Great Graphic Novels for 2nd and 3rd Graders

Graphic novels can be wonderful tools to engage reluctant readers or anyone who is looking for a great story. While graphic novels are often dismissed as sub-par reading, there are many benefits for children to read them. After all, uniting a child friendly story with engaging illustrations is a winning combination.

Here are a few reasons why graphic novels are so great:

  • The images can help children better understand the text and more fully comprehend the storyline.
  • Because there are a lot of illustrations, graphic novels are not as intimidating to new readers and can give them a confidence boost.
  • The paneling format of graphic novels helps children build sequencing skills.
  • Graphic novels often use succinct language, forcing readers to decode and analyze the text to better understand the plot.
  • Graphic novels are often fun! There are dynamic characters presented with exciting conflicts that create a fast paced storyline.

Listed below are some of our favorite graphic novels that have proven to be popular with second and third graders at my school.

Narwhal: Unicorn of the Sea by Ben Clanton, 2016

From the Publisher

Narwhal is a happy-go-lucky narwhal. Jelly is a no-nonsense jellyfish. The two might not have a lot in common, but they do they love waffles, parties and adventures. Join Narwhal and Jelly as they discover the whole wide ocean together. A wonderfully silly early graphic novel series featuring three stories. In the first, Jelly learns that Narwhal is a really good friend. Then Narwhal and Jelly form their own pod of awesomeness with their ocean friends. And finally, Narwhal and Jelly read the best book ever — even though it doesn’t have any words…or pictures! Ben Clanton showcases the joys of friendship, the benefits of working together and the power of imagination in the delightful Narwhal: Unicorn of the Sea.

  • Lexile: 490

 

The Bad Guys (series) by Aaron Blabey, 2017

From the Publisher

They sound like bad guys, they look like bad guys . . . and they even smell like bad guys. But Mr. Wolf, Mr. Piranha, Mr. Snake, and Mr. Shark are about to change all of that… Mr. Wolf has a daring plan for the Bad Guys’ first good mission. They are going to break two hundred dogs out of the Maximum Security City Dog Pound. Will Operation Dog Pound go smoothly? Will the Bad Guys become the Good Guys? And will Mr. Snake please stop swallowing Mr. Piranha?!

  • Lexile: 530

 

Game Over, Super Rabbit Boy (series) by Thomas Flintham, 2017

From the Publisher

Uh-oh, Animal Town is in trouble! Meanie King Viking has created a dreaded robot army to spread No Fun across the land. On top of that, he has stolen the happiest and most fun animal ever, Singing Dog. There is only one person who can save the day – Super Rabbit Boy! Super Rabbit Boy is super-fast and super brave, but he’s also a video game character living in a video game world. What will happen when Sunny, the boy playing the game, loses each level? Will it be game over for Super Rabbit Boy and all his friends?

  • Lexile: 530

 

Adventures in Cartooning (series) by James Sturm, 2009

From the Publisher

In this action-packed cartooning adventure, kids will have as much fun making comics as reading them!

Once upon a time . . . a princess tried to make a comic. And with the help of a magical cartooning elf, she learned how – well enough to draw her way out of an encounter with a dangerous dragon, near-death by drowning, and into her very own adventure! Like the princess, young readers will discover that they already have the drawing and writing skills it takes to make a comic – they just need a little know-how. And Adventures in Cartooning supplies just that.

  • Lexile: 170

 

The Misadventures of Salem Hyde: Spelling Trouble (series) by Frank Cammuso, 2013

From the Publisher

Salem Hyde just isn’t like other kids. For one thing, she’s stubborn, independent, and impulsive. For another, she’s a witch. Salem acts first and thinks later–which means most of her thinking involves coming up with excuses! Good thing she’s been assigned an animal companion, Lord Percival J. Whamsford III. This over-anxious cat doesn’t like Salem calling him “Whammy,” and Salem doesn’t like listening to his long-winded explanations as to why she shouldn’t do something . . . like enter the class spelling bee. Salem knows she can beat all her classmates at spells, no problem. Too late, she realizes the competition is about spelling words, not magic. And there’s nothing like a misspelled spell to cause all kinds of havoc!

Lexile: 520

 

Dog Man (series) by Dav Pilkey; illustrated by George Beard, 2016

From the Publisher

There’s a new breed of justice in town,and he’s ready to sniff out criminals-as soon as he stops chasing his own tail! From the creator of Captain Underpants, it’s Dog Man, the crime-biting canine who is part dog, part man, and ALL HERO! George and Harold have created a new hero who digs into deception, claws after crooks, and rolls over robbers. When Greg the police dog and his cop companion are injured on the job, a life-saving surgery changes the course of history, and Dog Man is born. With the head of a dog and the body of a human, this heroic hound has a real nose for justice. But can he resist the call of the wild to answer the call of duty?

