Nonfiction Graphic Novels for Kids and Teens

nonfiction graphic book list
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The graphic novel format isn’t limited to fiction. Nonfiction works in the graphic novel style can be a delightful read for kids, teens, and adults. Here are some of the nonfiction graphic novels my children have enjoyed.

What? Why Nonfiction Graphic Novels? (and do I have to? {spoiler alert: no})

The graphic novel combines words and images. Similar to a comic, you won’t be able to fully grasp the meaning and intent of the text without simultaneously reading the words and observing the pictures.

Graphic novels can be helpful for reluctant readers who may be drawn in by the illustrations. Readers of all levels will benefit from the sequencing skills graphic novels encourage, as well as learning how to infer meaning from the combination of words and pictures. Comic-lovers may be encouraged to read about subjects they would not have otherwise explored simply due to the similarities in medium. They’re a great supplement to textbook-free history studies. Plus, many readers just find them super fun!

Not all readers, of course. I actually find it incredibly difficult to follow graphic novels. I am personally overwhelmed by lots of images, and prefer a more long-form paragraph style. (This is also why I avoided Instagram for the longest time; all those pictures at once actually get a bit much for me!) Not all of my children enjoy graphic novels, either. Interestingly, the ones who do are actually my most academically-minded and high-level-readers!

In other words, this book list is comprised of the non-fiction graphic novels my own children have read and enjoyed.

Give graphic novel nonfiction a try in your home! It may bring a new, fun perspective into your family’s reading habits.   

Nonfiction Graphic Novel Book List for Kids and Teens

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NonFiction Graphic Novels Book List

1.The Graphic Library series

The Graphic Library series includes titles dealing with both history and science. Appropriate for elementary ages on up.

History example: The Boston Tea Party, by Matt Doeden

Science example: The Incredible Work of Engineers with Max Axiom, Super Scientist, by Agnieszka Jòzefina Biskup 

2. Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales

This whole series is great fun! Nine volumes (so far) introduce kids to some strange and wacky and amazing parts of history. Good for late elementary and up.

3. Murderous Maths, by Kjartan Poskitt

These are such favorites at our house that I bought the complete boxed set! Loads of fun, with lots of sneaky deep math concepts being learned simultaneously. Appropriate for elementary on up.

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(This book series actually led to a lengthy experiment with binary finger counting! Watch my son’s video explanation here.)

4. Battle Lines: A Graphic History of the Civil War, Jonathan Fetter-Vorm

My teen son loved this book last year. It is a sweeping introduction to the varied people, places, and objects that tell the story of the American Civil War. This would be appropriate for middle school/ high school students.

5. The Faithful Spy: Dietrich Bonhoeffer and the Plot to Kill Hitler, John Hendrix

Dietrich Bonhoeffer is a Christian hero to many, and this book gives a unique introduction to this story. My oldest son and daughter both enjoyed reading it. They did note that, while I’ve heard this title often referred to as graphic-novel in style, it is much more like a heavily-illustrated book. The textual component (interestingly given in a handwritten style) takes a more prominent part of the page. (Sounds just up my alley, actually. Maybe I should give this one a try, too.) Use your own judgment based on the subject matter; I’d suggest middle school on up.  

6. The Life of Frederick Douglass: A Graphic Narrative of a Slave’s Journey from Bondage to Freedom, David F. Walker

This is one of the more recent additions to our non-fiction, graphic-novel-style recommendations. Based on Douglass’s own autobiography and speeches, this biography is written primarily in the first person perspective. Good for middle school and beyond.

7. Anne Frank: The Anne Frank House Authorized Graphic Biography, Sid Jacobson and Ernie Colón

Many of us read The Diary of Anne Frank at some point in our youth. Now there is this unique supplement to the story in the form of a graphic biography. Good for middle school and up.

8. March, John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell 

This history and memoir is the first volume in a trilogy by Congressman John Lewis. It shares his early, personal experiences growing up in the American south during the Civil Rights movement. Do note that bigoted characters in this book frequently use foul language. Be prepared to discuss this with your children. Good for late middle school and high school.

9. The Complete Maus, Art Spiegelman

{{CONTENT WARNING}} This book shares the author’s family’s personal experiences with the Holocaust, but in a fictionalized format (the characters are depicted as animals, for example). It is not a children’s book. It is a mix of genres: memoir, history, fiction, and more. That content warning being given, this Pulitzer Prize winner is worth reading and discussing with your teens.  

As my children, teens, and I discover more worthwhile nonfiction graphic novels, we will be sure to add to this list! We always love book recommendations. Do you have any favorite nonfiction graphic novels in your family?

roundup of best book lists
Check out this great book list roundup!
Nonfiction Graphic Novel Book List

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