By Stefania Rudd. Do you have little ones in your life who are drawn to the world of comics through movies, cartoons, and video games, but you’re not sure what to start them with, or even know what’s appropriate?

We got you! Books For Babes aims to provide info on what books kids will enjoy, but can also be entertaining for adults. One can never start too early — or too late — in building a solid comic book foundation.

Ages 4-7


The Misadventures of Grumpy Cat (And Pokey!) #1

Written by Ben McCool, Ben Fisher, Royal McGraw, and Elliott Serrano
Art by Steve Uy, Michelle Nguyen, and Ken Haeser

The “world’s grumpiest cat” makes her comic debut in Dynamite’s newest book. (As far as cross-promotional potential for internet sensations go, I’m really surprised that this didn’t happen sooner.) Four stories about the titular grouch (and her brother, Pokey) are featured in this issue. There’s a serious “Garfield/Nermal” thing going on here, but instead of Grumpy Cat trying to ship Pokey to Abu Dhabi, she reluctantly indulges in his ideas for adventure–which usually results in him bribing her with treats.

Though there are four different writers and three artists for each story, there is a consistent voice throughout the issue. The lettering is clear and a good size for new readers. The stories are also easy to follow, even though there are a few large words here and there. The artwork is offered in different styles, all of which are nicely done; younger readers can enjoy looking at the pictures and they’ll never once feel lost following the misadventures of Miss Frowny Face.  

Ages 8-11


Secret Coders
Graphic Novel
Written by Gene Luen Yang.
Illustrated by Mike Holmes.

Secret Coders starts out innocently enough with a simple and engaging story and then… BAM! Learning happens! The story centers around Hopper, a new student to Stately Academy who quickly realizes that the school is more than it appears. (As schools naturally are.) Through a series of tense interactions with teachers and staff, noticing numbers strategically placed throughout the campus, and discovering birds that have not two but four eyes, she enlists the help of fellow student, Eni, to figure out what the heck is going on.

At the end of each exciting chapter there’s a question that allows the reader to ponder over before discovering the answer in the next chapter. See? Learning through trickery! But I’ll allow it, because the story is well done and the artwork fits nicely with the overall concept. I was a little bummed to discover that this is but the first book in a series. As the end pages were getting close I wondered how they could possible wrap all this intrigue up, but when it leaves us with its final riddle, I knew that I just had to have more.

Overall a great and fun read for the curious child who loves a good mystery.    

Ages 12-15


Lumberjanes: Beyond Bay Leaf #1

Boom! Box (Boom Studios)/$4.99
Written by Faith Erin Hicks.
Illustrated and lettered by Rosemary Valero-O’Connell.

In this one-shot issue we get a story perfect for Halloween! Our favorite campers encounter a strange woman in the woods when they should be constellation gazing with Jen, who has dragged them out of bed. This self-contained story is well done and exemplifies what makes the Lumberjanes series so appealing to both kids and adults. Themes of friendship, encouragement, and being true to oneself are woven throughout the story.  

Hicks’ writing and Valero-O’Connell’s artwork is humorous and engaging, allowing us to perceive each of the characters a little differently. The artwork compliments the story through its bright colors and bold lines. Details like the night sky (with the constellations) and the glowing effect (in wolves’ eyes and ghost horses) make it visually appealing.  It’s also longer than a regular issue and that allows for bigger panels and a lot more action. I really liked this book and think that for this tween/early teen group they will be able to relate to the characters and enjoy it as well.

Ages 16+


Jughead  #1
Archie Comics/$3.99
Written by Chip Zdarsky.
Art by Erica Henderson.

In the debut issue of Jughead, Riverdale’s resident food-loving slacker (and Archie’s best pal) faces new challenges that threaten something near and dear to his heart: lunch! Read my full review here.

Throwback Issues
(Where we discuss the classics that everyone should read.)


Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood
Graphic Novel
By Marjane Satrapi.
Pantheon Books, 2003

Persepolis was placed on the list of banned books in Chicago (where I reside) starting in 2013, when the Chicago Public School administrators determined it was not suitable for grades 8-10 (however it was just fine for older teens). Prior to this, students in grade 7 and up learned about the Islamic Revolution through the main character, Marji’s eyes.  It saddens me to think that an autobiographical graphic novel is something that educators feel teens cannot handle.

Well I say, screw that, kiddos (and parents and other adults)! Go to your library, your local bookstore, or an internet shopping site to get your hands on a copy. It’s an amazing book that has humor and darkness, happiness and grief, comfort and fear, all told by child who is living through the war between Iran and Iraq firsthand.  Her perspective is one from a fortunate and entitled class of people, but she quickly learns that things will never return to the way they were before the revolution. The minimalistic images are conveyed in bold black lines, which allows the art to evoke strong emotions while setting a tone. Those emotions are palpable.        

I would recommend this book for anyone ages 12 and up. There are some curse words and a few panels depict torture, but there’s nothing here that a blockbuster action film hasn’t shown before. I also think this book is great at allowing us to see life outside of our protected bubble. Even though the story is about Marji’s life 35 years ago, the impact of those events are strongly felt by our world and politics today. A very worthwhile read, one that should never be banned from your life.     

That’s it for this week! Did Books For Babes help you out at all? We want to know! Feel free to send feedback our way in the comments section below.