15+ Realistic Graphic Novels for Middle School Readers
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15+ Realistic Graphic Novels for Middle School Readers

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  • February 5, 2024
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  • 6 min read



As middle schoolers navigate the often tumultuous journey of adolescence, finding stories that resonate with their experiences can be incredibly affirming. With their fusion of engaging visuals and compelling narratives, graphic novels offer a unique avenue for young readers. The genre has exploded in popularity and diversity, providing a wide range of stories that touch on friendship, identity, and family dynamics.

Realistic graphic novels for middle school, in particular, have the power to speak directly to the hearts and minds of middle school readers. They tackle real-life issues with empathy, humor, and insight.

The American author House has curated a list of 15+ realistic graphic novels for middle school readers that celebrates the genre’s richness and diversity. Each book has been chosen for its ability to reflect the complexities of middle school life and its potential to inspire, entertain, and provoke thought.

The Big Break by Mark Tatulli

This novel presents a story about the challenges and adventures two best friends face as they try to document a local legend. The enthusiasm and trials they experience take readers on an unforgettable journey.

When Stars Are Scattered by Victoria Jamieson, Omar Mohamed, Iman Geddy

This meaningful story concerns two siblings navigating life in a refugee camp. It captures the essence of hope against all odds and underscores the empowering role of education for youngsters.

Drama by Raina Telgemeier

Drama brings readers into the enthralling world of middle school theater with its story of friendship and self-discovery. It’s an engaging depiction of many adolescents’ realities in their formative years.

The Adventures of Captain Underpants series by Dav Pilkey

Famed for its humor and imaginative storylines, this series about two fun-loving young boys and their DIY superhero, Captain Underpants, is a comic classic for middle school readers.

Marshmallow and Jordan by Alina Chau

The strongest fictional characters often come from stories that weave deep emotional tales, much like “Marshmallow and Jordan.” This novel highlights an inspiring friendship between a boy in a wheelchair and a magical sea creature. It tackles themes of disability, resilience, and the bond of friendship with a tender strength that resonates with readers.

Positively Izzy by Terri Libenson

Positively, Izzy is a heartwarming tale that focuses on two characters, Izzy and Bri, who navigate the complexities of middle school life. Izzy is a dreamy girl who loves acting and being part of theater, struggling to shine academically, while Bri is the exact opposite, excelling in tests but feeling invisible socially.

Their stories intertwine unexpectedly, reminding readers of the importance of being true to oneself. Libenson captures the essence of middle school–the desire to fit in and be recognized for who we genuinely are.

The Baby-Sitters Club graphic novel by Ann M. Martin

These much-loved graphic novels for middle school reinvent the classic Baby-Sitters Club series, espousing themes of camaraderie, responsibility, and the hiccups and happiness of growing up.

Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library: The Graphic Novel by Chris Grabenstein

This graphic novel adaptation brings a fresh, visual twist to the beloved story of a group of children’s adventurous nights in an extraordinary library. Filled with puzzles, mysteries, and the magic of books, it’s a story that celebrates teamwork, creativity, and the wonders of bibliophilia. It’s an adventure that young and old readers can get lost in.

The Crossover by Kwame Alexander

As an adaptation of a prose novel, The Crossover combines the thrill of basketball with a deep exploration of family daily life, resulting in a relatable story for any sports-loving middle school reader.

The Berrybrook Middle School series by Svetlana Chmakova

Chmakova’s series spotlights the wide-ranging experiences of middle school students, offering readers validation and amusement with her memorable characters and their all-too-familiar struggles.

Just Jaime by Terri Libenson

In Just Jaime, readers meet Jaime, who finds herself ousted by her friend group at the end of seventh grade. The graphic novel focuses on friendship, the struggle to fit in, and the power of standing up for oneself.

Through Jaime’s journey, Libenson illustrates the often complicated dynamics of middle school friendships and the significance of self-respect and kindness.

The Dumbest Idea Ever by Jimmy Gownley

Gownley’s autobiographical graphic novel provides readers with a light-hearted and motivational account of his journey to become a graphic novelist. It’s an encouraging read for any middle school student facing trials or doubting their exciting ideas.

Invisible Emmie by Terri Libenson

Libenson’s novel is a prime example of an overcoming challenge narrative, tracing the lives of two middle-school girls with diverging experiences. As their paths intertwine, they learn influential life lessons, urging readers to celebrate individuality and authenticity.

Becoming Brianna by Terri Libenson

Becoming Brianna is a humorous and touching story about Brianna’s anxiety over her upcoming bat mitzvah. The tale artfully combines the stress of middle school social scenes and the pressure of preparing for a significant milestone. Brianna’s story is one of growth, embracing one’s heritage, and finding confidence in one’s abilities and identity.

You-Niquely You: An Emmie & Friends Interactive Journal by Terri Libenson

This interactive journal is a companion to Libenson’s beloved series. It features prompts, quizzes, and activities inspired by Emmie, Izzy, Jaime, and Brianna. It encourages readers to explore their feelings, dreams, and thoughts, supporting them in their journey to self-discovery and acceptance.

It’s a perfect tool for middle-grade readers who love doodling, reflecting, and creatively expressing themselves.

Real Friends by Shannon Hale

Real Friends explores the ups and downs of friendships in elementary school through the eyes of Shannon Hale herself. This autobiographical graphic novel captures the essence of trying to find a group of friends who accept and understand you. It’s a poignant reminder of how complex friendships can be and the importance of being one’s genuine self.

All’s Faire in Middle School by Victoria Jamieson

Imagine starting middle school after being homeschooled your whole life, and your family works at a Renaissance Faire. That’s Imogen’s life at All’s Faire in middle school. This graphic novel beautifully tackles the themes of starting over, bullying, and the search for where one belongs.

The Dumbest Idea Ever by Jimmy Gownley

This is an autobiographical graphic novel by Jimmy Gownley. He shares how a teenage bout with illness led him to discover his talent and passion for writing and drawing comics.

The Dumbest Idea Ever is a humorous and inspiring reminder that our greatest setbacks can sometimes lead to our most significant breakthroughs. It’s a must-read for aspiring artists, Book Writing Services providers, and authors.


Whether your middle school reader is a budding artist, a fantasy enthusiast, or someone looking for a fresh reading approach, there’s a graphic novel out there.

We hope this comprehensive list of realistic graphic novels for middle school readers has been informative and helpful and that it sparks joy for reading – or continues to fan the flame!

Remember, comics aren’t just about superheroes; they can also tell deeply human and uniquely relatable tales while fostering a passion for reading among young students!

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