Sometimes getting kids to read is a challenge. Fortunately comic books intended for younger readers make that challenge a bit easier to manage! Graphic novels for kids not only encourage stronger reading skills, but can also teach better understanding of storytelling through art.
But as a parent, where do you start? Figuring out which books are right for your kids can be confusing in itself when there are so many options. We’ve taken a closer look at some of the graphic novels we have in store to help you decide which stories are right for your family.
Part 1 focuses on DC superheroes, such as Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, the Flash, and more. If you see a title you like and we don’t have it in stock, please get in touch with us at email@example.com – we can order it for you, and may be able to have it delivered to you direct!
We strongly recommend reading through any book before giving it to your child, to make sure the content is suitable for them.
Tiny Titans Pet Club
There are some jobs that even a super-kid can’t handle without the help of their fluffy, four-legged friends. The Tiny Titans have so many weird and interesting super-pets, they formed a club to show them off. From flying cats to cows in capes, from pink elephants to trained penguins, Pet Club has everything. They even have animals from outer space!
Super-pets make for some super-unique situations! This light-hearted story is perfect for younger readers. Each chapter is only a few pages long, ideal for short attention spans, and introduces only a few characters at a time, preventing the feeling of being overwhelmed by keeping track of multiple heroes and pets. This book also includes a word search and hidden object puzzle at the end for kids who like an extra challenge.
More like this: Tiny Titans Beast Boy and Raven features the title characters using their powers to deal with homework, school crushes, embarrassing parents and more!
Young Bruce Wayne is drawn to the fun and excitement he sees going on at Arkham, but to Wayne Enterprises, it’s just another property they own. Bruce is determined to find out why Arkham is full of so much fun and laughter. What exactly is going on over there? Time to sneak over when no one is looking…even though it’s like the house is laughing at him! Ha ha ha!
It’s fascinating to see “Brucie” Wayne learn to use his imagination from none other than the eventual villains of Gotham City, including Poison Ivy, Harley Quinn, Scarecrow, Penguin, and the Joker! This bright and colourful story definitely stretches the canon of the DC universe – particularly seeing would-be villains treating each other as friends – but it feels entirely suitable for a younger audience. The story includes plenty of in-jokes and puns for readers (or parents) who already know more about who all these familiar characters will become, providing delightfully childish entertainment on several levels.
Middle Grade Readers
Dear Justice League
Does Superman ever make mistakes? What was Wonder Woman’s eleventh birthday like? Does Aquaman smell like fish? In this new middle-grade graphic novel, iconic heroes are asked questions both big and small, and when they are not busy saving the world, the Justice League even finds time to respond. Their honest and humorous answers will surprise and delight readers of any age, as it turns out that being a superhero is not too different from being a kid. Full of feats, follies, and colorful illustrations, Dear Justice League gives readers the inside scoop into everyday heroics, no matter who wears the cape!
This book takes the classic superheroes a bit less seriously, allowing them to be a bit silly and include some slapstick humour. Each chapter focuses on one hero, varies in length and is loosely connected to the others – you could easily pick and choose which chapters to read and focus on personal favourite characters, though reading in order is the best bet to get the most out of the jokes!
More like this: Dear DC Supervillains sees kids asking their burning questions to the Legion of Doom and taking a look at the dark side of the DC universe!
Driven to solve the mystery of his parents’ murders, teenage loner Bruce Wayne hones his detective and combat skills as he scours the underbelly of Gotham City looking for clues. Feeling responsible, Bruce is eager to find someone to pin the blame on so he can absolve himself of the guilt he feels. As he rebuilds his dad’s first car, his quest for freedom-while still clinging to the past-becomes clear. Finding the correct parts forces Bruce to open himself up to new friendships and challenges, ultimately leading him to what he desires most: freedom!
This fresh look at how Bruce becomes Batman incorporates both new and classic characters in a slight twist on a familiar journey. Themes of trust and friendship echo throughout, particularly when dealing with Selina Kyle’s moral ambiguity and Bruce’s reluctance to rely on anyone but himself. Minor violence is to be expected in this kind of story, but this is handled in largely controlled environments, or instances of being instigated by the bad guys.
Have you ever wondered what’s at the bottom of the sea? Why polar ice melts? Or which tools forensic scientists use to solve a crime? Well look no further! Everyone’s favorite Scarlet Speedster is here to answer all your burning questions! Barry Allen, with the help of some of his close friends, will take readers on an exciting journey that examines everything from the vast expanse of our galaxy to the smallest living organism known to man.
Rather than an overarching narrative-driven story, this is more of an educational book. It covers a variety of subjects, including DNA, virtual reality, atoms, and physics, while loosely linking them to an immediate situation for the heroes to deal with. Each chapter features a different set of characters, so don’t be surprised when the Flash is only in a few of these! This book is quite text heavy – fantastic for kids who love to learn, but may be a struggle for those looking for more emotional or adventurous content.
