©2019 by Clare Lund, Librarian on the Loose. All views are my own. I receive no compensation for reviews.

Graphic Novels

The first graphic novel that really resonated with me was Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi. I was fascinated by how her story came to life through the panels of black-and-white art and minimal text. I've seen graphic novels captivate all types of readers, and I personally enjoy them for a quick read!

 

Anya's Ghost

by Vera Brosgol

Magical realism / suspense

Ages 12 and up

A witty and creepy story of a teenage Russian immigrant who feels awkward and self-conscious at her high school. One day Anya falls into a well and discovers the bones of Emily, a girl her age who died 90 years ago, and whose ghost haunts her remains. Emily keeps showing up in Anya's life, acting helpful at times, and controlling at others. Anya is determined to solve Emily's murder so she can have justice and find peace.

Drowned City

by Don Brown

Nonfiction 
Ages 10 and up

This book features realistic illustrations and short, straightforward facts about Hurricane Katrina. It's a simple yet comprehensive overview of the storm and its aftermath, and doesn't shy away from issues like the incompetence, racism, and violence that took place. Appropriate for young readers with very little background knowledge, but still plenty for everyone to learn.

The Great American Dust Bowl is also by Don Brown, if you like his style.

Pashmina

by Nidhi Chanani

Magical realism 
Ages 8 and up

Priyanka lives in America with her mother, but longs to go back to India someday to see where her family came from. One day she discovers a pashmina in her mother’s closet that shows the woman who wears it a different future for herself, and these visions only further convince Priyanka that she needs to visit India. A magical journey with absolutely gorgeous illustrations!

Nathan Hale's Hazardous Tales Series

by Nathan Hale

Nonfiction 
Ages 8 and up

What a fun series! The first one I read was #2: Big Bad Ironclad, but each book can stand on its own. The stories are nonfiction with a humorous twist. Very engaging and very informative about lesser-known characters in American history.

Some others in this series: The Underground Abductor, Alamo Allstars, and The Raid of No Return.

Roller Girl

by Victoria Jamieson

Realistic fiction
Ages 8 and up

I adored this book, and it kind of made me want to dust of my old skates and join a roller derby league! Astrid and Nicole have always done everything together... but when Nicole ditches her for new friends at dance camp, Astrid decides that she needs to find a new hobby. Great themes of growing apart from friends, the power of positive role models, and channeling your inner fearless self.

The Stonekeeper

(Amulet #1)

by Kazu Kibuishi

Fantasy 
Ages 8 and up

This engaging book reminded me of Lord of the Rings meets Stranger Things. After the death of their father, Emily and Navin move with their mother to their great-grandfather's old home, which soon proves to be haunted. A monster captures their mom and takes her to another dimension inhabited by robots, demons, and talking animals, which Emily and Navin must navigate in order to save her. There are currently seven books in the series, with an eighth being released soon!

March, Books 1-3

by John Lewis

Nonfiction 
Ages 12 and up

At the March on Washington in 1963, nine people spoke alongside Martin Luther King, Jr. - but only one of them, Congressman John Lewis, is still alive today. Lewis shares his experiences as a student activist in the civil rights movement, planning lunch counter sit-ins, Freedom Rides, and the march from Selma to Montgomery. The violence and racial slurs he faced make this book more appropriate for older readers. A remarkable firsthand account of courage in action. All three should be read in order to get the whole story.

Smile

By Raina Telgemeier

Autobiographical 
Ages 8 and up

A graphic novel list isn't really complete without something by Raina Telgemeier! I had to go with Smile, her personal memoir about a serious mouth injury that resulted in years of orthodontic treatments. She perfectly captures the awkwardness of the middle school years in this sweet and humorous coming-of-age tale about gaining confidence and finding real friends.

Also check out Drama, Sisters, and Ghosts... plus she illustrated the first Baby-Sitters Club graphic novel adaptation!

Science Comics Series

Nonfiction 
Ages 8 and up

A colorful, accessible, and fun series all about science! The first one I read was Coral Reefs: Cities of the Ocean, and it was fascinating. I enjoyed it as an adult and learned plenty, but it was simple and engaging enough for a much younger reader. The whole series would be great for future scientists!

Other titles include: Cars, Wild Weather, The Brain, Solar System, Trees, Bats, Sharks, Flying Machines, Volcanoes, Dinosaurs, and more.