The best graphic novels for young reluctant readers

Why am I passionate about this?

As a child, I was obsessed with comics, whether it was Garfield, Calvin and Hobbes, or the Far Side, I would devour every one I could get my hands on. I discovered the joy of observing two storylines – the one the writing was telling me and one that the pictures were telling me. As I became a teacher, I realized the importance of pictures and stories working together to keep students engaged. The resurgence of graphic novels has now been a focus for me in my pedagogy practices as well as my pathway as an author-illustrator. 

I wrote...

Bizard the Bear Wizard

By Chrissie Krebs,

Book cover of Bizard the Bear Wizard

What is my book about?

Bear was just an average bear, until the day a tornado lodged an out-of-control wizard’s wand into his head. Now he looks a bit like a cross between a bear and a unicorn. Additionally, he has to accept his newfound magical powers and job position as he now grants wishes to everyone in the forest. Oh, and his name has now been changed to Bizard the Bear Wizard!

Just when things couldn’t get any worse, an evil wolf and his scheming companions trick Bizard into granting a wish that causes chaos for the rest of the forest community. Bizard, with a little help from his friends Owl, Fox, and Squirrel will need to come up with a plan to reverse the damage and restore peace within the forest.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of The Bad Guys

Chrissie Krebs Why did I love this book?

The Bad Guys series which chronicles the adventures of some stereotypically dangerous animals trying to do good and save the world pulled me in from page one.

You have humor (especially around bodily functions which always gets a giggle) and well-developed characters that are oftentimes naughty but incredibly likable. In the first episode, the book has been broken down into manageable chapters, the dialogue is not too lengthy and the high-paced illustrations communicate action and humor perfectly.

Young readers will certainly feel accomplished after completing this 144-page graphic novel.

By Aaron Blabey,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked The Bad Guys as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 7, 8, 9, and 10.

What is this book about?


"I wish I'd had these books as a kid. Hilarious!" -- Dav Pilkey, creator of Captain Underpants and Dog ManThis New York Times bestselling illustrated series is perfect for fans of Dog Man and Captain Underpants.They sound like bad guys, they look like bad guys . . . and they even smell like bad guys. But Mr. Wolf, Mr. Piranha, Mr. Snake, and Mr. Shark are about to change all of that...Mr. Wolf has a daring plan for the Bad Guys' first good mission. They are going to break two hundred dogs out of the…

Book cover of Grime and Punishment

Chrissie Krebs Why did I love this book?

Dav Pilkey’s Dogman series is full of silly humor that we all love to laugh and groan at.

The idea of a dog and a policeman being ‘Frankensteined’ together to create the ultimate crime fighter is something that young readers completely accept without any queasy afterthought. While the rest of us might squirm at the idea of stitching together a dog’s head on a headless policeman, Dav Pilkey manages to make the grotesque incredibly funny and heartwarming.

The illustrations are full of movement and humor and young readers will love the Flip-o-rama section which includes interactive pages where you get to make the drawings come to life by flipping the pages back and front. Young readers get more than just a reading experience from this series.

By Dav Pilkey, Dav Pilkey (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Grime and Punishment as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 7, 8, 9, and 10.

What is this book about?

The ninth great Dog Man adventure from the worldwide
bestselling author and artist Dav Pilkey. You'll howl with
The Supa Buddies bamboozled the baddies, but all's not right in
the world. Dog Man has a new problem to pound, and he's going
to need his entire pack to help him. Will he go barking up the
wrong tree?

Dav Pilkey's wildly popular Dog Man series appeals to
readers of all ages and explores universally positive themes, including:




and the importance of doing good.

Book cover of It's Me

Chrissie Krebs Why did I love this book?

Catwad is a book by the hilarious Jim Benton, the comic style of Catwad is silly and at times, outrageous which is just what you need to keep kids interested.

The comic is broken down into short and sweet chapters that are only a few pages long which is great for those that have trouble focusing for long periods of time. Benton’s character expressions are so animated and funny, kids can pick up what is going on even before they read the words.

By Jim Benton,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked It's Me as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 9, 10, 11, and 12.

What is this book about?

From New York Times best-selling author Jim Benton, meet Catwad! He's blue, he's a bit of a grouch, and his best friend is a dim-witted cat named Blurmp who can see the bright side of anything. From pizza and computers, to love and happiness, this crabby tabby has a funny take on just about everything, and he's not afraid to share it. This collection of short comic stories will make even the grumpiest of grouches crack up, and is not to be missed!

Book cover of Grumpy Monkey Freshly Squeezed

Chrissie Krebs Why did I love this book?

Following on from the success of the picture book The Grumpy Monkey, we follow Jim’s adventures again as he tries to go on a peaceful walk. The fact that kids will recognize the characters and the familiar banter between them will be a positive for them as they migrate to an early reader/comic. 

By Suzanne Lang, Max Lang (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Grumpy Monkey Freshly Squeezed as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 5, 6, 7, and 8.

What is this book about?

This early graphic novel chapter book based on the #1 New York Times bestselling Grumpy Monkey is perfect for children who love the original picture books and are ready for the next step. Features hilarious dialogue, multiple panels per page, and a longer storyline to keep kids laughing all the way to the end!

It's Wednesday! Which means it's time for Jim Panzee's weekly Wednesday walk. He wakes up, stretches a little, grabs his stress orange, and sets off. Jim's favorite part of the walk is the blissful silence. When he's alone, he can hear all the jungle sounds. Until…

Book cover of It's Owl Good: The Super Adventures of Ollie and Bea 1

Chrissie Krebs Why did I love this book?

This gorgeous early reader/comic series is full of illustrations to assist young readers with their comprehension of storyline.

There are themes of friendship and kindness as well as learning through discovery and mistakes is a wonderful message for young readers that are finding the journey of literacy comprehension a little trying. Also, the puns in the books are awfully good. 

By Renee Treml,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked It's Owl Good as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 4, 5, 6, and 7.

What is this book about?

Come with Ollie and Bea on a HARE-raising adventure with a HOPPY ending!

Ollie is an owl who wears glasses. And Bea is a bunny with very big feet. They don't know it yet, but they are about to be best friends. Can they help each other to find their OTTER-LY awesome inner superhero?

Join Ollie and Bea in this charming, funny, cute story about the joys of making friends and having fun. The perfect book for young readers who love to laugh.

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