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Graphic novels exist in the same sphere as picture books: they both incorporate varying levels of text mixed with illustration to convey a story, and they both require a certain understanding of how visual narratives flow across the page. Graphic novels are an inherently unique way to show and tell longer, more complex stories to an audience that appreciates visual storytelling as much as textual. The books on this list stand out as my favorites because they contain thoughtfully-crafted worlds in which the text and illustrations provide balanced parts of the story.

Written by Mark Siegel and Alexis Siegel, illustrated by Xanthe Bouma, Matt Rockefeller, and Boya Sun

The Five Worlds are on the brink of extinction, and when war erupts Oona Lee discovers that her destiny is much bigger than she ever could have imagined. The Sand Warrior is the first in the series.
American Born Chinese
Written and illustrated Gene Luen Yang

Gene Yang tells the story of three seemingly unrelated characters whose lives and stories come together in an unexpected way.
Amulet series
Written and illustrated by Kazu Kibuishi


When their mother is kidnapped, Emily and Navin set out into a world of robots, talking animals, and flying ships. But what Emily has yet to learn is that she's a Stonekeeper and essential to the survival of this world. Seven out of nine books are published.
Anne of Green Gables: A Graphic Novel
(publishes October 24, 2017)
Written by LM Montgomery, adapted by Mariah Marsden, illustrated by Brenna Thummler

In this graphic novel adaptation of L.M. Montgomery’s classic novel, 11-year-old orphan Anne Shirley moves to Green Gables, forever changing the lives of those around her.
The Big Bad Fox
Written by Benjamin Renner

This beautiful watercolored graphic novel tells the humorous tale of a fox who dreams of being the terror of the barnyard, but ends up being Mommy to three stolen baby chicks instead.
Written and illustrated by Jeff Smith

When cousins Fone Bone, Phoney Bone, and Smiley Bone are run out of their hometown, they find themselves in a mysterious new land filled with wonderful and terrifying creatures. Together with Thorn, Gran'ma Ben, and the Great Red Dragon, the three cousins set out on an epic journey.
Broxo
Written by Zack Giallongo


As the sole survivor of his tribe, Broxo spends his days hunting and hiding from the walking dead that occasionally wander by. When a princess named Zora arrives looking for Broxo's tribe, the two must come together to battle the living dead.
The Creepy Case Files of Margo Maloo
Written and illustrated by Drew Weing

When Charles moves to Echo City he joins forces with Margo Maloo, a monster mediator. Which turns out to be helpful since it seems that many of the monsters don't like Charles.
Drama
Written by Raina Telgemeier

Callie is a set designer for her drama department's stage crew, and this year she's determined to spend her middle-school-sized theater budget on a set worthy of a Broadway play.
Written by Hope Larson and illustrated by Rebecca Mock

It's 1860 in New York City when 12-year-old twins Alexander and Cleopatra's father disappears. But that doesn't even compare to the danger they find themselves in, followed by pirates who think they hold the key to treasure. Two books in the series have been published so far.
Real Friends
Written by Shannon Hale and illustrated by LeUyen Pham

Everyone in The Group wants to be Jen's #1, and some girls even result to bullying to stay on top. Every day is a roller coaster for Shannon as she learns how hard it is to find her real friends and why it's worth the journey.
Smile and Sisters
Written and illustrated by Raina Telgemeier

Two books in Raina Telgemeier's graphic memoir series, these stories follow Raina's middle school years as she deals with braces, boys, and her sister.
Written and illustrated by Matt Phelan

Phelan reimagines the infamous tale of a young maid escaping her evil step mother in graphic novel form, pulling from the noir genre to place Samantha White in the Roaring Twenties.
Written by Jennifer L Holm and illustrated by Matthew Holm

Brother-sister duo Jennifer and Matthew Holm explore Sunny's summer and fall as she adapts to new family dynamics and learns to understand the meaning of friendship. There are two books in the series so far.