The best magical middle-grade graphic novels

Why am I passionate about this?

As a kid, I was obsessed with the fantastical, especially when it came to books. I was constantly trying to find my own door to Narnia to go off on an incredible adventure. While I never found a door that led to another world, I found that books offered me a similar experience…and all from the comfort of my fave places to read. Magic is still something I’m enthralled with and love exploring in books I read as well as the ones I write. And these are some of my favorite magical graphic novels.


I wrote...

Paranorthern: And the Chaos Bunny A-Hop-Calypse

By Stephanie Cooke,

Book cover of Paranorthern: And the Chaos Bunny A-Hop-Calypse

What is my book about?

It’s fall break in the supernatural town of North Haven, and young witch Abby’s plans include pitching in at her mom’s magical coffee shop, practicing her potion making, and playing board games with her best friends—a pumpkinhead, a wolf-girl, and a ghost. But when Abby finds her younger sister being picked on by some speed demons, she lets out a burst of magic so strong, it opens a portal to a realm of chaos bunnies. And while these bunnies may look cute, they’re about to bring the a-hop-ocalypse (and get Abby in a cauldronful of trouble) unless she figures out a way to reverse the powerful magic she unwittingly released. What’s a witch to do?

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of Anya's Ghost

Stephanie Cooke Why did I love this book?

One of my all-time faves is Anya’s Ghost. Vera Brosgol plays with a child’s loneliness and how toxic some friendships can be. Of course, this is pretty literal as Anya tries to navigate a relationship with a ghost that doesn’t exactly have the best intentions for her at heart. At its core though, this is a captivating story that—despite the supernatural elements—is something that many young people will see themselves in and be drawn to.

By Vera Brosgol,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked Anya's Ghost as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 12, 13, 14, and 15.

What is this book about?

Anya could really use a friend. But her new BFF isn't kidding about the "Forever" part . . .

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…


Book cover of Nightlights

Stephanie Cooke Why did I love this book?

This story plays more on our own insecurities and how that can take on a form of its own that torments us. Young people don’t always have the experience to put to words the things they’re feeling but not knowing if we’re good enough and the anxiety that stems from that is very relatable and universal. Lorena Alvarez does an incredible job of telling a story that weaves that in while presenting stunning, jaw-dropping art to her audience.

By Lorena Alvarez,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Nightlights as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 12, 13, 14, and 15.

What is this book about?

Every night, tiny stars appear out of the darkness in Sandy's bedroom.
Sandy catches them and creates wonderful creatures to play with until she falls asleep, and in the morning brings them back to life in the whimsical drawings that cover her room. One day, a mysterious pale girl called Morfie appears at school and is fascinated by Sandy's drawings in a way that no one else has been before. But there is a price to pay for this new friendship...


Book cover of The Okay Witch

Stephanie Cooke Why did I love this book?

As someone who grew up on Sabrina the Teenage Witch in Archie Digests as well as the TGIF sitcom, I have long had a soft spot for stories featuring witches. As a kid, you always think that magic is the pinnacle of exciting! And that’s how young Moth feels, especially as she finds out that she is a witch. Except her mom has sworn off of magic and doesn’t want that life for her daughter…which I feel for Moth being extremely upset about it. She has to find a way to get in touch with her roots, learn about her magic, and discover secrets about her past that are intriguing and exciting! It’s such a fun story told by a talented creator. Everything about this book is—wait for it—magical!

By Emma Steinkellner,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Okay Witch as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 8, 9, 10, and 11.

What is this book about?

A School Library Journal Best Graphic Novel of 2019
A YALSA 2020 Quick Pick for Reluctant Young Adult Readers
A YALSA 2020 Great Graphic Novel for Teens

Sabrina the Teenage Witch meets Roller Girl in this hilarious, one-of-a-kind graphic novel about a half-witch who has just discovered the truth about herself, her family, and her town and is doing her best to survive middle school now that she knows everything!

Magic is harder than it looks.

Thirteen-year-old Moth Hush loves all things witchy. But she's about to discover that witches aren't just the stuff of movies, books, and spooky stories.…


Book cover of Tidesong

Stephanie Cooke Why did I love this book?

If, like me, you’re a fan of Studio Ghibli films like Spirited Away or Ponyo, then this graphic novel is for you. It not only tackles a story revolving around growing up with magic but it adds in many other things that many of us have struggled with such as family expectations, living up to your potential, and more. Of course, everything feels a little more exciting when magic is added to the mix, but those themes that exist in the real world ground this story and allow for a strong connection to Sophie, our young protagonist.

By Wendy Xu,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Tidesong as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 8, 9, 10, and 11.

What is this book about?

Perfect for fans of Studio Ghibli and The Tea Dragon Society, this is a magically heartwarming graphic novel about self-acceptance and friendship.

Sophie is a young witch whose mother and grandmother pressure her to attend the Royal Magic Academy—the best magic school in the realm—even though her magic is shaky at best. To train for her entrance exams, Sophie is sent to relatives she’s never met.

Cousin Sage and Great-Aunt Lan seem more interested in giving Sophie chores than in teaching her magic. Frustrated, Sophie attempts magic on her own, but the spell goes wrong, and she accidentally entangles her…


Book cover of Garlic and the Vampire

Stephanie Cooke Why did I love this book?

This is a little different in how it approaches magic. Garlic is a sentient vegetable that has been brought to life by a witch residing in the woods. She’s tasked with confronting a vampire that has come to town (since they’re not fans of garlic…) and helping to keep her friends safe. Garlic suffers from anxiety though and this is a big ask for someone who second-guesses herself a lot. It’s a delightful adventure though, and between the heart put into the story and the fun little jokes, I was smiling the whole way through.

By Bree Paulsen,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Garlic and the Vampire as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 8, 9, 10, and 11.

What is this book about?

An enchanting, farm-fresh debut graphic novel starring an unusual heroine who is braver than she realizes, for middle grade readers looking for a cozy, adventuresome read in the vein of Witch Boy or Be Prepared.

Garlic feels as though she's always doing something wrong. At least with her friend Carrot by her side and the kindly Witch Agnes encouraging her, Garlic is happy to just tend her garden, where it's nice and safe.

But when her village of vegetable folk learns that a bloodthirsty vampire has moved into the nearby castle, they all agree that, in spite of her fear…


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Totally Turtles!

By Ginjer L. Clarke,

Book cover of Totally Turtles!

Ginjer L. Clarke Author Of Animal Invaders: Creatures Causing Trouble

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

Author Hiker Reader Dancer Nature & science lover Social justice activist

Ginjer's 3 favorite reads in 2023

What is my book about?

Did you know that leatherback turtles can weigh up to 2,000 pounds? Or that the Florida softshell turtle can breathe through its snout and its skin? Turtles have been around for millions of years, and we’re still learning more about them!

With simple language and vivid photographs, Totally Turtles! is perfect for emerging readers curious about turtles and how they have managed to adapt, survive, and thrive for so long. Learn about the fascinating world of turtles, from sea to land and everywhere in between.

Totally Turtles!

By Ginjer L. Clarke,

What is this book about?

Learn about turtles and their many talents in this nonfiction leveled reader perfect for kids interested in these shelled creatures and their lives on land and in the water!

Did you know that leatherback turtles can weigh up to two thousand pounds? Or that the Florida softshell turtle can breathe through its snout and its skin? Turtles have been around for millions of years and we're still learning more about them!

With simple language and vivid photographs, Totally Turtles! is perfect for emerging readers curious about turtles and how they have managed to adapt, survive, and thrive for so long.


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