You’ve likely seen firsthand how graphic novels have a special way of hooking kids on reading, especially reluctant readers. (If you’re still running up against parents or colleagues that don’t consider graphic novels “real” reading, rest assured research shows that making meaning from both words and images flexes kids’ reading muscles in a helpful way.) What to do when your students have read all the go-to popular graphic novel series in your classroom library? Graphic novels for kids are hitting the shelves faster than ever, so there are tons of choices to keep kids flipping those pages. Check out this list of some of our favorite recent graphic novels for elementary school kids.
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Graphic Novels for Younger Elementary Kids
1. Baloney and Friends series by Greg Pizzoli
We love sharing this series with new readers who confidently tackle series like Elephant and Piggie by Mo Willems and are ready for more text on the page. The four endearing characters, a pig, a horse, a bee, and a crabby Rabbit—aptly named Krabbit—have plenty of the same expressive interaction kids love.
2. Peter & Ernesto series by Graham Annable
Add this series to your collection of favorite odd-couple friendship stories. Peter and Ernesto may both be sloths, but that’s about all they have in common. (Think Frog and Toad in updated graphic novel format.) So cute.
3. Noodleheads series by Tedd Arnold
If kids love Narwhal and Jelly books by Ben Clanton (a classic first entry into graphic novels), they’ll love the equally zany humor of these pasta brothers. They mean well, but their empty heads mean they have lots to learn.
4. Norma and Belly series by Mika Song
What’s not to love about hungry, crafty squirrel besties? Any kid who’s ever wanted to sneak a treat to eat will be rooting for them. We love using these books to help kids hone their skills in making inferences based on illustrations.
5. Pea, Bee & Jay series by Brian “Smitty” Smith
Kids who like a good pun will be hooked just by the series title and continue to be delighted by these three unlikely friends’ exploits. Try these to introduce thoughtful reading of graphic novels to new chapter book readers; underneath all the fun, there’s plenty to discuss about character development and theme.
6. Bug Boys series by Laura Knetzger
Rhino-B, a rhinoceros beetle, and Stag-B, a stag beetle, may be bugs, but their adventures as friends are totally relatable to kids. Young readers like how thick the books appear, but each of the short tales inside is just right for building stamina.
7. Magic Tree House graphic novels by Jenny Laird and Mary Pope Osborne
You know those kids who desperately want to read Magic Tree House books because they signify the big leap into the world of chapter books…but they still need a little more support? Hooray for these excellent new graphic novel adaptations of Jack and Annie’s classic adventures. All your favorite lines are still there, now brought to life with awesome art. Get these!
8. Hound Heroes series by Todd Goldman
Dogs and superheroes are a winning combo, for sure. Kids love the individual personalities of each hound, which range from Chihuahua to Great Dane. When a rogue canine spaceship crashes their playdate, each pup ends up with its own superpowers, and the adventures begin.
9. Cat Kid Comic Club series by Dav Pilkey
Cat Kid and buddy Molly open a comic-book-making school for young frogs. Of course, many kids will pick this series up because of its connection to Dog Man, but we love it for how it encourages kids to unleash their creativity.
Graphic Novels for Older Elementary Kids
10. I Survived series graphic novels by Lauren Tarshis
Kids have loved this historical fiction series for over a decade now, and these new adaptations give it even more staying power on classroom shelves. These graphic novels stay close to the content of the original books, but with fresh energy.
11. Mr. Wolf’s Class series by Aron Nels Steinke
It’s never dull in this fourth-grade class! Silly, with relatable characters and events, these are books that get passed around the classroom to enjoy.
12. Hilo Series by Judd Winick
D.J. is just the loner middle child of his family until Hilo, a clueless alien boy-robot, falls from the sky. This series has tons of action and adventure that kids love, plus a good dose of coming-of-age emotional growth. In the seventh book, DJ and Hilo’s gal pal Gina gets the spotlight, a great twist that keeps fans eager for more.
(Fun fact for all you teachers who are children of the 90s: You might recognize this author from MTV’s The Real World: San Francisco.)
13. Pawcasso by Remy Lai
When others mistakenly think a helpful dog belongs to Jo, a lonely newcomer, the attention and promise of a new friendship lead her to fudge the truth. We love this author; this title, in particular, is an absolute gem for late elementary school kids—especially dog-lovers—to read and discuss.
14. Measuring Up by Lily LaMotte
Share this with all your foodie kids! Cici, a twelve-year-old recent Taiwanese immigrant, draws on her love of cooking as she both tries to fit in at her new school and honor her family. Great for middle schoolers, too.
15. Maker Comics series by various authors
DIY and graphic novels for kids are such a natural pairing. Whether kids pick up one of these titles that covers their favorite topic, like robots, baking, or cars, or they read the whole series, they’ll like the blend of story and how-to information.
16. Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales series by Nathan Hale
This isn’t a new series, but we keep our eye on it because the great titles just keep coming. History-buff kids love how the author brings historical events to life with energy and humor. (And adult history-buffs like his well-researched perspective.) You’ll want to eyeball the content of each individual book, especially for elementary school, because these books don’t shy away from grim detail.
17. Dungeon Critters by Natalie Riess
Four animals race to save their kingdom from a dangerous, fast-spreading vine. Bonus points for gorgeous artwork, a casual inclusiveness of LGBTQIA+ characters, and captivating back matter that shows readers how the author and illustrator collaborated to create the book.
18. Lightfall: The Girl & The Galdurian by Tim Probert
Hopefully the first in a series, this gets rave reviews from readers who love quest stories and fantasy worlds. Two friends must find the sage Pig Wizard and save their planet Irpa from eternal darkness. The main character grapples with anxiety, which is a nice nod to kids who cope with similar challenges.
Excited to share these graphic novels for elementary kids? Don’t miss:
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