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30 New and Engaging Historical Fiction Graphic Novels

Looking for the best historical fiction graphic novels for teens and kids? Here are some great nonfiction and historical fiction graphic novels for classroom read alouds or for students to read. Children’s graphic novels that are historical fiction, biographies, memoirs and more. Ideas for elementary and middle school teachers looking for historical fiction graphic novels as a central theme including lesson plans and activities! Great for Kindergarten, first, second, third, fourth or fifth grade..

If you’re a member of the Picture Book Brain Trust Community, you already have access to EVERY lesson plan and activity for these books! Just click on the Lesson Plans button in the menu!

Historical Fiction Graphic Novels

El Deafo by Cece Bell

Starting at a new school is scary, especially with a giant hearing aid strapped to your chest! At her old school, everyone in Cece’s class was deaf. Here, she’s different. She’s sure the kids are staring at the Phonic Ear, the powerful aid that will help her hear her teacher. Too bad it also seems certain to repel potential friends.
 
Then Cece makes a startling discovery. With the Phonic Ear she can hear her teacher not just in the classroom but anywhere her teacher is in the school—in the hallway . . . in the teacher’s lounge . . . in the bathroom! This is power. Maybe even superpower! Cece is on her way to becoming El Deafo, Listener for All. But the funny thing about being a superhero is that it’s just another way of feeling different . . . and lonely. Can Cece channel her powers into finding the thing she wants most, a true friend?

Looking for the best historical fiction graphic novels for teens and kids? Here are some great nonfiction and historical fiction graphic novels for classroom read alouds or for students to read. Children's graphic novels that are historical fiction, biographies, memoirs and more. Ideas for elementary and middle school teachers looking for historical fiction graphic novels as a central theme including lesson plans and activities! Great for Kindergarten, first, second, third, fourth or fifth grade.

Smile

Raina just wants to be a normal sixth grader. But one night after Girl Scouts she trips and falls, severely injuring her two front teeth. What follows is a long and frustrating journey with on-again, off-again braces, surgery, embarrassing headgear, and even a retainer with fake teeth attached. And on top of all that, there’s still more to deal with: a major earthquake, boy confusion, and friends who turn out to be not so friendly.

White Bird

In R. J. Palacio’s bestselling collection of stories Auggie & Me, which expands on characters in Wonder, readers were introduced to Julian’s grandmother, Grandmère. Here, Palacio makes her graphic novel debut with Grandmère’s heartrending story: how she, a young Jewish girl, was hidden by a family in a Nazi-occupied French village during World War II; how the boy she and her classmates once shunned became her savior and best friend.

Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales

Hilarious, gruesome, and packed with facts, this series introduces readers to some of the strangest moments in history. In this boxed set, readers will meet Revolutionary War spy Nathan Hale in One Dead Spy: A Revolutionary War Tale, learn about the most famous battles and little-known secrets of the First World War in Treaties, Trenches, Mud, and Blood: A World War I Tale, and travel the Underground Railroad with Harriet Tubman in The Underground Abductor: An Abolitionist Tale.

Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales are graphic novels that tell the thrilling, shocking, gruesome, and TRUE stories of American history. Read them all—if you dare!

Disasters in History Series

“True-life tragedies jump off the page in this dynamic collection of graphic novels. From the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire and the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor to the Great Chicago Fire and the space shuttle Challenger explosion, step back in timeto experience some of the worst disasters in history. With eight stories in all, this riveting collection helps readers understand how the most devastating events in history happened and provides valuable perspectives on the lessons that rose from the ashes of despair”

I Survived

These are the graphic novel editions of some favorite titles from the novel editions. These are obviously a great way to get kids interested in the historical fiction genre!

Anne of Green Gables

When Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert decide to adopt an orphan who can help manage their family farm, they have no idea what delightful trouble awaits them. With flame-red hair and an unstoppable imagination, 11-year-old Anne Shirley takes Green Gables by storm.

