Discussion Forums - Graphic Novels & Manga

Topic: Teacher needing advice on graphic novels

Club rule - Please, if you cannot be courteous and respectful, do not post in this forum.
  Unlock Forum posting with Annual Membership.
Subject: Teacher needing advice on graphic novels
Date Posted: 7/16/2008 9:05 AM ET
Member Since: 3/4/2007
Posts: 4,579
Back To Top

I would love to add some graphic novels to my classroom library, but it seems like everything I'm finding is completely inappropriate for elementary school age kids.  Thought I'd stop in here and pick the brains of the experts. :-)  What would you recommend for a classroom of 8-11 year-old students?  Thanks!

Date Posted: 7/16/2008 12:59 PM ET
Member Since: 5/9/2006
Posts: 851
Back To Top

Hi Sandy, It's great that you'd like to add graphic novels to your classroom! It's a rapidly growing genre and a great place to start with reluctant readers. Here are a few titles off the top of my head: Bone by Jeff Smith, The Arrival by Shaun Tan, Amulet by  Kazu Kibuishi, and Laika by Nick Abadzis. There are many more available and everytime I go into a bookstore I see new graphic novels and graphic adaptations of novels (The Artemis Fowl graphic novel, Redwall, Pendragon). It can be overwhelming with so many choices and so little guidance on age appropriateness. I would recommend the website Sidekicks, a sister site to No Flying, No Tights. Sidekicks recommends graphic novels for kids while No Flying, No Tights recommends graphic novels for teens. I hope this helps. If you have any questions, feel free to PM me.

Date Posted: 7/16/2008 5:48 PM ET
Member Since: 3/4/2007
Posts: 4,579
Back To Top

Thanks so much!  I've bookmarked the websites and will be checking out the graphic novels you've suggested.  I knew someone here would be able to point me in the right direction. :-)

Subject: The Yotsuba&! series is all ages
Date Posted: 7/17/2008 10:36 PM ET
Member Since: 6/7/2006
Posts: 5
Back To Top
It's about a green-haired young girl (like 9?) who happens to be an alien trying to blend in her neighborhood. Very funyn and easy to read!
Date Posted: 7/21/2008 10:36 AM ET
Member Since: 6/14/2006
Posts: 14
Back To Top

DC comics has a kids version of Batman called "The Batman."  You may be able to work with your local comic shop to obtain comics at cost. 

My local shop does a great thing at offering kids a subscription at a low price for weekly comics.  The owner doesn't make a cent off of them, but it gets kids reading and into the comic shop every week or so. 

Date Posted: 7/21/2008 6:23 PM ET
Member Since: 3/4/2007
Posts: 4,579
Back To Top

I have a great comic book store near me, Bookery Fantasy, so I'll ask about The Batman and Yotsuba and see if I can get them to work out a deal for my kids.  Sometimes saying the magic words "I'm a teacher" opens all kinds of doors. *g*  Thanks, Alex and Rebecca!

Last Edited on: 7/21/08 6:27 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 7/21/2008 9:34 PM ET
Member Since: 5/31/2008
Posts: 14
Back To Top

I second Yotsuba&!, it's hilarious.

Neil Gaiman's wonderful children's novel Coraline was just adapted into a graphic novel by P Craig Russell.

Osamu Tezuka's classic Astro Boy is for all ages. Another excellent manga is Hayao Miyazaki's Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind, an epic fantasy which tackles heavy themes like war and environmentalism - it might appeal to some on the higher end of your age range.

The Asterix series by Goscinny + Uderzo and the Tintin series by Herge are all-ages classics from Europe. A more recent European import is Joann Sfar who has the Little Vampire series for young readers.

Goodness, this is harder than I thought! Hope those give you something to go on.


Oh, and I forgot all about the Little Lit series of anthologies, edited by Art Spiegelman and featuring all sorts of comics luminaries.


Last Edited on: 7/21/08 9:50 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 7/21/2008 9:54 PM ET
Member Since: 3/4/2007
Posts: 4,579
Back To Top

I love Tintin and remember him fondly from when I was in school.  I've been trying to find the more kid-friendly adventures because not all Tintin comics are suitable.  Seems like when I read them they were in one of the kid's magazines, like Highlights, but one that was in more of a digest form.  That was almost 40 years ago, so I could be remembering incorrectly.  Thanks for more great suggestions. :-)

Date Posted: 7/23/2008 9:30 AM ET
Member Since: 3/10/2006
Posts: 471
Back To Top
The Hardy Boys GNs by Scott Lobdell are really good. They're cheaper if you buy them as a boxes set.

Here's available on PBS: http://www.paperbackswap.com/book/browse_advanced.php?s_type=b&ti=The+Hardy+Boys+No+4%3A+Malled+%28Hardy+Boys%3A+Undercover+Brothers%29&a=Scott+Lobdell

The Nancy Drew GNs are great and you can get them by the boxed set like the Hardy Boys. Here's one available on PBS: http://www.paperbackswap.com/book/browse_advanced.php?s_type=b&ti=Nancy+Drew%2C+The+Fake+Heir&a=Stefan+Petrucha

Here's what the boxes set looks like: http://www.paperbackswap.com/book/details/9781597070744-Nancy+Drew+Boxed+Set+Vol+5+8+Nancy+Drew+Graphic+Novels+Girl+Detective

Anthony Horowitz's Alex Rider GNs are good too: http://www.paperbackswap.com/book/details/9780399246333-Stormbreaker+The+Graphic+Novel+Alex+Rider

I second or third Yotsuba: http://www.paperbackswap.com/book/browse_advanced.php?s_type=b&ti=Yotsuba++Volume+1&a=Kiyohiko+Azuma Hope this helps!

