The Best Graphic Novels to Engage Early Readers

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Graphic novels for early readers are a great way to engage your youngest children in a good book.

Graphic novels for early readers often heavily rely on pictures and simple language to tell the story. They are fantastic visual stories

And while these graphic novels are perfect for your youngest readers, older children will also enjoy the delightful graphics and characters.

A list of top graphic novels for early readers

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Graphic Novels for Early Readers

Graphic novels for elementary school early readers are definitely a great way to encourage both reluctant and beginning readers, but they are also a fantastic choice for readers of all levels. Kids of all ages will enjoy delightful artwork paired with well-crafted stories.

Graphic novels are a wonderful way to introduce and discuss literary elements with your children including plot arc, opening hooks, mood, and more. Make the most of your time reading with this free guide to discussing graphic novels with kids.

This set of questions will help you discuss graphic novels with kids.


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Graphic Novels for Young Readers

Owly
Andy Runton

Owly is a kind owl who always helps those around him. Unfortunately, most of the animals are frightened by him because he is an owl. Everything changes when Owly meets Wormy and their friendship begins.

This graphic novel series is a great option even for the youngest of readers. Much of the story is told through pictures and even some of the conversation bubbles use pictures to communicate. Owly is a kind and delightful character and kids will enjoy the various friends he meets along the way. I highly recommend this one for your elementary schoolers.

NOTE: This is book 1 in a series of fun Owly tales.

My Rating: ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️
Amazon | Goodreads


Arlo & Pips: King of the Birds
Elise Gravel

A bit of a conceited crow, Arlo has a little friend, Pips, who isn’t afraid to tell him the truth. Together, these two birds visit the city and the beach where they hunt for food and shiny things. As they travel, they also discuss more serious topics like the amount of liter humans leave in their surroundings.

This is the first book in a fun graphic novel series for early readers. Facts about crows are found throughout the book that helps explain some of Arlo’s behaviors. This book was a fun read and I think younger readers will enjoy these two.

My Rating: ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️
Amazon | Goodreads


Narwhal: Unicorn of the Sea
Ben Clanton

Narwhal: Unicorn of the Sea is the first book in a series of adorable graphic novels for early readers. In this first book, Narwhal and Jelly gather a group of friends from the various creatures living under the sea. Readers will enjoy these two adorable characters and even learn a few facts about narwhals and jellyfish.

My Rating: ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️
Amazon | Goodreads


Hilda and the Troll
Luke Pearson

Hilda lives in an enchanting world full of trolls, little people, and magical creatures. Adventure is always around the corner as she explores her world and befriends various creatures. This first book in the series is a great introduction to Hilda and world.

I discussed this book in my weekly graphic novel book club for kids on Outschool. The 8-10-year-olds in my book club adored this book. What I loved most about this series is that Hilda’s adventures are wholesome and fun. The story is also filled with fun surprises and twists in addition to the fantastical creatures. I highly recommend this series for younger kids.

My Rating: ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️
Amazon | Goodreads


Little Robot
Ben Hatke

This is a sweet and simple story of a lost robot who is befriended by a little girl. She takes care of the robot and helps create a circle of robot friends for both of them.

I am a fan of Ben Hatke’s work and this delightful tale didn’t disappoint. The book is practically wordless so it is an excellent option for even early readers. The story is told through images and lots of onomatopoeia (words that make sounds). Your elementary school-aged child will enjoy this sweet story.

My Rating: ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️
Amazon | Goodreads


A Trip to the Bottom of the World
Frank Viva
A TOON Level One Book

Join Mouse and his explorer friend as they journey to Antarctica where they will meet a few animal friends and take a warm water swim. This is a simple story with enough repetitive language for the earliest readers, yet plenty of new words are introduced as well. The illustrations are engaging without being overwhelming for young readers.

My Rating: ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️
Amazon | Goodreads


A complete list of graphic novels for early readers

Peter & Ernesto: The Lost Sloths
Graham Annable

Adorable sloths, Peter and Ernesto, are best friends who lose their home when a hurricane destroys their tree. Join them on their adventures through the jungle to find a new home. Along the way, they’ll meet a few new friends and a few “not-so friends,” until they accomplish their goal.

This book is book two in a great graphic novel series for early readers. They will particularly enjoy the rhyming language found in a few places in this story. The characters are fun and their expressions are silly.

