Best Choices for Kids 8-10:
Click by Kayla Miller – Many popular graphic novels seem to focus on the social complexities of middle school. Click covers these issues – but from a slightly younger viewpoint. It’s one of my favorites on this list.
Click is about a 5th grade talent show. When groups form and begin practicing for the performance, Olive struggles to find her place. The friend drama seemed very true-to-life and normal for a 8-10 year-old. Not quite middle school issues yet, but still very relatable for elementary and middle-grade readers.
The Babysitters Club by Ann M. Martin – I read these books as a kid, and the updated graphic novel versions are great and immensely popular. The first four books are illustrated by Raina Telgemeier – who wrote Sisters (also on this list). I find it so interesting that publishers are remaking 1980’s series. For more on that, click here.
Marcy and the Riddle of Sphinx by Joe Todd-Stanton – This book is very different from the other graphic novels on this list. It’s not about school, problems with friends, or tween awkwardness. It’s about girl who travels to Egypt to rescue her father. A great pick for kids interested in ancient Egypt or mythology.
Best Choices for Kids 10-14:
Be Prepared by Vera Brosgol – I really liked this one. It’s based on Brosgol’s own experiences at summer camp. I also wrote about it here. Brosgol is also the author of one of my very favorite picture books Leave Me Alone.
Invisible Emmie by Terri Libenson – The story of two very different girls (one shy and quiet, the other outgoing and popular) and how their lives intersect after a secret note fall into the wrong hands. Very middle schoolish.
Real Friends – by Shannon Hale – Focuses on middle school popularity with lots of mean girl drama.
Surfside Girls: The Secret of Danger Point by Kim Dwinell – This book may be less well-known than others on the list – but I really enjoyed it. I’ve always had a fascination with surfing (I have watched the movie Blue Crush way too many times) – and this book captures that fun, California-cool surfing culture perfectly. It also has a plot that reads like a Scooby-Doo caper which I enjoyed as well.
Sisters – by Raina Telgemeier – I liked this book as well, but it definitely felt “older” to me, although I’ve seen younger kids love it. It’s also based on Telgemeier’s childhood – about her relationship with her sister and a family road trip.