I don’t know about you, but I LOVE graphic novels. Good graphic novels are immersive, engaging, and easy to finish in no time. Some parents, teachers and librarians worry about the value of graphic novels for kids, but research has shown them to be even more effective than prose for vocabulary building. Nine-year-olds are older elementary pupils with stronger reading skills and perhaps a greater appreciation for longer stories. This list is a fantastic resource if you’re on the hunt for more graphic novels for 9-year-olds. Of course, these books are perfect for most kids between ages 8 and 12, but they are likely to be a hit, especially with 9-year-olds!
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20 Awesome Graphic Novels for 9-Year-Olds
Here are 20 of the best graphic novels for 9-year-olds:
Published: March 2, 2021
At home, Maggie is the odd one out. Her parents are preoccupied with getting ready for a new baby, and her younger brothers are twins and always in their own world. Maggie loves animals and thinks a new puppy to call her own is the answer, but when she goes to select one on her birthday, she breaks out in hives and rashes. She’s severely allergic to anything with fur!
Can Maggie outsmart her allergies and find the perfect pet? With illustrations by Michelle Mee Nutter, Megan Wagner Lloyd uses inspiration from her own experiences with allergies to tell a heartfelt story of family, friendship, and finding a place to belong.
Published: May 17, 2022
Bree can’t wait for her first day at her new middle school, Enith Brigitha, home to the Mighty Manatees—until she’s stuck with the only elective that fits her schedule, the dreaded Swim 101. The thought of swimming makes Bree more than a little queasy, yet she’s forced to dive headfirst into one of her greatest fears. Lucky for her, Etta, an elderly occupant of her apartment building and former swim team captain, is willing to help.
With Etta’s training and a lot of hard work, Bree suddenly finds her swim-crazed community counting on her to turn the school’s failing team around. But that’s easier said than done, especially when their rival, the prestigious Holyoke Prep, has everything they need to leave the Mighty Manatees in their wake.
Can Bree defy the odds and guide her team to a state championship, or have the Manatees swum their last lap—for good?
Published: April 23, 2019
Olive and Willow are happy campers!
Or are they?
Olive is sure she’ll have the best time at summer camp with her friend Willow – but while Olive makes quick friends with the other campers, Willow struggles to form connections and latches on to the only person she knows – Olive. It’s s’more than Olive can handle! The stress of being Willow’s living security blanket begins to wear on Olive and before long…the girls aren’t just fighting, they may not even be friends by the time camp is over. Will the two be able to patch things up before the final lights out?
The Cool Code
Published: November 8, 2022
In an attempt to fit in, Zoey develops an app called the Cool Code with a cute llama avatar that will tell her everything from what to say to what to wear based on pop culture algorithms she’s uploaded.
But when the app gives her ridiculous advice, awkwardness and hilarity ensues. With a few upgrades and a bit of debugging from the coding club, the app actually works—Zoey gets really popular . . . and gets her pulled in all kinds of directions, including away from her real friends.
Life’s most complicated choices. . . is there a code for that?
When Stars Are Scattered
Published: April 14, 2020
Omar and his younger brother, Hassan, have spent most of their lives in Dadaab, a refugee camp in Kenya. Life is hard there: never enough food, achingly dull, and without access to the medical care Omar knows his nonverbal brother needs. So when Omar has the opportunity to go to school, he knows it might be a chance to change their future . . . but it would also mean leaving his brother, the only family member he has left, every day.
Published: November 1, 2022
Trying out for middle school cheerleader means: performing in the giant school gym, with the whole school watching, and risking total humiliation! If Christina can make it through this, she can make it through anything! As one of the only Asian American kids in her small Texas town, Christina just wants to fit in. Luckily, her best friend, Megan, who is Iranian American, can totally relate. The two girls have always been inseparable and relish creating elaborate fantasy worlds together. But middle school is a reality-check, and suddenly popularity is way more important than playing pretend.
When cheerleading tryouts are announced, Christina and Megan literally jump at the chance to join the squad. But does fitting in actually equal belonging? Will they survive the terrifying tryouts? And most importantly, will their friendship withstand the pressures of heated competition and rivalry?
Published: April 24, 2018
In Be Prepared, all Vera wants to do is fit in―but that’s not easy for a Russian girl in the suburbs. Her friends live in fancy houses and their parents can afford to send them to the best summer camps. Vera’s single mother can’t afford that sort of luxury, but there’s one summer camp in her price range―Russian summer camp.
