Last month, I gave recommendations of graphic novels for early readers. This month, I have graphic novel recommendations with more complex storylines that are best suited for kids ages 8-12 years old. Though they are certainly not limited to these ages – teens and adults may enjoy them too! Fluency and reading stamina are more established for this age group. While these readers may be at a higher reading level, some may still be reluctant to read traditional chapter books – or they may simply enjoy the visual appeal of graphic novels. In either case, graphic novels are a great option! The full-length stories in the following graphic novels are longer and have more challenging vocabulary, but still have sequenced pictures paired with the text to allow readers to easily follow the plot of the story.
5 Worlds Book 1: The Sand Warrior by Mark Siegel and Alexis Siegel
This fast paced and engaging sci-fi/fantasy story, with beautiful illustrations is the first book in the series. War erupts and Oona Lee – a clumsy sand dancer, with the aid of an athlete, and a boy from the slums team up on a quest to save their world. Oona learns a lot about herself during their quest and gains control over her powers, leading to victory…for now.
Hilo Book 1: The Boy Who Crashed to Earth by Judd Winick
The Boy Who Crashed to Earth is the first book in the science fiction Hilo series. DJ comes from a family of high-achievers, while he feels like he isn’t good at anything. His life changes when he meets Hilo, the loveable robot from an unknown origin, who falls to Earth. DJ and his friend Gina must help Hilo figure out his identity and save the world in this funny and action-packed story.
Amulet Book 1: The Stonekeeper by Kazu Kibuishi
The Stonekeeper is the first book in the sci-fi/fantasy Amulet series. This story is a bit dark and intense at times, but exciting and fast-paced. Emily and Navin lose their father in a tragic accident, and then a while later they move with their mother to their great-grandfather’s abandoned house for a fresh start. Things take a strange turn pretty quickly when their mother disappears. The children track her down in an underground world full of strange creatures. An epic adventure ensues as they bravely battle to rescue their mother.
Phoebe and Her Unicorn by Dana Simpson
Phoebe releases the unicorn, Marigold Heavenly Nostrils, from a magic spell and is granted one wish. She wishes to become best friends! Readers will enjoy this witty story of the friendship between an awkward girl and an arrogant unicorn. This book has simple but expressive illustrations and is the first book in this lighthearted series.
Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson
Astrid has always done everything with her best friend Nicole, until Astrid decides to sign up for roller derby camp and Nicole signs up for dance camp instead. Astrid has to learn how to be strong on her own, and push through insecurities and self-doubt. This is a great story about perseverance, changing friendships, and becoming your own person at a vulnerable point in life.
Sisters by Raina Telgemeier
This is a humorous and touching story based on author Raina Telgemeier’s childhood. Raina had always wanted a little sister. But once she became one, the relationship wasn’t as she expected it to be. One summer, the sisters and their little brother take a road trip with their mom. The sisters continue to clash with each other throughout their trip until they finally realize they can still love each other, despite their differences.
Zita the Spacegirl by Ben Hatke
Zita the Spacegirl: Far from Home is the first book in this fun series. Zita accidentally opens a portal to another world and must rescue her friend. The clock is ticking though, as the world she finds herself in is about to be destroyed. Zita’s determination, along with help from some interesting characters she meets along her way, help her to save her friend.