This collection of graphic novels for elementary school children is the perfect way to find a title that will engage your youngest readers. But don’t be surprised when older children find themselves immersed in these titles as well.
And while an engaging graphic novel is a great way to encourage a reluctant reader, don’t limit these delightful, visual stories to your reluctant readers.
Everyone will benefit from learning to use their brains in a new when reading a graphic novel, even adults.
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Reading Graphic Novels with Kids
Graphic novels for elementary school children are certainly a great way to encourage reluctant 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.
In addition, graphic novels are a wonderful way to discuss literary elements with your children including plot arc, opening hooks, mood, and more. Don’t miss our free guide to discussing graphic novels with kids.
Graphic Novels for Elementary School
I teach a weekly graphic novel book club for elementary students (ages 8-10) so I have read a ton of graphic novels over the last year. Graphic novels for elementary school range from historical fiction to delightful dramas. Without a doubt, you can find something suitable for any child on this list!
Olive wants to get in on the act . . . . . . Any act! Olive “clicks” with everyone in the fifth grade—until one day she doesn’t. When a school variety show leaves Olive stranded without an act to join, she begins to panic, wondering why all her friends have already formed their own groups . . . without her. With the performance drawing closer by the minute, will Olive be able to find her own place in the show before the curtain comes up? The New York Times best-selling author-illustrator Kayla Miller has woven together a heartfelt and insightful story about navigating friendships, leaning on family, and learning to take the stage in the most important role of all.
Moon is everything Christine isn’t. She’s confident, impulsive, artistic . . . and though they both grew up in the same Chinese-American suburb, Moon is somehow unlike anyone Christine has ever known.
But after Moon moves in next door, these unlikely friends are soon best friends, sharing their favorite music videos and painting their toenails when Christine’s strict parents aren’t around. Moon even tells Christine her deepest secret: that she has visions, sometimes, of celestial beings who speak to her from the stars. Who reassure her that earth isn’t where she really belongs.
Moon’s visions have an all-too-earthly root, however, and soon Christine’s best friend is in the hospital, fighting for her life. Can Christine be the friend Moon needs, now, when the sky is falling?
“Starting at a new school is scary, even more so with a giant hearing aid strapped to your chest! At her old school, everyone in Cece’s class was deaf. Here she is different. She is sure the kids are staring at the Phonic Ear, the powerful aid that will help her hear her teacher. Too bad it also seems certain to repel potential friends.
Then Cece makes a startling discovery. With the Phonic Ear she can hear her teacher not just in the classroom, but anywhere her teacher is in school — in the hallway… in the teacher’s lounge… in the bathroom! This is power. Maybe even superpower! Cece is on her way to becoming El Deafo, Listener for All. But the funny thing about being a superhero is that it’s just another way of feeling different… and lonely. Can Cece channel her powers into finding the thing she wants most, a true friend?”
Priyanka Das has so many unanswered questions: Why did her mother abandon her home in India years ago? What was it like there? And most importantly, who is her father, and why did her mom leave him behind? But Pri’s mom avoids these questions―the topic of India is permanently closed.
For Pri, her mother’s homeland can only exist in her imagination. That is, until she find a mysterious pashmina tucked away in a forgotten suitcase. When she wraps herself in it, she is transported to a place more vivid and colorful than any guidebook or Bollywood film. But is this the real India? And what is that shadow lurking in the background? To learn the truth, Pri must travel farther than she’s ever dared and find the family she never knew.
Megan Wagner Lloyd
My Review: Maggie has always wanted a dog and she is devastated to learn that she is allergic. She is determined to find the perfect pet and try to make her dreams come true despite her allergies. Along the way, she has to work out her feelings about the new baby on the way and her best friend getting a dog.
This was a fun book to read with my book club. The story didn’t end the way I anticipated and it was fun to discuss how the pet problem was actually solved in Maggie’s life. Maggie is also struggling with finding friends at a new school, communicating with her new BFF, and finding her place at home. This is a great book for a tweenage read.
Narwhal: Unicorn of the Sea
by Ben Clanton
“Narwhal is a happy-go-lucky narwhal. Jelly is a no-nonsense jellyfish. The two might not have a lot in common, but they do they love waffles, parties, and adventures. Join Narwhal and Jelly as they discover the whole wide ocean together.“
Lunch Lady and the Cyborg Substitute
by Jarrett J. Krosoczka
“Hector, Terrence, and Dee have always wondered about their school lunch lady. What does she do when she isn’t dishing out the daily special? Where does she live? Does she have a lot of cats at home? Little do they know, Lunch Lady doesn’t just serve sloppy joes—she serves justice! Whatever danger lies ahead, it’s no match for LUNCH LADY!”
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). I believe your elementary school-aged child will enjoy this sweet story.
Pea, Bee, & Jay: Stuck Together
Brian “Smitty” Smith
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!