Vera is sure she’s found the one place she can fit in, but camp is far from what she imagined. And nothing could prepare her for all the “cool girl” drama, endless Russian history lessons, and outhouses straight out of nightmares!
Published: August 26, 2014
Raina can’t wait to be a big sister. But once Amara is born, things aren’t quite how she expected them to be. Amara is cute, but she’s also a cranky, grouchy baby, and mostly prefers to play by herself. Their relationship doesn’t improve much over the years, but when a baby brother enters the picture and later, something doesn’t seem right between their parents, they realize they must figure out how to get along. They are sisters, after all.Raina uses her signature humor and charm in both present-day narrative and perfectly placed flashbacks to tell the story of her relationship with her sister, which unfolds during the course of a road trip from their home in San Francisco to a family reunion in Colorado.
Big Nate: From the Top (Volume 1)
Published: October 19, 2010
Nate Wright is eleven years old, four-and-a-half feet tall, and the all-time record holder for school detentions in school history. He’s a self-described genius and sixth-grade Renaissance man. Middle-grade kids everywhere can relate to Big Nate’s daily battle against overzealous teachers, backbreaking homework, wimpy cafeteria food, and all-around conventionality. This collection features cartoonist Lincoln Peirce’s daily and Sunday comic strips packed with his vintage flair and insights into school humor.
Published: March 7, 2023
Eleven-year-old Avery Lee loves living in Hickory Valley, Maryland. She loves her neighborhood, school, and the end-of-summer fair she always goes to with her two best friends. But she’s tired of feeling squished by her six siblings! They’re noisy and chaotic and the younger kids love her a little too much. All Avery wants is her own room — her own space to be alone and make art. So she’s furious when Theo, her grumpy older brother, gets his own room instead, and her wild baby brother, Max, moves into the room she already shares with her clinging sister Pearl!
Avery hatches a plan to finally get her own room, all while trying to get Max to sleep at night, navigating changes in her friendships, and working on an art entry for the fair. And when Avery finds out that her family might move across the country, things get even more complicated.
The Cardboard Kingdom
Published: June 5, 2018
Welcome to a neighborhood of kids who transform ordinary boxes into colorful costumes, and their ordinary block into cardboard kingdom. This is the summer when sixteen kids encounter knights and rogues, robots and monsters–and their own inner demons–on one last quest before school starts again.
Published: October 13, 2020
El Deafo is now streaming on Apple TV+. The Guardian called the animated series: “Sweet, funny, poignant and definitely not just for kids.”
Starting at a new school is scary, especially with a giant hearing aid strapped to your chest! At her old school, everyone in Cece’s class was deaf. Here, she’s different. She’s sure the kids are staring at the Phonic Ear, the powerful aid that will help her hear her teacher. Too bad it also seems certain to repel potential friends.
Then Cece makes a startling discovery. With the Phonic Ear she can hear her teacher not just in the classroom but anywhere her teacher is in the school—in the hallway . . . in the teacher’s lounge . . . in the bathroom! This is power. Maybe even superpower! Cece is on her way to becoming El Deafo, Listener for All. But the funny thing about being a superhero is that it’s just another way of feeling different . . . and lonely. Can Cece channel her powers into finding the thing she wants most, a true friend?
Diary of a Wimpy Kid (Diary of a Wimpy Kid #1)
Published: April 1, 2007
Boys don’t keep diaries―or do they?
The launch of an exciting and innovatively illustrated new series narrated by an unforgettable kid every family can relate to
It’s a new school year, and Greg Heffley finds himself thrust into middle school, where undersized weaklings share the hallways with kids who are taller, meaner, and already shaving. The hazards of growing up before you’re ready are uniquely revealed through words and drawings as Greg records them in his diary.
Space Dumplins: A Graphic Novel
Published: August 25, 2015
For Violet Marlocke, family is the most important thing in the whole galaxy. So when her father goes missing while on a hazardous job, she can’t just sit around and do nothing. To get him back, Violet throws caution to the stars and sets out with a group of misfit friends on a quest to find him. But space is vast and dangerous, and she soon discovers that her dad is in big, BIG trouble. With her father’s life on the line, nothing is going to stop Violet from trying to rescue him and keep her family together.
