1) Anya’s Ghost by Vera Brosgol
Originally, I was a little skeptical of I would like this book, but in the end I think I would give it three stars. It wasn’t bad if you just looked at it as a graphic novel, but the story it told as a graphic novel paled in comparison to Derek Kirk Kim and Gene Luen Yang’s work. A good graphic novel with a fairly good story, but it seemed rushed.
Synopsis: Of all the things Anya expected to find at the bottom of an old well, a new friend was not one of them. Especially not a new friend who’s been dead for a century. Falling down a well is bad enough, but Anya’s normal life might actually be worse. She’s embarrassed by her family, self-conscious about her body, and she’s pretty much given up on fitting in at school. A new friend—even a ghost—is just what she needs.
Or so she thinks.
pg count for the hardback: 221
Recommended for Girls and Boys 11-14, supernatural fans, ghost fans
2) Amulet, Vol. 1: The Stonekeeper by Kazu Kibuishi
I’ve always been a huge fan of Kabu Kibuishi. He’s on my top ten favorite graphic novel writers. This story is really fun, magical and the art is really cool and beautiful.
Synopsis: After the tragic death of their father, Emily and Navin move with their mother to the home of her deceased great-grandfather, but the strange house proves to be dangerous. Before long, a sinister creature lures the kids’ mom through a door in the basement. Em and Navin, desperate not to lose her, follow her into an underground world inhabited by demons, robots, and talking animals.
Eventually, they enlist the help of a small mechanical rabbit named Miskit. Together with Miskit, they face the most terrifying monster of all, and Em finally has the chance to save someone she loves.
pg count for the hardback: 192
Recommended for Girls and Boys 10-14, more action and adventure
3) American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang
For Gene Luen Yang, this was a debut book to me. And it was certainly not disappointing. I was very satisfied with the ending and how the plotline went. This is a complex story that goes back and forth between three main characters. The pasts of the characters are interesting, the book itself is hilarious and the art is woven straight into the story–a representation of the story, a part of it, which is how graphic novels should be. This is one of my favorite graphic novels.
Synopsis: American Born Chinese tells the story of three apparently unrelated characters: Jin Wang, who moves to a new neighborhood with his family only to discover that he’s the only Chinese-American student at his new school; the powerful Monkey King, subject of one of the oldest and greatest Chinese fables; and Chin-Kee, a personification of the ultimate negative Chinese stereotype, who is ruining his cousin Danny’s life with his yearly visits. Their lives and stories come together with an unexpected twist in this action-packed modern fable. American Born Chinese is an amazing ride, all the way up to the astonishing climax.
pg count for the paperback: 233
Recommended for Boys 10-14
4) Same Difference by Derek Kirk Kim
This book is laugh-out-loud funny. I swear it is. Especially if you’re Korean–trust me, I know. Few people can represent the Asian kid lifestyle like Derek Kirk Kim and Gene Luen Yang can. Even though this book is short, it’s definitely worth a read.
Synopsis: This book is about Simon and Nancy, two Korean-Americans in their twenties. From beginning to end, readers have the opportunity to eavesdrop on their conversations, ranging from trivial banter to more introspective discussions about love and purpose. For both Simon and Nancy, their lives end up making them come back to Pacifica, the town where Simon grew up.
pg count for the hardcover: 96
Recommended for Girls and Boys 12-15
5) Atomic Robo and the Fightin’ Scientists of Tesladyne by Brian Clevinger and Scott Wegener
Synopsis: In 1923, Nikola Tesla’s career is in its twilight… until he unveils a robot with automatic intelligence – ATOMIC ROBO! After decades of dealing with all manner of weirdness, Atomic Robo and the so-called Action Scientists of Tesladyne become the go-to defense force against the unexplained! See ROBO take on Nazis, giant ants, clockwork mummies, walking pyramids, Mars, cyborgs, and his nemesis, Baron von Helsingard, in his first trade paperback graphic novel.
