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Our Favorite Graphic Novels for the Classroom

You’ve gotta love a good graphic novel. The quick pace, fun images, and quirky dialogue make graphic novels incredibly engaging for both adults and kids. 

After taking on the black sheep role in acceptable literature, graphic novels have made a fierce comeback.

Now graphic novels are a staple in the elementary classroom and are used in the classroom to motivate new readers, scaffold reading for struggling readers, and generally encourage reluctant readers. The use of images with the text provides not only context clues but also visual interest. 

Kids in the 21st-century are visual. They are used to seeing images and being stimulated by graphics. By including graphic novels in our choice reading and building our classroom stacks with graphic novels included, we are letting our young readers know that we are willing to adapt to their interests and that we respect all types of literature.

Although at one time graphic novels were coined as ‘not real reading.’ That argument no longer holds merit as the American Library Association (ALA) embraced the graphic novel movement by creating a yearly ‘bests’ list.

But I wanted to see which graphic novels students were really loving, so I asked some teachers what the top graphic novels are in their classrooms right now.

Here are some of our teachers’ favorite graphic novels!

Click any picture or title to check them out. 

(This post features affiliate links. This means that, at no cost to you, I get commissions for purchases made through the links in this post.)

This was the clear favorite mentioned several times.

This is a science-fiction meets fantasy series that follows kids Emily and Navin as they find out what a Stonekeeper is, and that Emily may actually be one!

Since Amulet is a series, make sure to have several in your classroom library so students can build on the momentum of a good story and interesting characters.

Zita is everything a strong young lady should be, and when her friend is kidnapped, Zita takes on the role of intergalactic hero to save him. 

This 3-book series allows us to follow Zita through the ups and downs of being an intergalactic megastar and provides plenty of other interesting characters along the way.

Jack finds his world turned upside-down one day when his sister convinces him to sell his mom’s car for some magical beans. After that, everything changes. 

The Mighty Jack books follow Jack on several adventures. There is even one where he meets up with Zita the Space Girl!

Author Raina Telgemeier uses her memoirs (Smile, Drama, Sisters, and Guts) to tell real stories from her own troubles and triumphs as a young girl. 

Raina’s stories are detailed in funny relatable moments that both teach a lesson and remind us of our own silly lives.

Based on the original Babysitter’s Club novels, these graphic novel versions follow the same loveable characters with the addition of engaging graphics. We all know that babysitting is not easy, but the Babysitter’s Club can handle anything!

Based on the original novel, this graphic novel adaptation of Clay’s story includes beautiful images of the dragonets who must put their friendship and futures to the test as Clay struggles to figure out his destiny.

Author Nathan Hale delivers a new take on the Revolutionary War as he tells the tale of his namesake, a (not-so-great) spy who is about to be hanged. Through his stories, readers learn about many other famous people that we only usually see in our history books.

This series is listed as a ‘Teachers’ Pick’ on Amazon, and my own teacher friends agreed!

When Cece begins attending a new school, she quickly realizes that she is different. At her deaf school, everyone was like her, but now her hearing aid stands out like a sore thumb. But one day, Cece makes a discovery that may help her bridge the gap between herself and her peers. Enter Cece’s new identity-El Deafo!

This series is listed as a ‘Teachers’ Pick’ on Amazon, and my own teacher friends agreed!

The Bone cousins, the unlikely heroes of this adventure series, are kicked out of their home in Boneville, and find themselves separated in a desert only to make their way to an enchanted valley full of interesting creatures. Now, the Bone cousins must find a way to save the valley from evil forces!

Does this title sound familiar. It should. This graphic novel based on the original classic keeps many of the key quotes and phrases from the original text, but is more accessible for students.

One last book I’m going to throw on this list is…

One last book I'm going to throw out there is...

Although it is not really a graphic novel, as the original novel is completely unabridged in this illustrated version, the addition of pictures makes this student favorite more approachable for struggling or discouraged readers. Consider adding a few of the books from the illustrated series to your classroom shelves and introduce a whole new generation to the wonderfully magical world of Harry Potter.

I’d love to keep adding to this list. What are some of your favorite graphic novels for classroom use? Let us know in the comments!

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