1 1 Top 10 Graphic Novels for Tweens - 7 to 13 Years Old

Graphic novels are a great way to introduce young readers to the invaluable pleasure of literature.

This is especially true for middle grade readers of any literacy skills. Thanks to their eye-catching format, engaging graphic novels for tweens can positively encourage reluctant readers to get passionate about written narration.

Early bookworms, on the other hand, will be double inspired by the winning combination of a good story and a visually appealing artwork.

We have selected the best graphic novels for tweens among the most successful middle grade books that are both compelling and entertaining, thought-provoking and a great fun to read.

Disclosure: Some of our articles contain affiliate links (as an Amazon affiliate I earn from qualifying purchases).

10 Best Graphic Novels for Tweens

best graphic novels for tweens

1. Zita the Spacegirl

by Ben Hatke (ages 7-12 years) 

Hatke’s trilogy constantly features among tweens’ all-time favorites. 

Zita is the spunky heroine of a fast-paced sci-fi adventure that takes her in a far-away strange planet to save her best friend. 

There are so many reasons to love Zita graphic novels: the spirited intergalactic female lead who appeals to girls and boys alike; an imaginative fauna of cute and creepy creatures that deepens the very notion of friendship; the delightfully varied and vividly colored artwork.

All books of the series are self-contained stories that can be enjoyed on their own, but your kids won’t ever get enough of the whole saga.

2. Amulet

by Kazu Kibuishi (ages 7-12 years)

Fantasy fans will immediately get hooked on Amulet graphic novels series.

The action-packed story revolves around the adventurous quest of Emily and her brother Navin.

Already stricken by the tragic death of their father, the two kids embark on a mission to rescue their mother, discovering an enchanted world of magical characters and steampunk gadgets.

The intriguing plot and richly pictured dynamic scenes make Amulet a hit even for struggling readers.

3. Smile

by Raina Telgemeier (ages 8-12 years)

Eisner awarded Smile is a graphic memoir recounting the dental trauma suffered by the author, since an unfortunate fall happened at sixth grade through her junior high years.

Going through her braces ordeal, she has still to deal with the usual teenage trials of self-acceptance, growing up, friends and boys dramas.

It’s a cheering read to accompany middle grade kids as they cope with their anxieties.

Smile is the first of Telgemeier’s highly popular stand-alone graphic novels Sisters, Ghosts, Guts and Drama: all of them confront the most relatable issues faced by tweens and are therefore vastly cherished by middle grade schoolers.

4. New Kid

by Jerry Craft (ages 8-12 years)

The first graphic novel to ever win the Newbery medal, New Kid conveys the realistic experience of seventh-grader Jordan Banks, who dreams to become an artist but finds himself enrolled in the posh private Riverdale Academy.

Interspersed throughout the main storyline are Jordan’s own art sketches, that give an insight of what it feels like to be one of the few kids of color in a not very diverse rich school. 

Humorous, witty and uplifting, New Kid is the best middle grades graphic novel closely tackling the topics of microaggressions, implicit bias, racism and social disparity.

5. El Deafo

by Cece Bell (ages 8-12 years)

Funny and heartfelt autobiographical narration of the author’s hearing loss at age 4 and her experiences through elementary school as a deaf person.

In a charmingly portrayed environment of big-eared cute bunnies, Cece is the only one with a hearing aid, the Phonic Ear.

It makes her different from other kids; still, she turns her impairment in a superpower, that she will use to find the most important thing of all: a real best friend.

A powerful book to reflect on the value of diversity, especially significant for kids that are bullied for being different.

6. The Nameless City

by Faith Erin Hicks (ages 9-13 years)

Pleasantly readable as a standalone graphic novel, this is the first book of a historical fantasy trilogy highly praised by middle grade kids and educators alike.

It describes the unexpected alliance between Rat and Kaidu, who belong to the two opposite factions inhabiting the City, but share a visceral love for the extraordinary place they both call home.

Sumptuously detailed cityscapes and breathtaking parkour-like rooftops visuals wrap up a fun adventure story that raises politically complex questions of belonging, multicultural interactions, colonialism and military conquer.

7. When Stars Are Scattered

by Victoria Jamieson and Omar Mohamed (ages 9-13 years)

Poignant book created by the Newbery Honor-winning author of bestselling middle grades graphic novel Roller Girl

It shares the heartbreaking story of Omar, a Somali refugee who grew up in a refugee camp in Kenya with his disabled younger brother Hassan.

We learn about their unspeakable life conditions, until Omar is given the opportunity to go to school, and he chooses to believe it’s a lifetime chance to a better future for his family. 

This brilliantly illustrated and deeply moving graphic novel cleverly exposes children to important issues, nurturing their empathy and transmitting a meaningful lesson about perseverance, resilience and indomitable hope.

8. This Was Our Pact

by Ryan Andrews (ages 9-13 years)

During the night of the Autumn Equinox Festival, Ben and his classmates make a pact to find out where the paper lanterns floating down the river really end up.

The mesmerizing wonders and whimsical encounters of a magical night transform the bicycle ride into an unforgettable journey of self-discovery, awe and beauty. 

The eerily wistful atmosphere is stunningly evoked by moonlit blue-hued dreamlike art style. 

A mysterious and inspirational tale about the joy of riding off into the unknown, for imaginative and artsy tweens.

9. Snapdragon

by Kat Leyh (ages 10-14 years)

Vibrant illustrations and emotional storytelling deliver an empowering story about the unpredictable friendship between a quirky girl and the town’s rumored-to-be old witch.

The bouncy characters are engaging, nuanced and marvelously diverse, and the captivating narrative deftly depicts queer and trans affirming identities, transgenerational and sapphic relations, positively unconventional family bonds and some spooky mystery.

Recommended read for middle graders that tastefully introduces LGBTQ themes and encourages inclusiveness, openness and out-of-the-box thinking. 

10. A Wrinkle in Time

by Madeline L’Engle and Hope Larson (ages 10-14 years)

Accessible graphic adaptation of the Newbery-winning sci-fi classic. 

This comics version is faithful to the original time-travel fiction, and will appeal to kids with a scientific and philosophical mind. 

It features fluid, simplified dialogues and neatly sketched drawings uniquely painted in black, white and sky-blue tones. 

More Graphic Novels?

What are the best graphic novels for tweens?

The 10 best graphic novels for tweens aged between 8 and 12 are:

1. Zita the Spacegirl
2. Amulet
3. Smile
4. New Kid
5. El Deafo
6. The Nameless City
7. When Stars Are Scattered
8. This Was Our Pact
9. Snapdragon
10. A Wrinkle in Time

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