2023 Staff Picks for Grades 3-5: Graphic Novels and Nonfiction

By Skokie Staff Youth Services

We loved this year's graphic novels and nonfiction for kids in grades 3-5. On this list, you'll find funny books, fantasies, realistic fiction about kids trying to fit in, adventure stories, and more.

  • The Antiracist Kitchen: 21 Stories (and Recipes)


    The stories and recipes by children's and teen authors like Linda Sue Park, Andrea L. Rogers, and Ramah Rodaah were fascinating. I was introduced to authors I didn't know and recipes I wanted to try (and some I didn't)! I especially liked the idea that making and sharing food can make hard conversations easier and help make connections among people with lots of different identities. Suggested by Shelley.

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  • The Mona Lisa Vanishes

    2023 by Day, Nick

    It's the most famous painting in the world! But did you know the Mona Lisa wasn't the world's most famous painting until it was stolen from the Louvre? This fun nonfiction book follows the incredible story of the disappearance and reappearance that turned da Vinci's enigmatic subject into an international sensation. Suggested by Amanda.

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  • Squished

    2023 by Lloyd, Megan Wagner

    This book perfectly encapsulates the joy and the agony (honestly so much agony) of sharing a room with siblings. We liked how this graphic novel reminded us that change can be scary and unavoidable, but it can also bring positive things. Suggested by Caitlin and Rummanah.

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  • Mexikid: A Graphic Memoir

    2023 by Martin, Pedro

    I laughed along with this great family story of a road trip to Mexico to bring an aging grandfather back to the States to live with his family. I could almost feel every bump in the road as nine squabbling siblings and their parents squeeze into an old van to make the trip from California to Mexico. It's a great ride, infused with lots of Spanish words and phrases. Suggested by Mary M.

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  • Four Eyes

    2023 by Ogle, Rex

    I found this graphic memoir to be realistic, funny, and heartfelt, and honest in juggling the hardships of middle school and fitting in. Suggested by Rummanah.

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  • The Brinkley Yearbooks

    2023 by Sax, Sarah

    I think fans of Raina Telgemeier will enjoy this graphic novel. Even though Viv is a great, confident character, she finds she still has some things to learn. Suggested by Meleesa.

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  • Fetch

    2023 by Sizemore, Mike

    I really liked this modern child's plunge into ancient Greek mythology. Cleverly drawn, sympathetic, likeable characters and beautifully and dramatically illustrated action and scenes. I can hardly wait for the next volume! Suggested by Bill.

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  • Bomb: Graphic Novel

    2023 by Sheinkin, Steve

    Steve Sheinkin's award-winning chronicle of the spycraft and subterfuge surrounding the development of the atom bomb adapts perfectly to the graphic novel format! All the crazy characters—scientists, spies, innocent—to life in Nick Bertozzi's wonderful illustrations. I couldn't put it down! Suggested by Mary.

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  • Behold the Octopus!

    2023 by Slade, Suzanne

    This nonfiction book about octopuses has plenty of cool facts about the clever cephalopods, and the art capturing these majestic magnificent creatures is almost as amazing as the animals themselves! Learn some new words, learn about octopuses, and more fun facts and actual photos of octopuses are included at the end for fun. Suggested by Amanda.

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  • Parachute Kids

    2023 by Tang, Betty C.

    This is a riveting story of a Taiwanese family trying to make ends meet as they make the transition to American life. The term "parachute kids" refers to a common practice among Asian families in the 1980s: the family gets settled in the U.S., and then the parents go back to Taiwan, where their earning power is much higher, leaving the kids with friends or relatives—or, in this case, on their own. It's a powerful page-turner, told by 10-year-old Feng- Li Lin. I was on the edge of my seat as Feng-Li and her older brother and sister navigate a new country and culture—totally on their own! Suggested by Mary.

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  • Mission: Arctic

    2023 by Weiss-Tuider, Katharina

    I love narrative nonfiction that's informative but also reads like an adventure story. We hear so much about climate change, but this takes us straight to the source of the largest-ever expedition to the Arctic. Suggested by Gudrun.

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