Awesome Graphic Novels For Kids (Recommended by The Coolest Comic Book Store in Michigan)

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We spent the first part of our Christmas holiday in Grand Rapids, Michigan, visiting Mike’s family. Because Christmas fell on a Tuesday this year, we were there in time to do our last-minute gift scramble in Grand Rapids. While wandering around downtown (which just keeps getting better and better), we discovered the coolest freaking comic book store, Vault of Midnight. They had rows and rows and rows of graphic novels.

My boys love graphic novels. And I love anything that gets my guys reading  Both of them have struggled a bit with reading — Raines actually has some sort of slow processing disorder (diagnosed in 2nd grade when his reading ability was more like Dr. Seuss, but his comprehension ability was more like Shakespeare), but thanks to some seriously amazing (and amazingly understanding) teachers, both of my guys now LOVE to read. And the introduction of graphic novels has been a huge part of that.

If you are new to the graphic novel game, prepare to have your mind blown. Graphic novels go way beyond the whole Batman-comic book thing (which we also love), into the realm of serious literature. My only qualm, when spinning happily around and around in a store like Vault of Midnight, is finding graphic novels that are also age-appropriate. Enter the genius (and seriously) helpful staff.

Graphic novels are insanely integral to our kids' love of reading. We got so many v. cool recs from comic book store Vault of Midnight, we had to share.

We spent over an hour in Vault of Midnight, chatting with the staff. Their recommendations were so freaking spot-on, that we ended up buying everything. The boys spent their entire break devouring these graphic novels — both boys, all books. It was amazing. I had promised (on IG) that I’d share Vault of Midnight’s recommendations, and I’m especially thrilled to do so, knowing how much my boys loved them.

Promise me one thing, though: I’m going to link these books up on Amazon, because life, but if you happen to live in Grand Rapids, Detroit or Ann Arbor, make it a point to go and check out Vault of Midnight in person. It’s totally worth the trip. (And if you are headed to the Grand Rapids location, make a day of it and grab lunch at neighboring Little Bird. Best restaurant in GR, says me.)

Seven Unique Graphic Novels For Kids

Graphic novels are insanely integral to our kids' love of reading. We got so many v. cool recs from comic book store Vault of Midnight, we had to share.

 

1. The Prince and The Dressmaker

This was one of the best-selling graphic novels at Vault of Midnight. It’s about a Prince who — secretly —loves to wear dresses, and Frances, the brilliant dressmaker who helps him. It was one of the best stories I’ve ever seen in a graphic novel — a perfectly modern fairy tale that we all loved.

2. The Nameless City

This is the first book in a really fun series — my boys are badgering me for the second book. I love that there are strong female characters and plenty of adventure. Raines just added that this book also addresses racism (between Skyrails and Daos, I think he said), and what a society might look like when racism runs rampant.

3. Dinosaur Empire

Similar to the Magic School Bus, this graphic novel is perfect for the science buff. Pax is obsessed. The storyline is totally entertaining, and the science is pretty in-depth. Such a fun read (and, happily, the first in a series).

4. Alia’s Mission: Saving the Books of Iraq

My boys are totally fascinated by the Middle East (they are HUGE Malala fans, thanks to this book and this book), so this story of an Iraqi librarian’s courageous fight to save books from the Basra Central Library (before it was destroyed in the war) was right up their alley.

5. The Breadwinner: A Graphic Novel

We didn’t actually buy this graphic novel at Vault of Midnight, but we were all chatting about it with the staff — and it’s so good, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention it here. This book is about 11-year old Parvana, who disguises herself as a boy in order to become her family’s ‘breadwinner’ in Taliban-controlled Afghanistan. This is one book my boys read over and over again. It’s prompted many family discussions at dinner.

6. Homer The Odyssey by Seymour Chwast

We also have this illustrated Iliad and Odyssey boxed set, and it’s fantastic. Written in a style that’s easy to follow (yet still feels…classic somehow — full of violence and drama), and I remember both of my boys listening to Mike read it, enraptured. So why another copy? I’ve found that different iterations of the same story often further understanding, and I especially love to do this with classic literature (via movies, plays, graphic novels, picture books, etc.,). Seymour Chwast’s version of The Odyssey is not only in graphic novel format, but the dialog is irreverent and funny, and a modern take on the tale.

