The best magical middle-grade graphic novels

Who am I?

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?

The books I picked & why

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Anya's Ghost

By Vera Brosgol,

Book cover of Anya's Ghost

Why 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.


Nightlights

By Lorena Alvarez,

Book cover of Nightlights

Why 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.


The Okay Witch: Volume 1

By Emma Steinkellner,

Book cover of The Okay Witch: Volume 1

Why 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!


Tidesong

By Wendy Xu,

Book cover of Tidesong

Why 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.


Garlic and the Vampire

By Bree Paulsen,

Book cover of Garlic and the Vampire

Why 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.


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