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The 12 Best Graphic Novels for Tween Girls

Updated on April 8, 2018
KateMcGregor profile image

Katie is a middle school literacy specialist and big fan of graphic novels for kids.

What's a graphic novel, you ask? Graphic novels are books that are the length of a novel, but told in both pictures and words. Think comic books, but longer. And graphic novels are taking the tween world by storm, especially for girls. I'll share why I think graphic novels turn kids into readers and share some of the more popular graphic novels in my classroom so you can try them with your kids.

Over the last several years, the graphic novel genre has exploded. And for good reason, girls are reading and loving them. As a reading teacher, I see great success with graphic novels. Many times kids have come up to me having just finished a graphic novel to tell me that "this is the first book I've ever read." It's a powerful thing to see a tween have the confidence and pleasure of just finishing their first book.

While some parents are concerned that graphic novels don't offer the same benefits as "real books," there are plenty of reasons to let your girls read them with verve.

  • They are less intimidating for reluctant readers. Graphic novels may motivate kids who are reluctant to pick up a novel with "just words."
  • Volume matters. Graphic novels are quick reads, which means kids will read more of them. Research shows that the more kids read, the better they become at reading.
  • Looking at pictures requires thinking, too. Kids must interpret both words and visual images when reading a graphic novel, requiring their brains to actively process more than one kind of information.
  • Life lessons. Graphic novels are fun and entertaining, but they also delve into the tough topics that teens face, like seeking identity, building relationships and enduring change.

Most Popular Graphic Novels for Girls

While the graphic novels below are popular with my boys as well as my girls, many of the titles below have special appeal to middle school girls. They feature tough, sassy female leads and touch on many of the realities are girls face: belonging, confidence, bullies and figuring out where you fit in (or don't).

But don't be fooled though parents, I've read and loved every one of them. You might find them just as enjoyable as your kids do!

Smile!

Smile
Smile

Super popular graphic novel author Raina Telgemeier wins girls (and boys) hearts with funny and poignant stories about the trials (and terrors) of middle school and beyond.

Her memior-esque tales begin with Smile, a tale about starting middle school with a head full of braces. Her story continues her subsequent books Sisters (a road trip family saga) and Drama (about fitting in and finding love in high school).

Telgemeier also recently adapted Ann Martin's classic Baby-Sitters Club series in graphic novel form. Just as I did as a tween, my students are anticipating each new addition to the series. Look for it, too.

 

Awkward

Awkward (Berrybrook Middle School)
Awkward (Berrybrook Middle School)

Every kid just wants to fit in, right? Especially when they're the new kid. Svetlana Chmakova explores fitting in this hilarious graphic novel about relationships that are sometimes, well, awkward.

Penelope just wants to make a good impression at her new school. But within seconds of walking through the doors, she trips and falls into the wrong person, making her start at the new school very, very awkward.

 

Zita the Space Girl Series

Zita the Spacegirl
Zita the Spacegirl

Zita quickly became one of my favorite heroines with her confidence and charm. She's a hero in space and a role model for girls on Earth.

Ben Hatke is an accomplished graphic novelist who continues Zita's story in the Legends of Zita the Space Girl and The Return of Zita the Space Girl.

Hatke's other graphic novels include the charming Mighty Jack and Mighty Jack and the Goblin King.

 

Book Recommendations by and for Tweens and Teens

Want to find out more about graphic novels or other books for teens and tweens?

There are several places you can find reviews and suggestions for books that tweens and teens will love. Check out the following links for reviews of graphic novels and other books for teens.

Teen Reads https://www.teenreads.com/

Epic Reads epicreads.tumblr.com/

Do you know of a graphic novel that your daughter or sister or friend just loves? Be sure to share it in the comments below.


© 2018 Katie Griffith

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