Graphic novels for KS1 list: Recently, there has been a surge in graphic novels published for younger children. The books we have chosen for this list are suitable for KS1, especially for children in year 2. Many are also appropriate for children in lower KS2, especially for children in year 3.
Graphic novels for KS1 introduce children to the conventions of the comic in an accessible way. Speech bubbles, for instance, are carefully placed and not overwhelming. Storylines are straightforward and easy to follow in the pictures.
Humour and friendship are recurring themes, often featuring comic duos. Bumble and Snug is written specifically to develop emotional literacy, but not at the expense of a good story children want to read.
Find out more
You may be interested in these articles and videos from our collections.
- Choosing Books for the Classroom: The Just Imagine review panel select their favourite Graphic Novels.
- Author Chat: Thomas Flintham, Sylvie Kantorovitz, and Jerry Craft talk about their work
- Roy Moss blogs about comedy duos in graphic novels.
- In The Reading Corner podcast: Mark Bradley talks to Nikki Gamble about his Bumble and Snug series
- An easy purchase pack of graphic novels for KS1 chosen by our team and available from our partner bookseller Best Books for Schools
- Looking for more choices? Here are some we selected for Best Books for Schools
Our top picks from recent titles
Bumble and Snug
By Mark Bradley. Illustrated by Mark Bradley. Published by Hachette.
Mark Bradley’s series is perfectly pitched for children from age 5 and upwards. Engaging characters and storylines combined with themes that address emotional literacy, such as coping with anger. You can hear Mark talking about this series In the Reading Corner
Pizza and Taco
By Stephen Shaskan . Illustrated by Stephen Shaskan . Published by Random House USA.
Best friends are the BEST! But WHO is the BEST? Is it Pizza or Taco? The question is debatable! They both love water slides. They both are friends with Hot Dog and Hamburger. In fact, maybe they should have a debate and get their friends to VOTE for who’s the best! Can their friendship survive the race for the top spot on the popularity food chain?
The strengths of this book are the sense of humour which has plenty of appeal for this age group, a low panel count per page, and easy-to-read speech bubbles which make it age-appropriate. Do take the opportunity to discuss Pizza and Taco’s responses to Hamburger, perhaps they could be more inclusive.
Press Start: Super Rabbit Boy Powers Up
By Thomas Flintham. Illustrated by Thomas Flintham. Published by Nosy Crow.
Sunny’s favourite game is Super Rabbit Boy, where his carrot-loving friend must thwart all the plots the evil King Viking of Boom. A super full-colour series from Thomas Flintham, best known here in the UK for his illustrations for Pamela Butchart’s Baby Aliens series. This one has a dual narrative, so best for the top end of KS1 and into KS2. Two contrasting styles are used for the everyday story and the game narrative, which has a retro feel. You can see Thomas talking about this series in conversation with Nikki Gamble on The Book Channel.
By Mo O'Hara. Illustrated by Jess Bardely.
! Strange flash floods are making waves all over the Big Forest! When Madame HQ is nabbed right out of a very wet Woodland HQ, Agent Moose and Owlfred must wade through clues to get her back and stop the mystery criminal making a big splash in Big Forest! Can they find this fiendish villain before Big Forest floats away?
Children will love this crime-busting duo. Best for y2 upwards, The storylines have appeal for a wide age range.
Shark and Bot: Sleepaway Champ
By Brian Yanish. Illustrated by Brian Yanish. Published by Random House USA.
One book in a series featuring two lovable characters. It’s the Summer holidays, and Shark and Bot have a new adventure– at sleepaway camp! Shark (always a nervous nelly!) quickly starts feeling homesick. Can he make it through the week? Will Bot short circuit at the lake? This series is all about developing self-confidence with plenty of goofy humour. With a limited number of panels on each page, it works for the top end of KS1 through to the LKS2 (and beyond!)
Narwhalicorn and Jelly
By Beln Clanton. Illustrated by Ben Clanton. Published by HarperCollins.
Narwhal is a happy-go-lucky narwhal. Jelly is a no-nonsense jellyfish. The two might not have a lot in common, but they do love waffles, parties and adventures. In this seventh adventure, These books are about friendship, listening to each other and the development of empathy. Simplicity means they are accessible but it doesn’t;t mean they are simplistic. We have put them in our year 1 list, but they are ageless so do make them available for older readers too.
Johnny Boo: The Best Little Ghost int he World
By James Kochalka. Illustrated by James Kochalka. Published by Top Shelf Productions.
Johnny Boo is the best little ghost in the whole world because he’s got Boo Power. This means that he can go “BOO” really loudly. His pet ghost, Squiggle, has Squiggle Power, which means that he can fly and do really fast loop-the-loops. Together they have the world’s greatest ghost adventures! When the giant pink and yellow Ice Cream Monster bumbles into their lives, they go into a mad panic… until they discover that he’s actually quite friendly. A lovely series for young readers. There are plenty more Johnny Boo stories to keep fans entertained.
Pea, Bea and Jay Stuck Together
By Brian "Smitty" Smith. Illustrated by Brian "Smitty" Smith. Published by Haroer Collins Inc.
ike all peas, Pea loves to roll. So when a no-good strawberry dares him to roll all the way off the farm, he swears he can do it-eazy me-zee!But along the way, a powerful thunderstorm strikes and bounces Pea off course…and right into two unlikely new buds: a bee named Bee who thinks she knows it all, and a bird named Jay who can’t figure out how to fly. On their own they may not look like much, but if this trio can stick together, they just might help Pea find his way back home. A straightforward plot with easy to read images make this a good introduction to comics for younger readers.
Max Meow: Cat Crusader
By John Gallagher . Illustrated by John Gallagher . Published by Random House USa.
The Max Meow series will appeal to Dog Man and Cat Kid fans. There is a lot going on in the pages but the layout is easy to follow, and the chapters are good for short bursts of reading. This works well at the end of KS1 into KS2.
Max and Chaffy: Welcome to Animal Island
By Jamie Smart. Illustrated by Jamie Smart. Published by David Fickling Books.
We are thrilled to see the return of Chaffy in this new graphic novel from Jamie Smart, which works for readers from age 5 upwards. In this iteration, Chaffy meets Max Bogle and his family, who have just moved to Animal Island. Max sets out to help he lost Chaffy find his home. The short chapters are easy for younger readers to follow. With lots of super locations and interactivity, this is bound to be a winner. More, please!