7. Heroes of the Night Sky

Both of my guys are HUGE Greek Mythology fans. I blame the Percy Jackson books. We also have D’Aulieres Book of Greek Mythology (which is basically our go-to for all things Greek Myth related), but THIS one, Heroes of the Night Sky, is not only gorgeously illustrated, but it ties the Greek Myths to the constellations we see at night. This is typically the ONE LAST STORY my boys beg for at bedtime.

What are your favorite graphic novels?  We’re always looking for something new….

xo,
S

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About Author

Shana founded The Mom Edit in 2008. She lives with the love of her life (his name's Mike) and their two crazy boys in downtown Philadelphia. She loves a good styling challenge (her engineering side shows eventually), appreciates kindness, and usually picks scotch over wine, sneakers over stilettos, and shorts known as denim-underwear, always.

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19 Comments

  1. Love new book ideas! For more Greek Mythology fun, check out the Candlewick Press “ology” book – “Mythology, the Gods, Heroes, and Monsters of Ancient Greece”. It’s a treasure box of a book — it has the stories, but also fun interactive bits like a pop-up Pandora’s box and a small deck of Olympians cards. My almost 8-year-old devoured it and continues to revisit it. We just picked up the “Dragonology” book by the same publisher which is equally entertaining.

  2. 100000fireflies on

    We live in Ann Arbor and we LOVE Vault Of Midnight. Check out the Amulet series! Our 7 yo can’t put it down. Also Nathan Hales Hazardous tales are awesome. We loved the one about the Raid on Tokyo.

  3. My 9 year old daughter highly recommends El Deafo! And also Roller Girl. I’m excited to check out these suggestions!

  4. Thanks for the recommendations! My 9 year old daughter loves the Hereville books, the Princeless books, and Vera Brosgol’s Be Prepared.

  5. Thanks for the recommendations! My son also loves graphic novels. His favorite series is Amulet…great story over 7 books with a new volume coming soon!

  6. For a great throwback and thankfully written without all the violence – both my sons and my daughter (ages 7-10) love love love the new Babysitter’s Club graphic novels. They also really enjoyed the Anne of Green Gables graphic novel as well!

  7. This might be one my favorite Mom Edit posts. My 8 year old boy has read most of the suggestions are your list and he agrees that they are excellent.

    Also, happy to see that many people gave Amulet a shout out.

    (For younger readers, my son LOVED The Bad Guys series and the Bunjitsu Bunny series when he was first learning to read.)

  8. This is a great post! I love your fashion blogging but lists of good children’s books are even more fun! My kids have struggled with reading, too, and we have found graphic novels to really be engaging for them. I need to hop in the shower but will add some of our favorites to the comments in a bit. Also – thanks for plugging that wonderful bookstore in GR!

  9. For older kids March, a trilogy about the American Civil Rights movement told through the eyes of John Lewis and Maus, about the Holocaust. For younger kids the Lucy and Andy Neanderthal series, about two kids living with their families/friends in a cave 40,000 years ago, and is interspersed with facts about this time period.

  10. Add another 7 year old recommendation for the Amulet series. My son gets them out over and over from his school library! He also loves all the books by Ben Hatke (Zita the Spacegirl series is his favorite), and the Last Kids on Earth series by Max Brallier.

  11. I have to recommend Brave, Awkward, and Crush by Svetlana Chmakova. They are all set in the same middle school and are AMAZING. She takes on friendship, first love, bullying, cyber safety, and more. The characters are endearing and flawed, the situations believable, and she provides a level of diversity (socioeconomic, racial, religious) that I wish most adult novels bothered to employ.

    I really cannot remember when I have felt this strongly about children’s books. Read them now!!!!

  12. Oops–my first comment was supposed to be in response to the mythology book suggested in the first comment. We LOVE Vault of Midnight and go every time we are in Ann Arbor. Their staff is great and so helpful when we are trying to find age-appropriate comic books. My 12 year old is a regular at our local comic book store, so these recommendations are terrific! And sidenote: as a teacher, I’m happy when kids are reading. Period. Novel, graphic novels, the back of a cereal box–whatever kids find interest in works for me.

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