Anne’s misadventures bring a little romance to the lives of everyone she meets: her bosom friend, Diana Barry; the town gossip, Mrs. Lynde; and that infuriating tease, Gilbert Blythe. From triumphs and thrills to the depths of despair, Anne turns each everyday moment into something extraordinary.

Hidden

Hidden ends on a tender note, with Dounia and her mother rediscovering each other as World War II ends . . . and a young girl in present-day France becoming closer to her grandmother, who can finally, after all those years, tell her story. With words by Loïc Dauvillier and art by Marc Lizano and Greg Salsedo, this picture book-style comic for young readers is a touching read.

Survivors of the Holocaust

Between 1933 and 1945, Adolf Hitler and the Nazi party were responsible for the persecution of millions of Jews across Europe. From suffering the horrors of Auschwitz, to hiding from Nazi soldiers in war-torn Paris, to sheltering from the Blitz in England, each true story is a powerful testament to the survivors’ courage. These remarkable testimonials serve as a reminder never to allow such a tragedy to happen again.

Catherine’s War

At the Sèvres Children’s Home outside Paris, Rachel Cohen has discovered her passion—photography. Although she hasn’t heard from her parents in months, she loves the people at her school, adores capturing what she sees in pictures, and tries not to worry too much about Hitler’s war. But as France buckles under the Nazi regime, danger closes in, and Rachel must change her name and go into hiding.

As Catherine Colin, Rachel Cohen is faced with leaving the Sèvres Home—and the friends she made there—behind. But with her beautiful camera, Catherine possesses an object with the power to remember. For the rest of the war, Catherine bears witness to her own journey, and to the countless heroes whose courage and generosity saved the lives of many, including her own.

Anne Frank’s Diary

Anne Frank’s Diary by  Folman ari/Polonsky
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An amazing graphic novel adaptation of the classic tale of a young girl: Anne Frank.

Between Shades of Gray

Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys
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June, 1941. A knock comes at the door and the life of fifteen-year-old Lina Vilkas changes forever. She’s arrested by the Soviet secret police and deported from Lithuania to Siberia with her mother and younger brother. The conditions are horrific and Lina must fight for her life and for the lives of those around her, including the boy that she loves. Risking everything, she secretly passes along clues in the form of drawings, hoping they will reach her father’s prison camp. But will her messages, and her courage, be enough to reunite her family? Will they be enough to keep her alive?

They Called Us Enemy

They Called Us Enemy by George Takei
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In 1942, at the order of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, every person of Japanese descent on the west coast was rounded up and shipped to one of ten “relocation centers,” hundreds or thousands of miles from home, where they would be held for years under armed guard.

They Called Us Enemy is Takei’s firsthand account of those years behind barbed wire, the joys and terrors of growing up under legalized racism, his mother’s hard choices, his father’s faith in democracy, and the way those experiences planted the seeds for his astonishing future.

Displacement

Kiku is on vacation in San Francisco when suddenly she finds herself displaced to the 1940s Japanese-American internment camp that her late grandmother, Ernestina, was forcibly relocated to during World War II.

These displacements keep occurring until Kiku finds herself “stuck” back in time. Living alongside her young grandmother and other Japanese-American citizens in internment camps, Kiku gets the education she never received in history class. She witnesses the lives of Japanese-Americans who were denied their civil liberties and suffered greatly, but managed to cultivate community and commit acts of resistance in order to survive.

The Faithful Spy

Adolf Hitler’s Nazi Party is gaining strength and becoming more menacing every day. Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a pastor upset by the complacency of the German church toward the suffering around it, forms a breakaway church to speak out against the established political and religious authorities. When the Nazis outlaw the church, he escapes as a fugitive.

Struggling to reconcile his faith and the teachings of the Bible with the Nazi Party’s evil agenda, Bonhoeffer decides that Hitler must be stopped by any means possible! In his signature style of interwoven handwritten text and art, John Hendrix tells the true story of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a pastor who makes the ultimate sacrifice in order to help free the German people from oppression during World War II.

