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Graphic novels exist in the same sphere as picture books: they both use text and illustration to create a cohesive story, and they both require a certain understanding of how visual narratives flow across the page. With the added length in pages, though, graphic novels stand apart as a unique way to show and tell longer, more complex stories to an audience that appreciates visual storytelling as much as textual (ie picture books for older audiences!).

Here are my favorite graphic novels published within the last 10 years for grade schoolers:

Hidden: A Child's Story of the Holocaust
Written by Loic Dauvillier, illustrated by Marc Lizano, inked by Greg Salsedo, translated by Alexis Siegel

A grandmother tells her granddaughter the story of how, as a young Jewish girl in Paris, she was hidden away from the Nazis by a series of neighbors and friends who risked their lives to keep her alive when her parents had been taken to concentration camps. It's touching to watch the generations bond and learn more about each other in this heartfelt tale of a Jewish child surviving the Holocaust.
Hilda series
Written and illustrated by Luke Pearson


Hilda is an adventurous girl who lives with her mother and a deerfox named Twig. The trio encounters everything magical, from trolls to giants to invisible people, both when they're living in the country and then when they move to the city in later books. Hands-down one of the best series out there right now. Five books have published in the series so far.
Hippopotamister
Written and illustrated by John Patrick Green


Hippo hardly ever gets any visitors at the zoo, so he and his friend Red Panda head out into the human world. But to survive –– and more importantly, blend in –– Hippo has to become a Hippopotamister. He has to wear human clothes, learn human jobs, and act as human as possible. But is it worth all the disguises if he never gets to be himself?
Laser Moose and Rabbit Boy series
Written and illustrated by Doug Savage

Meet Laser Moose, defender of the forest, and his sidekick Rabbit Boy! This hilarious, upbeat duo battles everything from aliens to a cyborg porcupine to a mechanical squirrel to even a chickadee to keep the forest safe from evil. Two books have published in the series so far.
Narwhal and Jelly series
Written and illustrated by Ben Clanton

Join Narwhal, a happy-go-lucky narwhal, and Jelly, no-nonsense jellyfish, as they discover the ocean together! These early "chapter" books are divided into three stories for three times the waffle fun. Two books have published in the series so far, with the third due out April 2018.
Where's Halmoni?
Written and illustrated by Julie Kim

Two young children pay a visit to their Halmoni ("grandmother" in Korean) and quickly find themselves on an unexpected journey through a fantastical world. The two children follow a set of tracks deeper and deeper into this Korean world, encountering characters of all shapes and sizes from their culture's folklore. It's a book that needs to be experienced to be understood, and that's half of what makes it so magical.
Wordplay
Written and illustrated by Ivan Brunetti

This early reader is a wonderfully hilarious introduction to compound words and proves how much there is to love about the English language. I easily tire of word concept books, but this one had me cracking up.

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