Empowered girls in comics and graphic novels: 9 must-read titles

Usually girls in comics and graphic novels play the damsel in distress or the love interest. This is a collection of books that feature girls who are complete characters and draw you into their stories and take you to other worlds, other times or other dimensions. All in all, some wonderful books for preteens and teens and a collection of titles girls will love.

1. Deluge; The People That Melt in The Rain #1 by Mike Dubisch, and Carolyn Watson Dubisch


Laura and her mother move to a new town from the north west. A very small, strangely isolated town where frogs rain from the sky, tiny people lurk in drawers and in cabinets, and a woman is trapped in a painting in the school library.

The story is full of mysteries and strange paranormal events and the art is excellent and really adds to the atmosphere. Truly a page turner and a great read.

2. The Girl From the Sea: A Graphic Novel by Molly Knox Ostertag


Fifteen year old Morgan feels trapped on the Island that is her home. She struggles with her sexual identity, dislikes high school and her group of friends that don’t seem to understand her. She has a little brother who’s a handful and a very sad, divorced Mom.
The night she is saved from drowning changes everything. Rescued by a “girl” named Keltie, who is more than she seems, and is in fact a magical selkie. A heartbreaking and emotional book, but really quite beautiful.

3.Paper Girls by Brian K. Vaughan


On the morning after Halloween a group of 12 year old girls set out on their paper routes and find themselves traveling through space and time into a future that hasn’ yet happened and chased by aliens. A story of friendship and adventure, this book is riveting! The art is phenomenal using neon colors that create the perfect atmosphere.

4. Anya’s Ghost by Vera Brosgol


Anya is a Russian immigrant in the United States. She has all the normal struggles of a young girl, from bullying to homework. One day she decided to skip school and fell into a hole in the ground. Here she meets a ghost named Emily who’s been dead for 90 years. The creepy ghost and the struggles with Anya’s self image make for a great comic for preteens! The book is in black and white but the art is fantastic.

5. Zita the Space Girl #1 by Ben Hatke


Zita is a young girl who is whisked away through a portal into another world while trying to save her friend. The cast of characters are incredible, from humanoid chickens to a large rodent creature and robots with anxiety.

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The story is so much fun, really cute and engaging, and the art is wonderful. Joining Zita while she fulfills her mission to rescue her friend and becomes an intergalactic hero is well worth it!

6. Nimona by N.D. Stevenson


Nimona is a young shapeshifter with a mysterious past and maybe some impulse control issues. In this wild book she teams up with Ballister Blackheart. Together they are going to fight the institution, get revenge and just generally cause some mayhem. It’s such a well done book. Strong and unique characters, a great plot and wonderful art.

7. Baba Yaga’s Assistant by Marika McCoola and Emily Carroll


Masha is a young girl who’s suffered a lot of loss. Her mother died when she was younger and her grandmother just passed away. When her father gets remarried and she finds herself saddled with an aggressive little brat of a stepsister she decides it’s just too much. She discovers Babba Yaga’s ad for an assistant and heads off into the woods to take the many tests to win the job.
A fantastic premise and gorgeous illustrations make for a great graphic novel.

8. Nightlights by Lorena Alvarez Gomez


Sandy is a bit of an outsider in her school, but each night tiny lights visit her in her bedroom. She captures them and creates fantastical creatures that she plays with. Then in the daylight she draws them and cherishes her drawings. She’s happy when she makes a new friend at school, but her interest in Sandy’s drawings takes a sinister turn.
The art is simply spectacular. The story leaves you wanting more.

9. Tidesong by Wendy Xu


A young witch named Sophie is sent to her relatives’ house to study for the entrance exams at the Royal Magic Academy. She’s unfortunately not that great at magic and her cousin and aunt seem more interested in giving her chores instead of training her. While practicing on her own she entwines a spell with the magic of a water dragon named Lir.

Just a beautifully done book with an incredible palette. The story is sweet and engaging.

Andrea Pimpini is a student of Economics and Management at the University of Chieti-Pescara and, from September 2022 to February 2023, he is also an Erasmus+ student at the University of Split (Faculty of Economics, Business and Tourism). Andrea has also taken three courses offered by the prestigious CERGE-EI Foundation and, being a Japanese language enthusiast, has taken two courses provided by the Japan-Abruzzo Association. In 2022, Andrea took the courses “Music Business Foundations,” “Copyright Law in the Music Business” and “Building your career in music: Developing a brand and financing your music” offered by Berklee Online on Coursera.org. A big hobby of Andrea’s is music and, thanks to his college and web experiences, he manages everything on his own (print and radio promotion, digital marketing, etc.). Media success is not long in coming: in 2020, live streams are shared on national newspapers such as Sky TG24, alongside well-known names from the Italian music scene (Modà, Francesco Renga, Nek, etc.). In 2021, Billboard places Andrea at the top of a chart for 3 consecutive weeks. Finally, in 2022, Il Messaggero, one of the most popular and best-selling newspapers in Italy, interviews Andrea.

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