The best new middle grade graphic novels span genres and topics. From horse stories to hero stories, the graphic fiction included in this roundup reflect the diversity of the thriving contemporary middle grade graphic narratives and comics market. Today’s kids, teens, and, yes, even adults who read children’s graphic novels have a bevy of engaging stories featuring protagonists who resemble the identities of their readers.
If you’re craving a new middle grade graphic novel, check out the ones on this list, which covers books that are out now and upcoming new releases. Break out your calendar or set an alarm on your app…these are the kind of excellent new books you’ll want to book some time to read on their release day.
With releases spanning late summer into November, this list of the most anticipated middle grade graphic novels spreads out the joy over several months. The good part of having to wait until November for some of these books? There are plenty of great reads being released almost weekly between now and then.
With new books by debut authors or illustrators bringing exciting new voices to the fold as well as reliable blue chip writers and artists, there’s a book here for you. Now, get ready, get set, and get reading!
Ride On by Faith Erin Hicks
Plenty of kids fall and fall hard for horses, so if that resembles your past or the obsessions of the kids you know, this book is for you. Informed by her own horse love as a young girl, Faith Erin Hicks has crafted a touching story that you don’t have to just be a horse fanatic to appreciate. This poignant coming-of-age story also incorporates Hicks’ love of sci-fi and fantasy, in particular Star Trek: The Next Generation TV show. Nerds assemble: this is a fun fandom frolic on horseback. (Out now)
MapMaker by Lisa Moore Ramée
Walt and his sporty twin sister Van are newcomers to the small town of Blackbird Bay. While Walt’s father would rather he go to football camp, Walt draws deeper into his world of map making. When Walt learns he’s a Mapmaker, he realizes whatever he draws can turn into reality. But it’s not all fun and games: the Statica is out to destroy worlds, and this one needs all the help it can get. Fortunately, Walt is quick on his feet and masterful in this middle grade fantasy graphic novel. (September 20)
Leon the Extraordinary by Jamar Nicholas
Jamar Nicholas delivers an engaging story about finding your own power. In Leon’s school, superheroes and super villains are the norm. Leon is perfectly average, or so he thinks, so how can he stand out among his classmates? When the other kids turn themselves into zombies using a bad app, Leon finally gets the chance he needs to prove his unique abilities. The first in a new series, Leon the Extraordinary is an uplifting read. (October 4)
Frizzy by Claribel A. Ortega and Rose Bousamra
Marlene’s mother Paola is convinced that in order to grow up, Marlene has to straighten her hair and pay more attention to school. Marlene resists this as much as she can, but it’s thanks to the help of a beloved aunt and her best friend that she finds the courage to let her curls grow free. An important book about celebrating your identity and unique beauty, Frizzy is a comic to look forward to. (October 18)
Miles Morales: Stranger Tides by Justin A. Reynolds and Pablo Leon
Jump into the Miles Morales Spider-Man comic series with this latest adventure penned by Justin A. Reynolds and illustrated by Pablo Leon. In Stranger Tides, Miles is just about able to balance his superhero duties with regular school and family life. But when a new villain emerges who freezes people playing a video game, Miles knows he has to jump in and save the day. (October 18)
Anne: An Adaptation of Anne of Green Gables (Sort Of) by Kathleen Gros
In this queer retelling of L. M. Montgomerys’ classic Anne of Green Gables, Anne has found her perfect foster family at last. Feeling confident, Anne starts a new life. When she develops more-than-friends feelings for her best friend, Diana, Anne explores her identity, who she is, and who she wants to be. This book adapts some key scenes in Anne of Green Gables and incorporates new content in this semi-adaptation. (October 25)
The Cool Code by Deirdre Langeland and Sarah Mai
Making the transition from homeschool to in-person school is tough for anyone. But Zoey is convinced she can hack it when she develops an app that tells her what to do and say if she wants to become popular. Then the app works too well, hurtling Zoey towards turbulence in her existing friend group. Sounds like she needs an upgrade. This tech-y middle grade graphic novel is a delight for seeing more girls code. (November 8)
Terry’s Crew by Terry Crews and Cory Thomas
You doubtless know the ubiquitous Terry Crews for his sports career or his acting on Brooklyn Nine-Nine or his time hosting America’s Got Talent. But in Terry’s Crew we read a story inspired by his real life. In this graphic novel, Terry is an ambitious kid new to an elite private school. Terry manages friendships and class dynamics in this feel-good book ready to inspire kids. (November 8)