Here’s a list of publishers that put out family friendly comics books and online resources with guides to child friendly reading.
The Beast Academy book series is a full math curriculum for grades 2‑5. Beautifully illustrated Guides offer engaging math instruction, while Practice books include hundreds of problems and puzzles that reinforce the concepts learned in the Guides. In the full-color, comic-book-style Guides, four monsters attend classes at Beast Academy, where they grapple with math concepts and work together to solve problems. This fun way of learning mathematical concepts is perfect for educators to supplement their curriculum or parents to use at home as additional support.
The Phoenix, which is aimed at six- to 12-year-old girls and boys, is a British weekly story comic. Their subject matter ranges widely, through historical adventures and monstrous tales to the nonfiction strip Corpse Talk, in which the protagonist digs up and quizzes a corpse of distinction. Gandhi, Black Beard and Jane Austen are among the posthumous interviewees. Tamsin and the Deep takes elements of folklore and replays them in the setting of a council estate in rural Cornwall. It’s a weekly anthology of all-ages fun!
You know how when you walk into a comic book store, all the new issues are spread out on the walls or the shelves? Well, when a blind person walks in, they can’t see anything. The experience in Comics Empower, the comic book store for the blind, is reversed: The blind can see everything on the page and you can’t see anything. The site features original comics available in audio only, podcasts where sighted and blind people discuss their experience reading the same comic, comics written by blind writers, and more!
Classical Comics’ main aim is to make classical literature appealing to all. To do this, they offer graphic novel adaptions of classics, from Shakespeare to the Bronte sisters to Bram Stoker. Each title has multiple versions: original text, plain text, and quick text, making it possible for every level of reader to enjoy these beloved stories.
AMP! Comics for Kids is a line of paperback graphic novels aimed at middle-school readers. These fun novels range from a series adapted from Beowulf, Kid Beowulf, to the Big Nate series and many more. The site, in addition to offering a plethora of graphic novels, also offers teaching guides catered to each book, so that educators, librarians, and parents can capitalize on their student’s interest in comics.
Diamond Book Distributors has put together a comprehensive list of books that their publishers produce that can be used in a Common Core aligned curriculum. Broken up by grade level, this compilation is a great place for teachers to find resources for a classroom and parents to find age-appropriate texts.
Scholastic’s imprint Graphix publishes graphic novels specifically for children and teens. They focus on creator-driven books that bring exceptional art, rich content, and strong storytelling to realistic fiction, memoir, fantasy, and more. Supported by librarians, teachers, and most important, kids, Graphix titles have become bestsellers around the globe and continue to receive awards and critical acclaim including multiple Eisner Award wins and nominations, a Stonewall Book Award Honor (Drama), a Boston Globe-Horn Book Award Honor (Smile), an Edgar Allan Poe nomination (The Lost Boy), and 20 New York Times bestsellers to date.
Face Value Comics has created the first comic book hero with autism. Intended for autistic readers, this series of comic books is conscious about the social implications of their comics and aim to increase autism advocacy through comic awareness. Their comics are kid-friendly and a non-profit organization, dedicated to bringing children the best in comic book entertainment.
A regular Pop Culture Classroom collaborator, Action Labs Comics is one of the companies on the cutting edge of the digital age. In just four years, the company has grown to be one of the most popular publishing houses in the medium and is home to more than a dozen titles including the hugely popular all-ages fantasy Princeless, the Kickstarter-backed mini-series Fracture, and the original graphic novels Exo-1 and the Rock-Solid Steelbots, Back in the Day, and Monsters Are Just Like Us. Action Labs was also one of the first publishers to release a digital comic for Free Comic Book Day, unleashing Action Labs Confidential in 2012, a 200-plus page extended preview of every book the company has released.
