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Inside Good Comics For Kids

2016 Good Comics for Kids Holiday Gift Guide

Black Friday and Cyber Monday have passed, and perhaps you’ve finished most of your holiday shopping, but there’s always the last minute gift or the small “stocking stuffer,” you want to get. So here are our suggestions for the 2016 Holiday Season for the book lover and/or comic fan in your life.

fruits-basketsFruits Basket Collectors Edition Vol 1-9
by: Natsuki Takaya
Fruits Basket was first published by Tokyopop back in the 2000s and was a big hit, but it has long been out of print. Yen Press picked it up this year and is releasing it in omnibus editions with new translations. This seminal shojo series follows Tohru Honda, a teenage girl who recently lost her mother. Tohru loves the story of the Chinese zodiac and soon finds herself embroiled in a real life version of it when she is found camping the woods outside the home of classmate Yuki Sohma and his cousin Shigeru. The Sohmas have a secret: They are cursed, with members of the family turning into the 12 animals of the zodiac as well as the outsider, the cat. Tohru learns their secret and becomes involved with the Sohma clan’s family drama. Fruits Basket is a great story with humor, romance, and lots of melodrama and angst. Teen readers and older will really enjoy the characters and complex relationships. Rated Teen.—Lori

The Ancient Magus’ Bride Volume 1-5
by: Kore Yamazaki
Chise Hatori has been able to see strange and sometimes scary creatures for as long as she can remember. After losing her family and suffering through abuse and neglect, she comes into the possession of Elias Ainworth, a Magus with a horned skull head. He takes Chise in and tells her he will be her apprentice. As the pair live together, Chise learns about the mysterious world of the fae and other magical creatures good and bad, while Elias begins to experience something he’s never felt before: emotions. Chise and Elias are charming and watching them learn and grow together is a joy. Rated Teen.—Lori

Attack on Titan Anthology

by: Various
Attack on Titan is one of the most popular manga of this decade, with several spin-off titles that expand the story. This anthology features several western creators contributing stories and pin-up art set in the world of Attack on Titan, with both canon and original characters. The stories range from serious to silly, with great pin-up art of characters such as Levi. All of the contributors are fans of the series, and it shows in the quality of the work. This is a must for Attack on Titan fans or as a gateway title to lure in new fans. Rated Older Teen.—Lori

Walt Disney’s Uncle Scrooge and Donald Duck. The Don Rosa Library, Vols. 5 & 6 gift box set.
by: Don Rosa
Many comic book creators have been inspired by the adventures of Uncle Scrooge and Donald Duck by not only Carl Barks, but others as well, including Don Rosa. Collected here in one slipcase volume are the latest collections lovingly put together by Fantagraphics. It highlights the continuing adventures of Duckburg’s richest resident and his nephew Donald. With Disney releasing a new animated series of Duck Tales in 2017, the series is sure to be a hit with fans young and old.—Mike

hauntedThe Haunted Mansion
by: Joshua Williamson. Illustrator: Jorge Coelho
Fans of Disney and Gothic lore will love Marvel Comics’ The Haunted Mansion graphic novel. The book collects the 5-issue Disney Kingdoms imprint series and is a loving tribute the classic dark ride that has captivated fans since the ride debuted in 1967. A teenage boy named Robbie must investigate the mysterious mansion in order the rescue the soul of his dearly-departed grandfather. Can he rescue the 999 souls trapped in the Haunted Mansion? Rated Teen.—Mike

Junji Ito’s Cat Diary: Yon and Mu
by: Junji Ito
In this semi-autobiographical title, dog-loving J-kun has built a new house and invites his girlfriend A-ko to move in, but she doesn’t come alone. Her two cats, Yon and Mu, join her, ready to teach J-kun what living with cats is really like. The stories Ito tells are funny because they are so true, such as perfecting the art of the cat tease, or seeing what cat claws can do to wooden floors. Ito’s horror art style makes the stories hilarious. Cat lovers or anyone who likes animals will enjoy this volume. Rated Teen.—Lori

kurokos-basketballKuroko’s Basketball Vol 1-2
by: Tadatoshi Fujimaki
Taiga Kagami has been living in America and has recently returned to Japan. He starts school at Seirin High School and joins the basketball team, where he meets Tetsuya Kuroko. Kagami is only looking for a strong opponent to play against, and he dismisses the smaller, weaker-looking boy. But Kuroko has a secret: He was part of the “Miracle Generation,” a team of middle school basketball players who were undefeated and have since gone their separate ways in high school. Kuroko wants to defeat his former teammates, and he sees Kamagi as the one who can help him. Kuroko’s Basketball has great characters, and Kagami and Kuroko make a great team both on and off the court. You don’t have to be a basketball or sports fan to enjoy the action this series provides. Rated Teen.—Lori

The Art of Making Comics
by: Alex Simmons
There are lots of how-to books, but few give such a complete overview of the entire process of making comics in such a succinct and simple way. Simmons writes in a conversational tone with plenty of humorous asides, and as a longtime comics professional (he has written for Archie and DC as well as creating his own characters), he knows what he’s talking about. He even includes some of his comics pitches as examples. With a wallet-friendly price tag of just $10, this slim paperback is a great gift for the kid or teen who is reading comics but just starting to think about making them.—Brigid

