5 Reasons to Teach with Graphic Novels

Some may not consider graphic novels a teaching tool, but in recent years graphic storytelling has been used as a medium to explore different kinds of stories for broader audiences. Because of this, these books are finding their way into more and more classrooms and libraries.

Why teach with graphic novels?

  • Kids love them – even the most reluctant readers
  • They build visual literacy and require readers to use both sides of their brains
  • They offer visual support that can aid reading and comprehension for English language learners and kids with some learning disabilities, such as Dyslexia
  • They inspire kids to create their own stories
  • They deliver rich stories with terrific art – a winning combination


Looking for just the right graphic novel for your young reader? Here are a few of our favorites:

For Kindergarten – 2nd Grade

toon books

TOON Books

TOON publishes fun comics that early readers can read by themselves or side-by-side with an adult, and each is vetted by literacy experts. With original stories, quirky characters, and plenty of age-appropriate wit, TOON Books enthrall both the emerging and reluctant reader. Every book has been vetted by literacy experts to ensure the language and narratives are appropriate for independent readers.


 For 2nd – 4th Grade

hamster_cheeseHamster and Cheese (Guinea Pig, Pet Shop Private Eye Series #1) Written by Colleen AF Venable; illustrated by Stephanie Yue

Ingredients: a guinea pig who solves crimes, a pet shop full of entertaining animals, and a missing sandwich. Put them all together and you get this hilarious graphic novel, the first in a wonderful series. It’s a great pick for readers of early chapter books, animal lovers, and/or detectives in training.



For 4th – 6th Grade

roller_girlRoller Girl Written and illustrated by Victoria Jamieson

Yes! A roller derby graphic novel for kids! This delightful book tells the story of a girl who is learning how to stay on her feet – both on roller skates, and in friendship. The story is engaging, the art is super appealing, and adults will love the book’s subtle, underlying advice about how to be a good friend and a good son or daughter.



For 5th – 8th Grade

nathan_hale_underground_abductorNathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales: The Underground Abductor Written and illustrated by Nathan Hale

The newest book in one of our favorite series is a true show-stopper. Just how much do you know about Harriet Tubman? The facts contained in this biographical narrative will blow your mind. It’s captivating, entertaining, and will make your kids eager to learn even more about American history and one of its most remarkable heroes.



For 8th Grade – Adults

march_book_one_lewisMarch: Book One and March: Book Two Written by John Robert Lewis and Andrew Aydin; illustrated by Nate Powell

These remarkable, New York Times-bestselling graphic novels belong in every program serving young adults! Congressman John Lewis recounts his role in the Civil Rights movement, introducing readers to pivotal moments that changed a nation. Readers follow his personal experiences and learn the motivations of the heroic young men and women who waged a war against segregation.
Members of First Book’s community of educators who have used graphic novels in the classroom can attest to the fact that they can reinforce new vocabulary, visual literacy, and reading skills. If you work with kids in need, you can find these graphic novels and more on the First Book Marketplace.