With origins deeply rooted in the Franco-Belgian tradition of Bande dessinée, Toon Books promotes its books as the first high-quality comics designed for ages four and up. The idea for the line came to legendary designer and publisher Françoise Mouly when her son was learning to read. Appalled by the lack of educational appeal, she instead turned to French comics. Mouly is also married to cartoonist Art Spiegelman, who famously said, “Comics can be a gateway drug to literacy.” Over time, Mouly developed her own methodology for ensuring appeal and quality, vetting every book with educators and testing out rough drafts in schools. In addition to publishing popular titles like Barry and Penny, the Toon Books website offers free online learning tools for students and educators and unique online tools like the free “CarTOON Maker,” and the Readers Theater, which teaches educators how to get students to perform TOON stories.
With nearly a decade of experience under their belts, the creative minds behind Papercutz Graphic Novels have succeeded in keeping alive the spirit and presence of some of the world’s most popular characters including The Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew, Power Rangers, and many more. Dedicated to publishing great graphic novels for all ages, the company has engaged a wide variety of writers and artists including popular favorites like Scott Lobdell, Jill Thompson and Jeff Parker, as well as wide-ranging and eccentric talents like Rick Geary, Joe R. Lansdale, Gahan Wilson, and Peter Kuper. While their lineup focuses often on humor, the publisher also delves into experimental mediums including the popular Classics Illustrated line, the pop culture parody Papercutz Sclices, and English translations of popular Franco-Belgian comics including the ever-popular Smurfs.
What time is it? It’s always Adventure Time at KaBoom! Studios, the all-ages imprint of the popular Boom! Studios, headquartered in Los Angeles, California. This imprint is a spin-off from the long-time arm Boom Kids! and covers some of the most popular fictional universes in the comics world including The Muppets, Disney, Pixar and Peanuts. Launching in May of 2011, KaBoom! first hit comics stands with a Duck Tales mini-series composed by notable videogame designer Warren Spector and has since captured kids’ imaginations with the Adventure Time series written by Ryan North of Dinosaur Comics, new adventures set in the world of Ice Age, and is planning a comic book adaptation of Pendleton Ward’s Bravest Warriors.
Presented by the venerable School Library Journal, “Good Comics for Kids” is a collaborative blog covering kids’ comics written by a group of librarians, parents and writers. The blog was founded in 2008 with the goal of covering kids’ comics for readers from birth to age 16 with breadth and depth through a mix of news, reviews, interviews and previews, written with enough accessibility to appeal to both casual readers and serious comics fans. Recent interviews have featured a wide variety of creators including such luminaries as James Kolchaka, manga artist Misaka Rocks, and indie artist Paul Pope and Jeffrey Brown. This invaluable site covers everything from picture books to Banned Books Week with verve, insight and clarity, providing a terrific resource for parents, kids, and fans alike.
Atyourlibrary.org is the public website for the American Library Association’s public awareness campaign, the Campaign for America’s Libraries, which promotes the value of libraries and librarians. The goal of www.atyourlibrary.org is to provide information and recommended resources that everyone can take advantage of by connecting with their local library and librarians. The site provides new articles and links every week and updates content daily. This great list, divided up by reading ages, is a “best of the best” list of graphic novels for children created as a development tool for librarians by the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC). The list features a wide variety of stories and characters from different periods in history ranging from Herge’s famous explorer Tintin to Jeff Smith’s epic Bone to modern classics like Neil Gaiman’s Coraline.
The Quicklists Consulting Committee for the Association for Library Service to Children created a list of core titles than can be used when starting or maintaining a children’s graphic novel collection. The intended audience is librarians selecting books for inclusion in public libraries serving elementary school-age children, but can also be an invaluable resource for educators and parents. Here, “graphic novel” is defined as a full-length story told in paneled, sequential, graphic format. The list does not include book-length collections of comic strips, wordless picture books, or hybrid books that are a mixture of traditional text and comics/graphics. The list includes classics as well as new titles that have been widely recommended and well-reviewed, and books that have popular appeal as well as critical acclaim. The Quicklists Consulting Committee identified the best books currently available, and updates the list at least annually to add great new releases and remove titles that have gone out of print.