“BOOM! CLANG! CRASH! D.J. and Gina are totally ordinary kids. But Hilo isn’t! Hilo just fell out of the sky and doesn’t know where he came from, or what he’s doing on Earth. (Or why going to school in only your underwear is a BAD idea!) . . . But UH-OH, what if Hilo wasn’t the only thing to fall to our planet? Can the trio unlock the secrets of Hilo’s past? Can Hilo SURVIVE a day at school? Find out in Hilo—a laugh-out-loud, epic story of friendship! Adventure! (And the occasionally mutant space robot).”
My Thoughts: This is a fun read and an exciting, humor-filled start to the HiLo series. This is a popular series for children and I can see why. There is friendship, adventure, and laughter. I enjoyed using this graphic novel to kick off my online book club this semester.
When Stars Are Scattered
Victoria Jamieson and Omar Mohamed
Omar and his younger brother, Hassan, have spent most of their lives in Dadaab, a refugee camp in Kenya. Life is hard there: never enough food, achingly dull, and without access to the medical care Omar knows his nonverbal brother needs. So when Omar has the opportunity to go to school, he knows it might be a chance to change their future . . . but it would also mean leaving his brother, the only family member he has left, every day.
Heartbreak, hope, and gentle humor exist together in this graphic novel about a childhood spent waiting, and a young man who is able to create a sense of family and home in the most difficult of settings. It’s an intimate, important, unforgettable look at the day-to-day life of a refugee, as told to New York Times Bestselling author/artist Victoria Jamieson by Omar Mohamed, the Somali man who lived the story.
My Review: “The entire town has heard stories about the “giant who likes to eat baby feet.” Everyone is scared, except Claudette. Armed with her wooden sword, she is eager to travel to the hills and defeat the giant. She tricks two friends into joining her for this giant fighting expedition and together they face several adventures on their way to the giant.
The characters in this adventure graphic novel are full of energy and personality. As a result of their adventures, they become stronger friends and learn a little more about their individual strengths. I think these characters are a ton of fun. This book is a great tool to encourage reluctant readers. I highly recommend it.”
Maureen and Francine Carter are twins and best friends. They participate in the same clubs, enjoy the same foods, and are partners on all their school projects. But just before the girls start sixth grade, Francine becomes Fran — a girl who wants to join the chorus, run for class president, and dress in fashionable outfits that set her apart from Maureen. A girl who seems happy to share only two classes with her sister!
Maureen and Francine are growing apart and there’s nothing Maureen can do to stop it. Are sisters really forever? Or will middle school change things for good?
My Rating: ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️
Amazon | Goodreads
Babymouse: Queen of the World
by Jennifer L. Holm & Matthew Holm
It’s the same thing every day for Babymouse. Where is the glamour? The excitement? The adventure? Nothing ever changes, until . . . Babymouse hears about Felicia Furrypaws’s exclusive slumber party. Will Babymouse get invited? Will her best friend, Wilson, forgive her if she misses their monster movie marathon? Find out in Babymouse: Queen of the World, a graphic novel with attitude!
Dog Man is a New York Times bestseller. This is also the first in a series of graphic novels that are sure to make you laugh. Dog Man is part dog, part man, and all hero. This series explores the themes of kindness, empathy, and other positive themes.
CatStronauts: Mission Moon
The CatStronunts books are a series of books written by a US Astronaut. Join the best space cats on the planet in their adventures outside of this world.
Phoebe and her Unicorn
Do you believe in unicorns? Phoebe does. She has no choice … one day she skipped a rock across a pond, and hit a unicorn in the face. Improbably, this resulted in a lasting friendship between Phoebe and the unicorn, one Marigold Heavenly Nostrils.
Come along for the unicorn ride with Phoebe, as she deals with the usual burdens of childhood (cruel classmates, gym class, piano lessons) and also some unusual ones (magic hair, candy-breathing dragons, and the legendary Shield of Boringness).
Can a precocious little girl and a self-absorbed mythical forest creature find common ground? Indeed they can, and that’s how Phoebe and Her Unicorn unfolds.
Squish Super Amoeba
Jennifer L. Holm & Matthew Holm
Squish is just your everyday grade school amoeba trying to navigate the world of family, friends, and school. This is the first book in a series of several Squish graphic novels.
Owly: The Way Home
My Review: 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 schooler
The Dam Keeper
Robert Kondo and Dice Tsutsumi
My Review: Pig and his father are the Dam Keepers who keep the city safe from the deadly black fog. Unfortunately, one-day Pig’s father disappears into the black fog, leaving Pig to take care of the city on his own. The fog is getting stronger and disaster is on the horizon. Eventually, Pig finds himself on an adventure with Fox and Hippo as they learn what secrets can be found beyond the dam.
This children’s graphic novel surprised me with its gorgeous artwork. The scenes are beautiful with strong images of light and dark. It also surprised me how creepy these illustrations and the story might be for sensitive kids. Be sure to preview this book if you want to give it to a younger or sensitive child.
If you do read it with your kids, it is a great opportunity to discuss ways that the artwork contributes to the mood in a story. You can also make predictions about the fog and Pig’s father because this is book one in a Dam Keeper trilogy.
Amulet Book One: The Stonekeeper
The Amulet books are a little darker than some of the other books on this list, so definitely use your discretion. Book one begins with the death of a parent so keep that in mind for your sensitive little ones, but the series is a fantastic fantasy adventure that my kids continued to enjoy even as they got older.
