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Explore the Past Through Graphic Novels

Are graphic novels on your radar when you’re looking for historical fiction books for kids? If you say no, you’re not alone. Many parents don’t equate comic books with academic lessons. Now’s the time to change your thinking on that, though. Graphic novels can be an incredible way for young readers to gain a new perspective on history.

1. Lizard in a Zoot Suit

Suck your sci-fi fans in with this graphic novel set in the 1940s. Written by Marco Finnegan, the story takes place during Los Angeles’ Zoot Suit Riots. Of course, during the real riots, there weren’t any giant lizards walking around. Despite the sci-fi twists, your kids will still pick up historical info about what went on in LA in 1943.

Lizard in a Zoot Suit

2. The Invisible War

Looking for history and science in one book? Try The Invisible War by Alisa Wild, Jeremy Barr, and Gregory Crocetti. The book tells the story of a nurse in World War I who catches an infection. As the war rages on around her, there’s also a war for her health going on inside her body. Readers will explore both stories as they make their way through this graphic novel.

The Invisible War: A World War I Tale on Two Scales

3. The Other Side of the Wall

While many graphic novels are historical fiction books to read, others tell about past events that really happened. This book by Simon Schwartz is a true story about his own family’s life. He recounts his parents’ experiences in East Germany and what happened when they tried to leave.

The Other Side of the Wall

4. The American Dream?

Here’s another graphic novel about an author’s own experiences. Shing Yin Khor spent her childhood in Malaysia. After moving to the United States, she decided to take a road trip across the country on Route 66. This book shares her experiences and plenty of historical discoveries that she made along the way, too.

The American Dream?: A Journey on Route 66 Discovering Dinosaur Statues, Muffler Men, and the Perfect Breakfast Burrito

5. Little White Duck

The 1970s were a time of significant change in China. Little White Duck by Andrés Vera Martínez and Na Liu shares a tale of two young Chinese girls growing up during that time. When Chairman Mao dies, the family is sad, but his death ushers in a new era for these Chinese children.

Little White Duck: A Childhood in China

6. First Man

As a Black man born in 1866, Matthew Henson faced frequent discrimination, but it didn’t stop him from achieving great things. He became an explorer who traveled to the Arctic and may have even reached the North Pole. In a graphic novel about Henson, Simon Schwartz takes a creative look at his life and achievements.

First Man: Reimagining Matthew Henson

7. Jane Austen: Her Heart Did Whisper

If your kids have read Sense and Sensibility or Pride and Prejudice, they might be curious about the life of their author. In this black-and-white graphic novel, Manuela Santoni imagines what Jane Austen’s relationships might have been like. Plus, the end of the book includes several pages of information on what we actually know — and don’t know — about Austen’s life.

Sense and Sensibility

Pride and Prejudice
Jane Austen: Her Heart Did Whisper

8. Lily Renée, Escape Artist

Have you ever imagined what it would be like to live through the Holocaust? Lily Renée experienced it firsthand as a Jewish teenager in Austria. Trina Robbins retells her story in this graphic novel about the teen’s escape, the challenges that followed, and her eventual career as a trailblazing female comic book artist.

Lily Renée, Escape Artist: From Holocaust Survivor to Comic Book Pioneer

If you’re looking for even more historical fiction books online, check out LightSail’s picture books and novels, too. On LightSail, you’ll also find videos, audiobooks, and other resources that will bring history to life.

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Posted on 3.Mar.22 in Book Recommendations

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