I LOVE graphic novels.
I think they’re great for any reader, but for a beginning reader is still mastering the art of reading, they are truly a gift.
All of my girls love graphic novels and these beginner graphic novels are some of my favorites for readers who want something interesting and vibrant to read, but also need it not to be too tricky or long.
One quick note on this graphic novels list: I asked for recommendations for beginner graphic novels and was flooded with recommendations like Lunch Lady and Zita the Space Girl.
While I love those graphic novels (and listed more like that in this post), for this post, I was focused on graphic novels that were really aimed at beginning readers.
Zita the Space Girl, for instance, clocks in at 192 pages – that’s a LOT for someone who is just getting the hang of reading.
Of course, I know better than anyone that reading level and age don’t correlate perfectly, so you might have a kindergartener who could fly through a 200 page graphic novel and you might have a second grader who wouldn’t even make it past the first page of that book.
The graphic novels on this list are all between about 30-60 pages (for reference, a standard picture book is 40 pages) and perfect for a child who is just gaining confidence as an independent reader.
Whether that level is right for your four-year-old or nine-year-old, I hope you’ll find these graphic novels as fun as we have!
18 Good Graphic Novels for Beginning Readers
Baloney and Friends by Greg Pizzoli
96 pages // 2 books in the series
This was really the book that showed me that a good graphic novel for beginning readers might be just what Ani needed to get her into reading more frequently. I already loved Greg Pizzoli’s illustrations and the graphic novel format really suits him. This one is just 100% delightful and I can’t wait for the second book in the series to release next spring.
Narwhal and Jelly by Ben Clanton
64 pages // 4 books in the series
I’ve already waxed poetic about my love for Narwhal and Jelly here – after we listened to the audiobook multiple times, I checked out some copies of the various books in the series from the library and Ani LOVED sitting down to read them on her own.
Hello, Crabby by Jonathan Fenske
48 pages // 3 books in the series
These are hilarious beginning graphic novels and just right for a new reader. Crabby is . . .well, crabby. Everything about the beach life disagrees with him, from sun in his eyes to salt in his shell. Is there any way that Plankton can cheer him up?
Dragon by Dav Pilkey
64 pages // 5 books in the series
It’s possible I enjoy the Dragon books as much as Ani does – they’re just HILARIOUS and we’ve read through the series multiple times. You’ll recognize the author’s name from his wildly popular Captain Underpants and Dogman series, although these ones don’t have the crude humor that many parents object to in those series.
Johnny Boo by James Kochalka
40 pages // 12 books in the series
This little ghost isn’t scary – he’s DELIGHTFUL. Plus he has BOO POWER (this means that he can say “Boo” VERY loudly). He also has a pet ghost and together they have the best adventures. I especially love that this series has 12 books in it, so you won’t finish it in two seconds!
Hello, Hedgehog by Norm Feuti
48 pages // 4 books in the series
These beginning graphic novels are so delightful (and I love the size of the Acorn books – they’re perfect for small hands to hold and handle). When Hedgehog gets a new bike, he’s thrilled to show it to his friend Harry. But for some reason, Harry isn’t very enthusiastic.
Bink & Gollie by Kate DiCamillo and Alison McGhee illustrated by Tony Fucile
88 pages // 3 books in the series
I LOVE Bink & Gollie – they’re a duo just as good as Elephant & Piggie or Frog & Toad. These girls’ adventures are funny and hilarious and also incredibly normal. The illustrations in these feel more like a cross between a graphic novel and a picture book, rather than a true graphic novel.
Tiger vs. Nightmare by Emily Tetri
The best part of bedtime for Tiger? She has a monster living under her bed and every night they play together. And then when the lights go out, Monster scares away the nightmares. It’s all a great situation until a nightmare comes along that’s so big that Monster can’t handle it alone.
Bumble & Bee by Ross Burach
48 pages // 3 books in the series
Bumble and Bee are full of energy, zipping around the pond and playing silly jokes. Their friend Froggy is the grumpy one of the trio, looking for a little peace and quiet. But despite their differences, they’re all the best of friends.
Duck Duck Porcupine by Salina Yoon
64 pages // 3 books in the series
Big Duck does what sisters throughout history have done – bosses around her little brother, Little Duck. But while she is certain she’s the leader of their little group of friends, it’s really Little Duck, wordless though he is, who really understands what’s going on around them and is ready to save the day.
