Graphic Novels

What’s New: 2020 Graphic Novels for Children

smile soverIt’s hard to imagine, but about seven years ago when parents and kids would ask me for graphic novels similar to Raina Telgemeier’s Smile, there wasn’t a lot to choose from. Sure, there were lots of superhero comics, manga series, and Sunday funnies classics like Garfield or Calvin and Hobbes, but Telgemeier was one of the first to realize how much kids would like seeing themselves reflected in contemporary fiction graphic novels. Thankfully, she wasn’t the last!

Today our graphic novel shelves are filled with all sorts of genres from horror to humor—but contemporary fiction still tops the list as one of the most popular! Because you can’t come in to browse our shelves right now to see what’s new, I’m highlighting some good ones that have come out in the past eight months or so. Click the link to find the book in our catalog and choose “Request It” to place a hold on the title. When it’s time to pick it up, come to one of our Sidewalk Service locations

To keep on top of more new graphic novels as we get them in the library, use this link to access our “Featured Lists” within our Classic Catalog and scroll to the bottom to get to the list of New Children’s Graphic Novels. All of the lists on this page are updated monthly.

Ready for some good books?

shirley and jamila coverShirley and Jamila Save Their Summer

When Jamila moves to a new town, her strict mother won't let her go to the basketball courts by herself. Then she meets Shirley, who's brilliant at her self-assigned job of neighborhood detective, but not so great at making friends. When the two join forces so they can both get what they want, they discover they have more in common than they originally thought. More than just a mystery, this graphic novel features very real-seeming kids figuring out how to negotiate friendships and creating community. 

stars are scattered coverWhen Stars Are Scattered

This memoir by Omar Mohamed and Victoria Jamieson (who wrote and drew Roller Girl) recounts Omar’s life with his disabled brother in a refugee camp in Kenya after they flee war-torn Somalia. Omar longs to go to school to better his chances of someday going to America, but his first priority is taking care of his brother. Despite the boredom, frustration, and hardship of living in the camp, Omar manages to keep his hope alive and create a future for him and his brother.

snapdragon coverSnapdragon

This story focuses on nonconformist, animal loving Snapdragon who rescues some baby possums and enlists the local "witch" to help her, but it is so much more! Each member of the diverse cast of characters is fully developed, from Snap’s transitioning friend Lulu to Snap’s single mother to Jacks the witch herself, and the family history that winds through Snapdragon’s own story is thoroughly satisfying. Technically this is fantasy, not contemporary fiction, but all the characters are so well developed, you can almost believe it’s real!

twins coverTwins

Francine and Maureen are twins entering middle school and, for the first time ever, are put in different classes. While Maureen is horrified at being separated from her twin, Francine is ready to embrace the new opportunities that middle school offers. When each decides to run for president of the sixth grade student council, it strains their friendships, their family, and of course, their relationship with each other. The road to resolution is difficult but ultimately reassuring. 

big break coverThe Big Break

Andrew and Russ are best friends obsessed with making a movie about a monster of local myth, until Russ starts becoming more interested in a girl. Andrew feels left behind: he thinks he should put away his action figures and other tokens of childhood, but he’s not quite ready to do that. Sightings of the monster bring them together, but is it enough to save their friendship? Though we often hear the story of girl friendships that flounder when one becomes interested in romance and the other does not, it’s less common to hear the same problem in books about boys, and The Big Break does it with humor and empathy. 

stepping stones coverStepping Stones

When Jen has to move to the country because her mom and her mom’s new boyfriend want to try to run a farm, she is not happy. Jen misses her dad, and she’s not crazy about her new “sisters,” either. Jen now has to do farm chores and work at the fruit stand but, more importantly, she must learn to get along with new family members and deal with change that happens whether she wants it or not. 

class act coverClass Act

This is the sequel to New Kid, the very first graphic novel to win the prestigious Newbery Medal. The second entry in the series continues to chronicle Jordan’s experiences as one of the few kids of color at his prestigious middle school but also expands its focus to include the points of view of his friends Drew and Liam. Like New Kid, Class Act has a healthy dose of humor even as it touches on serious issues of class and microagressions.

all together now coverAll Together Now

In this sequel to All Summer Long, Bina’s passion for music continues to grow and she starts a band. Then her bandmates start dating, and Bina is left to go solo. When Bina’s best friend expresses romantic interest in her, she starts to wonder if there’s something wrong with her because she’s only interested in music! With age-appropriate angst, Bina strives to be true to herself and still maintain the friendships she cherishes.


