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.
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
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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….