Graphic novels are a fantastic early reader option because they help kids make connections between words and pictures. Unlike comic books for kids, graphic novels are complete, stand-alone stories.
With rich imagery, graphic novels are a fun way to entice reluctant readers to explore the world of words. The fast-paced plots keep kids interested. The pictures are as important as the text making graphic novels for kids an immersive reading experience.
Graphic novels have all the same elements of a traditional novel. They are just delivered in a more visually appealing way. They help kids make inferences about plots and characters while letting their imaginations run riot.
If you are new to the world of graphic novels, why not explore them with your kids?
Best Graphic Novels for Younger Readers
You might think graphic novels are for older children, but they make excellent early reader options. Few words and plenty of imagery can help new readers grow in confidence.
1. Donut Feed the Squirrels
By Mika Song
When Norma and Belly try and steal the biggest donut they have ever seen, they encounter hilarious obstacles. As your kids follow the antics of the squirrel friends, they will learn the power of friendship, working together, and problem-solving.
2. P.I. Butterfly: Gone Guppy
By Karen Kilpatrick
P.I. Butterfly is the first in a series of early graphic novels for young readers, and it will have them hooked. As kids join P.I. Butterfly in her search for Mili, the missing guppy, they will practice observational skills and problem-solving. But most importantly, they will laugh as they learn.
3. Apple of my Pie
By Mika Song
Apple pie and a daring rescue make this graphic novel a hit with emerging readers. Follow squirrels Norma, Belly, and B and their antics as they head to the apple orchard to save Gramps.
Not only will your kids go through the process of making an apple pie, but they will love the mishaps along the way.
4. Burt the Beetle Doesn’t Bite!
By Ashley Spires
Burt is a June beetle convinced he has superpowers, even though June beetles don’t have unique talents. But then his friends get into trouble, and only Burt can save them.
This graphic novel is for early readers who will love the simple panels and bug facts. The sweet message shows that being special is more about your character than your abilities.
5. Peter and Ernesto: A Tale of Two Sloths
By Graham Annable
Peter and Ernesto is the story of two friends with different dreams. Peter loves their tree home, while Ernesto longs for adventure.
But when Ernesto heads off, he realizes the value of home while Peter learns to be brave. This is an endearing graphic novel for kids with sweet artwork and simple text.
6. Little Robot
By Ben Hatke
This Eisner-winning graphic novel is ideal for young readers. The sweet story is about a girl protecting her robot friend from bad guys.
The story has an easy pace, and the illustrations are simple to follow. This book is perfect for introducing graphic novels to kids.
7. Dinosaurs in Space: Out of This World!
By Pranas T. Naujokaitis
Buy The Book: Amazon
When dinosaurs, space travel, and comics come together, you have the makings of one of the best graphic novels for kids. Punchy imagery and extra-terrestrial dinosaur antics thrill and excite adults and kids alike.
8. Barry’s Best Buddy
By Renee French
What’s not to love about a grumpy bird and his best Polarhog friend? With intriguing illustrations and simple vocabulary, this graphic novel is a winner for young readers. They will love the sneaky surprise waiting for Barry (and them) at the end of the book.
9. Do You Like My Bike?
By Norm Feuti
Books can tackle issues kids experience, and Do You Like My Bike? is no exception. When Hedgehog asks Harry to go bike riding, he is hesitant, and Hedgehog thinks Harry doesn’t like his bike. But it could be that training wheels have something to do with Harry’s reticence.
This book is perfect for new readers, with simple sentences and attractive graphics.
10. We Dig Worms!
By Kevin McCloskey
This deceptively simple graphic novel will captivate your kids as they explore the world of worms through a new and exciting lens. From their underground homes to how their bodies work, you may never look at a worm the same way again.
12. Pea, Bee, and Jay: Lift Off
By Brian “Smitty” Smith
This graphic novel series is the perfect introduction for early readers. The panels include text that enhances the images as Pea and Bee teach their friend how to fly. This story explores the idea of friendship and what it means to fit in.
13. Jop and Blip Wanna Know
By Jim Benton
This is the winner of the 2022 Pop Culture Classroom Excellence in Graphic Literature Award for Best Children’s Nonfiction.
The full-color illustrations will keep your kids engaged as they learn the answers to hilarious questions like “Can you hear a penguin fart on Mars?”
14. Magic Treehouse: Dinosaurs before Dark
By Jenny Laird
You might recognize this popular chapter book series now available as a graphic novel. Your kids will be whisked away in a magic tree to a prehistoric world filled with adventure and danger.
Featuring classic comic art, this is sure to be a favorite graphic novel on your reading list.
