The best graphic novels about navigating friendships and family

Who am I?

Hi, my name is Scott SanGiacomo, (San-JAH-Ko-mo) from Massachusetts, U.S.A.

Stories have always been important to me. From the ones read to me as a boy; to the comics I devoured as an adolescent; all the way to the stories I read to my own children. I’m inspired to create stories and art that explore childhood and the universal themes that follow us into adulthood. I hope you enjoy my list of graphic novels about navigating friendships and family.

I wrote...

Bedhead Ted

By Scott SanGiacomo,

Book cover of Bedhead Ted

What is my book about?

Ten-year-old Ted just wants to fit in. But his wild, red hair is a target for school bullies. Fortunately, he has his best friend, Stacy, to take his mind off all the mean comments. But Stacy needs Ted’s help to uncover the truth of a local urban legend—the elusive giant raccoon known as the Brookside Beast!

However, after Stacy starts making new friends, Ted feels more alone and weirder than ever…until Ted discovers that he has a superpower! His hair can lift, stretch, and catch anything. For the first time in his life, Ted wonders if his unruly hair is a gift rather than a curse. Could it be the one thing that not only helps solve their town’s greatest mystery but also gets his best bud back?

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of Robot Dreams

Scott SanGiacomo Why did I love this book?

Not all friendships are easy, that’s for sure. This beautifully illustrated, wordless graphic novel is as funny as it is touching. Don’t let the lack of words fool you, this is a skillfully told story about a complicated relationship. I’m a fan of visual storytelling and Sara Varon is a master. I also like when a book takes a turn that you may not expect. It might not have the ending you hoped for, but it makes you think.

By Sara Varon,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Robot Dreams as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This affecting, charming graphic novel about a dog and a robot shows us in poignant detail how powerful and fragile relationships are. After a Labor Day jaunt to the beach leaves the robot rusted, immobilized in the sand, the dog must return alone to the life they shared. But the memory of their friendship lingers, and as the seasons pass, the dog tries to fill the emotional void left by the loss of his closest friend, making and losing a series of friends, from a melting snowman to epicurean anteaters. But for the robot, lying rusting on the beach, the…

Book cover of Space Dumplins

Scott SanGiacomo Why did I love this book?

I love a good adventure, don’t you? Craig Thompson has created a space-epic about friendship, family, and loyalty. Violet is a young girl who sets out on an adventure to save her Dad, who’s gone missing. With his usual jaw-dropping illustrations, this action-packed graphic novel is full of interesting characters, amazing settings, and cool spaceships! I found it to be very cinematic. It’s a fun ride, full of heart and important messages. Perfect for 8-14-year-olds who like to be engulfed in a new world.

By Craig Thompson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Space Dumplins 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?

'Like the twisted lovechild of Jack Kirby and Dr Seuss, Craig Thompson has created a new genre: the Adorable Epic.' JOSS WHEDON

From the Eisner award winning, New York Times bestselling author of Habibi and Blankets, comes this year's most exciting adventure.

For Violet, family is the most important thing in the whole galaxy. So when her father goes missing while on a hazardous job, she can't just sit around and do nothing. Throwing caution to the stars, she sets out with a group of misfit friends on a quest to find him. But space is a big and dangerous…

Book cover of Be Prepared

Scott SanGiacomo Why did I love this book?

Have you ever struggled to fit in? I’m not sure anyone is better at capturing this than the talented Vera Brosgol. This is a funny, honest, semi-autobiographical graphic novel about a young Vera navigating a particularly difficult Summer. I like stories that help me explore a different perspective, in this case - growing up Russian-American. This middle-grade book is funny and relatable, all while exploring the value of true friendship.

By Vera Brosgol,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Be Prepared as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 10, 11, 12, and 13.

What is this book about?

All Vera wants to do is fit in - but that's not easy for a Russian girl in the suburbs. Her friends live in fancy houses and their parents can afford to send them to the best summer camps. Vera's single mother can't afford that sort of luxury, but there's one summer camp in her price range - Russian summer camp.

