The best middle-grade graphic novels about unexpected superheroes

Who am I?

I am a professional dabbler who has tried things from beekeeping, duck herding, race car driving, coding, and filmmaking. But I am famously known as the author and illustrator of imaginative and fun children’s books and comics. My latest book is the hilarious supervillain graphic novel Mischief and Mayhem. It’s a story about Missy who gets kicked out of superhero boot camp and ends up as a supervillain (a nice and friendly one). I’ve always enjoyed reading about unexpected heroes and characters who flip the script. We all have challenges in our lives and when we face them head-on is when we truly find the heroes in ourselves.

I wrote...

Born to Be Bad

By Ken Lamug,

Book cover of Born to Be Bad

What is my book about?

Mischief and Mayhem are your respectably heinous villains. They’ll spoil new movies, steal cake from parties they weren’t invited to, and hit the good citizens where it’ll dirty them most—their toilet paper. But before Mischief and Mayhem were ever supervillains, they were just Missy and Gizmo, fresh recruits at Superhero boot camp. Except Missy lied on her hero application and has exactly zero superpowers, just her brainpower. Humiliated when caught and kicked out, she has only one fellow camp recruit who is willing to stand by her—Melvira.

Melvira has her own villainous agenda, and it involves helping Missy cross the line into villainy as her new alter ego, Mischief. But something about Melvira doesn’t sit right with Missy, and soon she’ll be called upon to battle her former best friend.

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The books I picked & why

The Bad Guys

By Aaron Blabey,

Book cover of The Bad Guys

Why did I love this book?

They may look like bad guys or even smell like bad guys - but this crew of animal predators (Mr. Wolf, Mr. Snake, Mr. Shark, and Mr. Piranha) are trying their best to change that negative perception. This series by Aaron Blabey is a wonderful introduction to the graphic novel format. It’s easy to read, fully illustrated, has lovable characters, and has an action-packed storyline. I love how Aaron flips the script and makes the bad guys the actual heroes. 

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.

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 Agent 9: Flood-A-Geddon!

Why did I love this book?

In this fast-paced action-adventure, super-secret agent Agent 9 has to stop King Crab and his diabolical plans to melt the polar ice caps and build a massive water park. If that doesn’t grab your attention, I have no doubt that James Burks’ wonderful and dynamic illustrations will. There are chase scenes, explosions, and humor on every page that’ll surely keep the reader hooked with every turn. I love how Agent 9 has to address her own personal struggles so she can level up and win the day. A very welcome addition to any children’s graphic novel bookshelf.

By James Burks,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Agent 9 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"Funny, adorable, and action-packed!" —Kazu Kibuishi, #1 New York Times bestselling creator of the Amulet series

From the creator of the Bird & Squirrel graphic novel series, comes this hilarious and action-packed new series which follows a feline secret agent who will do whatever it takes to save the world—even if it means destroying a few things along the way.

The Super-Secret Spy Service’s mission is to keep the world safe from maniacal villains. And Agent 9 is one of its best operatives. Although Nine always manages to complete the mission, there is occasionally some collateral damage (like the priceless…

Book cover of Lunch Lady and the Cyborg Substitute: Lunch Lady #1

Why did I love this book?

The place you least expect for a hero to turn up is the lunchroom and that’s exactly what we get here. In this issue of a long-running series Lunch Lady and Betty, her assistant, investigate the strange case of a missing teacher, a creepy substitute, and how this all connects with the Teacher of the Year award. Scenes in the story revolve around the school which will make it relatable to school-going readers. Kids will have a new respect for people around them as they identify who could potentially be a hero in their own small way. 

By Jarrett J. Krosoczka,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Lunch Lady and the Cyborg Substitute as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From the author of National Book Award finalist Hey, Kiddo.

Serving justice . . . and lunch!

Hector, Terrence, and Dee have always wondered about their school lunch lady. What does she do when she isn’t dishing out the daily special? Where does she live? Does she have a lot of cats at home? Little do they know, Lunch Lady doesn’t just serve sloppy joes—she serves justice! Whatever danger lies ahead, it’s no match for LUNCH LADY!

Meet the Bigfeet

By Kevin Sherry,

Book cover of Meet the Bigfeet

Why did I love this book?

Blizz Richards is a Yeti and he lives in Nepal. He also has a secret headquarters where he does a lot of research on other creatures like himself who hide from the outside world. I love that Blizz is a researcher as it shows the power of someone who enjoys learning about the world around them. But in this issue, Blizz has to find his cousin Brian who has disappeared after a photo of him appeared in the news. This book will open up the readers to an exciting new world outside their own.

By Kevin Sherry,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Meet the Bigfeet as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Yetis, Bigfeet and goblins abound in this hilarious new illustrated
series from a bestselling author/illustrator!

Blizz Richards is a great guy, a caring boss and a loyal friend.
Oh, yeah ... he's also a yeti! He's made it his life's mission to
study cryptids like him; hidden animals who have taken a powerful
oath to never be seen by the outside world.

So when a photo of Cousin Brian becomes a media sensation, Brian
can't handle the guilt and disappears. But it's time for the annual
Bigfoot family reunion, and it won't be the same without him.
Luckily, Blizz and…

Real Pigeons Fight Crime

By Andrew McDonald, Ben Wood (illustrator),

Book cover of Real Pigeons Fight Crime

Why did I love this book?

The last thing you expect pigeons to do is to fight crime but that’s exactly what this secret squad of crime-fighting feathered friends are up to. The book is easy to read and has a fair amount of words but that won’t matter because the reader will be fully engaged in all the hilarity and excitement. These pigeons won’t stop until all mysteries are solved and the neighborhood is crime-free! Fun & great way of easing kids into reading chapter books.

By Andrew McDonald, Ben Wood (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Real Pigeons Fight Crime as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

It's a bird! It's a plane! It's-wait, it really IS a bird! Take another look, because what looks like an ordinary pigeon might just be a hero saving your butt! Meet the crime-fighting pigeons secretly flying around chasing bad guys in this hilarious illustrated series perfect for fans of BAD GUYS and DOG MAN.

What do REAL PIGEONS do? They fight crime, of course! Wait, what? You didn't know your town is protected by a secret squad of crime-fighting feathered friends? Well, you are about to get schooled. REAL PIGEONS solve mysteries! REAL PIGEONS fight bad guys! And REAL PIGEONS…

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