15. Arlo and Pips: King of the Birds
By Elise Gravel
If you are looking for an early graphic novel series for ages 6 and up, then Arlo and Pips is for you.
Filled with sly humor and crow facts, Arlo and Pips is ideal for newly independent readers. The unexpected friendship and humorous adventures make this a popular graphic novel series.
16. The Worry (Less) Book: Feel Strong, Find Calm, and Tame Your Anxiety!
By Rachel Brian
Kids sometimes need help understanding their emotions. This graphic novel about anxiety is practical and positive.
The illustrated panels and practical tools offer kids a way to identify what is causing their anxiety and work towards worrying less.
17. Out in the Wild!: Bug Scouts
By Mike Lowery
Not only will the adventures of the bug scouts get your kids outside, but they will also help with their reading and comprehension.
Filled with puns and simple paneling, your kids will learn as much from the illustrations as they will from the text.
18. The Big Bad Fox
By Benjamin Renner
If your child is a fan of comic books, then The Big Bad Fox will thrill them and keep them laughing to the last page. When the fox steals eggs to raise for a future meal, he never anticipates becoming a parent to three chicks.
Ideal for reluctant readers, this story will have you and your child hooked.
19. Anne of Green Gables: A Graphic Novel
By Mariah Marsden
Anne of Green Gables is a classic story that has entranced audiences for years. This graphic novel is no exception, and it is a fantastic way to introduce a classic in a modern way.
With breathtaking art, the story of Anne and her friends will capture your imagination and tug at your heartstrings.
20. Making a Difference
By Stacy C. Bauer
Buy The Book: Amazon
Suitable for 7-year-old kids up to middle school, this kind of children’s literature educates and inspires.
Older readers will enjoy learning about changemakers from around the world and how they are being bold and making a difference.
21. Witches of Brooklyn
By Sophie Escabasse
This is a coming-of-age story of a girl named Effie whose life is turned upside down when she moves to Brooklyn to live with her weird aunts.
The magic system is fun, the relationships heartfelt, and the graphics charming, making this a series not to be missed.
Best Graphic Novels for Middle School
Chapter books might not appeal to some middle schoolers. Graphic stories are a good option and are easier to read with punchy visuals. Comic books are an excellent choice for any age, and they could be just the thing to get your reluctant tween reading.
22. The Aquanaut
By Dan Santat
Kids love unique and whimsical books, and The Aquanaut definitely fits the bill. Sophia is a girl who lost her father at sea and now mopes around the marine theme park he created.
That is until a strange aquanaut breaks into the research lab. This launches Sophia into a daring rescue mission with new friends.
23. The Hidden Kingdom: Wings of Fire
By Tui T. Sutherland
This New York Times bestselling series is perfect for you to read to your kids. Or they can read them independently if they are in middle school.
Dragons, danger, adventure, and vivid illustrations make these great graphic novels for kids.
By Jen Wang
New friends Moon and Christine are very different but become best friends. When Moon confides that she has visions from the stars telling her that Earth isn’t really where she belongs, the friends are put to the test.
This graphic novel is full of hope, heartache, and friendship. As Moon fights for her life in the hospital, Christine figures out how to be the friend Moon needs.
By Kathleen Raymundo
Although this book is short, it has a powerful message about friendship, kindness, and empathy. Cathryn is an introverted girl who meets a young boy on the school bus who won’t stop talking. But he is carrying a heavy secret, and it is their endearing interactions that set this book apart.
Based on a true story, this quick but beautifully written story will entice even the most reluctant reader. The illustrations add layers of complexity to the story.
By Raina Telgemeier
This Eisner Award-winning graphic memoir encapsulates the complexities of adolescent life and that awkward coming-of-age stage. As Telgemeier relives her orthodontic ordeal, the snarky humor and nod to the 90s will captivate parents and children alike.
The story is fast-paced and honest, while the art is vibrant; it is everything a graphic novel should be.
27. Enola Holmes: The Graphic Novels
By Serena Blasco
Engagingly written and beautifully illustrated, the Enola Holmes stories center on family, adventure, and mystery.
Sherlock Holmes’ little sister is a girl determined to find her missing mother. She braves dangerous situations and proves she is as clever as her brother. This is a series that girls will love.
Graphic Novels are Ideal for Any Age
Young readers and middle schoolers will fall in love with the comic aesthetics of graphic novels.
They offer a simple way for new readers to grow in confidence, and they can also entice reluctant readers to find stories they love.
You are missing out if you haven’t introduced graphic novels to your bookshelf. Who knows, you might enjoy them as much as your kids.