Published: November 1, 2022
Drew never meant for this to happen. She didn’t mean for her doodle Mike to steal the centuries-old hat. She didn’t mean for Levi to steal the centuries-old baby (when he was supposed to be returning the coveted hat!). And she definitely didn’t mean to send the Art Institute of Chicago into a downward spiral of art-on-art combat.
She just wanted to fix a simple mistake!
Now everything’s gone wrong, and it’s mayhem at the museum. Drew is sure she’s going to become public enemy #1, wanted posters and all.
But it turns out Drew and her art club might be the museum’s only chance at resolution and restoration. Can they fix it before centuries worth of masterpieces are destroyed forever?
Bounce Back (Bounce Back, 1)
Published: November 16, 2021
Lilico’s life in Japan is going well. She has great friends and is the captain of the school’s basketball team. She’s happy!
Then comes her parents’ news: they’re moving to America! Before she knows it, Lilico finds herself in Brooklyn, New York, forced to start all over. And that won’t be easy with her closest friends thousands of miles away or a school bully who immediately dislikes her.
Luckily, anime-loving Nala and Henry eventually befriend Lilico and with help from them―along with her guardian spirit who looks a lot like her cat, Nicco―Lilico just might figure out where she fits in.
Published: May 3, 2022
New Friends. New grade. New worries?
Katie’s always felt different. She’s homeschooled, she has freckles, and her teeth are really crooked. But none of these things matter to Kacey. They’re best friends forever—just like their necklaces say. But when they go to summer camp, Kacey starts acting weird. What happened to the “forever”? And when Katie gets home, she can’t stop worrying. About getting braces. About 6th grade. About friends. She knows tapping three times or opening and closing a drawer won’t make everything better . . . but sometimes it helps stop the worrying. Is something wrong with her?
Just Roll with It: (A Graphic Novel)
Published: December 14, 2021
As long as Maggie rolls the right number, nothing can go wrong…right?
Maggie just wants to get through her first year of middle school. But between finding the best after-school clubs, trying to make friends, and avoiding the rumored monster on school grounds, she’s having a tough time…so she might need a little help from her twenty-sided dice. But what happens if Maggie rolls the wrong number?
Turtle in Paradise: The Graphic Novel
Published: June 29, 2021
Eleven-year-old Turtle is smart and tough and has seen enough of the world not to expect a Hollywood ending. After all, it’s 1935 and money—and sometimes even dreams—is scarce. So when Turtle’s mother gets a job housekeeping for a lady who doesn’t like kids, Turtle heads off to Florida to live with relatives. Florida’s like nothing Turtle’s ever seen before, though. It’s full of ragtag boy cousins, family secrets to unravel . . . and even a little bit of fun. Before she knows what’s happened, Turtle finds herself coming out of her shell. And as she does, her world opens up in the most unexpected ways.
Katie the Catsitter
Published: February 15, 2022
Katie loves skating with the Wheelas and the fact that she’s officially a superhero sidekick. But now that school’s starting, everything’s changing. The Mousetress is getting blamed for things Katie knows she didn’t do. Sidekick training is NOT as exciting as she’d hoped. Katie’s best friend Beth is back in town and Beth’s new boyfriend is always hanging around (ugh!). Not to mention that all of Katie’s friends are mad at her. Fixing this will be harder than any skateboarding trick. But with the help of 217 slightly out of the ordinary cats, Katie’s going to try!
Can she clear the Mousestress’s name, uncover the real supervillain, and become the sidekick (and the friend) she’s always dreamed of being?
There they are: 20 brilliant graphic novels for 9-year-olds! Which of these books have you read and loved? Which ones did I miss?
More Graphic Novel Lists
- Graphic novels for younger readers (K-6)
- The best graphic novels for middle schoolers
- Middle grade graphic novel series worth binging
- Sports graphic novels for kids
Pin This Post – The Best Graphic Novels for 9 Year Olds
It’s disappointing that the only stories with male main characters are ones where the character is goofy or the topics are crude. I wish this list had some realistic boy characters for my son’s to relate to.
Afoma Umesi says
When Stars Are Scattered is a great book, if you’re not into Cardboard Kingdom. There are also many fantastic books with female protagonists that your son can enjoy. Plus more graphic novels in this post https://readingmiddlegrade.com/middle-grade-graphic-novels/
It’d also be nice for the publishing industry to make more books with male protagonists 🙃