Best Graphic Novels For Fluent Readers

Best_Graphic_NovelsIn the previous post in this series I outlined a number of graphic novels recommended for beginner and emergent readers. In this post, I will focus on those readers who have adopted a level of fluency in their reading and are up to more of a challenge in vocabulary or plot.

These books are recommended for upper level junior, or “Middle” Readers. They have more complex plots and deal with concepts that younger readers may not understand (or be interested in) but do not contain the overt maturity of Young Adult titles.

Dreamland_Chronicles1. The Dreamland Chronicles Vol 1-3
Vol 1 ISBN: 1600103073 Softcover Color 300p
Vol 2 ISBN: 1600103081 Softcover Color 276p
Vol 3 ISBN: 160010309X Softcover Color 268p

Alexander Carter has found a key that takes him back to the land of his childhood dreams. Now, every night he enters Dreamland, a magical world filled with Dragons, Fairies, and Giants. Re-united with his childhood friends Paddington, Kiwi, and Nastajia, Alexander embarks on a quest to save Dreamland from war with the nightmare realm. A wonderful fantasy series with an engaging story and eye-popping images generated on computer. Grades 3+

2.Bone: The Colour Editions

Bone Vol 1 Out From Boneville ISBN:0439706408 Softcover Color 144p
Bone Vol 2 The Great Cow Race ISBN:0439706394 Softcover  Color 144p
Bone_RoseBone Vol 3 Eyes Of The Storm ISBN:0439706386 Softcover Color 192p
Bone Vol 4 The Dragonslayer ISBN:0439706378 Softcover Color 176p
Bone Vol 5 Rockjaw ISBN:043970636X Softcover Color 128p
Bone Vol 6 Old Man’s Cave ISBN:0439706351 Softcover  Color 128p
Bone Vol 7 Ghost Circles ISBN0439706343 Softcover  Color 160p
Bone Vol 8 Treasure Hunters ISBN:0439706335 Softcover  Color 144p
Bone Vol 9 Crown Of Horns ISBN:0439706327 Softcover  Color 224p
Rose [Prequel To Bone] ISBN: 0545135435 Softcover Color 144p

A complete story in 9 volumes, Bone is the story of young bone boy, Fone Bone, and his two cousins, Phoney Bone and Smiley Bone, who are banned from their homeland of Boneville. When the cousins find themselves mysteriously trapped in a wonderful but often terrifying land filled with secrets and danger – and special new friendships – they are soon caught up in adventures beyond their wildest dreams. An adventure that starts off simply but builds with conviction and pathos.  Grades 3+

3.Diary Of A Wimpy KidDiary_Of_A_Wimpy_Kid
Diary Of A Wimpy Kid ISBN:0810993139 Hardcover B&W 224p
Diary Of  A Wimpy Kid Rodrick Rules ISBN:0810994739 Hardcover B&W 224p
Diary Of A Wimpy Kid The Last Straw ISBN: 0810970686 Hardcover 224p
Diary Of A Wimpy Kid Dog Days ISBN: 0810983915 Hardcover 224p

Boys don’t keep diaries—or do they?
It’s a new school year, and Greg Heffley finds himself thrust into middle school, where undersized weaklings share the hallways with kids who are taller, meaner, and already shaving. The hazards of growing up before you’re ready are uniquely revealed through words and drawings as Greg records them in his diary.
Technically not a “graphic novel” but featuring comic/graphic novel components, Diary Of A Wimpy Kid is a genuine hit in both comic and mainstream book circles. The newest volume has an initial print-run of 3 million copies. Grades 4+

Tellos_Colossal4. Tellos Colossal
ISBN:1582409404 Softcover Color 288p

Journey with young Jarek and his tiger-warrior companion, Koj, as they team up with pirate princess, Serra, to confront the dread Malesur, a villain set on devouring the denizens of this magical, patchwork world! TELLOS is an all-ages roller coaster ride of action and adventure, mystery and magic, and good versus evil! Metaphor and myth, the complete Tellos story in one volume. Grades 4+

Mouse_Guard5.Mouse Guard
Autumn 1152 ISBN:1932386572 Hardcover Color 192p
Winter 1152 ISBN: 1932386742 Hardcover Color 192p

In the world of Mouse Guard, mice struggle to live safely and prosper amongst harsh conditions and a host of predators. Thus the Mouse Guard was formed: more than just soldiers that fight off intruders, they are guides for common mice looking to journey without confrontation from one hidden village to another. Beautifully illustrated and imagined series in the tradition of Redwall.
Grades 4+.

