A Wrinkle In Time: The Graphic Novel
Madeline L' Engle
adapted by Hope Larson
Follow Meg Murray's quest to rescue her father from a dark force in this adaptation of Madeline L'Engle's A Wrinkle in Time! With a moody blue, black, and white palette, Hope Larson gives readers a faithful adaptation that brings to life the characters' emotions and the science-fiction elements alike.
Adults with fond memories of Meg Murray and the rest of the cast may want to relive their story through the graphic novel. The fact that stays relatively true to the book would make this a great tool to introduce readers to the classic novel.
Animorphs: The Invasion
Rachel, Jake, Cassie, Marco, and Tobias were walking home one night when what seemed like a shooting star fell incredibly close to them, so naturally they had to go see it. What they find instead of a fallen star is a dying alien, and they are embroiled in an interstellar war. With their new abilities as Animorphs, the friends do what they can to understand what's happening and save their friends and family from the alien invasion.
Adults who grew up on the Animorphs books may enjoy picking up the graphic adaptation as a way to re-visit the series or share it with kids in their lives. Kids who enjoy sci-fi graphic novels like Hilo might enjoy this as a slightly more mature story. The comics do not shy away from the horror elements of the original books, so there is some light body horror but it's well done and doesn't feel too heavy-handed.
Minor body horror
Anne of West Philly: A Modern Graphic Retelling of Anne of Green Gables
Ivy Noelle Weir
When Anne first arrives, her foster parents, Marilla and Matthew, are not sure whether the exuberant girl is a good fit for their quiet lifestyle. Soon, Anne, Matthew, and Marilla have formed a close-knit family, and Anne is navigating school and friendships in her own, unique way! With vibrant color illustrations a diverse cast, and a warm story, this modern retelling of Anne of Green Gables should not be missed. If librarians find that paperback copies of graphic novels quickly fall apart at their library, there is a hardcover edition!
Readers seeking a heartwarming story about an adoptive family and/or a story featuring smart, passionate female protagonists should pick up Anne of West Philly.
Assumed Black |
Listen! This is the story of a kingdom of children in their tree fort hall, beset by the threat of one particularly awful adult, Grindle! Grindle's joylessness knows no bounds, and he won't let them enjoy life. His attacks on Treeheart are merciless, leading to Bea Wolf's arrival, ready to take this monstrous man down.
This is a delightful read for adults familiar with the original story of Beowulf, and likely are who the interesting essay in the back about how the comic was made is for. The essays can also serve as instruction in the classroom since they talk a bit about Old English and language, how comics work, and other fun topics. Bea Wolf is also a great pick for kids who enjoy a challenging read or comics with dynamic, funny visuals because there's merit in reading this one while focusing on the art rather than the words. Bea Wolf is a comic someone could start reading as a kid and keep re-reading over time, getting something new each time.
Dragon Kingdom of Wrenly
Glass House Graphics
Ruskin, a popular dragon character from Quinn's long-running Kingdom of Wrenly series, stars in his own graphic novel spin-off. Previously a pet of the Prince of Wrenly, Ruskin sets out on his own adventures to battle villains and save the kingdom with the encouragement of new friends and allies, including other dragons.
This will appeal to fans of the original print series, but even more to young dragon fans in general, especially those not ready to tackle Wings of Fire. The reading level of these books is an intermediate or beginning chapter book, appealing most to 2nd-3rd graders. It's not necessary to read the original print series, and librarians who don't want to venture into a twenty-volume, traditional fantasy will do just fine purchasing this series on its own. The paperback bindings are sturdy, but the books are available in hardcovers if desired.
Enola Homes: The Graphic Novel
Based on the novels by Nancy Springer, this series follows Sherlock Holmes's younger sister Enola as she tries to chart her chart her own path as a detective and find her missing mother. When Enola's mother disappears on her 14th birthday and not even the illustrious Sherlock Holmes can not crack the case on where she went, her two older brothers decide the best course of action is to send Enola to boarding school. To avoid a fate of corsets, ringlets, and finishing lessons, Enola steals off to London on her own to become a "perditorian" -- the one who divines that which is lost.
Fans of a fierce female sleuth like Goldie Vance will love reading about Enola's adventures.
James L. Barry
Back in the days of Tokyopop and about five years after the publication of the first Warriors books, the creators and publishers capitalized on the popularity of manga, and a seemingly endless fantasy series about feral cats, to create a number of original English language manga spin-offs. Fast forward about twenty years and Warriors still continues to regularly pop out new adventures of the charismatic cats and the creators have also branched out into multiple other animals. The original Warriors books (and manga) are a staple of many adult's beloved childhood reading and while Tokyopop is no more, HarperCollins has revived and republished the manga spin-offs, now in color. Like anything involved with the Warriors series, it's a little tricky to track down the exact titles, but thankfully the most current editions are now available in collected volumes and in prebound editions, very necessary if you are purchasing the colorized editions.
