Graphic novels are amazing books for kids of all ages. While these books are part comic and part novel, they are 100% captivating. Children love the humorous adventures and vibrant illustrations. Importantly, kids are less intimidated by graphic novels because there is less text and the pages are filled with amazing artwork. Parents who bring age-appropriate graphic novels into their home are helping their children learn to connect sounds to written words and develop an understanding of the meaning of those words. Moreover, even reluctant readers earn the same feeling of achievement after reading a graphic novel as they would with a chapter book.

Graphic Novels are a Wonderful Way for Kids to Learn to Love Reading

In addition to helping children learn the joy of reading a good storybook, it’s important to understand that graphic novels also stimulate the brain and foster academic development. Students learn the correct usage and meaning of words and phrases by connecting the text with the illustrations. This holds true for character development and gaining a deeper understanding of the plot, setting, conflicts and solutions.

This is a list of our favorite graphic novels for young children and kids who may still be reluctant to read.

October 15, 2022
Updated by Motherly Life

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The Best Graphic Novels for Early Readers

Cranky Chicken

by Katherine Battersby

Summary. Cranky chicken has a cranky eyebrow, cranky eyes, and cranky feet. That is, until he meets a new friend, Speedy the worm. Together they embark on hilarious short adventures.

Reviews. Readers who bought this book for their children and grandchildren comment that it’s a fun-filled book and perfect for young readers.

Age 5+

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Owly

by Andy Runton

Summary. Owly is a kind, helpful owl looking out for the other woodland creatures. However, because he’s an owl he tends to frighten the other animals before having a chance to make friends. Everything changes when he meets Wormy.

Reviews. This book series is a wonderful introduction to reading in general and graphic novels in particular. Children love the beautiful illustrations and the characters.

Age 5+

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A Waffle Lot of Narwhal and Jelly

by Ben Clanton

Summary. This is a graphic novel series about a narwhal and his friend, a jelly fish. Filled with adorable artwork and lots of adventures, this book series captivates young audiences and is a great introduction to independent reading.

Reviews. Reviewers agree that this is a favorite among their kids. The stories are silly, funny and educational about maintaining a positive outlook about oneself and others. Many readers recommend this box set as a great gift option.

Age 6+

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Cat Ninja

by Matthew Cody

Summary. Raised by a ninja master, Claude is a typical pampered pet cat by day and a secret protector of the city by night. This graphic novel takes kids on amazing literary adventures as the hero main character thwarts evil plans of crooks and robots.

Reviews. Reviews are overwhelmingly positive. Everyone loves the colorful illustrations and great escapades of Cat Ninja. Young readers at all levels read the book over and over again.

Age 6+

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Mr. Wolf’s Class

by Aron Nels Steinke

Summary. Mr. Wolf prepares his classroom for his first year teaching at Hazelwood Elementary. He has a lot to juggle as his students bring many unexpected surprises to class. This is the first book in a graphic novel series that is filled with humorous situations and illustrations.

Reviews. Reviewers buy this series for their kids and as gifts. Very positive feedback is centered on the funny, thoughtful artwork and heartfelt stories from the student characters. It’s a great read aloud book as children prepare for the start of a new school year.

Age 6+

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Surviving the Wild: Sunny the Shark

by Remy Lai

Summary. These books are filled with cute artwork and easy to follow stories. Kids will also enjoy learning facts about nature and wildlife. Sunny the whitetip shark gets caught in plastic while searching for her next meal. Young readers will discover planet Earth while reading about Sunny as she tries to free herself before winter sets in.

Reviews. Parents and their children love reading the Surviving the Wild series. Kids learn about science, Earth and wildlife through kid-friendly, age-appropriate stories.

Age 7+

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Invasion of the Unicorns

by David Biedrzycki

Summary. A special agent unicorn goes undercover as a stuffed animal to learn more about life on Earth. Will he be won over by the cuddles and fun snow days before all alien unicorns invade the world?

Reviews. This hilarious book is loved by parents and kids alike. The vibrant illustrations add extra depth to the funny observations of Special Agent Bubble the unicorn. A great read aloud and wonderful gift for new independent readers.

Age 7+

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Sir Ladybug

by Corey R. Tabor

Summary. Sir Ladybug is an adventurous character who never shies away from a quest. In this first book of a multi-book series, Sir Ladybug and his good friends, a roly-poly bug and a snail, work together to rescue a caterpillar from the hungry chickadee. With a captivating story, clean layout and colorful illustrations, this series is perfect for new independent readers.

Reviews. Reviewers love the artwork and tales of friendship and adventure.

Age 7+

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Graphic Novels are Great for Kids of All Ages and at All Reading Levels

Let’s not overlook the fact that graphic novels are not just for young children learning to read. These books are loved by big kids, teens and young adults. And the value extends beyond the joy of reading a good story.

Graphic novels are also a great format for advanced learners. The visual content adds depth and complexity to the reading process and stimulates brain activity. Specifically, the brain simultaneously synthesizes words with pictures. As with chapter books, graphic novels and comics contain plot, narrative, character development, problems and resolutions.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

These quick summaries of hand picked articles help parents stay informed and find the right information to raise happy, successful kids.

Graphic Novels Can Play a Huge Role in Literacy Development

Motherly Life Notes

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Graphic Novels Stimulate the Mind

Historically, comics were considered unhelpful recreational reading unfit for use in the classroom. That has changed. Graphic novels and comics are now understood to motivate young and reluctant readers. With detailed illustrations, this format engages children and can be effective at even dry material such as history and social studies.

Graphic novels stimulate the mind in a way that plain text novels do not. Readers must interact with both the text and image. Beginning readers can enjoy all the character emotions, settings, and action in the story through a single page of artwork. By comparison, it would take many pages to describe the same detail using text. Importantly, graphic novels also stimulate the minds of advanced readers. Students use higher-level critical thinking, inference and analytic skills to interpret and connect the illustrations to the limited text.

Comics in the Classroom: Why Comics?

Featured image credit: Pencil Parker | Pixabay