Middle School to Young Adult Books

Theme: Seeing is Reading: Wordless Books, Graphic Novels and Comics

Outlaw: The Legend of Robin Hood - (ISBN: 978-0763644000)

by Tony Lee

This retelling of the Robin Hood Legend proceeds almost exclusively through the conversations Robin has with his men and the other characters they encounter. The world of Crusades and castles provides the setting for Hood’s legendary feats of kindness; the Sheriff of Nottingham looms as the counter force in Hood’s life as an “outlaw” who only does good things. The visuals allow the classic story to embed more deeply in your mind.

Persepolis - (ISBN: 978-0375714832)

by Marjane Satrapi

Satrapi’s autobiography, which she writes and illustrates, tells the story of the Khomeini years in Iran from a personal point of view. After experiencing the contradiction of one self at home and one veiled self that appears in public, Satrapi opts for high school in Austria, separated from her family still in Iran. Eventually, she chooses not to return to the Iran of poets and rabid politicians; the book follows her as she grows up in Europe but remains Iranian at heart.

Satchel Paige: Striking Out Jim Crow - (ISBN: 978-0786839001)

by James Sturm

A humble sharecropper who loves baseball tells the story of going to the city and playing ball with one of the most powerful pitchers in league history. The backdrop, the segregated South, educates about the life and prospects of a black player, but also adds to Paige’s legendary status. The slow-moving Paige, himself a story- teller, drew crowds of fans, both black and white, and the development of his talent was without match. What baseball player of today would you like a chance to hit against?

Spring Heeled Jack - (ISBN: 978-0440418818)

by Phillip Pullman

In this hybridization of a graphic novel, the narration is down the page, but the illustrations are in comic-book style, with characters stepping out of the panels. Jack is the original super-hero, out to catch the famed Mack the Knife as he continues to terrorize London. Although Jack is a hero, his character contains some dark elements. Is he the bright side of the “Knife”?

The Arrival - (ISBN: 978-0439895293)

by Shaun Tan

This wordless but mature picture book portrays one man’s appearance in a new world, but a world unlike any previously portrayed in immigration stories. It’s an industrial world but filled with humans whose lives and language are strange to the newcomer. The sizes and shapes of the panels vary greatly to depict the depth and weight of the man’s new existence. Although stark, this book also portrays the caring potential of newcomers and natives alike.

Bone Sharps, Cowboys, and Thunder Lizards - (ISBN: 978-0966010664)

by Jim Ottaviani

Buddha: The Four Encounters - (ISBN: 978-1932234572)

by Osamu Tezuka

Crogan’s Vengeance - (ISBN: 978-1934964064)

by Chris Schweizer

Goodbye Chunky Rice - (ISBN: 978-0375714764)

by Craig Thompson

Pyongyang: A Journey in North Korea - (ISBN: 978-1897299210)

by Guy Delisle

Slow News Day - (ISBN: 978-1593620806)

by Andi Watson

Slow News Day - (ISBN: 978-1593620806)

by Andi Watson

The Sandman - (ISBN: 978-1401225759)

by Neil Gaiman

Activities for this Theme

If you enjoy keeping up with the latest in graphic novels, take a look at this website and its lists.


Dress up as one of your favorite super heroes, found in your library’s graphic novel collection, for Halloween or a school party.


Check out Free Comic Book Day across the country, always on the first Saturday of May. Get your fill of free comics.


Improve your writing and drawing skills by creating your own short graphic masterpiece.


Do you want to try your skills at making a comic? Check out this Youtube video.