Warriors fans, of course, will devour these - both those revisiting their childhood favorites and the new generation discovering the addicting series for the first time. The manga, which all consist of short stories spun off from the main books, can also be read as stand-alone by comic fans of animals and fantasy who don't want to tackle the original books.
Heroes in Training
Glass House Graphics
This adaptation of Holub and Williams' popular myth-based fantasy starts with Zeus as a boy, going on adventures and getting into trouble, and adds a healthy dose of magic, excitement, and age-appropriate humor. David Campiti adapts an adventure of the (male) Greek heroes in each volume, offering readers an opportunity to revisit a favorite series or discover it for the first time.
Readers who were into the original series, published from 2018 to 2021, have almost certainly moved on to more complex titles. However, new readers who are eager to find a myth-based fantasy on their reading level will be pleased to discover a graphic novel edition on offer. This is strictly for beginning and intermediate readers as it offers little nuance and the main draw, outside of the fast-moving plot, is the heavy dose of Dav Pilkey-style humor.
I survived the Great Chicago Fire, 1871
I Survived, a historical fiction series focused on various disasters, was first published in 2010. It took a few years to take off but quickly became a staple of classrooms and chapter book collections. The books are short and packed with action, and the historical events, usually told from the perspective of white male and occasionally female characters, are realistic enough to be dramatic without focusing on any truly uncomfortable or gruesome aspects of history. In 2020, Graphix started producing graphic adaptations of the books in order of their publication, starting with the first and arguably most popular, I Survived the Sinking of the Titanic, 1912. It's difficult to find accurate information on who adapted each book and the illustrators vary from title to title. From a literary and historical standpoint, these aren't particularly notable and most librarians will prefer to steer readers to the more historically accurate and inclusive Girls Survive or Nathan Hale's Hazardous Tales. However, a major reason for the existence of graphic adaptations of popular series is, quite simply, that they're popular. Kids reluctant to pick up a book will devour these and with the rapid growth of graphic novels for young readers they will naturally look for a comic version of their favorites. Regardless of the actual quality, most librarians will want to have these on hand, preferably in prebound editions.
Reluctant and struggling readers and fans of the original series. Although the length of the books implies beginning chapters, even sanitized, the graphic novels do depict historical disasters and most libraries will want to recommend them to third-grade and up, or middle-grade readers.
Magic Tree House
Mary Pope Osborne
Readers who grew up with Magic Tree House are unlikely to feel interested in revisiting the series, but new readers hungry for graphic novels will be delighted to have a graphic novel version of the popular beginning chapter series available. The adaptation is faithful to the original series, illustrating the adventures of Jack and Annie as they travel through time and space in the Magic Tree House.
Beginning chapter readers who are also graphic novel fans are the primary audience for this adaptation. Really serious fans might enjoy revisiting Jack and Annie's adventures in graphic format, but most will be content with choosing their preferred reading material and sticking with that, for as many titles as are currently available.
Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy
In this modern retelling of Louisa May Alcott's Little Women, Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy want their father to come back from the Middle East. In the meantime, the sisters all have their personal journeys to take...with the help of their sisters, of course! Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy maintain the close sibling dynamic so central to the original novel while updating the setting and some of the characters' arcs. With vibrant illustrations and a focus on a multiracial family, this fresh new take will help the Little Women's story find a new audience!
Readers seeking strong stories about siblings should pick this one up. Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy will also interest readers looking for thoughtful stories about families confronting illness, injury and exploring queer identity.
This story includes racist comments and portrayals of cancer treatment; in both cases, the characters are supported in dealing with these things.
Black, Latinx |
Black, Multiracial |
Mr. Corbett is in orbit
Fans of the long-running My Weird School will be thrilled with an all-new graphic novel version. Featuring all the jokes, goofy adults, and silly situations of the original series, the graphic novels add full-color illustrations. Readers will be excited to see A. J. and his friends from Ella Mentry School in a new medium and handling an even more ridiculous crisis.
Fans of the original My Weird School series and its multiple spin-offs will be quick to grab this new series off the shelf. Die-hard graphic novel fans who have resisted trying the original series are more likely to be willing to tackle this more heavily illustrated version as well.
L. Frank Baum, author of the Oz books, wrote many spin-offs but most have (justly) faded into the mists of time. Amy Chu and Janet Lee have managed to take the inspiration of two rather twee characters and create an exuberant and fantastical adventure that overshadows the original. Vietnamese-American Trot and her one-eyed cat, Cap'n Bill, find themselves transported into a fantastic but dangerous underwater world with gorgeous art, exciting adventures, and a contemporary twist of family issues. These are most likely to be of use to libraries with large graphic novel collections who are looking for more variety and diversity in their fantasy offerings.