Have fun reading! See you at the library!




On Saturday May 6th 2017 visit ANY OAKLAND PUBLIC LIBRARY during open hours and get a free comic book. Eastmont and Brookfield branches are closed on Saturday so you can get yours tomorrow: Friday May 5th.

Someone might be asking: is this like giving away candy? They are fun to read but bad for you if you have too much of it? Nope! Actually comic books are more like giving away free homemade carrot cake muffins made with applesauce instead of oil; and you snuck some shredded zucchini in it. All the fun and flavor of a tasty treat, and it’s good for you too. So enjoy. 

What, you don’t believe me? Is it that you don’t believe that I have a really delicious recipe for a healthier carrot cake muffin, or that comic books are a good reading choice? Both are true.  To quote my favorite book referral resource, “but you don’t have to take my word for it.” Check out these links for more information:


Right now someone’s mind is...

What? You have comic books that teach grown-ups about the benefits of comic books? But of course! There is no better way to illustrate that accurate, timely, factual, current, or interesting content is not suddenly eliminated because the material is placed in picture frame format. But none of the reasons the doctors and researchers give for reading comic books are why I want your kids to read comic books. Okay yes they are, but it’s not the biggest reason.

The biggest reason I want your kids (and you) to read comic books is because they are fabulous. The character development, plots, and storylines are complex, engrossing, and straight out some of the best stuff you and your kids will EVER read. Reason number two that I want you to read comic books with your kids is the next Guardians of the Galaxy movie is coming out tomorrow, and it would help if you know who Groot is before your kids drag you to the theater.  

So remember Saturday May 6th is Free Comic Book day at the Oakland Public Library. (Friday at the Brookfield and Eastmont branches.) Come to the library and get yours.

And get a new library card while you are at it. They have cool designs, but that is another blog post. 

Great Graphic Novels for Kids

From superheroes to manga to comic strips and beyond, we have all sorts of excellent graphic novels and comic books for kids in the library. Ask library staff to help you find the 741.5s! Here, young readers will find interesting characters, awesome art, and fascinating stories full of humor, action, adventure, history, mystery, and emotion. Graphic novels are incredibly popular, especially among kids who like stories but aren't ready for long chapter books and students who are visual learners.
Here are some of our favorite / most popular graphic novels for kids. Let us know in the comments which of your favorites we may have missed!:
American Born Chinese book coverAmulet book coverAriol book coverThe Arrival book coverBabymouse book coverBig Nate book coverBone book coverGarfield book coverGreat American Dust Bowl book coverJedi Academy book cover Book One book coverMeanwhile book coverNaruto book coverOdd Duck book coverPoseidon book coverSidekicks book coverSmile book coverToon Books book coverZita the Spacegirl book cover
// American Born Chinese by Yang // Amulet series by Kibuishi // Ariol series by Guibert // The Arrival by Tan // Babymouse series by Holm // Big Nate series by Peirce // Bone series by Smith // Garfield series by Davis // The Great American Dust Bowl by Brown // Jedi Academy by Brown // March: Book One by Lewis // Meanwhile by Shiga // Naruto series by Kishimoto // Odd Duck by Castellucci & Varon // Olympians series by O'Connor // Sidekicks by Santat // Smile by Telgemeier // Toon Books series // Zita the Spacegirl trilogy by Hatke //

Book Trailers for Kids

Have you ever seen a book trailer? They’re just like previews that we see at the movies, only they’re advertising upcoming books! Publishers have been putting more energy into creating exciting and enticing trailers for their books, in the hopes that watching these videos online will encourage people to go out and read the whole story.

If you or your kiddos are ever in need of new inspiration for what to read next, book trailers are an excellent way to go! Check out these trailers to see if any capture your family’s interest.

Chapter Books

Picture Books

Nonfiction and Graphic Novels

Want more? Check out this blog and this pinterest page; they both present awesome children’s book trailers as they’re published. Interested in making a book trailer of your own? Here are many fine examples of student-made book trailers. Enjoy!