  • Lexile: 390

 

Babymouse: Queen of the World (series) by Jennifer Holm and Matthew Holm, 2005

From the Publisher

Meet Babymouse–Her dreams are big! Her imagination is wild! Her whiskers are ALWAYS a mess! In her mind, she’s Queen of the World! In real life…she’s not even Queen of the lunch table. NEW YORK TIMES bestselling, three-time Newbery Honor winning author Jennifer Holm teams up with Matthew Holm to bring you a fully illustrated graphic novel series packed with humor and kid appeal–BABYMOUSE! It’s the same thing every day for Babymouse. Where is the glamour? The excitement? The fame?!? Nothing ever changes, until…Babymouse hears about Felicia Furrypaws’s exclusive slumber party. Will Babymouse get invited? Will her best friend, Wilson, forgive her if she misses their monster movie marathon? Find out in Babymouse.

  • Lexile: 470

 

Kung Pow Chicken: Let’s Get Cracking (series) by Cyndi Marko, 2014

From the Publisher

In this exciting full-color series, Gordon Blue transforms into Kung Pow Chicken, an avian superhero who fights crime in the city of Fowladelphia. The first book in the series kicks off when Gordon’s birdy senses lead him to a festival. Suddenly, POOF! Feathers fill the air and shivering naked chickens are everywhere. Why have all these chickens lost their feathers? Forced to wear wooly sweaters, the city itches for a hero. Kung Pow Chicken hops into his Beakmobile to save the day!

  • Lexile: 550

 

Gumazing Gum Girl: Chews Your Destiny by Rhode Montijo, 2013

From the Publisher

Gabby Gomez loves to chew bubble gum even though her mother has warned her against it. It’s not like she will turn into gum…except, that’s exactly what happens! With her new, stretch-tastic powers Gabby can help save the day, but she will have to keep her gummy alter-ego a secret from her mother or else she’ll find herself in a really sticky situation.

  • Lexile: 580

 

Written and Drawn by Henrietta by Liniers, 2015

From the Publisher

Reading books is fun . . . but what about making them? Armed with new colored pencils, Henrietta’s ready to try. Peek over her shoulder as she draws the story of a brave young girl, a three-headed monster, and an impossibly wide world of adventure. Whether read aloud to a toddler or discovered by a young reader, Liniers’ celebration of the creative process is sure to make everyone want to bring out their pencils.

Ricardo Siri Liniers, known as Liniers, is the author of Macanudo, a daily comic strip hugely popular in Argentina, now available in English. His US debut, The Big Wet Balloon, a TOON Book, was nominated for an Eisner Award and chosen as one of Parents‘ Top 10 Children’s Books. He lives in Buenos Aires with his wife and three daughters, Matilda, Clementina, and Emma, whom he credits as inspirations for this book.

  • Lexile: 490
  • Fountas & Pinnell: N

 

Binky the Space Cat (series) by Ashley Spires, 2009

From the Publisher

Binky is a space cat – at least in his own mind. He’s really a house cat who has never left the family home (space station). Unlike other house cats, Binky has a mission: to blast off into outer space (outside), explore unknown places (the backyard) and battle aliens (bugs). Binky must undergo rigorous training so he can repel the alien attacks that threaten his humans. As he builds his spaceship, he must be extremely careful with his blueprints – the enemy is always watching. Soon Binky is ready to voyage into outer space. His humans go out there every day and he’s sure they need a certified space cat to protect them. But just as he’s about to blast off with his co-pilot, Ted (stuffed mousie), Binky realizes that he’s left something very important behind … and it’s not the zero-gravity kitty litter. In the first book in the Binky Adventure series, graphic-novel readers will delight in watching where this lovable and quirky cat’s imagination takes him.

  • Lexile: 740
  • Guided Reading Level: N

 

Hilo: The Boy Who Crashed to Earth (series) by Judd Winick, 2015

From the Publisher

D.J. and his friend Gina are totally normal kids. But Hilo isn’t! Hilo doesn’t know where he came from, or what he’s doing on Earth. (Or why going to school in only your underwear is a BAD idea!) . . . But UH-OH, what if Hilo wasn’t the only thing to fall to our planet? Can the trio unlock the secrets of Hilo’s past? Can Hilo SURVIVE a day at school? Find out in HILO-a laugh-out-loud, epic story of friendship! Adventure! (And the occasional mutant robot ant).

