Banner photo by Niklas Morberg. Used under Creative Commons license. Original photo can be found on Flickr.

From October 3–6, 2019, over 200,000 comic book lovers, cosplayers, and pop culture fans attended New York Comic Con, the largest annual convention dedicated to pop culture, entertainment, and sequential art in the country.

In celebration of this year’s convention, and in recognition of the many ways graphic novels can be used as powerful instructional tools by teachers, we created the following list of educator-recommended graphic novels for the City’s K–12 students. We hope that these titles will excite, challenge, and inspire readers of all ages.

Have book suggestions of your own? Check out the DOE’s NYC Reads 365 Favorite Books Survey, and let us know which books we should recommend to students across the City!

Child, with parent looking on, in costume waiting for comic book creator's autograph

One of the best ways to get kids to read on their own is to introduce them to graphic novels that feature stories or characters they want to learn more about. (Photo by Bruce Matsunaga. Used under Creative Commons license. Original found via Flickr.)

Elementary Grades (Grades K–5)

  • Bolivar by Sean Rubin
  • Bone (series) by Jeff Smith
  • El Deafo by Cece Bell
  • Giants Beware & Dragons Beware by Jorge Aguire, art by Rafael Rosado
  • Hidden by Loïc Dauvillier, art by Marc Lizano
  • Lost in NYC: A Subway Adventure by Nadja Spiegelman, art by Sergio García Sánchez
  • Lowriders in Space by Cathy Camper, art by Raul Gonzalez
  • Ordinary People Change the World (series) by Brad Meltzer, art by Christopher Eliopoulos
  • Robot Dreams by Sara Varon
  • The Time Museum by Matthew Loux
  • Where’s Halmoni? by Julie Kim
  • Wordplay by Ivan Brunetti
Cover of the Graphic Novel,

Cece Bell’s, “El Deafo,” is a semi-autographical story about a four-year old rabbit who learns to feel “super” after being diagnosed with hearing loss.

Middle Grades (Grades 6–8)

  • Battle Lines: A Graphic History of the Civil War by Ari Kellerman, art by Jonathan Fetter-Vorm
  • Brave by Svetlana Chmakova
  • Coraline by Neil Gaiman, art and adaptation by P. Craig Russell
  • Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier
  • Hereville: How Mirka Got Her Sword by Barry Deutsch
  • Lewis and Clark by Nick Bertozzi
  • Level Up by Gene Luen Yang, art by Thien Pham
  • Meanwhile: Pick Any Path, 3,856 Story Possibilities by Jason Shiga
  • Pashmina by Nidhi Chanani
  • Resistance (Books 1–3) by Carla Jablonski, art by Leland Purvis
  • Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson
  • T-Minus: The Race to the Moon by Jim Ottaviani, art by Zander Cannon and Kevin Cannon
  • The Thrifty Guide to the American Revolution: A Handbook for Time Travelers by Jonathan W. Stokes
  • The Underground Abductor by Nathan Hale
Book cover of

Jason Shiga’s “Meanwhile” is a “choose your own adventure” novel that allows readers to choose their own plot twists with each read. Great for read-alouds!

High School (Grades 9–12)

  • Abina and the Important Men by Trevor Getz, art by Liz Clarke
  • Alexander Hamilton: The Graphic History of An American Founding Father by Jonathan Hennessey, art by Justin Greenwood
  • American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang
  • Becoming Unbecoming by Una
  • I Am Alfonso Jones by Tony Medina, art by Stacey Robinson and John Jennings
  • The Lighthouse by Paco Roca
  • Marzi: A Memoir by Marzena Sowa, art by Sylvian Savoia
  • Monstress by Marjorie M. Liu, art by Sana Takeda, et. al.
  • Palestine by Joe Sacco
  • Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi
  • Paper Girls (1–3) by Brian K. Vaughn, art by Cliff Chiang and Matt Wilson
  • Skim by Mariko Tamaki, art by Jillian Tamaki
  • Stitches by David Small
  • Tomboy by Liz Prince
  • Unflattening by Nick Sousanis
  • The Unstoppable Wasp, Vol. 1: Unstoppable by Jeremy Whitley, art by Elsa Charretier
  • Waiting for Spring (Vols. 1 & 2) by Anashin
Book cover of Gene Luen Yang's

Gene Luen Yang’s “American Born Chinese,” is about a Chinese-American high school student who just wants to “fit in.”


Have suggestions for other graphic novels? Let us know in the comments below.

Topdown view of man reading comics

What are some of your favorite graphic novels? (Photo by Tim McFarlane. Used under Creative Commons license. Original photo via Flickr)

The Morning Bell

Official blog for the NYC Department of Education, home of over 1.1 million students across 1,800+ schools

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NYC Department of Education, 2019