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Graphic Novels for UKS2

Chosen by the Just Imagine panel for children age 9 - 11

Last updated May 29th, 2023

Graphic novels for UKS2 provides wide-ranging choice to suit children’s diversifying interests. Here, you will find thought-provoking books covering global and social interests, high-octane adventures, stories about everyday life, classic adaptations and even an autobiography. Graphic novels are a form of writing, not a genre, so there really is something for everyone.

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Our top picks from recent titles

New Kid

By Jerry Craft. Illustrated by Jerry Craft. Published by HarperCollins Inc.

Seventh grader Jordan Banks loves nothing more than drawing cartoons about his life. But instead of sending him to the art school of his dreams, his parents enroll him in a prestigious private school known for its academics, where Jordan is one of the few kids of colour in his entire grade. As he makes the daily trip from his Washington Heights apartment to the upscale Riverdale Academy Day School, Jordan soon finds himself torn between two worlds and not really fitting into either one. Can Jordan learn to navigate his new school culture while keeping his neighbourhood friends and staying true to himself?

This thought-provoking graphic novel from syndicated cartoonist Jerry Craft won The Newbery Medal, The Kirkus Prize for Young Readers and The Coretta Scott King Award. There are two further books in this trilogy, Class Act  and School Trip (you can read the full review of School Trip below).

Read the full review

Frankie's World

By Aoife Dooley. Illustrated by Aoife Dooley. Published by Scholastic.

Frankie knows she’s not like anyone else in her class: she’s different, but she can’t quite figure out why. Is it the new freckle on her nose, or the fact she’s small for her age? Or that she has to go to the hospital sometimes? Everyone else seems to think she’s weird too, and they make fun of her at school. Frankie’s dad left when she was a baby – maybe he was different too? It would explain why she always feels like an alien. So she and her best friend Sam, embark on a mission to track him down

Our reviewer, Roy Moss, writes, ‘I wouldn’t describe it a book about autism or being neurodivergent. It’s a book about a girl who, like everyone, has problems at school and home and wants acceptance. It just happens that her brain works differently. ‘[Frankie’s World] inspires people, and it’s made me happy,’ says Imogen (11) from my school. Children you know will think this too.’

Read the full review

Saving Sorya

By Nguyen Thi Thu Trang. Illustrated by Jeet Zdung. Published by Pan Macmillan.

Saving Sorya: Chang and the Sun Bear is an inspirational graphic-novel adventure, based on a true story about a young conservationist who overcomes the odds to save a sun bear. It is shortlisted for the Yoto Carnegie Award for Illustration 2023. We have selected it for the Just Imagine Book Club 2023

Our reviewer, Imogen Maund, writes, ‘Trang’s story is interspersed with information making it almost a non-fiction text which will appeal to a broad audience. Brought to life so vividly by illustrator Jeet Zdung, the story will certainly be one that stays with you. ‘

Read the full review

Speak Up

By Rebecca Burgess. Illustrated by Rebecca Burgess. Published by Harper Collins Inc.

or fans of Click and Brave, this touching coming-of-age middle-grade graphic novel debut follows an autistic girl who finds friendship where she least expects it and learns to express her true self in a world where everyone defines her by her difference

Our reviewer, Imogen Maund, writes, ‘Speak Up! builds towards an empowering message of celebrating difference and of individuals being able to find their inner ‘superpower’ which is why it will be a hit with a middle-grade audience of Year 5 upwards.’

Read the full review

First Time for Everything

By Dan Santat. Illustrated by Dan Santat. Published by Roaring Brook Press.

Stuck with the same girls from his middle school who love to make fun of him, Dan doesn’t know why his teacher insisted he comes on this trip. But as he travels through France, Germany, Switzerland, and England, a series of first experiences begin to change him – first Fanta, first fondue, first time stealing a bike from a German punk rocker .. . and first love.

A stand-out graphic novel about coming of age, experiencing the world and broadening your horizons, with lots of references to art and culture. For readers at the top end of KS2 into KS3.

Tom's Midnight Garden

By Philippa Pearce. Illustrated by Edith. Published by Oxford University Press.

Renowned graphic novel artist, Edith, has created an enchanting version of the classic Tom’s Midnight Garden. This is a new and special way to read and share one of the best-loved and most enduring children’s stories of all time.

Adaptations of children’s classics into graphic novel format are not always successful, but this one is exceptional. It stands on its own while being very faithful to Philippa Pearce’s original. A lovely addition to the UKS2 classroom.

No Country

By Joe Brady. Illustrated by Joe Brady. Published by David Fickling Books.

What would you do if your home wasn’t safe any more? Bea and her family are trying to live as if everything is normal. She and her sister Hannah look out for one another, at home and in school. But their country is starting to fall apart. A civil war is raging, and it’s getting closer. Bea is desperate not to leave home, but how long will it be before they have to run?


By Eoin Colfer, Andrew Donkin. Illustrated by Giovanni Rigano. Published by Hachette.

This is a powerful, hopeful and timely story about the real effects of climate change: two young people on different continents whose lives are catastrophically changed by global warming

Kerry and the Knight of the Forest

By Andi Watson. Illustrated by Andi Watson. Published by Random House USA.

After a spirit leads Kerry astray, he finds himself in an enchanted forest filled with mysterious creatures and dark dead ends. The further Kerry travels, the more hopeless his quest seems. . . . To get back to his parents, Kerry will have to find his way, figure out who to trust, and make some tough choices about the kind of person he wants to be — or remain lost in the woods forever. An adventure about fear, loss, and finding your own way, this enchanting story comes to life with a hero that every reader can relate to.

A fast-moving adventure plot will delight children who enjoy visually rendered storytelling.


By Sylvie Kantorovitz. Illustrated by Sylvie Kantororvitz. Published by Walker Books.

In a wise and witty graphic memoir, a young artist finds her path apart from the expectations of those around her.

This coming-of-age real-life story shows young Sylvie thinking about her important life choices at key life moments. In the pre-teen years, children start to understand themselves as separate from their parents, and this book may provide a mirror for their experiences.