Volume 1 ISBN: 0439846811 Softcover Color 192p
Volume 2 ISBN: 0439846838 Softcover Color 224p

After the tragic death of their father, Emily and Navin move with their mother to the home of her deceased great-grandfather, but the strange house proves to be dangerous. Before long, a sinister creature lures the kids’ mom through a door in the basement. Em and Navin, desperate not to lose her, follow her into an underground world inhabited by demons, robots, and talking animals. Amulet is a beautiful, exciting and emotionally moving series. Grades 4+

7.The Arrival
ISBN: 0439895294 Hardcover Sepia 128p

The_ArrivalIn a heartbreaking parting, a man gives his wife and daughter a last kiss and boards a steamship to cross the ocean. He’s leaving home to build a better future for his family. Australia’s Shaun Tan evokes universal aspects of an immigrant’s experience through a singular work of the imagination. He does so using brilliantly clear and mesmerizing images. Because the main character can’t communicate in words, the book forgoes them too. But while the reader experiences the main character’s isolation, he also shares his ultimate joy. Multi-award winning wordless title with a thoughtful message. Grades 6+

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  1. Wow. What great company you put us into.
    Thank you so much!

  2. Although I am not “middle reader” (I am a 34 year old) I love TDC. And I agree this is a great series for children at that level. Great to see Scott’s amazing work get the recognition it deserves!

  3. ElvisKungFu says:

    Wow, love Dreamland Chronicles – and I’ll have to check out some of these other works for my new 3rd grader.

  4. Even though I would agree that it might be best suited for the levels suggested, “The Dreamland Chronicles” is a great story for readers of all ages. I’ve enjoyed Scott’s work for years, and look forward to reading “Dreamland” to my grandchildren. So nice to see family friendly work recognized!

  5. I’m 42. Dreamland Chronicles is outstanding, Bone is classic, and The Arrival is just amazing. I’m glad there’s material like this around for today’s young readers (and for us older readers as well).

  6. Hi Mike
    I agree. I’m 36 and bought most of the titles I mention before I ever had kids, or at least before they could read.
    Stories that are engaging and meaningful (& with great art :-) ) but don’t rely on violence or sex to tell their tales transcend age brackets.
    I’ll be reading “kids books”until I’m 100.

  7. Hi RG
    Couldn’t agree more. Like most of the titles in these early age brackets, The Dreamland Chronicles can be (and are) enjoyed by people with impeccable taste (like you and me!) of all ages.
    My job is to make sure kids get the most appropriate graphic stories into their hands, hence the age allocation.
    Watching my kids read Dreamland Chronicles and laugh over Paddington’s anticts (as I do when I read it) is a gift I would love to give to other kids (and adults).

  8. Thanks for reading ElvisKungFu (Hope I pronounced your name correctly!).
    My son is in grade 3 too and he has seen most of these books (Dreamland Chronicles, Owly, and Star Wars are his favorites).
    Also check out the previous post on beginner reader graphic novels as some will appeal to grade 3 readers.

    Does he like Geronimo Stilton?
    I recommend that series (even though its a chapter book) as well. Its funny, colorful, heartfelt and full of great information.
    I liked it so much when my son brought one home from the library I set up a site about it too.
    Its not comics but its wonderful introduction to chapter books for more visually inspired kids.
    Geronimo Stilton News Site
    Thanks for your response.

  9. Hi Lemmy
    Scott’s work is amazing isn’t it.
    As a librarian, comic retailer and then parent/blogger I’ve been on the outside looking in for about 8 years and it is so inspiring to watch.
    Also as a not-yet-ready-to-show-the-world writer I so appreciate constant and enthusiastic dedication to a vision.

  10. Hey Scott
    You are so much more than welcome.
    As I posted on your site (The Dreamland Chronicles) thanks for your support and for your amazing work. And if I am ever in the states its me who owes you the hug.

  11. As a school librarian, I think that graphic novels are EXTREMELY important to have in a library. I am hooked on The Dreamland Chronicles and I have them on a request for the library. My kids have Bone and love them. Wish I could give them Fables too, but it’s a tad bit controversial. Have a good one!

  12. Hi Gina
    Thank you for your comment and thanks for having graphic novels in your library! It so great that young readers have access to stories in this medium though school librarians such as yourself.
    I agree about the Fables series. I love it too, but would only recommend the title for older teens, particularly in a school/library context.
    Dreamland Chronicles is great, if you haven’t already, check out Scott’s website.
    Are there any other graphic novel titles that readers love in your library?

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