This will appeal most to kids who like light fantasy comics, not lengthy epics, including fans of Hildafolk, Oz graphic novel adaptations, and Pico's Aster.
Vietnamese American |
Vietnamese American |
Glass House Graphics
Readers can now follow the wacky adventures of Super Turbo and his class pet sidekicks in graphic novel format. The original series, a mix of text and black and white comic panels is reworked with expanded color illustrations and text adapted primarily as dialogue.
Kids who enjoy goofy adventures but aren't ready for middle-grade titles like Dog Man will be happy with this series. Librarians looking to expand their beginning chapter offerings with a variety of formats will want to consider purchasing the color graphic novels instead of the original, black and white titles.
The Baby Sitter's Club
Ann M. Martin
Adapting the well-known series by Ann M. Martin, The Baby-Sitter's Club graphic novels follow the exploits of Kristy, Mary Anne, Claudia, and Stacey, the founding members of the Baby-Sitter's Club as they deal with juggling babysitting gigs, middle school, and family drama. Through it all, the Baby-Sitter's Club has each other!
Older readers looking to revisit a childhood favorite and younger fans of some of the graphic novel giants that have worked on the adaption like Raina Telgemeier and Chan Chau will find something to love here.
The Dragonet Prophecy
Tui Sutherland knows what kids like, and her wildly popular Wings of Fire fantasy series was a no-brainer to adapt into a graphic novel series. That continuing adaptation, with a seventh book slated for release in 2024, is as popular as the original series, and ardent fans eagerly devour both formats. The graphic adaptation, supervised by the author herself, is faithful to the original plots, fleshing out the colorful dragons, their adventures, wars, families, and friendships with colorful art and brisk dialogue. Librarians with a significant population would do well to purchase these in replaceable prebinds as the heavy use and slick pages limit their shelf life in paperback or hardcover.
While this graphic adaptation will appeal to fantasy comic lovers, and some kids prefer to stick with the comics and pass over the original text books, the main audience is Wings of Fire fans. These are often voracious readers and will reread the original books and adaptations over and over again while waiting for a new installment. Many of these fans cross over with the Warriors series (which also includes graphic adaptations), and that's no coincidence as Sutherland is an editor and occasional author for that long-running franchise as well. These are also a must-have for reference in Wings of Fire-based programming and inspiration for young dragon artists.
P. Craig Russell
Jonas lives in a community that many might be tempted to call utopian; everyone is happy, people do fulfilling work to keep the community happy and well, and children are cared for. When Jonas is given the job assignment of Receiver of Memory though, he starts to question the world he grew up in and whether it actually is so perfect.
While I don't think graphic adaptations should be read instead of the original for the purpose of school assignments, I do think that this adaptation works really well to help readers understand this very visual story and could be used as a partner text. Otherwise, this is a fantastic way to experience the story of The Giver for someone curious about this classic, because Russell's work on the art truly gives weight to the story beats.
Infant death, depictions of war
The Lightning Thief
The Lightning Thief had been out and about for about 5 years when the first graphic novel adaptation appeared. This was a simple adaptation of a popular property, much like the original film adaptation, created mostly as a bonus for fans and to extend the series' popularity. However, as Riordan's work has continued and expanded, the quality of the adaptations of this series and the Rick Riordan Presents imprint has improved and this original title is slated to be "refreshed" and rereleased in the fall of 2023, coinciding with a new Percy Jackson adventure and the release of a new streaming adaptation.
Whether librarians will want to purchase the new edition depends on their Rick Riordan fans; are they eager for anything connected to the original series or happy to move on to the new worlds (and comics) of Rick Riordan presents like Tristan Strong and Aru Shah? If added, it would be well to wait for a prebound edition to be available as the slick pages of the original did not hold up well to even light use.
Fans of the original Percy Jackson series, spin-offs, and related titles.
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
L. Frank Baum
Whether or not kids have ever read the original Oz books, Shanower and Young's adaptation, filled with weird characters, truly creepy villains, and all the original flavor of Baum's work, still finds an audience. While staying true to the episodic nature of the originals, Shanower smoothly connects the stories and transfers the prose into comic dialogue while Young's atmospheric art will surprise readers expecting a cute little fantasy world. The original collections are out of print, but the individual-bound issues can still be purchased through prebind publishers like ABDO. The creators adapted the first six Oz books, ending with The Emerald City of Oz.
Middle-grade readers looking for something different, who enjoy quirky fantasy and strong female characters will be happy to pick this up. Hand it also to readers who like a little bit of the creepy in their comics as well as very dry humor.