Help me find something as good as Zita the Spacegirl for my kids?
July 1, 2014 5:39 PM   Subscribe

I have been reading Zita the Spacegirl to my kids (7 & 5, boy and girl) very night. For those who haven't read it, it is a terrific graphic novel for kids full of adventure and strange creatures, with a great message. What else would you reccomend, as we approach the end of this great series? Specifically thinking of a modern, adventure-filled (but not overly mature) graphic novel or series. Science fiction or fantasy would be ideal.
posted by blahblahblah to Media & Arts (23 answers total) 48 users marked this as a favorite
My boyfriend helped with the artwork on the Ultra Violets series (he just did the final two, the "coloring," though it's all purple), which my nieces of the same age love.
posted by xingcat at 5:48 PM on July 1, 2014

My oldest basically confiscated my copies of the Elfquest books. It has some mature (sexual) content but it handled in a manner that my sons did not realize there was sexual content until much, much later. When they were little, they completely missed those references. YMMV. But my kids were big fans. And since the series is viewable online, you can preview for free to see if it works for you.
posted by Michele in California at 5:48 PM on July 1, 2014

I just finished Zita this week! Have you taken a look at Tales of the Beanworld? It's one of my favorites. Not "mature" at all but has interesting stories with some back and forth activities happening. The Mal and Chad books are also pretty good.
posted by jessamyn at 6:01 PM on July 1, 2014

You cannot go wrong with Bone.
posted by tomboko at 6:12 PM on July 1, 2014 [3 favorites]

I really liked "Courageous Princess" when it came out, about a princess who does not at all fit the Disney mold. I think ages 5-7 would be just about right. Lovely drawing, lots of references to other fairy tales.

If the right-to-left arrangement of manga is okay for you, every age in our house likes Yotsuba&!. To me it's a story about how children can get everyone's guard down, and to my kid it's about a little girl who goes on interesting but realistic adventures in and around her neighborhood. (Making pancakes, going to the beach, meeting the neighbors, getting in trouble for lying.) They are incredibly charming while still making Yotsuba a real 4-year-old. Not fantastical except in the amazing amount of freedom she gets, from a US perspective.

Avatar: The Last Airbender has some comics out. The three part series "The Search" was a more straightforward adventure story, "The Promise" is a little more complex, and I'm enjoying "The Rift" but wouldn't recommend it to kids or non-fans (a lot of in-world political discussions).
posted by tchemgrrl at 6:30 PM on July 1, 2014

Thieves and Kings may be a little bit complicated for the five year old to follow, but it is similar to Zita in the "courageous young person adventuring in a world they don't completely understand" sort of thing. Also, as far as I can recall, there is no graphic violence or sexual content.
posted by Wavelet at 6:58 PM on July 1, 2014 [1 favorite]

Princeless or Cleopatra in Space? Two volumes are out of the former, only 1 of the latter so far.
posted by leesh at 7:03 PM on July 1, 2014

You could try Andi Watson's Glister series. Watson is great and has a lot of different stand-alone series with quirky characters, awesome girls who go out and do stuff which, if you wind up liking it, can be something the kids keep going with as they get older. (Skeleton Key, still IMHO his best work, is probably better for early-mid adolescents.)

And enthusiastically endorsing Yotsuba!
posted by Athanassiel at 7:07 PM on July 1, 2014

Bone is definitely a good choice -- it does get more mature as the story goes, but not ever in way that crosses the PG line (I think the Scholastic color versions are still in print, but the huge single volume in the original black and white is cheap!). Amulet may be a bit old for the younger one but so wonderful. So good. So very good.

Dave Roman's Astronaut Academy books are black and white but so much fun.

Maybe slightly pricey, but OMG, the HILDA BOOKS!!!! by Luke Pearson. There's four of them and they're really the best thing ever.

Jill Thompson's Magic Trixie books may still be available. They may skew slightly young but also adorable and fun.

Some other First Second books may work (I am surprised that I couldn't find a breakdown of the ages easily on their site) but they do cover a pretty broad range of ages. I haven't read all of Giants Beware! but that may also be a good one to check out. (There may be a second one?)

Maybe Fangbone -- much more silly and slightly more gross-out humor (but in a harmless and sweet way) but lots of fun.

I don't know where in Philadelphia you are, but Locust Moon Comics is a cool and accessible shop. I think they're probably more toward the "adult" end of things, but I also think they'd be happy to help answer your questions or point your in the right direction.
posted by darksong at 7:08 PM on July 1, 2014

Great question!

Your kids might be too young for a couple of years, but my kids loved A Wrinkle In Time the graphic novel.
posted by mamabear at 7:35 PM on July 1, 2014

My four-year-old was asking about pirates and *for some reason* didn't seem interested in my Marcus Rediker-influenced recounting of European naval shenanigans in the Caribbean, so I read her Ted Naifeh's Polly and the Pirates and she seemed to enjoy that. (I've heard meh things about the sequel, which was written but not drawn by Naifeh.)
posted by snarkout at 8:19 PM on July 1, 2014

My daughter has enjoyed the following: Calvin & Hobbes, the Lunch Lady series, the Bink & Gollie books, the Scary Godmother books, the Fashion Kitty series, the Ellie McDoodle books, the Wimpy Kid series, and the Big Nate series.

You might find this list from Goodreads helpful: Best Graphic Novels for Children.
posted by mogget at 9:18 PM on July 1, 2014

Thirding Bone.
posted by Redstart at 9:42 PM on July 1, 2014

Just in case it isn't obvious, Tintin is awesome.
posted by low_horrible_immoral at 1:52 AM on July 2, 2014 [2 favorites]

Bone, already mentioned thricely, is nine-plus volumes of sheer awesome.

Sardine in Outer Space is crazy fun, as is Astronaut Academy.
posted by jammy at 5:09 AM on July 2, 2014

My daughter loved the Akiko series. The wikipedia entry says 'The story has been described as a cross between The Wizard of Oz and Star Wars, centering on the adventures of Akiko, a Japanese American girl, on and around the planet Smoo accompanied by extraterrestrials Mr. Beeba, Spuckler, Gax, and Poog.'
posted by you must supply a verb at 6:16 AM on July 2, 2014

Sorry, should have mentioned - the Akiko books are a graphic novel series that also have non-graphic novels now, but the graphic novels are what I was thinking of.
posted by you must supply a verb at 6:19 AM on July 2, 2014

Cartozia is an all-ages comic that is really wonderful! It features a rotating set of independent comics artists in a constantly developing world. There are such cute characters of all different types. I love it. I ordered 10 issues with FUN BONUSES subscription for myself and my 10 year old nephew (who loved BONE, by the way).
posted by jillithd at 9:33 AM on July 2, 2014

Response by poster: Thank you all! I can't wait to start going through these...
posted by blahblahblah at 11:30 AM on July 2, 2014

We loved Zita and The Cursed Pirate Girl, though it can be a tiny bit violent (an eyeball gets cut out). Good question!
posted by mgogol at 6:43 AM on July 3, 2014

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