A Bag of Marbles

In 1941 in occupied Paris, brothers Maurice and Joseph play a last game of marbles before running home to their father’s barbershop. This is the day that will change their lives forever. With the German occupation threatening their family’s safety, the boys’ parents decide Maurice and Joseph must disguise themselves and flee to their older brothers in the free zone.

Surviving the long journey will take every scrap of ingenuity and courage they can muster. And if they hope to elude the Nazis, they must never, under any circumstances, admit to being Jewish.

Trinity

Trinity by Jonathan Fetter-Vorm
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The power of the atom was harnessed in a top-secret government compound in Los Alamos, New Mexico, by a group of brilliant scientists led by the enigmatic wunderkind J. Robert Oppenheimer. Focused from the start on the monumentally difficult task of building an atomic weapon, these men and women soon began to wrestle with the moral implications of actually succeeding. When they detonated the first bomb at a test site code-named Trinity, they recognized that they had irreversibly thrust the world into a new and terrifying age.

History Comics Series

Over a hundred years before the pilgrims, the very first English settlers arrived on Roanoke Island. But without warning, these colonists abandoned their new home and disappeared without a trace.

What happened to the colonists? To figure it out, we’ll need to investigate how these missing settlers got to Roanoke in the first place, and what the people already living there thought about these strange foreigners. It’s a case filled with brutal battles, perilous pirate ships, ruthless queens, scheming businessmen, and enough skeletons to fill a graveyard.

Primates

Jim Ottaviani returns with an action-packed account of the three greatest primatologists of the last century: Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey, and Biruté Galdikas. These three ground-breaking researchers were all students of the great Louis Leakey, and each made profound contributions to primatology―and to our own understanding of ourselves.

American Born Chinese

The story of three apparently unrelated characters: Jin Wang, who moves to a new neighborhood with his family only to discover that he’s the only Chinese-American student at his new school; the powerful Monkey King, subject of one of the oldest and greatest Chinese fables; and Chin-Kee, a personification of the ultimate negative Chinese stereotype, who is ruining his cousin Danny’s life with his yearly visits. Their lives and stories come together with an unexpected twist in this action-packed modern fable. American Born Chinese is an amazing ride, all the way up to the astonishing climax.

Almost American Girl

For as long as she can remember, it’s been Robin and her mom against the world. Growing up as the only child of a single mother in Seoul, Korea, wasn’t always easy, but it has bonded them fiercely together. So when a vacation to visit friends in Huntsville, Alabama, unexpectedly becomes a permanent relocation—following her mother’s announcement that she’s getting married—Robin is devastated.

Overnight, her life changes. She is dropped into a new school where she doesn’t understand the language and struggles to keep up. She is completely cut off from her friends in Seoul and has no access to her beloved comics. At home, she doesn’t fit in with her new stepfamily, and worst of all, she is furious with the one person she is closest to—her mother.

Boxers

China,1898. Bands of foreign missionaries and soldiers roam the countryside, bullying and robbing Chinese peasants. Little Bao has had enough. Harnessing the powers of ancient Chinese gods, he recruits an army of Boxers – commoners trained in kung fu who fight to free China from “foreign devils.”

Against all odds, this grass-roots rebellion is violently successful. But nothing is simple. Little Bao is fighting for the glory of China, but at what cost? So many are dying, including thousands of “secondary devils” – Chinese citizens who have converted to Christianity.

Saints

Saints by Saints
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China, 1898. An unwanted fourth daughter, Four-Girl isn’t even given a proper name by her family. She finds friendship-and a name, Vibiana-in the most unlikely of places: Christianity. But China is a dangerous place for Christians. The Boxer Rebellion is murdering Westerners and Chinese Christians alike. Torn between her nation and her Christian friends, Vibiana will have to decide where her true loyalties lie . . . and whether she is willing to die for her faith.

To Kill a Mockingbird

A haunting portrait of race and class, innocence and injustice, hypocrisy and heroism, tradition and transformation in the Deep South of the 1930s, Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird remains as important today as it was upon its initial publication in 1960, during the turbulent years of the Civil Rights movement.

