Non-Violent Comic Book Series for the Visual Reader

Comic books aren’t just cool collectibles; they’re a great way to get young readers to enjoy fun titles independently.  Visual cues help kids work through unfamiliar words.  And high-action plots are broken down into nearly play-by-play frames, keeping kids practically spell-bound.  Plus, the artwork is often amazing . . . a lesson in perspective, framing, composition, body language, and facial expressions.  Comic books get kids reading on so many different levels.

Have a tough time finding all the benefits of the comic book without settling for unnecessary violence?  Not all comic books are superheroes and villains.  In fact, through comics, you can discover unlikely heroes, imaginative inspiration, adventure, a respect for nature, and whip-smart role models.  Check out some of our favorites!


by Jeff Smith

Looking for something that’s equal parts belly-aching humor and Tolkien-esque epic adventures?  Bone is the answer!  This comic saga starts off with the Bone cousins kicked out of Boneville and lost in an unknown, uncharted desert.  Fone Bone is big-hearted, courageous, and intelligent.  Phoney Bone is manipulative and greedy – always out to make a buck.  And Smiley Bone is simple-minded and soft.

One by one, the cousins make their way out of the desert and into a lush valley thick with frightening creatures, overrun by evil forces out to destroy mankind. 

With hold-your-breath adventures and endearingly flawed characters, the series is both hilariously funny and dramatically thrilling.  Kids will love the delightful dialogue, the beautifully drawn cousins, and the gags.  There is a good amount of social commentary thrown in there too.  Truly masterful storytelling!

Calvin and Hobbes

by Bill Watterson

Precocious, mischievous, and utterly imaginative, 6 year-old Calvin is far too intelligent for his age.  Luckily he has his sidekick, Hobbes (who is nothing more than a stuffed tiger to everyone else) to help him out of the more precarious situations – or to help get him into them!

What started as a newspaper comic strip, can now be read by your kiddos in collected editions.  This is not real series per se.  But where continuous storylines may be lacking, you’ll find enduring themes of friendship, a lust for life, and unbridled creativity.

If you have zero tolerance for questioning authority or witty talk-backing children, keep Calvin and Hobbes off your reading lists.  But if you’re looking for laugh-out-loud humor and Yale-level lingual sophistication all bundled into an adorable little mite, these comics are for you.


by Job and Derib

Yakari is a kind and earnest Sioux boy with a very special talent.  He can speak to animals.  This gift was given to him by his totem, Great Eagle.  Rejecting all types of weapons, Yakari uses his unique ability to resolve all sorts of conflicts among the various creatures (people included) of North America.

His friend, Rainbow, knows about his special gift.  She often accompanies him on his adventures and has learned the secrets of healing.  The One Who Knows, the village shaman, is also in on his talent.  And his horse, Little Thunder, is always by his side.

Full of magic, morals, and natural splendor, the series does a great job of intertwining Native American society with the animal and spirit worlds.  The books abound with positive lessons on honesty and loyalty as Yakari tries to improve the world around him.  Throughout the series, children will learn about tolerance, friendship, and a respect for nature.  A wonderful series for young or reluctant readers!

Amelia Rules!

by Jimmy Gownley

A far cry from any half-man, half-mutant superhero, Amelia McBride is an all-American girl dealing with some very real problems: poverty, divorce, and big, ole bullies!  Nine-year old Amelia is a former New Yorker, now relocated to the boonies.  She’s trying to deal with her parents’ divorce and adjust to a new school, as well as to life in a small town.

Luckily, she has a few awesome pals to help her.  Reggie is fun-loving and big into storytelling.  Pajamaman is the most popular kid in school and dirt poor (refreshing!).  He rarely speaks which makes him everyone’s favorite therapist. 

Love-struck and super tough, Rhonda is the ultimate frenemy – the girl you want on your side when it’s time to put the bullies in their place!  Aunt Tanner is a hip former pop-rock princess who always tells the truth, even when it hurts.  And Amelia?  Well, she’s a wise-cracking tomboy who questions her place in the universe.

Full of plots, subplots, and sophisticated storylines, Gownley’s characters learn and grow.  Plus, they feel incredibly real.  No clichés here.

Full of plots, subplots, and sophisticated storylines, Gownley’s characters learn and grow.  Plus, they feel incredibly real.  No clichés here.

Volumes include: The Whole World’s Crazy, When the Past is a Present, True Things (Adults Don’t Want Kids to Know), and The Meaning of Life (And Other Stuff) among others.  Grown-up humor with tweenage storylines: a great series for any reader!

Does your little reader have a favorite comic book or graphic novel series?  Share with us!

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