Vera is sure she's found the one place she can fit in, but camp is far from what she imagined. And nothing could prepare her for all the 'cool girl' drama, endless Russian history lessons, and outhouses straight out…

Book cover of New Kid

Scott SanGiacomo Why did I love this book?

Seventh-grader and aspiring cartoonist, Jordan Banks is starting over at a prestigious new school where he struggles to fit in. If you’ve ever found yourself torn between two worlds- you’ll relate to this. Jordan has to learn to navigate his new school life, while trying to stay connected to his neighborhood friends. This is a book about staying true to yourself. It tackles the difficulty of being a kid of color in a predominantly white school, and everything that comes along with it. Jerry Craft does a great job infusing humor and heart into this very honest story.

By Jerry Craft,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked New Kid 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?

Winner of the Newbery Medal, Coretta Scott King Author Award, and Kirkus Prize for Young Readers' Literature!

Perfect for fans of Raina Telgemeier and Gene Luen Yang, New Kid is a timely, honest graphic novel about starting over at a new school where diversity is low and the struggle to fit in is real, from award-winning author-illustrator Jerry Craft.

Seventh grader Jordan Banks loves nothing more than drawing cartoons about his life. But instead of sending him to the art school of his dreams, his parents enroll him in a prestigious private school known for its academics, where Jordan is…

Book cover of Sidekicks

Scott SanGiacomo Why did I love this book?

A graphic novel about superhero pets? Yes, please! This is a super fun book (see what I did there?) perfect for young readers. Crime-stopping superhero, Captain Amazing is getting older. He’s starting to think it may be time to bring in a sidekick— his pets think they can help. With hilarious twists and turns - this wonderfully illustrated book is both heartwarming and laugh-out-loud funny. 

By Dan Santat,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Sidekicks 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?

Suit up for this high-octane graphic novel debut by Caldecott Medalist Dan Santat!

Captain Amazing, the hometown hero of Metro City, is so busy catching criminals that he rarely has time for his pets -- he hasn't even noticed they've been developing superpowers of their own!

So when Captain Amazing announces he needs a sidekick, his eager pets -- a dog, a hamster, and a chameleon -- all decide to audition for the part and a chance for one-on-one time with the Captain. But while each pet is focused on winning the coveted sidekick spot, an even bigger battle in…

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The Olympus Project

By Zoe Routh,

Book cover of The Olympus Project

Zoe Routh Author Of The Olympus Project

New book alert!

Who am I?

Author Leadership futurist Adventurist Former bellydancer Historical and speculative fiction nut Marathoner

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What is my book about?

The future is uncertain, and the stakes are high. Climate change has wreaked havoc on the planet, and humanity is on the brink of extinction. The only hope lies in the Olympus Project, a plan to colonise the moon and build on the Artemis Base.

Led by three of the best and brightest--Troy Bruin, Xavier Consus, and Xanthe Waters--they must battle both winner-take-all competition and their own differences in order to save humanity from destruction. But even as they search for a way to reconcile, a secret organisation is lurking in the shadows, threatening to extinguish their efforts and ensure humanity's downfall.

A gripping tale of leadership, ambition, and the indomitable human spirit.

The Olympus Project

By Zoe Routh,

What is this book about?

***WINNER: GOLD MEDAL in Fiction - Thriller - Environmental, Readers' Favorite Awards 2023***

They are the best. The brightest. The hope of humanity.

And they might destroy us all…

The future. Climate change has rendered much of the world desolate. Crops are failing. Rising seas have flooded coastal communities. The earth is dying, and humanity careens toward extinction.

Enter the Olympus Project—a plan to colonise the moon, building on the Artemis Base, led by three of humankind’s best and brightest: Troy Bruin, Xavier Consus, and Xanthe Waters.

But even the best and brightest can fall prey to humanity’s failing. Soon…

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