Monday, May 20, 2013

Comic Books and Graphic Novels

Candid Thoughts
In my opinion, comics are great for children to read and to create. Comics can offer fun and complex story plots that children love.  They are also a great tool for teaching children how to write stories using dialogue. Like all books, it’s important for African American children to see themselves in books, and comics are no different. This genre has scarce representation of African Americans and it can be difficult to find comic books and graphic novels that have African American characters and experiences. However, this is changing and there are some good ones out there(see the list below).

Things to Think About
If you have a resultant reader or want to give your child a new genre to read, comics and graphic novels would be a great start to igniting the pleasures reading. Comics may not be your thing or you may not approve, but consider offering them to your child. Who knows it may become their favorite reading genre!

Reading Activity
There are a variety of programs that children can create comic books online. Most of them are user friendly and FREE! Here is one that can get you started. Check it out:

Suggested Book List (Comics and Graphic Novels)

  • The Adventures of Super Diaper Baby by George Beard and Harold Hutchins illus. by Dav Pilkey ( from the creators of Captain Underpants)
  • Luke on the Loose by Harry Bliss
  • WordGirl: Coalition of Malice by Chris Karwowski illus. by Steve Young
  • Monster and Me by Robert Marsh illus. by Tom Percival
  • Billions of Bats: A Buzz Beaker Brainstorm by Scott Nickle  illus. by Andy J. Smith
  • The Boy Who Burped Too Much by Scott Nickle illus. by Steve Harpster
  • Invasion of the Gym Class Zombies. by Scott Nickle  illus. by Matt Luxich
  • Ker-splash! by George O’Connor
  • Black Jack: The Ballad of Jack Johnson. Charles R. Smith illus. by Shane W. Evans.

Middle School / High School
  • In Search of the Fog Zombie: A Mystery About Matter by Lynda Beauregard  illus. by Der-Shing Helmer.
  • Ultimate Comics Spider-Man. Vol. 1. Brian Michael Bendis  illus. by Sara Pichelli
  • Living on Spongecake: The Curtis Chronicles. Vol. 2. Ray Billingsley illus. by author.
  • Mama's Boyz: The Big Picture; What You Need To Succeed! Jerry Craft  
  • The Secret Science Alliance and the Copycat Crook. Eleanor Davis  
  • The Prison-Ship Adventure of James Forten, Revolutionary War Captive by Marty Rhodes Figley adapt. by Amanda Doering Tourville. illus. by Ted Hammond and Richard Pimentel Carbajal
  • Muhammad Ali: The King of the Ring. by Lewis Helfand  illus. by Lalit Kumar Sharma The Sons of Liberty. Vol. 1. by Alexander and Joseph Lagos illus. by Steve Walker
  • Investigating the Scientific Method with Max Axiom, Super Scientist by Donald B. Lemke  illus. by Tod Smith and Al Milgrom
  • Shadow Rock. by Jeremy Love illus. by Robert Love
  • Patricia C. and Fredrick L. McKissack, Jr. Best Shot in the West: The Adventures of Nat Love. illus. by Randy DuBurke.
  • The ElseWhere Chronicles: The Shadow Door. by Nykko Bk. 1. tr. from French by Carol Klio Burrell. illus. by Bannister
  • Media Meltdown: A Graphic Guide Adventure by Liam O’Donnell illus. by Michael Deas
  • John Henry, Hammerin' Hero: The Graphic Novel. by Stephanie Peters   illus. by Nelson Evergreen
  • Bessie Coleman: Daring Stunt Pilot by Trina Robbins illus. by Ken Steacy
  • 21: The Story of Roberto Clemente by Wilfred Santiago
  • Archie & Friends All-Stars. Vol. 3: The Cartoon Life of Chuck Clayton by Alex Simmons  illus. by Fernando Ruiz  
  • Ororo: Before the Storm by Marc Sumerak  illus. by Carlos Barberi and Scott Hepburn
  • Princeless: Save Yourself. Bk. 1. by Jeremy Whitley  illus. by M. Goodwin.


  1. When I was in fourth grade I was considered a slow reader. That year I began reading comics with a vengence, and it greatly increased my reading ability. Fast forward 17 years and I earned my Masters in British and American Lit. It would not have happened without the reading competence increase due to the comics.

  2. Thanks Phil! Great comment! Did you have any particular comics that were/are your favorite?