Best of 2023: Graphic Novels

Updated: January 17, 2024

The best books of the year, as selected by the Los Angeles Public Library staff. This list has graphic novels (fiction and non-fiction) for children, teens and adults. Children’s graphic novels are cataloged as “x GN” and include a grade level recommendation. Perfect for holiday gift-giving! More books can be found at LAPL ReadsKids' PathTeen Web.

Book cover of Ay, mija
Ay, Mija!
Suggs, Christine
Call Number: 741.5 S947

Excellent graphic novel about Suggs' family visit to Mexico. Trying to figure out how to belong, navigating the language, and being their true self makes for a beautiful and heartfelt glimpse into the author's life.

Book cover of Batcat.    Vol. 1
Batcat. Vol. 1
Ramm, Meggie.
Call Number: x GN B32835 v.1

Grades 2 - 4

Batcat loves living alone. When a ghost suddenly decides to move in, Batcat goes on a quest to remove this uninvited guest. Along the way, Batcat meets bats and cats and feels... neither bat nor cat. Batcat realizes that perhaps having a ghost roommate might be a lovely turn of events after all. Adorably spooky, this exploration of identity and friendship will delight readers and their grown ups. 

Book cover of Brooms
Walls, Jasmine
Call Number: 741.5 W215

Set in 1930s Mississippi where magic is selectively banned for people of color. For those who wish to practice magic freely, the best way is to raise the money to take part in unauthorized broom racing. It is best if you join a group of magical friends trying to find love and their place in the world. A gripping story that is beautifully illustrated and will appeal to those who enjoy magic, historical fiction and female empowerment stories.

Book cover of Cursed princess club.    Volume one
Cursed princess club. Volume one
LambCat, (Comics writer and artist).
Call Number: 740.9999 C97754 v.1

Princess Gwendolyn, the youngest of the three daughters of the Pastel Kingdom, does not fit the typical storybook appearance of her princess siblings. After overhearing her fiancé call her ugly, she runs away to the forest where she happens upon the Cursed Princess Club. Here, Gwendolyn meets other princesses facing their own problems, and she soon finds her place amongst these fellow misfit princesses.


Book cover of Eerie tales from the School of Screams
Eerie tales from the School of Screams
Annable, Graham.
Call Number: x GN E2698

Grades 2 and up

Students have one assignment--to tell eerie stories. Each story is delightfully strange and often sinister, and there's an interesting twist at the end readers may not see coming! 

Book cover of Family style : memories of an American from Vietnam
Family Style: Memories of an American From Vietnam
Pham, Thien
Call Number: 741.5 P534

This is a memoir of growing up in refugee camps and California suburbs. Pham uses shared food as a focal point for his memories and story. As the world around him changes, the experience of sharing food with friends and family grounds the story in moments of comfort and belonging. He manages to capture the hardships his family endured while also including the whimsy of childhood.

Book cover of A first time for everything
A First Time for Everything
Santat, Dan
Call Number: 741.5 S233

Middle school is the worst, and all Dan wants to do is be small and invisible to avoid undue attention. When he travels with his class to Europe, visiting Paris, London, and other cities, his life begins to turn around – he experiences many firsts, including his first kiss. Dan Santat’s middle grade graphic memoir is at times embarrassing, engaging, humorous, and heartfelt.

Book cover of Ghost book
Ghost book
Lai, Remy.
Call Number: x GN G42775Bo

Grades 3 and up

July Chen can see ghosts, but no one living seems to be able to see her. During Hungry Ghost Month the veil between the real world and the mysterious world of ghosts and spirits lifts, and July must unravel a secret from her birth to find a way to save a new friend and ultimately herself. Ghost Book draws on Chinese folklore and mythology for a world rich with detail, humor, and magic. 

Book cover of A ghost story graphic novel.    [3], All the lovely bad ones
A ghost story graphic novel. [3], All the lovely bad ones
Hahn, Mary Downing
Call Number: x GN G42775St v.3

Grades 4 and up

Siblings Corey and Travis are staying at their grandmother's inn for the summer after they've been banned from camp for too many pranks. When they find out the inn is rumored to be haunted, they decide they will execute their best prank ever--by haunting the inn! They discover the inn has a dark history that demands to be rectified, and they are the only ones who can do it. A spooky tale for those who delight in ghost stories. 

Book cover of Global
Colfer, Eoin
Call Number: 740.9999 C695-1

Although Sami from the Bay of Bengal and Yuki from Northern Canada live on opposite sides of the globe, they are both equally affected by climate change. Told in alternating perspectives, the lives of these two teens become intertwined when climate change alters their respective countries.

