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Inside Good Comics For Kids

The Good Comics for Kids 2015 Gift Guide

Looking for some good graphic novels to give the kids and teens on your nice list? Our bloggers have some suggestions for every age and taste, from board books to manga—and be sure to check out our list of the top ten graphic novels of 2015 at School Library Journal!

My First Comics

I’m Sunny!
I’m Grumpy!
By Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm
All ages
These two cheery board books tell brief stories with simple, colorful illustrations. In I’m Sunny, a cartoon sun refuses to share a red balloon with a tornado, then feels bad and changes its mind. In I’m Grumpy, a cloud in a bad mood not only resists the sun’s attempts to cheer it up but lets loose a thunderclap. Both stories are fun and not particularly preachy, especially because in each the main character does a bad thing and then makes amends. They are also easy to read aloud because each panel or page only contains one or two text elements (word balloons, sound effects, captions). They are sturdy and colorful and a great gift for any young child.—Brigid

My Neighbor SekiMy Neighbor Seki
By Takuma Morishige
All Ages
Full review
Toshinari Seki takes goofing off to new heights. Everyday he brings something new to amuse himself in class, such as creating a domino rally from erasers, using shogi pieces to fight a real war, and cats to pet and play with. Not amused is his neighbor Rumi Yokoi, who is constantly getting distracted by Seki’s projects, and is always the one getting in trouble for them. The games and projects that Seki comes up are outrageous and amazing, and Yokoi’s reactions to them are hilarious. It’s a very fun series all around.—Lori Henderson

The Princess and the PonyThe Princess and the Pony
By Kate Beaton
Ages 4-8
Mostly known for her witty historical comics for adults, Beaton’s first picture book for kids is delightful and will in demand for repeat reads over the holiday season. Princess Pinecone wants a big, strong horse for her birthday that’s fit for a Viking warrior princess. But when she receives a roly-poly type horse, she determined to get her new companion up to snuff for upcoming battles.—Scott Robins

lost in nycLost in NYC: A Subway Adventure
By Nadja Spiegelman and Sergio García Sánchez
Ages 7 and up
Full review
Any New Yorker who’s taken the subway knows how confusing and awesome the subway system is. On his first day of a new school, Pablo gets lost in the subway when he fights with a classmate on a class trip. A simple story perhaps, but this book sets itself apart with its frenetic artwork and lavish detail. Readers can go back and read this book many times, looking for new clues and new details, over and over again. The book also has great extras about the history of the New York City Subway system.—Esther Keller

hiloHilo: The Boy Who Crashed to Earth
By Judd Winnick
Ages 7 and up
Full review
One part Superman and one part Terminator for kids—but with a dash of hilarity—Winnick has created a superhero for this generation. Hilo arrives on Earth a bit amnesiac and a bit clueless, but luckily his new friend D.J. helps him understand this world a bit better before having to protect it from invading robots from another dimension. Don’t expect kids to wait to read this one till after the holidays!—Scott Robins

DragonsBewareDragons Beware!: The Chronicles of Claudette
By Jorge Aguirre and Rafael Rosado
Ages 7 and up
Full review
Spunky Claudette sets out after her father so that they can retrieve his sword from Azra the Terrible, the dragon that cost her father his legs. With her allies, best friend Marie and brother Claude, she sets off on an adventure that is filled with humor and danger. A fun story that will leave the young reader wanting more.—Esther Keller

The MarvelsThe Marvels
By Brian Selznick
Ages 8 and up
Not a graphic novel per se but the third in Selznick’s illustrated novel trilogy (the first two being The Invention of Hugo Cabret and Wonderstruck), The Marvels is two stories—one told in illustrations about Billy, the first in a long line of actors starting in 1776, and one told in words about Joseph, who runs away from school to his uncle’s house in London in 1990—that come together after many mysteries are revealed. Selznick’s books are practically giant bricks and will look great under the Christmas tree.—Scott Robins

Pokemon Pocket ComicsPokemon Pocket Comics: Legendary Pokemon
By Santa Harukaze
Ages 8-12
This compact book is a nice gift for Pokemon fans: It’s 250 pages of Pokemon humor and quizzes. There’s a bit of a story (Pikachu loses his smile) that’s told in four-panel gag cartoons, and every page has a quiz question about Pokemon as well.—Brigid

Unicorn on a RollUnicorn on a Roll: Another Phoebe and Her Unicorn Adventure
By Dana Simpson
Ages 8-12
Phoebe is an ordinary girl, a little nerdy but not excessively so. Marigold Heavenly Nostrils is her pet unicorn, and in this book, which is compiled from the daily comic series, they reflect on the beginning of their friendship—it started with Phoebe’s wish, but she decides to set Marigold free. Marigold sticks around anyway, and that’s a great thing. This series, which began with Phoebe and Her Unicorn, is refreshing and funny. It has a modern sensibility and just enough smart-alecky humor to be funny without crossing the line into obnoxious.—Brigid

