Get Kids Reading with 9 Graphic Novels

Graphic Novels Horizontal

Never underestimate the impact of a graphic novel. For a book design of limited text and simplified illustrations each poignant panel has the uncanny knack of expressing emotion, humour, visual thinking and sound effects with a single powerful punch. KERPOW!

Both my boys love graphic novels and unlike other books which they relegate to the bedtime reading zone, it’s not unusual for me to find them reading them on the stairs, under the stairs and even sitting in cardboard boxes. I once happened upon a somewhat unsuccessful attempt to read one on the trampoline!

Graphic novels seem to bring out hidden acting skills in them! They are one of the few books that they love to read out loud, repeat the funny parts (again…..and again!) and invent voices for the different characters. Somehow they become more involved with graphic novels so rather than it being a solitary reading affair it becomes an active interaction between both boys. So if you haven’t tried one before, it might just be the switch that you’re looking for to spark the difference between a reluctant reader and a relentless reader.

Once again they have been rated out of 10 by my two boys currently aged 8 and 6. The first rating from my eldest.

Apocalypse Bow Wow by James Proimos lll (author) & James Proimos Jr (Illustrator); Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing Plc 2015. RATING: 10/10 – 6/10.

A quick read but none-the-less enjoyable and the perfect introduction to graphic novels. Sometimes the satisfaction of completing a quick read is exactly what children need to fuel their interest towards the next book. When Brownie and Apollo’s hunger sets in and their humans haven’t returned to feed them it can only mean one thing, the world has ended! So we follow the two brave dogs as they venture out into the big world beyond the front door in search of their dinner.

CLICK TO BUY Apocalypse Bow Wow

Tom Gates, A Tiny Bit Lucky by Liz Pichon (author & illustrator); Publisher: Scholastic Children’s Books Ed. 2015. RATING: 10/10 – 3/10.

Of course we could have picked from a number a Liz Pichon’s Tom Gates books but this was voted one of our favourites. The amusing illustrations compliment the dry humour of Tom Gates and his diary-like candid comments of the things you might be thinking but wouldn’t want to say out loud!

CLICK TO BUY A Tiny Bit Lucky (Tom Gates)

Stormbreaker, the graphic novel. Original story by Anthony Horowitz (author) & adapted by Antony Johnston. Kanako & Yuzuro Yuzuru (illustrators); Publisher: Walker 2012. RATING: 8/10 – recommend for age 8+ so not read with youngest.

This one was recommended by our librarian as my eldest has previously read and loved some of the other Anthony Horowitz novels. The graphic version of Stormbreaker instantly took precedence over the full length novel. Graphic novels can act as a simplified format for younger children to absorb a lot of information at one time. The story of Alex Rider, school boy turned super spy being recruited for life and death missions successfully plays on its Bond like appeal for children.

CLICK TO BUY Stormbreaker: The Graphic Novel (Alex Rider) by Horowitz, Anthony, Johnston, Antony (August 2, 2012) Paperback

The 13-Storey Treehouse by Andy Griffiths (author) & Terry Denton (illustrator);  Publisher: Macmillan Children’s Books 2015. RATING: 9/10 – 5/10.

The story writing duo Terry and Andy live in the most epic treehouse you could ever imagine. They have a secret underground laboratory, a bowling alley, a swimming pool and so much more, including a very handy vegetable vapouriser for any stray sprouts they may come across. We follow the two friends through their crazy, hilarious adventures to save their treehouse from destruction. Split into chapters with black and white illustrations throughout.

CLICK TO BUY The 13-Storey Treehouse (The Treehouse Books)

Jedi Academy, Return of the Padawan by Jeffrey Brown (author/illustrator); Publisher: Scholastic Children’s Books, Scholastic Ltd 2014. RATING: 9/10 – 6/10.

We’re introduced to the character Roan Novachez who is endeavouring to learn how to be a powerful Jedi but it turns out it’s the mishaps he encounters which endear him to us. Between seeing him arrive at the Academy embarrassingly early, laughing at his many disastrous attempts to conquer the flight simulator without destroying it, and watching him try to earn some kudos mixing with Cyrus and Cronah on the dark side only to end up almost ruining his already slim chances of love with Gaiana, Roan is a character any child can relate to.


The Phoenix Presents Evil Emperor Penguin by Laura Ellen Anderson (author/illustrator); Publisher: David Fickling Books 2015. RATING: 10/10 – 10/10.

My youngest chose this himself at the school book fair before half term and adores it. So much so, although it’s currently beyond his own reading capabilities he made sure he gave it his best try! The full colour illustrations and witty side comments make it a fun, entertaining read with a wide age appeal so I often find it living in either of the boys rooms. The sarcastic Evil Emperor Penguin has set his sights on taking over the world but the good intentions of his cute and cuddly accomplices Eugene and the multi-tasking knitting squid, Number 8, prove more of a hindrance than a help.

CLICK TO BUY Evil Emperor Penguin: Book 1 (The Phoenix Presents)

Spider Moon by Kate Brown (author/illustrator); Publisher: David Fickling Books (Division of Random House Children’s Publishers UK) Ed. 2010. RATING: 6/10 – recommend for age 8+ so not read with my youngest.

Having a girl as the central character makes a refreshing change for a graphic novel and I enjoyed reading the added extras at the back about how the illustrations were put together. A large, hardback book with just the right mix of destiny, power, heroism and impending disaster to keep us guessing until the end.

CLICK TO BUY The Spider Moon: Book 1 (DFC Library)

Good Dog, Bad Dog by Dave Shelton (author/illustrator); Publisher: David Fickling Books (Division of Random House Children’s Publishers UK) Ed. 2013. RATING: 9/10 – recommend for age 8+ so not read with my youngest.

A little more serious than some of the other graphic novels mentioned but it still maintains that familiar tongue in cheek approach we love about our comic heroes. The imaginative, full colour illustrations and engaging story line make this book especially attractive to any already avid comic readers out there but beware, even with very good eyesight I found the font type a touch on the small size.

CLICK TO BUY DFC Library: Good Dog, Bad Dog

Super Animal Adventure Squad by James Turner (author/illustrator); Publisher: David Fickling Books (Division of Random House Children’s Publishers UK) Ed. 2013. RATING: 10/10 – 8/10.

Although overall a longer read than some of the other graphic novels mentioned, the light-hearted humour in this one makes it suitable for a mixed age range. It was addictive. We couldn’t stop reading until we found out how the Animal Adventure Squad prevented the teatime of doom. It was one of those stories that I just couldn’t help myself end each page with that nationally accepted exclamation of impending doom! You know the one! I just don’t know how to translate it into text! Somehow “D – d – derrr…” doesn’t quite convey the same dramatic effect I’m looking for!

CLICK TO BUY DFC Library: Super Animal Adventure Squad

Reading a graphic novel is a bubble talking, often messy super sleuth experience unlike any standard novel. So be prepared to make strange noises and sarcastic comments when delving into the dastardly world of superheroes!

Source: Personal or library copies.


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