The best graphic novels and comics for children & YA

Writer and illustrator John Patrick Green on what makes comics so magical, plus our pick of the best comic books and graphic novels for kids and YA readers.

Since I was a kid, comics have been my favorite form of storytelling. From the three-panel format of a standard newspaper comic strip, to the pages and pages of panels of the average comic book, I fell in love with stories that are told through both text and illustrations.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and nowhere is this more evident than in graphic novels, where the drawings of a location or the expression on a character’s face can reveal far more to the reader than just the narration or dialogue alone. 

At the same time, the reader has to go looking for the story being told within the pictures. Which means, even with the same book, you might find a different story to someone else. Or, if you go back and reread a favourite, you may notice clues or plot developments you missed but were in the art all along. To me, this is what makes comics so magical. It is a form of literature that is both textual and visual.

Combining words and images into a sequential art that tells stories in a way that is accessible, engaging, and most of all fun, is what makes a graphic novel the best reading experience.

Read on to discover some of the best graphic novels and comic books for kids and young adults.

Graphic novels and comics for children 

The 13-Storey Treehouse: Colour Edition

by Andy Griffiths

Book cover for The 13-Storey Treehouse: Colour Edition

7 - 11 years

The 13-Storey Treehouse is now in colour! The first book in Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton's wacky treehouse adventures is packed full of comic book style illustrations. Andy and Terry live in the WORLD'S BEST treehouse! It's got a giant catapult, a secret underground laboratory, a tank of man-eating sharks, to name a few. But watch out for the sea monkeys, and the monkeys pretending to be sea monkeys, and the giant mutant mermaid sea monster. Oh, and, whatever you do, don't get trapped in a burp-gas-filled bubble . . . 

Book cover for The 26-Storey Treehouse

The 26-Storey Treehouse

Book cover for The 39-Storey Treehouse

The 39-Storey Treehouse

Book cover for The 52-Storey Treehouse

The 52-Storey Treehouse

Book cover for The 65-Storey Treehouse

The 65-Storey Treehouse

Don't Miss

All of Andy Griffiths' & Terry Denton's Treehouse books in order

Read more

InvestiGators

by John Patrick Green

Book cover for InvestiGators

7 - 9 years

Are you ready to help the InvestiGators Mango and Brash solve crimes from the sewer? Prepare to laugh out loud as you join them on their first mission as they go undercover with their brilliant spy technology, to discover who has kidnapped top chef Gustavo and his recipes. . . and that’s not the only mystery they have to solve! 

Book cover for Investigators: Take the Plunge

Investigators: Take the Plunge

John Patrick Green

Book cover for InvestiGators: Off the Hook

InvestiGators: Off the Hook

John Patrick Green

Book cover for InvestiGators: Ants in Our P.A.N.T.S.

InvestiGators: Ants in Our P.A.N.T.S.

John Patrick Green

Book cover for InvestiGators: Braver and Boulder

InvestiGators: Braver and Boulder

John Patrick Green

Don't Miss

All of the InvestiGators books in order

Read more

Agents of S.U.I.T.

by John Patrick Green

Book cover for Agents of S.U.I.T.

7 - 9 years

The first in a full-colour, hilarious series – exploring deeper into the InvestiGators world through the eyes of their talented technicians and co-workers – Agents of S.U.I.T. is a must-read for comic book and graphic novel fans. In the first installment of the Agents of S.U.I.T. series, Cilantro the Chameleon finally gets a shot at her first field assignment. But faced with a sheep-led workers' rights revolt and an alien invasion conspiracy, does she have what it takes to prove herself as an agent?

Eowulf: Of Monsters and Middle School

by Mike Cavallaro

Book cover for Eowulf: Of Monsters and Middle School

9 - 11 years

Eowulf: Of Monsters and Middle School is the new comical adventure featuring Eowulf Wegmund, a descendent of the famed monster hunter Beowulf. Her extraordinary summer involved rescuing unicorn soldiers and battling an evil god – pretty cool stuff. However, back home, the only monsters she faces are in Dungeons & Dragons and the scariest creature around is her classmate Amadeus Hornburgl. But when a mysterious supervillain returns to wreak havoc on their quiet town, Eowulf and Amadeus must join forces to unearth a dark past that wants to stay buried. 

