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Find more Top 10 Graphic Novels for Youth
What a difference a year makes! While last year’s Top 10 list didn’t have a single title recommended for readers under grade six, this year’s list demonstrates the growing body of work available for emerging readers. Balancing those are some of the most innovative offerings we’ve seen yet for older readers. This truly all-ages list, representing the best comics reviewed within the past 12 months, has something for everyone.
Benny and Penny in Just Pretend. By Geoffrey Hayes. Illus. by the author. 2008. Raw Junior/TOON, $12.95 (9780979923807). PreS–Gr. 1.
Emphasizing repetition and word recognition, and with old-fashioned artwork that will help even the youngest readers differentiate between a comic and a picture book, this title explores sibling friction with charm and style.
Coraline. By Neil Gaiman. Illus. by P. Craig Russell. 2008. HarperCollins, paper, $18.99 (9780060825430). Gr. 4–7.
Adapted from Gaiman’s novel about a girl stuck in a mirror world that eerily mimics her own, this virtuoso graphic novel plays nightmarish imagery against the enduring humanity and cleverness of young Coraline.
Into the Volcano. By Don Wood. Illus. by the author. 2008. Scholastic/Blue Sky, $18.99 (9780439726719). Gr. 4–7.
An explosive mix of science and action, this story takes readers deep into the heart of an active volcano, where family secrets are not the only things uncovered by two squabbling brothers.
Magic Pickle. By Scott Morse. Illus. by the author. 2008. Scholastic/Graphix, paper, $9.99 (9780439879958). Gr. 2–4.
An irresistibly goofy premise meets with accomplished execution in this action-packed and humorous adventure, where a supersecret government weapon/superhero dubbed Weapon Kosher bursts into young Jojo’s life.
Otto’s Orange Day. By Frank Cammuso and Jay Lynch. Illus. by Frank Cammuso. 2008. Raw Junior/TOON, $12.95 (9780979923821). K–Gr. 2.
Lynch and Cammuso offer this easy-to-read yet immensely entertaining story of a cat who wishes that everything was as orange as he is.
Prince of Persia. By A. B. Sina. Illus. by LeUyen Pham. 2008. Roaring Brook/First Second, paper, $16.95 (9781596432079). Gr. 9–12.
The seminal video-game franchise is given a fresh life in this story of dual princes, separated by 400 years, each navigating legend and honor in the deserts of Persia.
Rapunzel’s Revenge. By Shannon Hale and Dean Hale. Illus. by Nathan Hale. 2008. Bloomsbury, $18.99 (9781599900704). Gr. 5–8.
This unique graphic novel transports the classic Rapunzel fairy tale to the swashbuckling Wild West and transforms the damsel in distress into a spunky and self-reliant heroine.
Sound Off! The Adventures of Daniel Boom aka Loud Boy. By D. J. Steinberg. Illus. by Brian Smith. 2008. Grosset & Dunlap, paper, $5.99 (9780448446981). Gr. 3–5.
Sparkling with visual wit, this superbly paced adventure turns young Daniel, whose voice can shatter glass, and his fellow classmates from normal kids into superheroes.
Tales from Outer Suburbia. By Shaun Tan. Illus. by the author. 2009. Scholastic/Arthur A. Levine, $19.99 (9780545055871). Gr. 7–12.
The much-revered creator of The Arrival (2007) follows up with this bizarre but extraordinary collection of illustrated tales that combines spare text with dazzling, haunting artwork.
That Salty Air. By Tim Sievert. Illus. by the author. 2008. Top Shelf, paper, $10 (9781603090056). Gr. 11–12.
With minimal words and crisp black-and-white art, Sievert tells the story of an obsessive man battling emotional turmoil that takes the form of a monstrous squid.
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