Luke on the Loose by Harry Bliss
When Luke and his dad go to the park, his dad does what so many adults do. . . he gets caught up in super boring dad talk with another man. And so Luke takes the opportunity to go flying through the park after all the birds who are just begging to be chased!
Ballet Cat by Bob Shea
56 pages // 3 books in the series
These definitely have an Elephant and Piggie vibe and they’re so light-hearted and upbeat, you can’t help but love them. This series has been a staple in our house for the last five years!
Sleepless Knight by James Sturm, Alexis Frederick-Frost, and Andrew Arnold
40 pages // 4 books in the series
This one made both Ani and me laugh out loud as little Knight heads out with her horse for a night of camping in the woods. The most important thing she packed, of course, is her Teddy. But then when bedtime rolls around, she discovers that Teddy is missing! The same trio of author/illustrators also have written Ogres Awake, Hocus Focus and Gryphons Aren’t So Great.
Noodlehead Nightmares by Tedd Arnold
48 pages // 5 books in the series
You may recognize the name Tedd Arnold from his massively popular series Fly Guy, and he hits another home run with this beginning graphic novel series about two noodle brothers, Mac and Mac. They also have empty heads which means they’re easy to fool!
Hamster & Cheese by Colleen AF Venable, illustrated by Stephanie Yue
48 pages // 6 books in the series
If your young reader loves a mystery, this is the graphic novel for them. Sasspants is a book-loving guinea pig inventor. And she’s also a fluffy little detective who solves pet shop mysteries at night with her hamster sidekick.
Bunbun and Bonbon by Jess Keating
64 pages // 2 books in the series
This is brand-new release so I’m crossing my fingers for more books in the series down the road. Bunbun is absolutely delightful with his cute little nose, floppy ears and that fluffy biunny tail. But. . . he doesn’t have a friend. Until he meets Bonbon.
Fox & Chick by Sergio Ruzzier
56 pages // 2 books in the series
If you love a duo like Frog and Toad, Fox and Chick are the graphic novel equivalent. Funny and sweet, these two opposite friends have delightful adventures together.
Pets on the Loose! by Victoria Jamieson
64 pages // 2 books in the series
Victoria Jamieson is no stranger to the graphic novel scene – her middle grade graphic novel Roller Girl won a Newbery Honor and this fun set of books follows the pets in an elementary school classroom. GW may look like a cute little hamster but he’s actually a criminal mastermind and ready to find his former partners. But when he finally escapes and locates them he discovers something terrible – they LIKE being classroom pets.
And if you’d like a printable copy of this list that you can take to your library or screenshot on your phone for easy access, just pop in your email address below and it’ll come right to your inbox!
Any other good graphic novels for beginning readers? I’m always on the lookout for more!
If you liked this post about good graphic novels for kids, YOU MIGHT LIKE THESE OTHER POSTS:
- If your child loves Elephant & Piggie books, try these titles!
- Full color beginner chapter books (like Princess in Black!)
- 40+ series for elementary school readers (especially 1st and 2nd graders)
Photos by Heather Mildenstein
Susan O'Connor says
These 3 graphic novel series are probably a step up from the books on this list, but my first grader and I love Bird and Squirrel, Mr. Wolfs Class, and Sparks!
These are really great! I wish I had found you when my kids were younger! Do you have any suggestions for the next level up?
Janssen Bradshaw says
Try some of these: https://everyday-reading.com/graphic-novels-for-kids/
Sara Coleman says
This book list is AMAZING!!! I am a 2nd grade teacher and teaching reading is SO MUCH FUN in recent years with these types of books. Finally, we are getting some excellent texts for the beginning readers that are fun, engaging, and level appropriate. I love the Branches books (my students can’t get enough of the Dragon Master’s and Owl Diaries series) but this list is perfect for my students who are building confidence. Mo Willems has been fantastic for this but we need more, just like this list! Thank you so much for putting this together. There are a bunch of new ones I haven’t seen. You rock!!!
Thank you for this list! I haven’t seen most of these books and have been on the hunt for beginner graphic novels.
Thank you so much! I’ve been looking and your list is everything I needed in one spot!