2023 Staff Picks: Graphic Novels

Hidden Systems

Hidden Systems By Dan Nott

We use water, electricity, and the internet every day--but how do they actually work? And what’s the plan to keep them running for years to come? This nonfiction science graphic novel takes readers on a journey from how the most essential systems were developed to how they are implemented in our world today and how they will be used in the future.

What was the first message sent over the internet? How much water does a single person use every day? How was the electric light invented?

For every utility we use each day, there’s a hidden history--a story of intrigue, drama, humor, and inequity. This graphic novel provides a guided tour through the science of the past--and reveals how the decisions people made while inventing and constructing early technology still affect the way people use it today.

Full of art, maps, and diagrams, Hidden Systems is a thoughtful, humorous exploration of the history of science and what needs to be done now to change the future.

Sweet Valley Twins: Teacher's Pet

Sweet Valley Twins: Teacher's Pet By Francine Pascal; illustrated by Claudia Aguirre

The Wakefield twins return in this graphic novel adaptation of the New York Times best-selling Sweet Valley Twins series! It's Elizabeth's turn in the spotlight... but does Jessica deserve it more?

Jessica knows she’s the better dancer – but their teacher only seems to have eyes for her sister Elizabeth! No matter how hard or perfectly she dances she’s not getting recognized – which becomes a huge problem when it becomes clear that her sister is going to get the main role of Swanilda instead of her. Even worse, Elizabeth refuses to believe that their teacher is favoring her! With Jessica’s attitude rapidly souring and Elizabeth slowly realizing that Jessica might actually be right, will they be able to find a way to get Jessica her leading role?

Francine Pascal’s beloved Sweet Valley Twins series continues with Claudia Aguirre offering her fresh and modern artwork just right for today's contemporary middle-grade graphic novel.

Nell of Gumbling: My Extremely Normal Fairy-Tale Life

Nell of Gumbling: My Extremely Normal Fairy-Tale Life By Emma Steinkellner

Seventh grade is no fairy tale. From the bestselling author of Okay Witch comes an utterly enchanting graphic novel-diary hybrid about a twelve-year-old girl living an ordinary life in a magical land…disappointment, friend drama, adventure, mystery, and all!

To everyone else, the Magical Land of Gumbling is something out of fairy tales. But to Nell Starkeeper, it’s just home. Sure, the town community center might be a castle, her dads run a star farm, and her best friend Myra is a fairy, but Nell is much more interested in finding out if she’ll get the seventh grade apprenticeship of her dreams with world-famous artist Wiz Bravo. 

She’s pretty sure her entire life has been RUINED when she’s instead matched with boring old Mrs. Birdneck in the town archives. And of course her perfect rival Leabelle gets to work with Wiz, and mean girl Viola won’t let Nell forget it. Meanwhile, suddenly Myra seems more into hanging out with Leabelle and saving the town from some weird strangers who keep talking about turning Gumbling into a fancy resort than being friends with Nell anymore. Can Nell find a way to save everything that makes her world magical, while figuring out where she belongs in it?

Pizza and Taco: Rock Out!

Pizza and Taco: Rock Out! By Stephen Shaskan

Besties Pizza and Taco are ready to rock out! They have a cool band name! And some instruments—sort of. Songs? Well, even without mad musical skills, how hard can it be? This super-silly graphic novel series by Stephen Shaskan hits a new high note!

Pizza and Taco love music! They make lists, and they have tryouts to get more band members. They think they have all the ingredients to rock the scene. But maybe this garage band should stay in the garage!!

This hilarious young graphic novel—with chapters—will tickle the funny bones of kids ages 5 to 8 and bolster their reading confidence. Young graphic chapter books are a great step on the way to graphic novels and longer chapter books.

Readers will devour all the books in the series:
Pizza and Taco: Who's the Best?
Pizza and Taco: Best Party Ever!
Pizza and Taco: Super-Awesome Comic!
Pizza and Taco: Too Cool For School

Random House Teachers and Librarians