Teen Titans Go! To Camp
Summer’s in the air, and the Teen Titans are leaving Jump City behind for six fun-filled weeks of mosquitoes, sunstroke, and poison ivy at summer camp! What the Titans don’t realize until they arrive is that this is Camp Apokolips, where the “bug juice” is made with real bugs, the swimming pool is a fire pit, and the lunch lady is Granny Goodness! Things only get worse when they encounter the bunks they’ll be competing against in the camp’s games: the Titans East and the H.I.V.E. Five! Given all of that, there’s only one thing on Robin’s mind… No, not escape. It’s how to beat the other bunks to become the camp champions. This is Robin, remember?
This story is told in two alternating parts: one through the actions of the Titans, the other through letters the Teen Titans are writing to others back home. Each letter is illustrated differently, and shows the events of their summer through that Titan’s eyes. The overall theme is about the Teen Titans learning to work together as a team against the devious camp counsellors, something Robin struggles with (unsurprisingly!). Kids who are familiar with the Teen Titans Go! animated series will certainly enjoy seeing their favourite characters on the pages of this series.
More like this: There are several books in the Teen Titans Go! series that may be of interest: Falling Stars sees the Titans tackling mundane chores and everyday hurdles with some super-effort, Smells Like Teen Titans Spirit features new super-powers and babysitting an infant Superman, and in Roll With It the Titans are playing their regular game of Basements and Basilisks when Robin takes things a little too far (as usual)!
Johnny Constantine Mystery of the Meanest Teacher
After angering a number of hostile spirits in England, 13-year-old magician Johnny Constantine persuades his parents to send him to the Junior Success Boarding School in Salem, Massachusetts. He soon finds himself to be something of an outcast, convinced that his homeroom teacher really has it in for him, and convinced that’s she’s really a witch. Fortunately, John is able to find one kindred spirit – another misfit named Anna, who also happens to have her own developing magical powers. John recruits Anna in his efforts to uncover the truth about Ms. Kayla and expose the Meanest Teacher’s real identity to the world. Joined by a friendly demon named Etrigan, these two amateur sleuths will uncover clues and stumble upon forces beyond their control in a humorous series of misadventures.
It’s interesting to see a teenage version of Constantine, still learning the limits of his abilities and consequences of his actions, in a kid-friendly story. His gradual acceptance that even he needs friends is enough to offset his overconfidence (he gives Damian Wayne a challenge for the most obnoxious DC teen hero!). The lessons of treating others well and not judging people by what they appear to be becomes crucial to Johnny’s ability to solve his latest mystery.
Young Adult Readers
Shadow of the Batgirl
Cassandra Cain, teenage assassin, isn’t exactly Batgirl material…not yet, at least. But with Batgirl missing from Gotham City, can Cassandra defy her destiny and take on a heroic mantle of her very own? She’ll have to go through an identity crisis of epic proportions to find out.
After a soul-shattering moment that sends Cass reeling, she’ll attempt to answer this question the only way she knows how: learning everything she possibly can about her favorite hero-Batgirl. But Batgirl hasn’t been seen in Gotham for years, and when Cass’s father threatens the world she has grown to love, she’ll have to step out of the shadows and overcome her greatest obstacle-that voice inside her head telling her she can never be a hero.
This story takes the story of Cassandra Cain, raised to be a villain and learning to be a hero instead, and brings it to a young adult audience. The central characters are all strong female leads, and the book carries a strong theme of choosing who you want to be and doing what you believe is right. There is mild swearing in this book, as well as heavy subject matter and violence (understandably, considering the background of the main character).
The Oracle Code
After a gunshot leaves her paralyzed below the waist, Barbara Gordon must undergo physical and mental rehabilitation at Arkham Center for Independence. She must adapt to a new normal, but she cannot shake the feeling that something is dangerously amiss. Strange sounds escape at night while patients start to go missing. Is this suspicion simply a result of her trauma? Or does Barbara actually hear voices coming from the center’s labyrinthine hallways? It’s up to Barbara to put the pieces together to solve the mysteries behind the walls.
This book is an invaluable read for any teenager or young adult going through a difficult time, or a permanent change in their lives. This is exactly what Barbara “Babs” is going through, and it takes a much more realistic view of how a teenager would react to this sudden change of circumstances. It also seeds in themes of accepting those changes, and learning who you are in the face of hardship or trauma. There are no superhero tights or capes in this one – and other than occasional references to known DC characters, this feels much more like a coming of age story wrapped in some beautiful imagery.
That’s it for Part 1 of our Graphic Novels for Kids series! Stay tuned for Parts 2 and 3, coming soon.
Don’t forget you can get these titles and more from Proud Lion – and if you’re not in the Cheltenham area, ask your friendly local comic shop!