Ten Kids' Comics That You Need to Read

GeneLuenYangGene Luen Yang is the National Ambassador for Young People's Literature and also an award-winning graphic novelist for kids and young adults, so I was curious to know what he thinks are the best kids comics out there.

Below are the books he recommends and why they're awesome.  The characters include a superhero, a robot, an 11-year-old boy, and even a gorilla...

(I'm a big fan of Yang's books so personally, I would add his new Secret Coders series onto any must-read comics list.  Book two, Paths & Portals, is out next week.)


 

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 G-Man by Chris Giarrusso
 
What’s it about? A kid superhero named G-Man and his kind-of-a-jerk big brother Great Man fight bad guys.
 
Why is it awesome? I dare you to read this book and not laugh out loud at least once per page.
 
This book is for you if: you love superheroes, especially superheroes who have kid body proportions.
 

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 Giants Beware! by Jorge Aguirre and Rafael Rosado
 
What’s it about? Claudette, the blacksmith’s daughter, really wants to kill a giant. Like, really, really, really. But her town’s so safe and quiet, giants are nowhere to be found!
 
Why is it awesome? Back in the 80’s, there was a really popular Smurfs cartoon that was on every Saturday morning. It was funny and cute and a little bit fantastical. As a kid, I loved it. Giants Beware! hits a lot of those same notes in charming new ways.
 
This book is for you if: you love fantasy stories.
 

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 Goodnight Gorilla by Peggy Rathmann
 
What’s it about? A zookeeper tries to put all the animals in his zoo to bed, but they aren’t sleepy. Hijinks ensue!
 
Why is it awesome? There are little details on every page that will make you want to read this book over and over again, just to find them all. This book is usually marketed as a picture book, but trust me, it’s a graphic novel through and through.
 
This book is for you if: you think bananas are the perfect bedtime snack.
 

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What’s it about? Lucy, a hyper-intelligent beetle, leads a group of explorers out of Coleopolis, a community of hyper-intelligent beetles, to learn about the world.
 
Why is it awesome? This isn’t just a story. It’s also a science lesson! You’ll learn so much about the natural world as you read.
 
This book is for you if: you love science!
 

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 Long Tail Kitty by Lark Pien
 
What’s it about? Long Tail Kitty and his friends – Good Tall Mouse, a grumpy bee, a couple of alien kids from outer space – hang out and having fun.
 
Why is it awesome? There’s a fold-out page of super-fun games that you can try at home!
 
This book is for you if: you’ve ever wanted to be friends with a guy named Good Tall Mouse.
 

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 Meanwhile by Jason Shiga
 
What’s it about? Well, that depends on you, because this is a choose-your-own-adventure story! And an intense exploration of the nature of probability, but whatever. You get to decide how the story goes!
 
Why is it awesome? In the first scene, you pick your favorite ice cream flavor! (Between vanilla and chocolate. I know it doesn’t sound that exciting, but trust me, it is.)
 
This book is for you if: you hate books that force you to read one page after another. With Meanwhile, you get to skip around!
 

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 Robot Dreams by Sara Varon
 
What’s it about? A dog and a robot become friends
 
Why is it awesome? This is a quiet graphic novel. And when I say quiet, I mean QUIET. Like, no words. Even so, this book will give so many feels.
 
This book is for you if: you want the feels.
 

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 The Shark King by R. Kikuo Johnson
 
What’s it about? Nanaue is a little boy in Hawaii who wants to grow up to be just like his dad. Unfortunately, his dad is the God of the Sharks!
 
Why is it awesome? Dude. The art. This book is so fun to look at. It’s a great read, too. But dude. The art.
 
This book is for you if: you like stories that charm you and creep you out at the same time. (Spoilers: there’s a guy with a shark’s mouth on his back! And I mean literally on his back. Like where your spine is? He’s got a big whole with rows and rows of teeth!)
 

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 Teen Boat by Dave Roman and John Green
 
What’s it about? A teen who can turn into a yacht tries to get through high school without making too many waves. (Har har.) Instead, he’s hijacked by pirates! And crashes into an iceberg! And gets sent to detention!
 
Why is it awesome? Pretty sure I covered this in the answer above. The main character is a teen who can turn into a yacht.
 
This book is for you if: you feel a lack of nautical jokes in your life.
 

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What’s it about? An 11-year-old boy growing up in Chicago falls in with the wrong crowd.
 
Why is it awesome? This is a graphic novel retelling of a tragic real-life story. And behind the story are real injustices that are still at work in our word today. Maybe “awesome” isn’t the right word for this one. I’d go with “important” instead.
 
This book is for you if: you want to understand the world you live in a little bit better.
 
 

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