Best Graphic Novels for Children Reading List - 2021 Nominations

The Best Graphic Novels for Children Reading List seeks to highlight the best graphic novels for children ages 5-12 published in late 2020 and throughout 2021, increase awareness of the graphic novel medium, raise voices of diverse comics creators, and aid library staff in the development of graphic novel collections. The officially nominated titles - titles that are nominated and seconded by a member of the BGNC Selection Committee -  will be posted regularly during the year. The final list will be announced in January 2022.

2021 Best Graphic Novels for Children Nominated Titles

Updated: 6/25/21

Fiction

Allergic
Written by Megan Wagner Lloyd. Art by Michelle Mee Nutter; 2021 - Scholastic
$12.99 ISBN9781338568905

Maggie loves animals; however, she learns she is highly allergic to anything with fur or feathers, despite desperately wanting a pet of her own.

Arlo & Pips: King of the Birds
Written by Elise Gravel. Art by Elise Gravel; 2020 - Harper Collins
$7.99 ISBN 9780062982223

Arlo the crow is beautiful and he knows it. He aims to impress his new friend Pips the songbird with the many cool things he can do with his big brain and quirky personality.

Beak & Ally #1: Unlikely Friends
Written by Norm Feuti. Art by Norm Feuti; 2021 - Harper Alley
$12.99 ISBN 9780063021570

Ally’s peace is disturbed by a noisy bird named Beak.

Chunky
Written by Yehudi Mercado. Art by Yehudi Mercado; 2021 - Katherine Tegen Books
$12.99 ISBN 9780062972781

An imaginary friend helps Hudi navigate body acceptance, friendship, and growing up.

Class Act
Written by Jerry Craft. Art by Jerry Craft; 2020 - Quill Tree Books
$22.99 ISBN 9780062885500

Drew Ellis feels as if he works twice as hard as some of the kids at Riverdale Academy Day School, but doesn’t get the same opportunities in life.  

Delicates
Written by Brenna Thummler. Art by Brenna Thummler; 2021 - Simon & Schuster
$14.99 ISBN 9781620107881

In this follow-up to Sheets, Marjorie's finally gotten over being the weird girl who sees ghosts and runs a laundry and has been accepted into the popular crowd at her middle school.

Donut Feed the Squirrels
Written by Mika Song. Art by Mika Song; 2020 - Random House Graphic
$12.99 ISBN 9781984895837

Two intrepid squirrels scheme to snatch a donut from a food truck that stops in their park.

Fantastic Tales of Nothing
Written by Alejandra Green. Art by Fanny Rodriguez; 2020 - Harper Collins
$12.99 ISBN 9780062839473

In the land of Nothing, human Nathan has mysterious powers.

Forever Home
Written by Jenna Ayoub. Art by Jenna Ayoub; 2021 - KaBOOM!
$12.99 ISBN 9781684156030

After many moves with the military, Willow and her parents finally find their perfect home in historic but haunted Hadleigh House.

Hilo #7: Gina – The Girl Who Broke the World
Written by Judd Winick. Art by Judd Winick; 2021 - Random House Books for Young Readers
$13.99 ISBN 9780525644095

Gina is the only one who can see the giant magical beings that have descended upon the Earth.

Jo & Rus
Written by Audra Winslow. Art by Audra Winslow; 2021 - KaBOOM!
$12.99 ISBN 9781684156108

Two unlikely friends find each other with the help of a mysterious one-eyed cat.

Jukebox
Written by Nidhi Chanani. Art by Nidhi Chanani; 2021 - First Second
$14.99 ISBN 9781250156372

Shaheen's dad lives in his own world of vintage and rare vinyl collecting, and every moment of her life
has a soundtrack. When her dad does not come home one night, a mysterious Jukebox, old vinyl records, and cryptic notes on music history are her only clues to her father's abrupt disappearance.

The Leak
Written by Katie Reed Petty. Art by Andrea Bell; 2021 - First Second
$14.99 ISBN 9781250217967

12- year-old Ruth Keller is an aspiring journalist who finds a mysterious black substance at the local lake.

