Booklist: Best graphic novels for Years 5 and 6 (ages 9-11)
Graphic novels are longer stories written and illustrated in the style of a comic, combining a sequence of engaging visual elements that drive the plot, coupled with short pockets of text in the form of captions and dialogue. The format has seen a burst in popularity in recent years, and these books are well-known for being particularly popular with reluctant readers who are developing reading stamina, although retain a more widespread appeal too in Year 5 and 6 classrooms. Many graphic novels widely available are pitched at a slightly older teen audience, and caution must be exercised in selecting the most appropriate books for a younger audience. However, we are convinced of the power of graphic novels are a valuable reading for pleasure choice in Key Stage 2, and we have picked out a list of brilliant graphic novels that are most suitable for children aged 9-11.
Despite the comic style, graphic novels are not limited to funny stories alone, although there are many hilarious and wacky tales popular with young readers who love to laugh, like Jamie Smart's Bunny Vs Monkey series (as featured in The Phoenix Comic) or Dav Pilkey's enormously popular Dog Man books, which often serve as an entry point to the world of graphic novels for younger children. Other graphic novels feature true-to-life drama, socio-political themes or thought-provoking memoirs, from the themes of racism and belonging in Jerry Craft's New Kid and the powerful refugee journey portrayed in Illegal to Cece Bell's heart-stirring recount of hearing loss in El Deafo.
Fantasy adventure fans can find solace in the imaginative worlds of Amulet or Zita the Space Girl, and children looking for a graphic novel version of well-known stories will be likely to enjoy the illustrated retelling of Tom's Midnight Garden or the action-packed Percy Jackson graphic novel series.
Fans of the graphic-novel style can find non-fiction to enjoy in a similar format, too. We recommend Adam Murphy's extensive Corpse Talk series, which features interviews with famous people from history, or the award-winning A Day in the Life of a Poo, a Gnu and You.