For kids who struggle with reading or simply don’t enjoy it, graphic novels are a great way to get them interested in books. As most of the text in graphic novels is accompanied by funny or captivating images, kids who have difficulty reading word heavy books can understand the story without struggling. With the increase of kid appropriate graphic novels in recent years, you can find all sorts of stories for kids of any age.
We reviewed dozens of graphic novels for kids to identify the best of the best. We looked at illustration style, age appropriateness, story lines, and Amazon reviews to pick our top options. All of these graphic novels for kids can be purchased online through Amazon.
Best Graphic Novel for Kids Overall: Dog Man
From the creators of Captain Underpants, Dog Man follows the hilarious adventures of a half dog, half human policeman as he fights crime and tries to defeat him nemesis, Petey the cat.
Dog Man is our choice for the best graphic novel for kids overall. This graphic novel is the first in a 8 book series and is full of silliness as it follows the adventures of a superhero style policeman who has a human body and a dog’s head.
The Dog Man graphic novels are created by bestselling author and artist Dav Pilkey, who is also behind the incredibly popular Captain Underpants books. Dog Man is about a heroic policeman who has the head of a dog but the body of a man. After Greg the police dog and his human partner are injured, they undergo a surgery and become Dog Man! With a funny twist on the superhero genre, Dog Man must fight crime, resist his urge to chase squirrels, and battle his nemesis, Petey the cat.
This graphic novel is fully illustrated with bright and color images, and is great for younger kids who may be reluctant to read text heavy books. There are eight Dog Man graphic novels, so if your kids enjoy this first story there are several others they can pick up.
Reviewers say their kids can’t get enough of the Dog Man graphic novels and read them multiple times. Parents do warn that there’s some potty humor and butt jokes throughout the series, but say their kids find it hilarious and continue to pick up these graphic novels again and again.
Dog Man Key Features:
- Explores positive themes like empathy, kindness, being true to yourself
- Series of 8 graphic novels
- By the creator of Captain Underpants
- Best for ages 7+
Best Graphic Novel for Kids Ages 6-9: Narwhal: Unicorn of the Sea
A narwhal and a jellyfish become friends and have silly ocean adventures in the first of the Narwhal and Jelly series of graphic novels.
Narwhal: Unicorn of the Sea is the first graphic novel in the Narwhal and Jelly series. This adorable story features the unlikely pair of Narwhal, a happy narwhal, and Jelly, a serious jellyfish. The two become friends and share a love of waffles and parties. Together they explore the ocean in a series of silly and charming adventures learning about imagination, friendship, and working together.
This graphic novel, and the rest in the series, are great for younger readers. The book includes three stores, a comic strip, and fun facts about sea life. If your kids can’t get enough of this book, there are three other graphic novels in this series that follow Narwhal and Jelly’s adventures.
Adults think these stories and art are adorable, while kids can’t stop laughing over the silly antics. Reviewers say that kids as young as five love this comic book and that both they and their kids were giggling over the humorous stories.
Narwhal: Unicorn of the Sea Key Features:
- Features 3 stories, a comic, and ocean facts
- Great for young readers, ages 6-9
- First book in a series of 4 graphic novels for kids to read
Best Budget Graphic Novel for Kids: Best Friends
Sixth grader Shannon finds herself in the popular group at school, but she’s not sure what’s cool and how to keep up. This graphic novel looks at the struggles of friendships in middle school.
Best Friends is a graphic novel that follows Shannon, a sixth grader who has found herself in the popular group with her best friend. But with the rules of what’s cool always changing, Shannon’s not sure how to keep up, and wonders if she even wants to. This book takes a look at the struggles of middle school through charming, empathetic, and encouraging comics.
Written by Shannon Hale and illustrated by LeUyen Pham, this graphic novel has won multiple awards, including NPR’s Best Book of 2019, one of NBC Today’s Best Kids’ Books of 2019, and the Chicago Public Library’s Best of the Best Book of 2019. Elementary and middle schoolers in particular will identify with the main character as she tries to figure out her place in the world. Reviewers say their kids really connected with the story and that the book is easy to read and engaging.
Best Friends Key Features:
- Named one of the best kids books of 2019 by NPR and NBC Today
- Best for older elementary and middle schoolers
- Looks at dealing with changing friendships in school
Best Graphic Novel for Kids Ages 9-12: Amulet Series: The Stonekeeper
When Emily and Navin’s mom is lured by a monster through a door in their basement, the siblings follow and begin a heroic journey through a magical land in this fantasy graphic novel.
For older kids who love fantasy, The Stonekeeper is a graphic novel that tells the story of siblings Emily and Navin who move into their great-grandfather’s creepy old house after their dad dies. But when their mom is lured into a door in the basement by an strange monster, the kids follow and discover a world full of magical talking animals, evil monsters, and robots. There the kids team up with a mechanical rabbit named Miskit and begin a quest to save their mom.
The Stonekeeper is the first of eight graphic novels in the Amulet series. It is beautifully illustrated and written by graphic novel author Kazu Kibuishi. As this book is a bit darker and includes monsters and evil creatures, it may be better suited for older kids and preteens. Still, the themes of family and good overcoming evil are strong threads throughout, and the story follows the typical hero’s journey where you root for the main characters to win. Reviewers comment that their kids really enjoyed the story and that they quickly ask to read the rest of the books in the series.
Amulet Series: The Stonekeeper Key Features:
- Great for kids who love fantasy books and movies
- Best for kids 9+
- Series of 8 graphic novels
Best Graphic Novel for Kids About Life: Sisters
Reina always wanted a sibling, but now that she has a little sister, she doesn’t think it’s that great. This charming graphic novel explores the growing relationship between siblings.
Kids who struggle with their younger siblings will love Sisters. This graphic novel cleverly retells the author’s own experience of being a big sister. In this book, the main character Reina is looking forward to being an older sibling. But when her sister is born, Reina realizes it’s not as great as she thought. Amara cries all the time, plays by herself, and gets whatever she wants, while no one listens to Reina anymore. As the two girls get older their relationship doesn’t get much better. Until one day their baby brother is born and they realize that they should start acting like sisters.
Author Reina Telgemeier has written several graphic novels about her childhood including Smile, Guts, Ghosts, and Drama. All of these stories tell charming and funny tales of her life, with Sisters exploring the relationship between young siblings. Reviewers say their kids love this author and that they just devoured this book. Kids find the story relatable and often reread the book multiple times.
Sisters Key Features:
- Features a story about dealing with siblings
- Best for ages 8-12
- Author has also written the graphic novels Guts, Smile, Ghosts, and Drama
These graphic novels are sure to spark your kids’ interest in reading, and are a great way to entertain your children without screen time. A common theme in the reviews for all of our top graphic novel choices was how many times the reviewer’s kids reread the comics and asked for more in the series.
If you’re looking for other entertainment ideas for kids that don’t involve screens, be sure to take a look at our list of The Best Board Games For Kids.
From: Family Enthusiast