pg count for the paperback: 180
Recommended for Boys 10-13
6) Bone by Jeff Smith
Synopsis: After being run out of Boneville, the three Bone cousins, Fone Bone, Phoney Bone, and Smiley Bone, are separated and lost in a vast uncharted desert. One by one, they find their way into a deep, forested valley filled with wonderful and terrifying creatures…
pg count for the paperback: 140
Recommended for Boys 10-12
7) Watchmen by Alan Moore
Synopsis: This graphic novel chronicles the fall from grace of a group of super-heroes plagued by all-too-human failings. Along the way, the concept of the super-hero is dissected as the heroes are stalked by an unknown assassin.
pg count for paperback: 408
Series: Watchmen Complete
Recommended for Boys and Girls 12-15
8) Hellboy, Vol. 1: Seed of Destruction by Mike Mignola
Synopsis: When strangeness threatens to engulf the world, a strange man will come to save it. Sent to investigate a mystery with supernatural overtones, Hellboy discovers the secrets of his own origins, and his link to the Nazi occultists who promised Hitler a final solution in the form of a demonic avatar.
pg count for the paperback: 128
Recommended for Boys 12-14, fans of the movie Hellboy
9) Owly, Vol. 1: The Way Home & The Bittersweet Summer by Andy Runton
I was reluctant to read this book because it seems kind of childish, but the book itself is cute overall and Owly was enjoyable. A fun, quick, light read.
Synopsis: Owly is a kind, yet lonely, little owl who’s always on the lookout for new friends and adventure. The first graphic novel in the series contains two enchanting novellas, “The Way Home” & “The Bittersweet Summer,” wherein Owly discovers the meaning of friendship, and that saying goodbye doesn’t always mean forever.
pg count for the paperback: 160
Recommended for Boys and Girls 5-8
10) Smile by Raina Telgemeier
A really fun read chronicling what it’s like to get braces, have them and have to completely maneuver your teeth. I remember when I first got braces….the lady said it wouldn’t hurt to get braces so I automatically assumed I would be sore for the next two-three days after I first got them. Unluckily for me, I was right….
Synopsis: Raina just wants to be a normal sixth grader. But one night after Girl Scouts she trips and falls, severely injuring her two front teeth. What follows is a long and frustrating journey with on-again, off-again braces, surgery, embarrassing headgear, and even a retainer with fake teeth attached. And on top of all that, there’s still more to deal with: a major earthquake, boy confusion, and friends who turn out to be not so friendly. In the midst of it all, Raina finds herself and new, true friends to surround her.
pg count for the hardcover: 224
Recommended for Girls 9-13
11) Cardboard by Doug TenNapel
I’d read some of Doug TenNapel’s previous books, and I wasn’t all that impressed so I was skeptical to read this book, but I have to say that I wasn’t dissapointed again.
Synopsis: Cam’s down-and-out father gives him a cardboard box for his birthday and he knows it’s the worst present ever. So to make the best of a bad situation, they bend the cardboard into a man-and to their astonishment, it comes magically to life. But the neighborhood bully, Marcus, warps the powerful cardboard into his own evil creations that threaten to destroy them all!
pg count for the paperback: 288
Recommended for Boys and Girls 10-13
12) Calvin and Hobbes by Bill Watterson
I love Calvin and Hobbes! It’s a great series that I think all true cartoon/comic book lovers should read! Super funny and the illustrations are fabulous.
Synopsis: Who doesn’t love Calvin, the over imaginative, mischievous child, with his imaginary tiger friends Hobbes? His antics drive his parents to the brink of insanity and he loves pondering about his Captain Spiff fantasies during class. He is always either making excuses for not having the healthy (read: disgusting) food he has been served, or advocating children’s right to vote in crucial decision like bed time hours, or irritating his friend Susie.
pg count for the paperback: 128
Series: Calvin and Hobbes
Recommended for EVERYONE
13) Flight, Vol. 1 by Kazu Kibuishi
Synopsis: Technically, this book isn’t by Kazu Kibuishi. He editted it and brought it together, but it’s a series of stories by all different authors. Many, many different graphic novelists. A lot fun to read with tons of good stories. This first book is about stories mainly about the concept of flight, thus, the name. The other books aren’t like that though, so if you don’t like the first one I suggest you try some of the other ones.
pg count for the paperback: 208
Recommended for Girls and Boys 12-14
The joy of comics represented by Calvin and Hobbes: