Version 2  Graphic novels are growing in popularity through characters and story lines that appeal to the wide age and interest ranges of young readers. Teachers, librarians, and parents are beginning to see the value in having students read the intricate plot lines and the deep thinking required to make sense of a story told through images and few words. Adults are grasping what reluctant readers have known – action and humor told through pictures make for books that are more interesting and motivating, as seen in these graphic novels for children in grades 2-5.

“Dog Man Unleashed” by Dav Pilkey, 2016, Graphix, ages 6-9.  dogmanunleashed

Dav Pilkey, the creator of “Captain Underpants” brings readers a new series: “Dog Man Unleashed”. When Officer Knight and Greg the Dog are tragically hurt by a bomb explosion, the doctor combines the dog’s head and the officer’s body to create an new, zany superhero. In a similar comic style to “Captain Underpants”, Pilkey uses simple text, colorful comic illustrations, and madcap humor to entice even the most reluctant reader to enter the Dog Man world.

“NewsPrints” by Ru Xu, 2017, Graphix, ages 8-12.     newsprints

Ru Xu’s debut graphic novel skillfully combines elements of the fantasy genres of dystopia and steampunk. Full of action and drama, the main character, Blue sells newspapers on the street, a job reserved for boys. Her work leads to an unlikely meeting with a strange inventor who tinkers with small and large machines in an old warehouse. Blue’s friendship with a homeless kid and her desire for truth sprout issues of loyalty, friendship, and self-identity. Ru Xu was born in Bejing and grew up in Indianapolis and graduated from Savannah College of Art and Design.

“The Bad Guys” and “The Bad Guys: Mission Unpluckable” by Aaron Blabey, 2015 & 2017, Scholastic, ages 6-10.  thebadguys

The bad guys gang consists of Mr. Wolf, Mr. Shark, Mr. Piranha, and Mr. Snake. These guys claim to be sweet, innocent, and misjudged, so they form the Good Guys Club to try and change people’s perceptions. These first two books in the series, chronicle the bad guys’ attempt at good deeds, which often lead the gang into even more trouble than when they started. Humor, comic-book style illustrations, and easy text will make these books a hit with younger or struggling readers.

“The King of the Kazoo” by Norm Feuti, 2016, Graphix, ages 7-10.  kingofkazoo

The King of Kazoo likes himself and likes to be in charge, even though he doesn’t always think through his plans or ideas. His daughter, Bing, relies on magic to fix her father’s disasters. But when Bing’s magic mentor turns out to be evil, her father’s blunders come in handy to save the kingdom.

“Dream Jumper” by Greg Grunberg & Lucas Turnbloom, 2016, Graphix, ages 8-12. dreamjumper

Ben’s nightmares provide clues to Dr. Alexson, a sleep specialist investigating how to wake people in Ward Z. When Ben becomes a sleep patient, he enters the crazy dream world as a dream jumper who jumps into other people’s dreams. Random energy blasts, fighting big purple monsters, and giant snot-blobs are all in a day’s work for Ben as he seeks to free the people in Dr. Alexson’s sleep clinic from their never-ending dreams.