Starting Out with Graphic Novels

Our younger daughter’s radar for equity and fairness often focuses in on comparing which books she and her older sister have. Luckily, most books are relatively easy to share! However, not all of the graphic novels our older daughter is reading are both appropriate and interesting for our younger daughter. Babymouse and Lunch Lady have been winners for both girls, Super Agent Jon Le Bon and Plants vs. Zombies not so much. I’ve included some of our favorite graphic novels for even younger readers, with special thanks to my brother for introducing us to them. Enjoy!



Benny and Penny books by Geoffrey Hayes

Benny and Penny are young mice who work through typical elementary school issues and sibling squabbles, such as not being in sync about how and when to play together or not wanting to play with someone who breaks toys. The brother and sister pair always resolves their issues in ways that young readers will relate to and appreciate.



Bird & Squirrel books by James Burks

The two friends Bird and Squirrel follow in the tradition of Elephant and Piggie, Frog and Toad, and other unlikely friends. Bird is daring and optimistic, while Squirrel is cautious and fearful. The friendship persists through danger and adventures (even resulting in a theme song!) Adventures often require Squirrel to find a reserve of bravery deep within himself. Note that the pair is often chased by predators, which very young children may find scary.



Owly books by Andy Runyon

These books describe events in the everyday lives of Owly and his friends. They grapple with issues such as rain and mean insects or birds. The books are gentle, making them well suited for very young children, but perhaps not as interesting to older children. The stories are told with few words, providing young readers with an opportunity to learn about the structure of graphic novels and to make up their own narratives.


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