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Start ‘Em Early: Comics for Young Kids

One of the most beautiful and heartwarming things about having children in our lives is getting to indoctrinate share with them the things we love. Anyone who has spent some time here on Panels should know all about all-ages comics like Lumberjanes and The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, but sometimes you want something a little more tailored to a munchkin’s age. 

I’ve used my librarian super powers to create an expanded list of titles for every age range, including some that may have slipped past your grown-up radar.

A Cat Named Tim and Other Stories by John Martz  – Ages 3-6 This is a fantastic book for introducing a little one to sequential art. The stories and art are fun and funny but clear. The big, minimal panels ease kids into learning how to follow action across the page.

Darth Vader and Son by Jeffery Brown – Ages 3-8  Some of the visual gags in this one are more for the grownups, but there’s still plenty to of fun panels to look at. Plus stories little kids can relate too, like needing to go potty, getting an owie, or having a dad who runs an evil space empire.

World of Reading: This is Black Widow by Clarissa S Wong, Andrea Di Vito – Ages 4-8 Okay, so these books aren’t technically comics, but they are a perfect choice for the beginning reader. New readers can have trouble with regular superhero comic books, there’s just too much going on. But if a child learning to read is into the big name cape and tights crews, these ‘easy reader’ books are a nice alternative. (DC has a whole series, as well.)

A Trip to the Bottom of the World with Mouse by Frank Viva – Ages 4-12 It isn’t easy to find books like this one. Done with a simple color palette and basic text suitable for new readers, Viva’s book is still a gorgeous work of art. This is the kind of book that can stick with a kid for years and be enjoyed by the whole family

Mr. Ball: An EGG-cellent Adventure by Michael Townsend – Ages 5-8 This book is pure cooky, off-the-wall fun. This one works for kids who are reading on their own, but I actually love it as a read-aloud. (Just don’t read it before bedtime or you’ll be up all night giggling.)

Garfield Treasury by Jim Davis – Ages 6-10  In our library the Garfield collections are read to pieces. Literally. We tape them back together every week. The jokes in Garfield strips are perfect for kids – simple and punchy. These collections (the 60th came out this year) provide hours of laughs and are great for kids of different ages to read together.

Babymouse #1: Queen of the World by Jennifer Holm, Matthew Holm – Ages 7-10 I never get tired of recommending Babymouse, and no kid I’ve ever known has gotten tired of reading it. Hilarious and crazy and endlessly relatable, Babymouse is for everybody. (Seriously, your grandpa would even love it.) And if you’re worried the recipient will scoff at the all-pink covers, start them out with the orange Halloween edition, Monster Mash. Or go with the brother-and-sister team’s other popular series, Squish.

Molly Danger Book #1 by Jamal Igle, Juan Castro, Romulo Farjardo – Ages 7+ This Kickstarter funded book is great for kids ready to move into what they may see as ‘real’ comics. Molly is an eternally young superhero out to protect her town. Vibrant and gorgeous, this is a great creator-owned book for the whole family.

Captain Raptor and the Moon Mystery by Kevin O’Malley and Patrick O’Brian – Ages 0-500 – Listen. Listen to me. Are you listening to me? This book. This book is about dinosaurs. Talking dinosaurs. Talking dinosaurs who GO TO SPACE. If that isn’t enough to make you want to buy it for every kid you know then I can’t help you.