This list of graphic novels for kids is themed largely around the idea of navigating your own place in a diaspora, and the tensions of family and friendships where everyone’s experiences have been drastically different. They are also all comics because I love comics, and there are all books that are not only gorgeous to look at, but also teach visual literacy in a engaging and natural way.
This lovingly illustrated book is about a young Vietnamese boy trying to find the words to come out to his parents, but also about his own family’s trauma - as the characters navigate their new country using the language of fairytales.
This empathetic and nuanced book explores not just an incident of racism in the Pacific Northwest, but how a family copes with traumatic memories of the past and their complicated relationship with religion. The friendships and family relationships that Nisrin maneuvers feel real and grounded, and Priya Huq’s expressive art and use of color is exceptional.
This is a lovely and joyful book about the tensions of navigating friendships across class lines and really, just about having a friend that’s kinda weird. The intense involved-parent childhood the protagonist has was so delightfully familiar to me. Jen Wang is also an absolutely incredible cartoonist, and her drawings of the characters are a masterclass in good shapes.
This is a beautiful fantasy novel with stunning worldbuilding and a wonderful and nuanced story about prejudice and imperial expansion, as the protagonist navigates her own complicity with an empire’s ambitions. The friendships in this book are tender and delightful, and Nadia Shammas and Sara Alfageeh are an incredible team on this book.