Measuring Up
Written by Lily LaMotte. Art by Ann Xu; 2021 - HarperAlley
$12.99 ISBN 9780062973863

Cici has recently moved to Seattle from Taiwan and desperately misses A-má, her grandmother. To pay for a plane ticket for A-má to visit her, Cici hopes to win a cash prize through a junior chef competition.  

Pawcasso
Written by Remy Lai. Art by Remy Lai; 2021 - Holt Books for Young Readers
$21.99 ISBN 9781250774484

A dog carrying a basket in his mouth while doing errands around town is a source of curiosity for eleven-year-old Jo.

Pepper & Boo: A Cat Surprise!
Written by Charise Mericle Harper. Art by Charise Mericle Harper; 2020 - Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
$9.99 ISBN 9781368049047

Pepper and Boo are concerned about a new friend in their house who has strange feline habits.

Séance Tea Party
Written by Reimena Yee. Art by Reimena Yee; 2020 - Penguin Random House
$20.99 ISBN 9780593125328

Lora is a middle school late bloomer who feels left behind by her friends until she is reunited with a ghostly companion from the past.

Shark and Bot #1.
Written by Brian Yanish. Art by Brian Yanish; 2020 - Penguin Random House
$9.99 ISBN 9780593173350

Although it seems like a shark and a robot would be an unlikely pair of friends, these two find they have plenty in common.  

Student Ambassador: The Missing Dragon
Written by Ryan Estrada. Art by Axur Eneas and Chas! Pangburn; 2020 - Iron Circus Comics
$15.00 ISBN 9781945820601

Everyone is counting on Joseph Bazan, an 8-year-old ambassador, to smooth over an international incident with a boy king across the ocean.

Super Sidekicks #1: No Adults Allowed
Written by Gavin Aung Than. Art by Gavin Aung Than; 2020 - Penguin Random House
$18.99 ISBN 9780593175057

Superhero sidekicks get fed up with the lack of respect from their bosses, so they team up together to fight villains.

Tell No Tales: Pirates of the Southern Seas
Written by Sam Maggs. Art by Kendra Wells; 2021 - Amulet Books
$21.99 ISBN 9781419739668

Anne Bonny and her crew of female pirates sail the Caribbean, seeking adventure and stealing treasure.

Twins
Written by Varian Johnson. Art by Shannon Wright; 2020 - Scholastic
$24.99 ISBN 9781338236170

Maureen and Francine are twins who share a bedroom, take the same classes, participate in the same clubs, and have the same friends. When one of them starts to pull away, it spells trouble.

Witches of Brooklyn
Written by Sophie Escabasse. Art by Sophie Escabasse; 2020 - Penguin Random House
$20.99 ISBN 9780593119273  

When Effie's mother dies, she is sent to live with two aunts who are somewhat welcoming, although strange and fascinating. Soon Effie starts having strange dreams, and when a popstar invades the house in the middle of the night with a huge problem, Effie learns who she and her aunts really are - witches.

The Wizerd! And the Potion of Dreams!
Written by Michael Sweater. Art by Rachel Dukes; 2020 - Oni Press
$14.99 ISBN 9781620107775

A wizerd and a warrior princess who wants to get hunky seek a wish-granting potion.

Wonder Cat Kyuu-Chan
Written by Sasami Nitori. Art by Sasami Nitori; 2021 - Seven Seas Entertainment
$14.99 ISBN 9781645058571

Hitana encounters a stray cat and adopts it, leading to amusing human-feline experiences.

 

Non-Fiction

It’s Her Story: Marie Curie: A Graphic Novel
Written by Kaara Kallen. Art by Rosie Baker; 2021 - Sunbird Books
$10.99 ISBN 9781503752931

A biography of scientist Marie Curie, who discovered radium.

The Worry (Less) Book: Feel Strong, Find Calm, and Tame Your Anxiety!
Written by Rachel Brian. Art by Rachel Brian; 2020 - Little Brown Books for Young Readers
$15.99 ISBN 9780316495196

An exploration of what it means to feel anxiety and how to overcome it.