Our older daughter has recently surprised me with a passion for graphic novels. Thanks to my brother, who often gives us graphic novels as gifts, we have a solid start at building a collection. Graphic novels are sometimes criticized for the level of violence in them and the way they depict women. However, my brother is well-versed in the range of graphic novels available and avoids giving us any that may fall into either of those categories. I’ve listed some of our favorites below. Enjoy!
Babymouse series by Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm
The Babymouse books were our first foray into graphic novels. These books tackle everyday tween issues, such as trying to fit in, struggles with schoolwork, coping with “mean girls,” and wanting to be popular, in a humorous way. Babymouse’s rich imagination and solid set of friends helps her survive many of the trials of growing up. Note that Babymouse is often taunted and called names by her nemesis, Felicia Furrypaws, but finds ways to cope with it. The Holm siblings have also created another graphic novel series, Squish, which is about an amoeba. While it didn’t resonate with our daughters as much as the Babymouse series did, it might be a great fit for your reader!
Lunch Lady series by Jarrett J. Krosoczka
Lunch Lady and her sidekick, Betty, work together in the school cafeteria serving up meals to students until a villain comes onto the scene. They then fight back with gadgets invented by Betty, such as the spork phone and fish-stick nunchucks. The Breakfast Club, three students named Hector, Dee, and Terrence, often work with Lunch Lady and Betty against the villains. The books are fast paced. Like many superhero books, these books do contain physical violence, but the comical nature of the weapons and lack of gore keep the violence relatively mild.
Babysitters Club series by Raina Telgemeier
Based on the series by Ann M. Martin, the Babysitters Club graphic novels update a favorite from a few decades ago. A group of friends forms a club that offers babysitting services. These books navigate issues of friendship, work, health, and growing up in a relatable way. I was particularly impressed with how a diagnosis of diabetes is handled in #2 The Truth About Stacy. (Our older daughter also loved the graphic novels Smile and Drama, both by Raina Telgemeier, even more than the Babysitters Club books. Some of the themes in both of these would be best suited for more emotionally mature readers.)