Now, this most beloved and acclaimed novel is reborn for a new age as a gorgeous graphic novel. Scout, Jem, Boo Radley, Atticus Finch, and the small town of Maycomb, Alabama, are all captured in vivid and moving illustrations by artist Fred Fordham.

Illegal

Illegal by Eoin Colfer and Andrew Donkin
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Ebo is alone. His brother, Kwame, has disappeared, and Ebo knows it can only be to attempt the hazardous journey to Europe, and a better life―the same journey their sister set out on months ago. But Ebo refuses to be left behind in Ghana. He sets out after Kwame and joins him on the quest to reach Europe. Ebo’s epic journey takes him across the Sahara Desert to the dangerous streets of Tripoli, and finally out to the merciless sea. But with every step he holds on to his hope for a new life, and a reunion with his family.

In the Shadow of the Fallen Towers

The consequences of the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center in New York City, both political and personal, were vast, and continue to reverberate today. Don Brown brings his journalistic eye and attention to moving individual stories to help teens contextualize what they already know about the day, as well as broaden their understanding of the chain of events that occurred in the attack’s wake.

Fever Year

New Year’s Day, 1918. America has declared war on Germany and is gathering troops to fight. But there’s something coming that is deadlier than any war.
 
When people begin to fall ill, most Americans don’t suspect influenza. The flu is known to be dangerous to the very old, young, or frail. But the Spanish flu is exceptionally violent. Soon, thousands of people succumb. Then tens of thousands . . . hundreds of thousands and more. Graves can’t be dug quickly enough.

When Stars Are Scattered

Omar and his younger brother, Hassan, have spent most of their lives in Dadaab, a refugee camp in Kenya. Life is hard there: never enough food, achingly dull, and without access to the medical care Omar knows his nonverbal brother needs. So when Omar has the opportunity to go to school, he knows it might be a chance to change their future…but it would also mean leaving his brother, the only family member he has left, every day.

Pie in the Sky

When Jingwen moves to Australia, he feels like he’s landed on Mars. School is difficult, making friends is impossible, since he doesn’t speak English, and he’s stuck looking after his (extremely irritating) little brother, Yanghao.

To distract himself from the loneliness, Jingwen daydreams about making all the cakes on the menu of the bakery his father had planned to open before he unexpectedly passed away. The only problem is his mother’s rule: no using the oven while she’s at work. As Jingwen and Yanghao bake more elaborate cakes, they’ll have to cook up more elaborate excuses to keep their baking a secret – and continue the dream their father started.

Escape From Syria

Escape from Syria is a fictionalized account that calls on real-life circumstances and true tales of refugee families to serve as a microcosm of the Syrian uprising and the war and refugee crisis that followed. More than 22,000 copies of the book have sold to date and sadly there is no end in sight for the catastrophe in Syria. Knowing a personal story from behind the news helps young people to understand.

The story spans six years in the lives of Walid, his wife Dalia, and their two children, Amina and Youssef. Forced to flee from Syria, they become asylum-seekers in Lebanon, and finally resettled refugees in the West. It is a story that has been replayed thousands of times by other families.

Best Historical Fiction Graphic Novels

What are some of your favorite historical fiction graphic novels? Are there any must read Bhistorical fiction graphic novels that I left out? Let me know in the comments, and I’ll add it!

If you’re a member of the Picture Book Brain Trust Community, you already have access to EVERY lesson plan and activity for these books! Just click on the Lesson Plans button in the menu!

Looking for the best historical fiction graphic novels for teens and kids? Here are some great nonfiction and historical fiction graphic novels for classroom read alouds or for students to read. Children's graphic novels that are historical fiction, biographies, memoirs and more. Ideas for elementary and middle school teachers looking for historical fiction graphic novels as a central theme including lesson plans and activities! Great for Kindergarten, first, second, third, fourth or fifth grade.
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Hey there! I’m Josh from Picture Book Brain here to share only the best literature for you to use with your students. If you are looking for a specific book, use the search bar below to check my archives. Glad you’re here, and glad to help you!

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