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Ages 11-17

Get your tween reading with graphic novels

It’s that time of year where kids have report cards coming home. If your child is having trouble with reading or is reluctant to pick up books, perhaps check out a graphic novel!


Graphic novels are long-form comic books, but they often have a lot more depth than the Spider-Man and Betty and Veronica comics that were available when we were kids. Graphic novels are a wonderful way to engage young readers in books. They often have exciting and fast-paced plots that will engage even the most reluctant readers. Those with dyslexia and learning differences may feel less overwhelmed as there are fewer words on a page and much of the story can be understood through interpreting illustrations. 


There are graphic novels for all ages and reading levels on pretty much any topic! Here are some of our favorites:


PAWS by Michele Assarasakorn and Nathan Fairbairn

This Canadian graphic novel series is all about a group of best friends that love dogs, but for their own reasons, don’t have pets at home. Together, they form a successful pet sitting club – but it isn’t without crazy pet antics and troubles! Running a business is harder than it looks, and it’s not all about cute puppy cuddles and treats!


Measuring Up by Lily LaMotte and Ann Xu

Cici is cooking up a plan to bring her grandmother in Vietnam to Seattle in time to celebrate grandma’s 70th birthday. Cici loves to cook and takes part in a cooking contest in her new hometown of Seattle. The only problem is that she only knows how to make Vietnamese food. She channels her inner chef and works together with others, but will her cooking be tasty enough to win the contest and a reunion with her grandmother?


When Stars are Scattered by Victoria Jamieson and Omar Mohamed

This is a remarkable graphic novel of courage, hope and resilience that is based on Omar Mohamed’s lived experience growing up in a refugee camp. Omar and his younger brother Hassan have spent most of their lives in a refugee camp in Kenya. There isn’t enough food and the medical care that Hassan needs is not available. Can Omar persevere and succeed in school to change the future for himself and his nonverbal brother?


Mr Wolf’s Class by Aron Nels Steinke

This is the first book in a funny graphic novel series that follows Mr. Wolf, a new teacher at Hazelwood Elementary, and his fourth grade class. My kids read this book and every book in this series over and over again. They especially loved all the students in Mr. Wolf’s class and felt they could relate to the kids. Each student has a unique story – from Margot who is new in town and trying to make friends, to Penny who is super sleepy as she has a new baby brother at home.  


The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick

Finally, if you are trying to help your child transition from a graphic novel to traditional novels (or vice versa!) check out one of Brian Selznick’s books. We especially like The Invention of Hugo Cabret. It has tons of illustrations followed by paragraphs of text. It will boost the confidence of reluctant readers while continuing to engage them. Hugo lives with his uncle in a Paris train station and works as his uncle’s apprentice as the station clock keeper. When his uncle goes missing, the boy must keep the clocks running and pretend his uncle is still doing the work or he will lose his home and career. If your kids love this book, they may enjoy checking out the movie, too!


Krista is a freelance writer and homeschooling mom of two kids. She is a former librarian who loves to jump rope, drink tea and share books with family and friends.


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