Pokemon Pocket Comics, vol. 3
by: Santa Harukaze
This compact, full-color book combines four-panel gag comics with a Pokemon quiz. Focusing on the Pokemon from the Pokemon X Y game, it’s a great gift for any young fan of the manga, the anime, or the games.—Brigid

The Princessprincessbridecover-659x659 Bride: A Storybook to Color
by: Rachel Curtis
The adult coloring book trend has been huge this year. This gorgeously produced book is a great choice for tweens and teens—the coloring may be too difficult for younger children. The book has a deluxe feel, with gold foil on the spine and dust jacket. Although it is subtitled “A Storybook to Color,” the story will not be understandable to anyone who hasn’t seen the movie, but the drawings are beautiful and just beg to be colored, so that shouldn’t be a deal-breaker.—Brigid

Star Wars: Darth Vader, Vol. 1.
by: Kieron Gillen. Illustrator: by Salvador Larocca.
As Star Wars fans count down to the new Star Wars: Rogue One movie that features a stand-alone story of the Rebels who stole the original Death Star plans, any Star Wars comics fan is sure to love the Marvel Comics’ hardcover Star Wars: Darth Vader Vol. 1 collection featuring the first 12 issues of the 25-issue series. Everyone’s favorite Star Wars baddie gets center stage as he’s out for vengeance against the one who destroyed the Death Star. Along the way there’s appearances by Boba Fett, Jabba the Hutt, the diabolical Dr. Aphra, and the droids Triple Zero and Bee-Tee. Rated Teen.—Mike

Agents of the Realm Volume 1agentsofrealm
by: Mildred Louis
This title, which you can get in a large-format, beautifully colored paperback edition directly from the artist, is a fantastic entry in to the magical girl genre. I discovered this title at a local comics convention, and while it’s also a webcomic, the print edition will make a lovely gift for fans of smart girls, magical destinies, and adventure. This title is particularly exciting for gift givers seeking out diversity in the comics world as the cast of heroines represent a range of cultures and backstories. If you want to make your recipient feel like a member of the team, you can easily add on an Agent Sigil pin for extra flair.—Robin

The Unbeatable Squirrel Girls Beats Up the Marvel Universe
by: Ryan North
Artist: Erica Henderson
I’ve seen a real uptick in the number of Squirrel Girls fans among my tweens and teens this past year. Her wacky brand of heroism will appeal to readers who love slapstick alongside rapid fire, smart jokes and lots of action. This collection is outside of the series continuity, so it doesn’t require any previous familiarity with the story, but it promises the same wild ride.—Robin

Princess Princess
by: Katie O’Neill
This delightful story of princess rescuing princess, in different ways, is sweet, thoughtful, and denies the stereotype that there’s only one way to be a stellar princess. The art is expressive and adorable without being overly cute, and the presentation is as rich in color as any good fariy tale should be. A win for fans of princesses who think outside the box, and a nice match for fans of Princeless.—Robin

March (Trilogy Slipcase)
by: Congressman John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell
march3dslipcase_lgConsider buying all three volumes of the March saga in a slipcase. Senator John Lewis’s memoir of his personal involvement in the Civil Rights Movement has garnered much attention, most notably a National Book Award for the 3rd volume. A collector’s edition is perfect for the history lover.—Esther

Anything by Raina Telgemeier
Both boys and girls are devouring anything Raina Telgemeier. I’m surprised Scholastic hasn’t put all four volumes of her original work (Smile, Drama, Sisters, and this year’s Ghosts) in a slipcase, but any combination of her titles is a surefire hit with the middle-grade reader.—Esther

The Olympian Boxed Set
by: George O’Connor
I can’t believe I didn’t realize this existed until now! George O’Connor’s stellar Olympian series, boxed together in a set, is perfect for anyone who adores Greek Mythology. Though geared to middle-grade readers, this series appeals to many ages and can be read on many levels.—Esther

Esther Keller About Esther Keller

Esther Keller is the librarian at JHS 278, Marine Park in Brooklyn, NY. There she started the library's first graphic novel collection and strongly advocated for using comics in the classroom. She also curates the Graphic Novel collection for the NYC DOE Citywide Digital Library. She started her career at the Brooklyn Public Library and later jumped ship to the school system so she could have summer vacation and a job that would align with a growing family's schedule. On the side, she is a mother of 4 and regularly reviews for SLJ and School Library Connection (formerly LMC). In her past life, she served on the Great Graphic Novels for Teens Committee where she solidified her love and dedication to comics.


  1. Great selection covering some of the major publishers, but I would love to see some coverage of small press offerings as well. Vince Dorse’s Untold Tales of Bigfoot, is a wonderfully written, beautifully drawn all-ages graphic novel available now at

  2. Me, for about three seconds: “OMG Raina Telgemeier has a new book called ‘Anything’?!? … oh. Never mind.”

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