You can’t walk two feet without being smacked in the face by something superheroic these days, and as superheroes expand beyond comics into movies and more, more people are counting themselves as fans. Including kids. For young (and younger) readers who adore a fun battle between good and evil and have never met a superpower they didn’t wish they had, here are 20 superhero books for kids, from Marvel to DC to original stories, to satisfy any and all superhero cravings.
Superhero Board Books
DC SUPERHEROES: My First Book of Girl Power by Julie Merberg
For young DC fans, this board book introducing little ones to iconic DC superheroines is a must-read. Using classic, colorful artwork, this is packed with heroes to admire including Wonder Woman (and her ability to discover the truth) and Black Canary and her powerful voice.
Even Superheroes Use the Potty by Sara Crow, Illustrated by Adam Record
In this companion to Even Superheroes Have to Sleep, children can learn good bathroom habits from their favorite heroes.
Superhero Picture Books
The Adventures of Sparrowboy by Brian Pinkney
In this picture book from Caldecott-Honor artist Brian Pinkney, a paperboy named Henry who develops superpowers after a chance encounter with a sparrow. Now able to fly, Henry puts his new powers to work for the benefit of his community.
Sweet Dreams, Supergirl by Michael Dahl, Illustrated by Omar Lozano
In this bedtime book, a Supergirl fan tries to settle into sleep while Supergirl tracks down an adversary. As the two of them put their shared superhero traits of bravery, persistence, and patience to work, they’ll both turn their nights into sweet successes. Dahl’s other superhero books include appearances by Wonder Woman, Batman, Supergirl, and Superman.
Even Superheroes Have Bad Days by Shelly Becker, Illustrated by Eda Kaban
In this picture book, children are introduced to a roster of original superheroes and to a number of ways to cope with bad days. Just like us, superheroes have days that aren’t so great, and though they could have a tantrum about it, they never would because that’s not what superheroes do.
Even Superheroes Make Mistakes by Shelly Becker, Illustrated by Eda Kaban
Like its precursor, Shelly Becker’s superheroes reappear here, dealing with the consequences of their mistakes. And instead of doubling down or giving up or becoming angry, real superheroes admit their mistakes and press forward.
Superhero Chapter Books
The Gumazing Gum Girl by Rhode Montijo
Gabby Gomez’s mother always warned her against chewing gum all the time. Gabby didn’t listen, because it’s not like she’d turn into it or anything. But that’s just what happened, and now Gabby has new stretchy, gummy powers that she’ll have to keep secret from her mom before she ends up in a much stickier situation.
Lunch Lady and the Cyborg Substitute by Jarrett J. Krosoczka
Hector, Terrence, and Dee have always wondered about their lunch lady and what she does when she isn’t serving lunch. But in all their imaginings (maybe Lunch Lady has a bunch of cats at home), none of them would ever imagined the truth: when Lunch Lady (accompanied by her assistant, Betty) isn’t serving lunch, she’s serving justice! In this first book in the chapter book series, Lunch Lady takes on the mystery of a missing teacher and the substitute who takes over his class.
Mia Mayhem is A Superhero by Kara West, Illustrated by Leeza Hernandez (December 18, 2018)
Eight-year-old Mia’s life is turned upside down when she’s invited to join the secret after school Program for In-Training Superheroes (PITS). For her whole life, Mia’s thought she was simply, embarrassingly clumsy, but it turns out she’s been super this entire time! Now she has to learn to balance her ordinary life with her new, super one.
Alvin Ho: Allergic to Girls, School, and Other Scary Things by Lenore Look, Illustrated by LeUyen Pham
Alvin is afraid of everything. Whether it be an elevator or a girl, he’s definitely scared of it. At school, he’s so scared he can’t speak, and it’s not until he gets home that he becomes the super loud Firecracker Man. As Alvin tries to work beyond his anxiety, with the help of his family and his therapist, each book in this series shows us another instance of Alvin inching toward conquering his fears including standing up to the school bully, confronting a scary teacher or taking an anxious trip to China with his family.
Marvel: Fearless and Fantastic! Female Superheroes Save the World By Sam Maggs, Ruth Amos, And Emma Grange
If you’re looking for a great book for the superhero fan in your life, this new one from Marvel is the one for you. It features more than 50 awesome female super heroes (from Gamora to Kamala Khan to Shuri to America Chavez) with original artwork and biographies, in a tribute to some of Marvel’s greatest heroes.
