross Game. Illus.by author. VIZ. 2010-ongoing. 8 vols.
Ando, Natsumi. Arisa. Illus. by author. Kodansha. 2010-ongoing. 8 vols.
CLAMP. Cardcaptor Sakura Omnibus. Illus. by author. Dark Horse. 2010-ongoing. 3 vols.
Nakajo, Hisaya. Sugar Princess: Skating to Win. Illus. by author. VIZ. 2008. 2 vols.
Tada, Kaoru. Itazura na Kiss. Illus. by author. Digital Manga. 2009-ongoing. 5 vols.
Takeuchi, Naoko. Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon. Illus. by author. Kodansha. 2011-ongoing. 5 vols.
Tanemura, Arina. Sakura Hime: the legend of Princess Sakura. Illus. by author. VIZ. 2011-ongoing. 9 vols.
Toriyama, Akira. DragonBall Z (VIZ Big edition). Illus. by author. VIZ. 2003-2006. 9 vols.
Toriyama, Akira. Sand Land. Illus. by author. VIZ, 2004. 224p.
Yaginuma, Kou. Twin Spica. Illus. by author. Vertical. 2010-ongoing. 10 vols.
Yoshizumi, Wataru. Ultra Maniac. Illus. by author. VIZ. 2005-2006. 5 vols.
Yukino, Sai. The Story of Saiunkoku. Illus. by Kairi Yura. VIZ. 2010-ongoing. 8 vols.

mystic 193x300 Great Graphic Novels for KidsGrades 9-10
Western Comics
Brosgol, Vera. Anya’s Ghost. Illus. by author. First Second, 2011. 221p.
Hicks, Faith Erin. Friends with Boys. Illus. by author. First Second, 2012. 222p.
Inzana, Ryan. Ichiro. Illus. by author. Houghton Mifflin, 2012. 288p.
Langridge, Roger. Thor, The Mighty Avenger. Illus. by Chris Samnee. Marvel, 2011. 2 vols.
Wilson, G. Willow. Mystic: The Tenth Apprentice. Illus. by David Lopez. Marvel, 2012. 96p.

Manga
Aoyama, Gosho. Case Closed. Ilus. by author. VIZ. 2004-ongoing. 41 vols.
Iwaoka, Hisae. Saturn Apartments. Illus. by author. VIZ. 2010-ongoing. 6 vols.
Kato, Kazue. Blue Exorcist. Illus. by author. VIZ. 2011-ongoing. 6 vols.
Park, SoHee. Goong. Illus. by author. Yen Press. 2006-ongoing. 11 vols.
Tezuka, Osamu. Black Jack. Illus. by author. Vertical. 2008-2011. 17 vols.

Suggested Hybrids
Hybrids are a mix of traditional prose and graphic novels.  While we don’t recommend shelving them in your graphic novel collection, they are great transition books for kids interested in learning about the format – or for parents who’d like to see their kids read something other than comics:
Moss, Marissa. Amelia’s Notebook series. Illus. by author. Simon and Schuster. 2006-ongoing. 23 vols.
Peirce, Lincoln. Big Nate series. Illus. by author. Harpercollins. 2010-ongoing. 3 vols.
Kinney, Jeff. Diary of a Wimpy Kid series. Illus. by author. Amulet. 2007-ongoing. 5 vols.
Vernon, Ursula. Dragonbreath series. Illus. by author. Dial. 2009-ongoing. 3 vols.
Barshaw, Ruth McNally. Ellie McDoodle series. Illus. by author. Bloomsbury. 2008-ongoing.  3 vols.
Wight, Eric. Frankie Pickle series. Illus. by author. Simon and Schuster. 2009-ongoing. 3 vols.
Moss, Marissa. Max Disaster series. Illus. by author. Candlewick. 2009-ongoing. 3 vols.
Ignatow, Amy. The Popularity Papers series. Illus. by author. Amulet. 2010-2011. 2 vols.
Pullman, Philip. Spring-Heeled Jack. Illus. by David Mostyn. Yearling, 2004. 112p.

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Eva Volin About Eva Volin

Eva Volin is the Supervising Children's Librarian for the Alameda Free Library in California. She has written about graphic novels for such publications as Booklist, Library Journal, ICv2, Graphic Novel Reporter, and Children & Libraries. She has served on several awards committees including the Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards, the Michael L. Printz Award, and the Isotope Award for Excellence in Mini-Comics. She served on YALSA's Great Graphic Novels for Teens committee for three years and is currently serving on ALSC's Notable Books for Children committee.

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