The Cardboard Kingdom
My Review: The Cardboard Kingdom is a favorite book series for all of the kids in this house. It’s full of creative and imaginative play with a varied cast of characters.
In book one, the characters are each introduced as the story arc moves forward so everyone has their moment in the spotlight inside the larger story. The characters have unique stories and obstacles to overcome in their own lives, but they are brought together by the kingdom they create. In book two, a beast threatens the kingdom after the monster costume was destroyed. Together, the kids also deal with neighborhood bullies.
Zita the Spacegirl
My Review: My kids are the ones who introduced me to Zita and I am so glad they did. This graphic novel is full of delightful and unique characters who assist Zita in her quest to rescue her friend, Joseph. Not only is the story a fun adventure ride, but the themes of friendship and selflessness are good ones to discuss with kids.
The artwork is colorful and fun. In addition, the author/illustrator is creative in his use of panels and gutters. His double-page spread panels are well done and beautifully drawn. The artwork keeps you reading as much as the plot.
Note: This title is book 1 of 3 books. You’ll definitely want to finish reading the series.
My Review: This twist on the classic fairy tale, Jack and the Beanstalk, makes for a fantastic adventure. Jack, Maddie (his sister), and Lily form a delightful trio and their magical garden adventures are a ton of fun. The artwork is bright and imaginative and the author uses graphic novel panels in creative ways.
The Mighty Jack series is considered a Young Adult graphic novel, so parents should consider the content before allowing younger children to read this adventure (there is a brief kiss and some language).
Mighty Jack and Zita the Spacegirl
“Don’t miss this story when Mighty Jack and Zita the Spacegirl team up in this series by Ben Hatke.
Jack and Lilly are no strangers to heroics. They’ve befriended dragons, battled giants, and even earned the loyalty of a goblin army. So when they meet Zita the Spacegirl, fresh from her interplanetary travels and seeking their help to face a new threat, they’re more than ready for another adventure.
But the danger growing just outside the door to their world is greater than anything the new friends could have imagined. An army of giants and screeds stands ready to lay siege to Earth, determined to put the age of humans to an end.
With the gate between worlds growing weaker and time running out, can the heroes come together to save their world from their greatest enemy yet?”
Nathan Hales Hazardous Tales: One Dead Spy
This is the first book in the Hazardous Tales series. My boys love every single book in this series and the first one is a great place to start. You’ll meet all three characters who will continue to appear in future stories as the narrators. We love these stories so much that we own every book in the series.
There’s a new kid in town! From the moment Natasha sets foot in class, it’s clear she’s one of the coolest kids in sixth grade. Everyone wants to be her friend, including Olive . . . but things might not be so easy.
Olive tries her best to befriend Nat, but it seems like the only thing they have in common is that they both want to hang out with Olive’s friends! Watching as Natasha gets closer with some of her best buds, Olive can’t help but worry that they’re starting to like Nat more than they like her . . . and who could blame them? Nat is just that cool . . . and Olive is, well, just Olive.
Katya and her Meema are spending another summer at their cottage in Alaska, when a chance accident leaves Katya face-to-face with the biggest creature she’s ever seen… an enormous kodiak bear with a gentle heart and a knack for fishing. But when Katya must suddenly return home to Seattle, the two are torn apart, leaving Kodi to do whatever it takes to reunite with his fragile human friend. It’s a wild journey packed with breathtaking views, brave new companions, and adventure around every turn.
The Boston Tea Party (Graphic History)
Matt Doeden & Charles Barnett III
This book is one of the many books in the Graphic History series. The books in these series are perfect companions for your elementary student in your history studies. You’ll find US history graphic novels on topics ranging from Jamestown to the Constitution to the Boston Tea Party.
Wings of Fire: The Dragonet Prophecy (graphic novel)
Tui T. Sutherland
Not every dragonet wants a destiny … Clay has grown up under the mountain, chosen along with four other dragonets to fulfill a mysterious prophecy and end the war between the dragon tribes of Pyrrhia. He’s not so sure about the prophecy part, but Clay can’t imagine not living with the other dragonets; they’re his best friends. So when one of the dragonets is threatened, all five spring into action. Together, they will choose freedom over fate, leave the mountain, and fulfill their destiny — on their own terms. The New York Times bestselling Wings of Fire series takes flight in this first graphic novel edition, adapted by the author with art by Mike Holmes.
NOTE: I adored the novel and I have no doubt this graphic adaptation will be fantastic. This is one of the most popular series among the children in my graphic novel and fiction book clubs.
The Solid Truth About States of Matter
Agnieszka Jòzefina Biskup, Michael Kelleher, Cynthia Martin, and Barbara Schultz
The Solid Truth About States of Matter is one book in a series of Graphic Science books, similar to the Graphic History books. You’ll find topics ranging from ecosystems to electricity to the states of matter.
Online Graphic Novel Book Clubs for Kids
I’d love to have your child join me for weekly discussions in my graphic novel book clubs. You’ll find options for 8-10 year old and 11-13-year-olds.
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