If you’re looking for the right present to score some points with both the kids and parents in your life, don’t dismiss giving them a book this year. Before you scoff at the idea that a kid would love unwrapping a book, you probably haven’t seen some of the incredible graphic novels currently available for young readers. Not only do they feature compelling characters, usually starring in series of books with eye-catching art, they’re just plain good stories that kiddos will enjoy reading–and parents will love that their kids are reading.Here are our picks for 10 graphic novels you can give to kids around ages 8 to 14.
Amulet by Kazu Kibuishi is currently one of the most popular graphic novel series for kids. The art has a Studio Ghibli feel to it, and the two kids in the starring roles embark on an unexpected adventure that’s just as grand as any Miyazaki film.Â Emily and Navin move to a strange old house after the death of their father. The story blends fantasy, sci-fi, and adventure, so it’s perfect for any kid on your list.
If the children in your life might appreciate a sweet, quiet slice-of-life story with adorable illustrations, Aquicorn Cove by Katie O’Neill will instantly capture their imaginations. Lana and her father have returned to a small island to help in recovery efforts after a devastating storm, where she discovers the seahorse-like aquicorns. Can she help save their home from even more destruction?
The Baby-Sitters Club
It’s the classic The Baby-Sitters Club series you remember in a new graphic novel format! Artists Raina Telgemeier andÂ Gale Galligan have adapted the first six books in the series for the updated babysitting trials and tribulations of Kristy, Mary Anne, Dawn, Stacey, Claudia, and all the other characters you grew up with.Note: These are the only books by Raina Telgemeier on this list because we assume the kids you’re shopping for have all of her graphic novels already. If not, buy those immediately.
The Bad Guys
Comedy, adventure, and yes, the bad guys make this graphic novel series perfect for kids who love to laugh. The Bad Guys by Aaron Blabey stars Mr. Wolf, Mr. Shark, Mr. Snake, and Mr. Piranha, who are technically “bad” guys but are trying their best to be good so they can join the Good Guy Club. Younger kids will get a smile out of these guys trying to do the right thing even when it goes all wrong.
Vera Brosgol’s graphic novel Be Prepared is part fiction and part memoir, but feels all too real for anyone who’s ever made it through summer camp. Better suited for older kids, this is the story of young Vera, who never feels like she fits in no matter where she goes. Her Russian roots set her apart from the American kids in her school and neighborhood, and her family doesn’t have a lot of money. When Vera begs her mom to send her to a summer camp like all the other kids in her class, she isn’t prepared for what’s in store.
Mech Cadet Yu
What happens when the boy who is chosen to be a hero isn’t supposed to be the one picked? In the story of Mech Cadet YuÂ by Greg Pak and Takeshi Miyazawa, kids will be eager to find out. Every four years, giant robots from the stars visit Earth to choose cadets from an elite academy to pilot them and defend the planet from the Sharg. Stanford Yu isn’t a cadet, so when a giant robot chooses him, will he have what it takes to save the Earth?
Pashmina by Nidhi Chanani is the coming-of-age story of high schoolerÂ Priyanka Das, who loves to draw. She and her mother moved to the United States from India years before, but without her father, and Pri doesn’t know who he is nor why he didn’t come with them. When she discovers a forgotten pashmina and puts it on, Pri will learn about herself and her dreams in this fantastic book for older readers.
The Prince and the Dressmaker
The Prince and the Dressmaker, a lovely graphic novel by Jen Yang, feels like a modern fairy tale. A prince’s parents are searching for the perfect bride for their young Sebastian, but he hides a secret from everyone. Everyone, that is, except forÂ Frances, a talented dressmaker. At night,Â Sebastian dons gorgeous gowns to becomeÂ Lady Crystallia. Can Frances keep his secret and still reach her dream to become a famous designer?
Wings of Fire
The graphic novel adaptation of the popular kids’ series Wings of Fire are sure to be a hit with the young fantasy fans in your life. Young dragonet Clay is part of a prophecy to end a war between the dragons, along with his friends. They decide to strike out together and forge their own destinies.
The Witch Boy by Molly Knox Ostertag is a tale of learning to be yourself even if it isn’t what everyone else expects. The boys in 13-year-old Aster’s village are all shapeshifters, and the girls all become witches. But it’s magic that calls to Aster, not shifting. When a dangerous enemy threatens everyone he loves, Aster must use his magic to save them all.Which graphic novel for kids would you add to the list? Tell us in the comments.
Images: Scholastic (Wings of Fire),Â Scholastic/Graphix, Simon and Schuster, First Second, Boom! Studios, and Macmillan
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