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?

The books I picked & why

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Robot Dreams

By Sara Varon,

Book cover of Robot Dreams

Why 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.

Space Dumplins: A Graphic Novel

By Craig Thompson,

Book cover of Space Dumplins: A Graphic Novel

Why 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.

Be Prepared

By Vera Brosgol,

Book cover of Be Prepared

Why 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.

New Kid

By Jerry Craft,

Book cover of New Kid

Why 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 Dan Santat,

Book cover of Sidekicks

Why 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. 

5 book lists we think you will like!

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And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

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