Let me start by saying there is nothing wrong with children reading graphic novels. There are a lot of wonderful graphic novels for kids and many have won critical acclaim as quality literature. We have a super graphic novel collection in the Children’s Department and for a lot of kids they first find a love of reading from graphic novels.
But let’s face it, being good at reading graphic novels is not going to help a child get through their high school English class. At some point kids need to become comfortable reading traditional literature. I frequently have parents ask me for suggestions for getting their comic loving child to try a more traditional book format. I usually suggest a transition book that is highly illustrated but has more text than a graphic novel. Then, a reader can move from a highly illustrated book to a more text rich book.
Here are a few reading pathways starting at some popular graphic novels and leading to more text rich books.
If you like: AMULET: THE STONEKEEPER
By Kazu Kibuishi
Emily's and Narvin's mother is kidnapped and dragged into a strange and magical world where, it seems, the children's great-grandfather has been before. It's up to the children to set things right and save their mother's life.
Try (highly illustrated): DINOTOPIA
By James Gurney
An unabridged republication of James Gurney's influential 1999 story about the adventures of Gideon Altaire. The second half of the book includes 45 new images, including never-before-published storyboards, concept sketches, and production paintings, plus new characters, stories, and backstory notes from James Gurney's creative archives.
Then (traditional format): GREGOR THE OVERLANDER
By Suzanne Collins
When eleven-year-old Gregor and his two-year-old sister are pulled into a strange underground world, they trigger an epic battle involving men, bats, rats, cockroaches, and spiders while on a quest foretold by ancient prophecy.
If you like: BIG NATE FROM THE TOP
By Lincoln Pierce
Nate Wright is an eleven years old sixth grader who has the distinction of setting the record for school detentions.
Try (highly illustrated): DIARY OF A WIMPY KID
By Jeff Kinney
Acclaimed debut author Jeff Kinney brilliantly re-creates the typical humor and logic of middle school boys sidling into adolescence. Sixth grader Greg Heffley doesn't understand his annoying younger brother, obnoxious older one, or well-meaning parents. But he knows enough to record his daily thoughts in a manly journal—not some girly diary. In a unique novel brimming with laugh-out-loud moments, Greg chronicles his first turbulent year of middle school.
Then (traditional format): THE TERRIBLE TWO
By Mack Barnett
When master prankster Miles Murphy moves to sleepy Yawnee Valley, he challenges the local mystery prankster in an epic battle of tricks, but soon the two join forces to pull off the biggest prank ever seen.
If you like: BABYMOUSE: QUEEN OF THE WORLD
By Jennifer Holm
An imaginative mouse dreams of being queen of the world, but will settle for an invitation to the most popular girl's slumber party.
Try (highly illustrated): BABYMOUSE: TALES FROM THE LOCKER
By Jennifer Holm
Babymouse joins the school Film Club and writes the greatest cinematic masterpiece of all time! But when the movie gets shown to the entire school, will it be a box office hit or a flop?"-- Provided by publisher.
Then (tradiational format): FROM THE NOTEBOOKS OF A MIDDLE SCHOOL PRINCESS
By Meg Cabot
A middle-grade spinoff of The Princess Diaries, about the long-lost sister of Mia Thermopolis, Princess of Genovia.