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Despite the common misperception that comic books are exclusively a children’s medium, for a while there actually weren’t enough comics aimed at younger readers. Happily, that’s changed: These days there’s a diverse assortment of comics suitable for different age ranges. Below are lists of recommended reading and other resources. You can also ask your friendly local comics retailer or librarian for advice.
Photo by Charles “Teenie” Harris.
Resources for Parents & Young Readers
These are only a few of the sites where you can find regularly updated lists and reviews of graphic novels and comic books. Many other publications and organizations issue occasional reading lists, so check your favorite sources regularly!
Annually updated graphic novel lists, organized by age group, are available from the American Library Association through the Association for Library Service to Children (previous lists are archived here) and the Young Adult Library Services Association.
The list of nominees for the Eisner Awards, aka the Oscars of comic books, is always a good reading list and now includes multiple categories for younger readers. (Recent past nominations: 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010. Nominations from 1988-2007 are available at the Comic Book Awards Almanac.)
Good Ok Bad has a list of “Great Graphic Novels for Kids,” reviews, annual best-of lists, and more.
No Flying No Tights is a review site founded by a librarian, covering graphic novels, manga, and anime by age group.
Amazon’s Omnivoracious book review site has a section on graphic novels, with reviews and reading lists.
Indiana University Southeast Library has a list of graphic novels that feature diverse characters and diversity issues.
The Virginia Library Association’s new Graphic Novel Diversity Award, first presented in 2016, includes a youth category.
Above: Karen Green, Columbia University Graphic Novels Librarian. Photo © Wolfgang J. Fuchs.
The Comix Experience Kids’ Graphic Novel Club, founded by longtime retailer Brian Hibbs, offers a curated selection of graphic novels and video meetings for readers age 9-13.
For budding creators, the Adventures in Cartooning series is an inventive, inspiring, interactive exploration of comic book techniques, told in narrative form.
Let’s Make Comics, by Jess Smart Smiley, is a fun activity book that uses cartoon animal characters to guide you through different aspects of the comic book creation process.
Scholastic’s Graphix imprint publishes wonderful graphic novels for young readers of all ages, such as Bone, Amulet, and Raina Telgemeier’s books. The educator's guide that used to be on the Scholastic site is now available here: A Guide to Using Graphic Novels with Children and Teens.