Wonder Woman at Superhero High by Lisa Yee
In the first of the DC Superhero Girls series by Lisa Yee, Wonder Woman leaves Paradise Island to train at the most elite school in the galaxy: Superhero High. While there, she has to make new friends while juggling her classes, try to make the team for the Super Hero Super Triathlon, and cope with a social-media obsessed suitemate who puts Wonder Woman’s every embarrassing moment online. If you like this one, this series also counts Batgirl, Supergirl, Katana, Bumblebee, and Harley Quinn as its main characters in followup books.
El Deafo by Cece Bell
In this graphic novel memoir, author Cece Bell retells the story of her hearing loss and her experience with Phonic Ear, the hearing aid she wears strapped across her chest. Though it’s very powerful, and gives Cece the ability to hear, its awkward appearance isolates Cece from her classmates. But after some difficulty, Cece’s able to successfully harness the Phonic Ear and become El Deafo.
My So-Called Superpowers by Heather Nuhfer, Illustrated by Simini Blocker
When thirteen-year-old Veronica McGowan wishes for something to change her nobody status, she’s immediately in over her head when she wakes up with “stupid Powers.” Instead of something cool, Veronica’s cursed with powers that make her emotions plain for everyone around her. She belches fire when angry, is rained on by dark clouds when sad, and little hearts float around her head when she thinks about her crush. Determined to solve the mystery of her powers (did she get them from her missing mother? What can she actually do with them? And is her teacher really just a teacher, or something more?
Cape by Kate Hannigan, Illustrated by Patrick Spaziante
With her father away fighting Nazis in World War II, Josie stays home to help her mother as best she can. But nothing she does can match the contributions of the caped crusaders who helped save the world during World War I. After an attempt to become a “puzzler” is a thwarted because an official doesn’t think a girl can do the job well enough, Josie learns another secret agency has its eye on her. And two other girls, Akiko and Mae. Though the girls first bond over their shared love of female superheroes, it’s the afternoon on which they’re transformed into the newest, youngest superheroes in town. Now the three girls must work together to develop their skills and stop a shapeshifting henchman of Hitler’s.
Black Panther: Young Prince by Ronald L. Smith
In this original Black Panther story, a young T’Challa is sent to school in Chicago with his best friend M’Baku. Despite his hi-tech suit and vibranium ring, T’Challa’s time in America isn’t as simply as he thought. One of his classmates, Gemini Jones, is rumored to be involved in dark magic, and when strange things start happening at school, T’Challa sets out to uncover the source, leading him down the start of his path toward becoming the Black Panther.
Dear Justice League by Michael Northrup (August 6, 2019)
In this graphic novel, DC’s biggest superheroes answer mail from their biggest fans. Taking a break from saving the world, heroes like Wonder Woman and Aquaman answer questions about their lives and their likes and prove that being a super hero isn’t so different from being a kid.
Aquaman: Undertow by Steve Behling
Released just in time for Arthur Curry to hit the big screen, Undertow follows a thirteen-year-old Arthur (“fish boy” to everyone else) on a prequel adventure. Alongside his (only) friend Claudia, Arthur seeks to unravel his secrets (so secret that not even Arthur knows what they are), learning about his mother, himself, and a secret underwater world that may actually exist.
Almost Super by Marion Jensen
In the Bailey family, everyone develops super powers at 12. But when Rafter and Benny turn 12, they get their superpowers, but they aren’t super speed (like Benny hopes) or super strength (like Rafter dreams). In fact, they’re total duds: Rafter can strike matches on polyester and Benny can turn his innie bellybutton into an outie, neither of which will do anything in the Baileys’ fight against the villainous Johnson family or Rafter’s rivalry with algebra nemesis Juanita Johnson. How are Rafter and Benny supposed to help the family with powers like these? And even worse, what if this means everything they’ve known about superpowers has been a lie?
Flora & Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures by Kate DiCamillo, Illustrated by K.G. Campbell
Despite promising her mom that she’d spend her summer reading “real” books instead of her favorite superhero comics, Flora’s summer more closely resembles one of her comics than ever before. A nearly tragic accident, in which a squirrel is sucked into a vacuum cleaner, introduces Flora to her new friend and pet, Ulysses, who is no longer simply a squirrel. Now he’s a super-powered squirrel who can fly, write poetry, and has super strength, and with him at her side, the cynical Flora discovers the power of hope.
What are your favorite superhero books for kids?