Books for Mature Teens and Adults

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

Buddha: Volume I - (ISBN: 978-1932234565)

by Osamu Tezuka

The first book in an extensive series about the life of the Buddha begins in Siddharta’s childhood, told from the point of view of a servant. Infusing history, biography, and legendary tales about the Buddha, this graphic novel provides an entirely new take on the life of a serious religious leader by including humor and much story telling.

Barefoot Gen: A Cartoon Story of Hiroshima - (ISBN: 978-0867196023)

by Keiji Nakazawa

Told by an author who survived the Hiroshima bombing, this book is an altered re-issue of one of the first of the Japanese Manga offerings, the unique Japanese style of graphic novels. It carefully traces the history of the innocent people’s lives forever altered by the atomic bomb. A young boy views the end of the war through suffering eyes, even before the nuclear devastation. His attempts to save his sick mother and the rest of his family after the bombing make the happening very personal. The results and attendant human feelings are applicable to all wars.

Blankets - (ISBN: 978-1603090964)

by Craig Thompson

This memoir explores the relationship between a harsh fundamentalist upbringing and the warm feelings between two brothers as they grown up in a cold Wisconsin climate. Despite having each other, they continue to feel like outsiders at home and at school, where they are teased and berated. Only during adolescence after meeting a caring girl and getting into a supportive peer group does Thompson develop a more positive view of himself and the world.

Logicomix: An Epic Search For Truth - (ISBN: 978-1596914520)

by Apostolos Doxiadis

This serious version of a graphic novel tells the life story of Bertrand Russell while at the same time commenting on the making of the comic-style book. Its insider look at the philosopher-mathematician depicts the development of his mathematics, of his philosophical point of view, and of his fear of madness. He tries to combat possible insanity by developing an orderly predictable system. How does he answer key philosophical questions like: Is there difference between madness and logic, and is truth always ambiguous?

Maus - (ISBN: 978-0394747231)

by Art Spiegelman

This retelling of Spiegelman’s family history is a window to understand the horrors perpetrated against Jews in WWII. It begins as Art interviews his father about the latter’s war experiences. In the graphic novel, the Nazis are pictured as large groups of cats and the Jewish people are their prey, the mice. Although this book is about one war and one maligned group of people, the exploration of one family’s history and their response and eventual triumph is applicable to any family group caught up in prejudice in a totalitarian state.

Barefoot Gen: Out of the Ashes - (ISBN: 978-0867195958)

by Keiji Nakazawa

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

by Osamu Tezuka

Feynman - (ISBN: 978-1596432598)

by Jim Ottaviani

Maus II: A Survivor’s Tale - (ISBN: 978-0679729778)

by Art Spiegelman

Activities for this Theme

For short synopses of new graphic adventures, see this list of recent releases


Check out Free Comic Book Day across the country, always on the first Saturday of May. Help the entire family get their fill of free comics.


Check out Free Comic Book Day across the country, always on the first Saturday of May. Help the entire family get their fill of free comics.


Help your older children create their own wordless picture books, boosting both their writing and artistic skills.