My Rating: ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️
Amazon | Goodreads


Donut Feed the Squirrels
Mika Song

Norma and Belly just want a donut but the food truck owner will not feed the squirrels, so they have to take matters into their own hands.

Young readers will adore Norma and Belly and their silly antics. After reading a ton of graphic novels for young readers, I have to say that this one is a favorite! I love the “punny” title, the well-done illustrations, and the fun adventures of these two squirrels. I was thrilled to see there are more titles in this series.

My Rating: ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️
Amazon | Goodreads


Binky the Space Cat
Ashley Spires

From Amazon: “Binky is a space cat – at least in his own mind. He’s really a house cat who has never left the family “space station.” Unlike other house cats, Binky has a mission: to blast off into outer space (outside), explore unknown places (the backyard) and battle aliens (bugs). Binky must undergo rigorous training so he can repel the alien attacks that threaten his humans. As he builds his spaceship, he must be extremely careful with his blueprints – the enemy is always watching. Soon Binky is ready to voyage into outer space. His humans go out there every day and he’s sure they need a certified space cat to protect them. But just as he’s about to blast off with his co-pilot, Ted (stuffed mousie), Binky realizes that he’s left something very important behind … and it’s not the zero-gravity kitty litter.

In the first book in the Binky Adventure series, graphic-novel readers will delight in watching where this lovable and quirky cat’s imagination takes him.”

My Rating: COMING SOON
Amazon | Goodreads


Noodleheads: Find Something Fishy
Ted Arnold and Martha Hamilton

The Noodleheads, Mac and Mac, are quite the pair of gullible brothers! In their adventures in this book, they are foiled by a fish and their friend.

This is book three in a series of graphic novels for young readers. The book is full of wordplay and jokes that kids will love. Readers will also enjoy pointing out the obvious situations that the noodlehead brothers completely miss.

My Rating: ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️
Amazon | Goodreads


Pepper & Boo: A Cat Surprise
Charise Mericle Harper

Pepper and Boo aren’t quite sure about the cat in the house. They are afraid of the cat and after the cat takes Boo’s bed, they aren’t sure Boo will ever get to nap!

This book is definitely meant for new readers. The story is told through simple sentences and uses plenty of words that repeat. Yet, the story remains enjoyable and fun.

My Rating: ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️
Amazon | Goodreads


Pizza and Taco: Who’s The Best?
Stephen Shaskan

Pizza and Taco are best friends, but they want to know which one is truly the best. Everyone is best at least one thing, but how will they know who is the best? They decide to take a vote to see who wins, but it isn’t as easy as they think.

Honestly, I just didn’t love this graphic novel for early readers. The concept of constantly fighting over who was the best was the entire premise of the book and it felt a little mean-spirited. It’s meant to be humorous, but it just wasn’t my jam. Pizza and Taco are also quite mean to hamburger, again it is done in a funny way, but I just didn’t love the potential messaging there.

I am quite possibly overthinking it all, but there are so many great options for kids to read that this wouldn’t be on the top of my personal list. There are other books in the series, so they might be more enjoyable.

My Rating: ⭐️ ⭐️
Amazon | Goodreads


Squidding Around: Fish Feud!
Kevin Sherry

Squizzard has a big personality and his bossy, selfish behavior causes a fight with his best friend, Toothy. It takes him a little time, but he learns that being a friend means you don’t always have things your way.

Honestly, Squizzard’s behavior is slightly annoying to this adult reader, but the point is definitely made. I do like that he learns and improves himself by the end of this book. This book definitely opens up some good discussions about friendship and about bullying. I admit that I do hope Squizzard is a better-behaved squid in the rest of the series – HA!

My Rating: ⭐️ ⭐️
Amazon | Goodreads


Pea, Bee, & Jay
Brian “Smitty” Smith

From Amazon: “Like all peas, Pea loves to roll. So when a no-good strawberry dares him to roll all the way off the farm, he swears he can do it—eazy me-zee!

But along the way, a powerful thunderstorm strikes and bounces Pea off course…and right into two unlikely new buds: a bee named Bee who thinks she knows it all, and a bird named Jay who can’t figure out how to fly.

On their own, they may not look like much, but if this trio can stick together, they just might help Pea find his way back home!”

My Rating: ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️
Amazon | Goodreads


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