Max and the Midknights

by Lincoln Peirce

Book cover for Max and the Midknights

7 - 11 years

Join Max's quest to become a knight in this hilarious story with comic-book-style illustrations. Max wants to be a knight – too bad that dream is about as likely as finding a friendly dragon. But when Max's uncle Budrick is kidnapped by the cruel King Gastley, Max has to act . . . and fast! Joined by a band of brave adventurers – the Midknights – Max sets out on a thrilling quest: to save uncle Budrick and restore the realm of Byjovia to its former glory! Continue the adventure Max and the Midknights: Battle of the Bodkins.

Saving Sorya – Chang and the Sun Bear

by Nguyen Thi Thu Trang

Book cover for Saving Sorya – Chang and the Sun Bear

7 - 1 1 years

Written by wildlife activist and scientist Trang Nguyen, Saving Sorya: Chang and the Sun Bear is an inspirational graphic novel adventure, based on a true story about a young conservationist who overcomes the odds to save a sun bear. When Chang discovers a bear farm near her home in Vietnam, she decides to do everything she can to save wild animals – by becoming a conservationist. But her toughest challenge yet comes when she makes a vow to return Sorya – the sun bear she raised from infancy – back to the wild.

Graphic novels for YA readers

Pumpkinheads

by Rainbow Rowell

Book cover for Pumpkinheads

Age 12+

Deja and Josiah have worked at the world's best pumpkin patch throughout high school; they reunite every September and part every Halloween. But this year is different – they are seniors and so this will be their last shift together. Instead of wallowing, Deja plans to visit all the sights and sample all the snacks. And maybe Josiah could finally talk to that cute girl he’s been mooning over for three years. Rainbow Rowell and Faith Erin Hicks have teamed up to create Pumpkinheads: a smart and swoony romance in full-colour graphic novel form.

Lunar New Year

by Gene Luen Yang

Book cover for Lunar New Year

Age 12+

Lunar New Year Love Story is a heartwarming, full colour, YA graphic novel rom-com about fate, family and falling in love. Val is ready to give up on love. It's led to nothing but secrets and heartbreak, and she's pretty sure she's cursed. But then a chance encounter with a pair of cute lion dancers sparks something in Val. Is it real love? Could this be her chance to break the family curse? Or is she destined to live with a broken heart forever.

Nothing Can Possibly Go Wrong

by Prudence Shen

Book cover for Nothing Can Possibly Go Wrong

Age 12+

Nate, the neurotic president of the robotics club, and Charlie, the laid-back basketball team captain, are unlikely friends. But their bond is tested when Nate's war against the cheerleaders leads to Charlie becoming their pawn in a fierce class election. The victor will determine the allocation of student group funding – either the robotics competition or new cheerleading uniforms, but not both.  

American Born Chinese

by Gene Luen Yang

Book cover for American Born Chinese

Age 12+

American Born Chinese weaves together three distinct yet interrelated tales: Jin Wang, a Chinese-American student yearning to fit in; the Monkey King, a character from one of China's storied fables; and Chin-Kee, the ultimate negative Chinese stereotype, who's also ruining his cousin Danny's life. These three seemingly unrelated tales come together with an unexpected twist, combining unlikely friendships and Chinese mythology in a modern fable that is hilarious, poignant, and action-packed.

Homebody

by Theo Parish

Book cover for Homebody

Age 14+

'Hello! I’m Theo. I like cats, Dungeons & Dragons, and I’m trans and non-binary. Ever since I was young, I’ve been on a journey to explore who I am. To discover the things that make me, me. Sometimes it can feel like the world is trying to fit you into a box, to label you one way or another, but there is nothing more wonderful than finding your true authentic self, whoever you are. Whether you are transgender or cisgender, we are all searching for ways to make our houses feel like homes.' This heartwarming graphic memoir tells the story of discovering how to live life on their own terms.

Hockey Girl Loves Drama Boy

by Faith Erin Hicks

Book cover for Hockey Girl Loves Drama Boy

Age 14+

Hockey Girl Loves Drama Boy is a heartwarming YA graphic novel, perfect for fans of Heartstopper. It tells the story of Alix, an ice hockey player, who after hitting her catty teammate, must learn to control her temper and she is sure Ezra, the cool and collected theatre kid, is the answer. As they spend time together, they grow closer, revealing more to Ezra than the calm front he puts on. This story explores friendships, relationships, and anger management, complete with black-and-white illustrations.