  • Lexile: 460
  • Fountas & Pinnell: O

 

Bird and Squirrel on the Run (series) by James Burks, 2012

From the Publisher

Bird and Squirrel outwit Cat and become best friends in this zany adventure. Squirrel is afraid of his own shadow. He teams up with Bird, who is fearless but grounded by a wounded wing, to head south for the winter. Bird doesn’t have a care in the world. And Cat wants to eat Bird and Squirrel. Of course, he’ll have to catch them first, and that’s not going to be easy. Join this trio as they head south for the winter in a hilarious road trip. But watch out! Cat is waiting around every bend, and he’s one pesky feline.

  • Lexile: 520
  • Fountas & Pinnell: O

 

Zita the Spacegirl (series) by Hen Hatke, 2011

From the Publisher

Zita’s life took a cosmic left turn in the blink of an eye. When her best friend is abducted by an alien doomsday cult, Zita leaps to the rescue and finds herself a stranger on a strange planet. Humanoid chickens and neurotic robots are shocking enough as new experiences go, but Zita is even more surprised to find herself taking on the role of intergalactic hero. Before long, aliens in all shapes and sizes don’t even phase her. Neither do ancient prophecies, doomed planets, or even a friendly con man who takes a mysterious interest in Zita’s quest. Zita the Spacegirl is a fun, captivating tale of friendship and redemption from Flight veteran Ben Hatke. It also has more whimsical, eye-catching, Miyazaki-esque monsters than you can shake a stick at.

  • Lexile: 310

 

Magic Pickle (series) by Scott Morse, 2008

Meet the Magic Pickle, a flying kosher dill secret weapon, created in a secret government lab under the floor of little JoJo Wigman’s bedroom. The Magic Pickle is here to save the world from The Brotherhood of Evil Produce who are threatening to take over the world or at least kill us with fruit and vegetable puns!

  • Lexile: 410
  • Guided Reading Level: R

 

 

Lunch Lady and the Cyborg Substitute (series) by Jarrett Krosoczka, 2009

From the Publisher

Hector, Terrence, and Dee have always wondered about their school lunch lady. What does she do when she isn’t dishing out the daily special? Where does she live? Does she have a lot of cats at home? Little do they know Lunch Lady doesn’t just serve sloppy joes–she serves justice! Whatever danger lies ahead, it’s no match for LUNCH LADY!

  • Lexile: 520
  • Fountas & Pinnell: S

 

Sidekicks by Dan Santat, 2011

From the Publisher

Captain Amazing, superhero and savior of Metro City, is getting old. He’s out all hours battling arch-villains, catching thieves, and helping little old ladies cross the street. He doesn’t even have time for his house full of pets. He needs–a sidekick! Captain Amazing’s pets agree. But each one of them thinks he should get the sidekick spot–and a chance for one-on-one time with the Captain. Get ready for sibling rivalry royale as pets with superpowers duke it out for the one thing they all want–a super family. A bold and brilliant graphic novel romp by whiz kid Dan Santat.

  • Lexile: 340
  • Fountas & Pinnell: Q

 

Missile Mouse: The Star Crusher by Jake Parker, 2010

From the Publisher

Missile Mouse, secret agent for the Galactic Security Agency, is a risk taker and a rule breaker, which is why he’s in hot water at GSA headquarters. Then RIP, the Rogue Imperium of Planets, kidnaps a scientist who knows about the Star Crusher, a doomsday machine capable of destroying the entire universe.

Time to let loose the mouse! Missile Mouse battles giant space slugs, corrupt agents, killer bugs, and a pair of shark headed thugs to save the day (and the scientist!).

  • Lexile: 480
  • Fountas & Pinnell: U

 

Mal and Chad: the Biggest, Bestest Time Ever (series) by Stephen McCranie, 2011

From the Publisher

Mal is a super kid genius and Chad is a talking dog, but no one knows it. What’s it like to be so extraordinary and yet so invisible? Not even Megan, Mal’s secret crush, has any idea that Mal is anything more than a dork. Fortunately, Mal and Chad are best friends with a penchant for adventure . . . even if the time-traveling does get them grounded by Mal’s mom. Introducing the first in a series of illustrated chapter books by talented newcomer Stephen McCranie that are laugh-inducing, clever, and full of heart. Give this to any kid who’s a reluctant reader or is just leaving picture books and be prepared to answer the question- ‘When can I read the next one?’

  • Lexile: 400

One thought on “Great Graphic Novels for 2nd and 3rd Graders

  1. Your style is really unique in comparison to other folks I’ve read stuff from. Many thanks for posting when you’ve got the opportunity, Guess I will just book mark this page.|

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