Bookmarked: Graphic Novels Shake up your reading routine with these nontraditional novels.

bookmarkedoctAs kids get older, the books they read have fewer and fewer pictures—and by the time they get to young adult fiction, the number of illustrations is next to none. One notable exception to this rule? Graphic novels, or stories told in comic-book format. Unlike comics, however, which focus on action and often occur in a series or an interconnected universe (think DC or Marvel), these stories generally stand alone and feature the depth and character development associated with traditional narratives. But that doesn’t make them any less fun to read, especially for kids who have a difficult time following along with text-heavy tales.

Ahead, check out some of the best graphic novels for middle-grade and YA readers (kids in younger age brackets have plenty of access to picture books, after all). Happy reading!s kids get older, the books they read have fewer and fewer pictures—and by the time they get to young adult fiction, the number of illustrations is next to none. One notable exception to this rule? Graphic novels, or stories told in comic-book format. Unlike comics, however, which focus on action and often occur in a series or an interconnected universe (think DC or Marvel), these stories generally stand alone and feature the depth and character development associated with traditional narratives. But that doesn’t make them any less fun to read, especially for kids who have a difficult time following along with text-heavy tales.

Middle Grade (Ages 8-12)

“Smile” by Raina Telgemeier

When Raina trips and suffers a serious injury to her teeth, she feels like she might never smile again—and that’s not taking into consideration all of the friend and boy drama that’s making sixth grade the worst year of her life.

P.S. Raina Telgemeier is a prolific graphic novelist—check out “Sisters,” “Drama” and all of her other great titles!

“The Invention of Hugo Cabret”
by Brian Selznick

Hugo Cabret is a young orphan living in a train station in Paris, whose only remaining connection to his family is in a strange mechanical invention left behind by his father. Follow Hugo as he works to unravel the mystery of the mechanical man in the midst of stunning, Caldecott Award-winning illustrations. Bonus: This graphic novel was made into a movie, “Hugo,” in 2011.

“Anya’s Ghost” by Vera Brosgol

Anya is already having a hard time fitting in with her new classmates—besides being smarter, snarkier and curvier, she’s also a Russian immigrant whose family is nothing like anyone else’s. But when she meets a 90-year-old ghost at the bottom of a well, any chance for normalcy flies out the window. Soon, however, she realizes that a ghostly bestie might be just what she needed all along.

“El Deafo” by Cece Bell

When Cece moves from a school for the deaf to a traditional public school, she’s sure that all people will notice about her is her hearing aid (a.k.a. Phonic Ear)—before she realizes that her “disability” is secretly her superpower.

Young Adult (ages 13-18)

“Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood” by Marjane Satrapi

This moving memoir tells the story of author Marjane’s childhood in Iran during the Islamic Revolution. Despite the difficulty in her life, Marjane is optimistic; her smart and funny observations show a different, more personal side of war and politics.

The “Scott Pilgrim” Series
by Bryan Lee O’Malley

Before it was a hilarious Michael Cera movie, Scott Pilgrim was a series of graphic novels about a Canadian slacker who falls in love with an American girl. To win her love, he is forced to defeat her seven evil exes. Hilarity ensues, promise.

“Lumberjanes” by Grace Ellis,
Erin Hicks, Noelle Stevenson and Shannon Watters

Okay, okay—you caught us. This is actually a comic book series, but it’s far from the Wham! Bam! Pow! conceits of the genre. “Lumberjanes” follows along with five friends at Miss Quinzella Thiskwin Penniquiqul Thistle Crumpet’s Camp for Hardcore Lady Types, a summer camp with a surprising supernatural edge. Oh, and besides being a ton of fun, the mystery series is a serious dose of girl power—the scouts are known to use the names of famous feminists in everyday conversation (e.g. “Oh my Bessie Coleman!”).

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