Comic Books have become a large part of popular culture and there may be new parents who are interested in getting their kids to read more. However, comics aren’t always new-reader friendly, with confusing numbering systems and subject matter that’s not appropriate for all ages. While it’s important to understand that comics are a complex medium that can explore adult stories– we’d be lost if we forgot to engage new readers from an early age.
Therefore, I’ve compiled a list of notable titles for early readers that’s perfect for a librarian or new parent. This is by no means a complete list but a cherry-picked set of titles with the goal of finding a comic that will appeal to any type of reader.
All Age Comics
The Hilda series by Luke Pearson follows the adventures of a young girl who lives near mountains populated by trolls and other creatures from Scandinavian folklore. The popular Hilda book series also has a successful animated show on Netflix that is sure to charm any child.
Pablo and Jane and the Hot Air Contraption by
Kaya by Wes Craig is a post-apocalyptic fantasy adventure inspired by Jack Kirby’s Kamandi, Lord of the Rings, and Conan the Barbarian. Kaya, a young girl with a magic arm and a fighting spirit is tasked with delivering her little brother to a faraway safe harbor. There he’s destined to find the answer to overthrowing the all-powerful empire that destroyed their home. Starting out on their journey, they’ll face lizard-riders, monstrous beasts, and secrets that could tear brother and sister apart.
Twig by Scottie Young and Kyle Strahm is a zany creature-filled odyssey through a Jim Henson-inspired world. When a hesitant hero is sent on a mission to become a journeyer he gets more than he bargained for in a fantasy realm that bites back.
Everyday Hero Machine Boy by Irma Kniivila and Tri Vuong deliver an anime-inspired action adventure story full of humor and heart. When Machine Boy falls from the sky into the domed city of Mega 416, he leaves a wake of destruction in his path… until Karate Grandpa is able to turn on his heart. Now, Machine Boy wants nothing more than to become a hero!
Jonna and the Unpossible Monsters by Chris and Laura Samnee follows two sisters surviving in a world of giant Kaiju. Rainbow is on a quest for her missing sister Jonna– only to discover her little sister has grown strong enough to take out a giant monster with one punch. Now the pair of sisters must tackle the many secrets of this wild world together.
Nimona by ND Stevenson is a science fantasy story about a shapeshifter who joins the villain Ballister Blackheart in his plans to destroy the over-controlling Institute. Blackheart’s intent to operate under his code of ethics contrasts him with the impulsive Nimona. Those who want to see fantasy tropes flipped upside down will flip out over Nimona.
The Amulet series by Kazu Kibuishi is considered by many to be comics’ equivalent to Harry Potter in terms of quality and epic scope. After tragedy strikes their family, Emily and Navin move with their mother into the old, mysterious home of their great-grandfather. On their first night in the strange house, Emily and Navin’s mom is kidnapped by a tentacled creature. Determined to rescue her, Emily and Navin are led into a world of robots, talking animals, flying ships, new friends… and enemies. Emily learns that she is a Stonekeeper and essential to the survival of this world, and that her incredible story is only just beginning.
Scales and Scoundrels by Sebastian Girner reminds us just how much fun lighthearted fantasy can be. This multicultural fantasy adventure follows treasure hunter, Luvander, as she searches for gold and glory. As she dives into an epic journey along with a young prince, his stern bodyguard, and a plucky young dwarf, our heroes will discover a secret that will bring light to a world encroached upon by an ancient darkness.
The Tea Dragon Society by K. O’Neill is a charming magical slice of life. After discovering a lost tea dragon in the marketplace, Greta learns about the dying art form of tea dragon care-taking from the kind tea shop owners, Hesekiel and Erik. As she befriends them and their shy ward, Minette, Greta sees how the craft enriches their lives—and eventually her own. As one of the few All Age comic books that have openly queer characters, The Tea Dragon Society is a miracle.
The Sprite and the Gardener by Joe Whitt and Rii Abrego is a whimsical tale about rediscovery. Long, long ago, sprites were the caretakers of gardens. Every flower was grown by their hand. But when humans appeared and began growing their own gardens, the sprites’ magical talents soon became a thing of the past. When Wisteria, an ambitious, kind-hearted sprite, starts to ask questions about the way things used to be, she’ll begin to unearth her long-lost talent of gardening. But her newly-honed skills might not be the welcome surprise she intends them to be.
Nightlights by Lorena Alvarez stands out from the pack with its stunning colorful artwork. Every night, tiny stars appear out of the darkness in little Sandy’s bedroom. She catches them and creates wonderful creatures to play with until she falls asleep, and in the morning brings them back to life in the whimsical drawings that cover her room.
Fantasy Sports by Sam Bosma is perfect for fans of Steven Universe, vintage manga, and action cartoons. When a young explorer and her musclebound friend go treasure-hunting in a mummy’s tomb, they become trapped in a deadly game of basketball. Each book in the Fantasy Sports series explores a new magic-infused game.
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