Star Wars Princess LeiaStar Wars: Princess Leia
By Mark Waid; Art by Terry Dodson
Ages 9 and up
After the Death Star is destroyed, Princess Leia Organa becomes a princess without a home world, but not without a people. With fellow Alderaanian Evaan Verlaine, Princess Leia goes on her own quest to find her people before the Empire does. This is a really fun series with plenty of action and develops Leia as a person and a leader. A must for any Star Wars fan.—Lori Henderson

Star_Wars_Darth_Vader_TPBStar Wars: Darth Vader
Ages 9 and up
Full review
Fans of Star Wars have some great comic books published by Marvel Comics, but the new Darth Vader series is fantastic. Finally in his own series, everyone’s favorite Sith Lord is on the hunt for the person who destroyed the Death Star and no one will stand in his way!—Mike Pawuk

Baby Sitters Club 1The Baby-Sitters Club #01: Kristy’s Great Idea
The Baby-Sitters Club #02: The Truth About Stacey
The Baby-Sitters Club #03: Mary Anne Saves the Day

By Raina Telgemeier
Ages 9 and up
Fans of Raina Telgemeier (Smile, Sisters, Drama) will enjoy the new colorized version of the Baby-Sitters Club graphic novels. Originally, four titles of the prose series were adapted into graphic novel format with black and white line drawings, but now the first three have been colorized. Even if they’ve read the titles, young readers will enjoy the new color versions.—Esther Keller

RollerGirlCVRRoller Girl
By Victoria Jamieson
Ages 9 and up
Full review
If your young reader has been through Raina Telgemeier’s books over and over again and needs a new title to move on to, Roller Girl is a natural choice. This coming-of-age story doesn’t tie itself in a nice little bow at the end, but it includes friendship angst, parent agnst, and lots of determination as Astrid tries so hard to become a great Roller Derby player.—Esther Keller

Gotham Academy 1Gotham Academy Volume 1: Welcome To Gotham Academy
By Becky Cloonan, Brenden Fletcher, and Karl Kerschl
Ages 12 and up
Full review
Olive Silverlock, a student at the prestigious Gotham Academy, returns from summer break with amnesia and an unexplained fear of bats after a mysterious incident. To make matters worse, she has to show new student Maps Mizoguchi, her ex-boyfriend’s little sister, around the school, where secret cults are summoning ghosts and something or someone is watching them from behind the walls. Part Scooby-Doo with just a touch of superhero, this series is perfect for any tween or teen with an interest in mystery, the supernatural, and superheroes, and they don’t have to have any knowledge of the DC Universe to enjoy it.—Lori Henderson

my love story!!My Love Story
By Kazune Kawahara and Akuro
Ages 13 and up
Full review
Takeo Goda is a big man with a big heart, but all the girls fall for his good-looking best friend Sunakawa. One day Takeo helps a girl, Yamato, on the train, and he’s falling again. But when it seems that Yamato is interested in Sunakawa, he tries to help his friend, not realizing it might be him she’s looking at. This is the story of sweet, innocent love that will elicit more “awww”s than a cute kitten video.—Lori Henderson

Monthly Girls Nozaki-kunMonthy Girls’ Nozaki-kun
By Izumi Tsubaki
Ages 13 and up
Chiyo Sakura has a crush on Umetarou Nozaki, but when she tries to confess her love, he thinks she’s a fan of his manga and even recruits her to be his assistant. While Nozaki-kun draws sweet romances for girls, he’s a little slow on the uptake when it comes to romance in real life. This series is mostly a comedy about the manga industry, though Nozaki’s complete cluelessness about relationships and romance is just as funny.—Lori Henderson

March 2March Book Two
By Congressman John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell
Ages 14 and up
Full review
The second volume of Congressman John Lewis’s graphic memoir of the Civil Rights movement goes even darker than the first, with the story of the Freedom Riders and the March on Washington. The distance of time tends to blur the details of popular movements and make their endings seem inevitable, but Lewis, Aydin, and Powell focus not only on what happened but what happened behind the scenes—the uncertainty, the arguments, and most impressively, the careful preparation and thought that went into each new action. The book is harrowing in places but also a valuable document about social change and how best to achieve it.—Brigid Alverson

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Brigid Alverson About Brigid Alverson

Brigid Alverson, the editor of the Good Comics for Kids blog, has been reading comics since she was 4. She has an MFA in printmaking and has worked as a book editor and a newspaper reporter; now she is assistant to the mayor of Melrose, Massachusetts. In addition to editing GC4K, she writes about comics and graphic novels at MangaBlog, SLJTeen, Publishers Weekly Comics World, Comic Book Resources, MTV Geek, and Good E-Reader.com. Brigid is married to a physicist and has two daughters in college, which is why she writes so much. She was a judge for the 2012 Eisner Awards.

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