In the middle grade space, comic books and graphic novels are experiencing a huge BOOM! I’m rounding up 15 of the best comic books for kids! Graphic novels serve the middle grade audience well as they give kids a new way to experience a story and are a great option for reluctant readers. One of my favorite aspects of comics is their level of accessibility. Some comics are more text-heavy than others, but all feature engaging illustrations to involve readers of every level and appeal to visual learners. In addition to promoting general literacy, graphic novels are wonderful for kids with learning disabilities. For example, readers with dyslexia might feel frustrated finishing text-only novels but feel a sense of accomplishment when completing a page in a graphic novel. This is a huge self-confidence booster and leads to kids wanting to read more! Let’s check out a few favorites!
Amulet by Kazu Kibuishi
This is a popular fantasy adventure series. The main characters Em and Navin move in with their great-grandfather, where Em finds a magical amulet that gives her magical abilities. This captivating series follows Em and Navin on their magic-filled adventures.
American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang
Jin Wang is the new kid at a school where he is the only Chinese American student and wants to be an all-American boy. Danny is an all-American boy and had it all…at his old school, but now he has to start all over again at his new school. The Monkey King is ready to join the ranks of the immortal gods, but there’s no place for a monkey among their ranks. These three storylines come together in a story about identity and what it means to fit in. This is one of the best comic books for kids and has racked up numerous well-deserved awards and accolades.
Shuri: The Search for Black Panther by Nnedi Okorafor
Black Panther’s genius techy sister starts her own adventure in this graphic novel series. Shuri is at home in her lab with gizmos and gadgets that she’s made herself. But when the Black Panther has disappeared, it’s up to Shuri to save Wakanda.
Stargazing by Jen Wang
Moon and Christine grew up in the same Chinese American suburb but couldn’t be more different from one another. When Moon moves in next door to Christine, the two become best friends. Their best friend status is solidified when Moon reveals to Christine that she has visions of beings who speak to her from the stars. When Moon ends up in the hospital fighting for her life, it’s up to Christine to be the best friend that Moon needs.
Urban Legendz by Paul Downs, Nick Bruno, and Michael Yates
What if the urban legends you read about were real? When his mother dies, Dwayne moves to a shabby apartment in Brooklyn where his dad is a cop, his brother is too cool for school, and Dwayne feels like he has no one. Dwayne joins up with a crew of fellow misfits investigating the weird happenings that are wreaking havoc across the city, and they begin to suspect that urban legends just might be real.
The Okay Witch by Emma Steinkellner
The Okay Witch is a story packed with heart and humor about the adventures of a witch-in-progress. Moth Hush loves all things witchy, but when some bullies try to ruin her Halloween, something really weird happens, and Moth finds herself at the center of centuries-old witch drama!
Sanity and Tallulah by Molly Brooks
Sanity and Tallulah are best friends who live on a space station, and life for them includes super-advanced technology—including a secret three-headed kitten that Sanity herself engineered. When Tallulah’s mom discovers their secret pet, the kitten disappears and the space station starts to malfunction. Sanity and Tallulah will have to find the kitten and save their home before it’s too late.
Pumpkinheads by Rainbow Rowell and Faith Erin Hicks
Each fall Deja and Josiah work in the same pumpkin patch, and every Halloween they say goodbye to each other until next fall. This year is different. This year is their last year working at the pumpkin patch, and Deja and Josiah decide to go out with a bang. I’m excited that Rainbow Rowell has moved into the graphic novel space, and I’m excited to include Pumpkinheads as one of the best comic books for kids.
Awkward by Svetlana Chmakova
Peppi Torres has two cardinal rules for surviving middle school: Don’t get noticed by the mean kids, and find friends with similar interests. When Peppi trips into a boy in the hall named Jaime, she already breaks the first rule, and the mean kids start calling her names. In a panic, Peppi shoves Jaime and runs away. She tries to abide by second rule by meeting friends in art club, feeling awkward and ashamed by the way she treated Jaime. To make matters worse, Jaime is a member of the art club’s arch rivals. Peppi learns that sometimes you have to break a few rules to survive middle school.
El Deafo by Cece Bell
At Cece’s old school, everyone in her class was deaf. But at her new school, Cece feels like she sticks out with her bulky hearing aid. In this memoir, Cece Bell illustrates her own life dealing with hearing loss from a young age and her experience with the Phonic Ear.
Best Friends by Shannon Hale and LeUyen Pham
Shannon’s best friend is the most popular girl in school, Jen. But unluckily for Shannon, she can never keep up with what’s cool, what’s not, and the ever-changing rules of middle school. Best Friends is a fresh look at how to navigate sixth grade and find your people.
Pashmina by Nidhi Chanani
Priyanka’s mother abandoned her home in India many years ago, and so for Pri, India only exists in her imagination. But when she finds a mysterious pashmina and wraps herself in it, she is transported to a place that more vibrant and vivid than she ever could have imagined. But is it the real India?
Click by Kayla Miller
Olive “clicks” with everyone in her 5th grade class. But when a school variety show leaves Olive without an act to join, she realizes that maybe she doesn’t click with everyone after all. Her friends formed their own groups without her, and Olive is stranded all alone. As the variety show performance draws nearer and nearer, Olive will have to find her own place on stage.
New Kid by Jerry Craft
Jordan Banks loves drawing cartoons about his life, but when his parents send him to a prestigious private school, Jordan is one of the few people of color in his whole grade. Jordan finds himself caught between two worlds and not really fitting into either of them. New Kid is a heartwarming story about the meaning of friendship and staying true to yourself.
Sunny by Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm
The Sunny series is full of laughs, teachable moments, and adventure. Join Sunny and her best friend through hilarious and relatable antics, navigating a confusing middle school and home life, and trying to remain Sunny-side up!