Picture books are what most people gravitate toward when reading with young children, but there are many other types of books out there that can mix up the reading experience and keep them motivated to read.

For example, the panels, visuals and speech bubbles in graphic novels can add exciting ways for children to see a story unfold. The extra illustrations can make stories easier to understand even for children who might not be reading fluently and can be an effective way to hook reluctant or discouraged readers.

Try out these fun graphic novel titles with preschoolers or children in elementary school and see if they inspire any new interest in reading.


In “How to Spot a Sasquatch” (Owlkids Books, 2018) by J. Torres and Aurélie Grand, Jay and his friends are Junior Rangers about to embark on an overnight camping trip in the wilderness.

Jay is certain that this camping trip will be his chance to get a picture of a real, live sasquatch. He comes prepared with binoculars, snacks to use as bait and plenty of enthusiasm for the task.

The only problem? None of his friends believe that the sasquatch is real. But if that were true, then why do Jay’s snacks keep disappearing? And what did he see in the river while they were fishing?

Sass the sasquatch is keeping close tabs on Jay and his group of Junior Rangers, but will she be bold enough to make contact? Will Jay finally get the chance to meet — or even befriend — a sasquatch? Readers will enjoy this sweet, fanciful story filled with plenty of humor and even more heart.


Moving onto “Peter & Ernesto: the Lost Sloths” (First Second, 2019) by Graham Annable introduces us to Peter and Ernesto, two sloths that are best friends. Ernesto is a happy-go-lucky sloth who loves to have a good time while Peter is much more sensitive and cautious.

In this story, Peter, Ernesto and their fellow sloths are bombarded with a terrible hurricane that is so powerful it rips their tree right out of the ground.

The sloths must brave the dangerous jungle in order to find a new, great tree to live in. Unfortunately, the jungle is rife with danger — ants that bite, snakes that look like harmless vines and possibly jaguars.

Luckily, the group of sloths maintains hope long enough to stumble upon a new tree — and a great, new friend. This exciting and heartwarming story is a sequel to “Peter & Ernesto: A Tale of Two Sloths.”


The opener to another fun series, “Narwhal: Unicorn of the Sea” (Tundra Books, 2016) by Ben Clanton, introduce Narwhal and Jelly to readers and to each other. The two manage to become friends even though neither are convinced that the other is real.

Luckily, once Narwhal decides that the obvious solution is that Jelly must be his imaginary friend, the two quickly become best buds. Their shared love for silliness, waffles and dance parties lead Narwhal and Jelly to many adventures. This includes forming a narwhal pod, singing fun narwhal songs, and imagining their story for a book.

This charming story is intermingled with fun facts about narwhals and jellyfish, and young readers will eat the randomness of the stories right up.

These three sweet and funny stories certainly will pique the interest of graphic novel newbies. From the visuals to the jokes to the unfamiliar format, readers will want to revisit these titles.

Keimig works in the youth services department of the Carnegie-Stout Public Library in Dubuque. Email her at bkeimig@dubuque.lib.ia.us.