Last Edited on: 7/23/08 9:31 AM ET - Total times edited: 1

Date Posted: 7/24/2008 9:39 AM ET
Member Since: 6/19/2007
Posts: 5,931
Back To Top

They also do a lot of classics as graphic novels, I've seen everything from Mark Twain to Bram Stoker. 

Date Posted: 7/24/2008 4:28 PM ET
Member Since: 3/4/2007
Posts: 4,579
Back To Top

I've seen the classics, but they're just too high a reading level for my students.  Same with the Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys.  I might pick up a few though and use them as read-alouds so that they see me reading graphic novels, too.

Date Posted: 7/24/2008 11:48 PM ET
Member Since: 6/28/2007
Posts: 192
Back To Top

Heyla Sandy,

I'm a comics fan with way more comics than I have any room for. I'll go ahead and check my boxes to see if I have anything that might be of the right age group. If you are okay with single issues I have the entire run of Meridian that was mentioned on the Sidekicks site. Read the blurbs and let me know if you think it would be something you would want and I'll donate it.

Also for a more superhero bent you could check out the Marvel Adventures line of titles if the comic shop has them they are geared towards the age group you are looking for and feature the "name" characters like Spiderman and the Fantastic Four. I would definately ask the comic shop guys too they are usually very cool about helping get kids "hooked" and there are a number of kid friendly and kid geared titles out there.

Also feel free to contact me directly through PM if I can help in any other way.


Date Posted: 7/25/2008 4:21 PM ET
Member Since: 3/4/2007
Posts: 4,579
Back To Top

PMing you, Trisha. :-)

Date Posted: 9/12/2008 11:28 PM ET
Member Since: 8/16/2008
Posts: 25
Back To Top

Another thing you might want to look into is my Borders recently started a new graphic novels/manga section in the children's department specifically geared to that age range. So you might want to check out one near you and see if they have that too.

Date Posted: 9/16/2008 1:47 AM ET
Member Since: 8/27/2008
Posts: 54
Back To Top

Et Cetera by Yasuhiro Nightow is a fun series geared toward children, but it might be innapropriate for a school library because fantasy guns are displayed and used quite heavily in that series (but it isn't gory). From what little bit I have read of .hack///legend of the Twilight (Tatsuya Hamazaki) and +Anima (Natsumi Mukai) both seem interesting and appropriate for your older readers. (+Anima includes a brief nondescript nude scene but it's no worse than letting a kid play with a Barbie, IMO.)

I have never read these two, but I think Kilala Princess and Kingdom Hearts both have an all ages rating. They include Disney characters that the children should find familiar.

I have only recently started reading comics/graphic novels, so I'm afraid my knowledge isn't very extensive.

Date Posted: 9/16/2008 8:51 PM ET
Member Since: 8/29/2008
Posts: 6
Back To Top

I third Yotsuba&!

My 9 year old ds loves it.  Our copies are all worn out. 

Date Posted: 1/21/2009 10:27 AM ET
Member Since: 12/17/2008
Posts: 14
Back To Top

Read or Die might work

Date Posted: 1/21/2009 4:03 PM ET
Member Since: 4/9/2008
Posts: 550
Back To Top

Bone by jeff Smith. My 8 & 11 yr old dds both loved the series, tho it got slightly older and more serious as it went on. We checked them out from the library. That might be a good place to do some research.

Date Posted: 1/25/2009 2:38 AM ET
Member Since: 11/2/2008
Posts: 26
Back To Top

most graphic novels have the recommended age on the back. I've noticed that at book stores sometimes they put the graphic novels for younger children in childrens books instead of the graphic novel section. I hkpe that helps =)

Date Posted: 1/26/2009 10:43 AM ET
Member Since: 1/16/2007
Posts: 6
Back To Top

I would disagree with the suggestion of Read of Die for that age group - the volume I picked up was actually sexier than the anime.

I'd suggest Gon, which is about a little dinosaur. No text, but the pictures tell an amazingly detailed story. Hibiki's Magic is cute, but there are only two volumes out. There's Kingdom Hearts manga, and Kilala Princess is a similar idea but geared toward younger girls with the main character going on adventures and meeting the Disney Princesses. One Piece is pretty cool, though violent. It's been awhile since I've read the early volumes, so I'm not 100% sure about its suitability.

Azumanga Daioh! is by the same guy who does Yotsuba&!, and it's about a group of highschool girls. There wasn't anything in it to give me pause, but then I wasn't reading with a mindset of whether it was appropriate for kids.

Last Edited on: 1/26/09 10:44 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 2/2/2009 3:53 PM ET
Member Since: 9/4/2006
Posts: 203
Back To Top

Jill Thompson's more recent books are great for younger kids.  She did a series called *Scary Godmother* that's sort-of halloween themed.  Her most recent kid-friendly books are the *Magic Trixie* series.  I don't have kids, though, so I'm not sure what age groups these are for.

I really like some of Ted Naifeh's graphic novels/comics for older kids (again, not sure on age range).  Look at *Polly and the Pirates*, *Courtney Crumrin*, and *Death Jr* (also a series of video games).

For superhero-type graphic novels, you might check out *Runaways*.  Its about a group of kids with special powers that choose to run away from their supervillian parents and fight crime.  The nice thing about that series is that you don't have been following the Marvel superhero universe for years to enjoy it.

On a more educational slant, take a peek at the science comics of Jim Ottaviani.  Some are more dense (*Suspended in Language* about Niels Bohr for example), but *Two Fisted Science* and *Dignifying Science: Stories about Women Scientists* are more accesible.  He mentioned at Comic Con that he was working on something for a younger audience, but I'm not sure what that project is called.


I hope these help give you some ideas!  I love comics and graphic novels.  Its a really special way to tell stories, and done well they can be profound art.