Book cover of Huda F cares
Huda F Cares
Fahmy, Huda
Call Number: 741.5 F157-3

Huda F returns in this follow-up to Huda F Are You? Huda and her family are on their way to Disney World! However, this is not the magical adventure Huda was expecting, as her road trip is fraught with embarrassing familial antics, including forced bonding time with her sisters.

Book cover of Juniper Mae.    [1], Knight of Tykotech city
Juniper Mae. [1], Knight of Tykotech city
Soh, Sarah.
Call Number: x GN J9565 v.1

Grades 2 - 4

Juniper Mae is a prolific young inventor who works alone in Tykotech City, a futuristic metropolis powered by a central core that has been experiencing power outages. During a test flight of her latest jetpack invention, she accidentally lands in the surrounding forest and befriends an adorable talking frog named Albie. Together, they face an unlikely enemy. Juniper discovers a higher purpose for her inventions, and that inventing and fighting crime is even better with a friend. 

Book cover of Look on the bright side
Look on the Bright Side
Williams, Lily
Call Number: 741.5 W724

In this follow-up to Go with the Flow, best friends Abby, Brit, Christine, and Sasha return for a new school year with new tribulations. Abby secretly joins a new club. Brit weighs the possibilities of two different crushes. Christine tackles her more-than-friends feelings for Abby.  And Sasha struggles in school by prioritizing her boyfriend over her homework. Is it possible for these friends to remain best friends.

Book cover of March comes in like a lion.    Volume 1
March comes in like a lion. Volume 1
Umino, Chica.
Call Number: 740.9999 M3155-2 v.1

Rei Kiriyama is a Shogi (Japanese Chess) prodigy who struggles with loneliness. An orphan who starts off with no life outside of Shogi, he grows as a person and begins to open up to the world with the help of the three sisters from the neighboring Kawamoto family. This novel is about Rei's growth, change, and learning to care and value himself as a person. 

Book cover of Me and my beast boss.    Volume 1
Me and my beast boss. Volume 1
Call Number: 740.9999 M4795-1 v.1

In a world where humans are treated as an inferior species to beastfolk, human Saki Oki endures constant criticism despite her hard work. One day she is called into CEO beastfolk Atlas' office, where he offers her a promotion as his personal secretary. Saki is ready for the challenge, but she must endure her coworkers' judgmental stares, as well as Atlas' intimidating lion aura! 

Book cover of Nightwing.    Vol. 3, The battle for Blüdhaven's heart
Nightwing. Vol. 3, The battle for Blüdhaven's heart
Taylor, Tom, 1978-
Call Number: 741.5 N6885Ta v.3

It’s been said that superhero comics are power fantasies. If they are, this Eisner Award winning book couples amazing art with the ultimate power fantasy--the power to be kind and rely on your friends. 

Book cover of Parachute kids
Parachute Kids
Tang, Betty C.
Call Number: x GN P2215

Grades 4 - 7: 10-year-old Feng-Ling is excited to visit Disneyland on her family’s first trip to California from Taiwan. She is surprised when her parents have to return home and she and her siblings stay behind to go to school in America as "parachute kids." A moving and funny graphic novel.

Book cover of Polar bear café.    Vol. 1
Polar bear café. Vol. 1
Higa, Aloha
Call Number: 740.9999 P7625-1 v.1

Polar Bear Cafe features stories about Panda Bear, a lazy kid who works at a zoo, and Polar Bear, a kind cafe owner who loves puns. Each story is full of funny puns based on clever humor that brings smiles.

Book cover of The princess and the grilled cheese sandwich
The Princess and the Grilled Cheese Sandwich
Muniz, Deya
Call Number: 741.5 M966

Cheese puns abound in this romantic comedy about mistaken identity! Lady Camembert disguises herself as a man in order to inherit her father's fortune. Starting a new life as Count Camembert, she is determined to keep a low profile, but she finds it hard to keep her secret as she spends more and more time with Princess Brie.

Book cover of Saving Sunshine
Saving Sunshine
Faruqi, Saadia.
Call Number: x GN S2676Su

Grades 3 and up

Tween Muslim twins Zara and Zeeshan are in Key West for their mother's award ceremony. From the beginning of the trip they are at odds with each other, arguing until their cell phones are taken away as punishment. It isn't until Zara finds a loggerhead turtle in precarious health that they start to work together as a team, and consequently, begin to heal their fractured relationship. 

Book cover of Season of the bruja
Season of the Bruja
Durán, Aarón
Call Number: 741.5 D9473

Gorgeously illustrated tale that follows Althalia as she gains her power. Realism meets fantasy in dealing with oppression, both religious and secular as Althalia must fight to become her true self while keeping her family near.