Look, we all loved The Hunger Games and Percy Jackson, but some days, dystopian governments and secret mythical worlds can feel a bit…overwhelming. Some days call for slowing things down and visiting stories that kids have loved for decades—reading about Anne Shirley breaking a slate over Gilbert’s head or about Jo March selling her first stories to the newspaper. These classics have long provided a nostalgic escape from our busy world, whether you’re a kid discovering a beloved story for the first time or an adult revisiting an old favorite.
But hey, we get it! Books written that long ago can be a tough sell for kids today. Luckily, there are new versions of these classic stories coming out that combine the well-loved story with a fresh visual format. These 8 graphic adaptations of classic children’s books are perfect for both existing fans and new ones, with accessible illustrations that will draw in readers of all ages.
From Anne of Green Gables
1) 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.”
Perfect for reluctant readers and kindred spirits alike, this adaptation of Anne’s (mis)adventures is a charmingly accessible gateway to this classic story.
2) Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy
“Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy are having a really tough year: with their father serving in the military overseas, they must work overtime to make ends meet…and each girl is struggling in her own way. Whether it’s school woes, health issues, boy troubles, or simply feeling lost, the March sisters all need the same thing: support from each other. Only by coming together—and sharing lots of laughs and tears—will these four young women find the courage to discover who they truly are as individuals…and as a family.”
This retelling of Little Women brings Louisa May Alcott’s classic beautifully into the 21st century. Four sisters from a blended family experience the joys and challenges of living in NYC with the same love and laughter that the March sisters shared in the Civil War era version.
3) Anne Frank’s Diary: The Graphic Adaptation
“For both young readers and adults, The Diary of Anne Frank continues to capture the remarkable spirit of Anne Frank, who for a time survived the worst horror the modern world has seen—and who remained triumphantly and heartbreakingly human throughout her ordeal.”
Including much of the original text, this graphic adaptation adds illustrations that interpret and deepen the reader’s understanding of Anne’s life and her stalwart hope throughout the Holocaust.
4) The Iliad
“More than three thousand years ago, two armies faced each other in an epic battle that rewrote history and came to be known as the Trojan War. The Iliad, Homer’s legendary account of this nine-year ordeal, is considered the greatest war story of all time and one of the most important works of Western literature. In this stunning graphic novel adaptation—a thoroughly researched and artfully rendered masterwork—renowned illustrator Gareth Hinds captures all the grim glory of Homer’s epic.”
Read Percy Jackson and suddenly develop a thirst for all things Ancient Greek? Welcome to the club. This graphic novel takes one of the most ancient stories (written in dactylic hexameter—try saying that five times fast) and breaks it down for those of us Greek mythology fiends who don’t want to spend hours deciphering archaic grammar.
5) Les Misérables
“Victor Hugo’s classic tale of crime and justice comes to life in this graphic retelling for kids. Escaped convict Jean Valjean vows to change his ways and becomes a kind and respected man. But with the merciless Inspector Javert hunting him down, can Jean Valjean ever truly escape his past, protect those he loves, and find redemption?”
With more accessible language and engaging illustrations, this adaptation breaks down the 1,200-page novel so that younger readers can enjoy Victor Hugo’s unforgettable story. Complete with background on the original, discussion questions, and writing prompts, this graphic novel edition is a valuable resource for any educator!
6) The Giver: The Graphic Novel
“In this new edition, readers experience the haunting story of twelve-year-old Jonas and his seemingly ideal, if colorless, world of conformity and contentment, through the brilliant art of P. Craig Russell that truly brings The Giver to life. Witness Jonas’s assignment as the Receiver of Memory, watch as he begins to understand the dark secrets behind his fragile community, and follow the explosion of color into his world like never before.”
For reluctant readers looking for an entryway into the original, this new edition illuminates the story through accessible language and gorgeous illustrations so that everyone can enjoy.
From The Giver; P. Craig Russell is very intentional with his use of color to reflect Jonas’s expanding perception, a key thematic element off the original book.
7) 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.”
Harper Lee’s portrait of the complexities of human nature is rendered even more poignant by artist Fred Fordham’s vivid illustrations. Scout, Jem, and Boo Radley are brought stunningly to life alongside much of the original text.
8) A Wrinkle in Time: The Graphic Novel
“The world already knows Meg and Charles Wallace Murry, Calvin O’Keefe, and the three Mrs―Who, Whatsit, and Which―the memorable and wonderful characters who fight off a dark force and save our universe in the Newbery Award–winning classic A Wrinkle in Time. But in 50 years of publication, the book has never been illustrated.”
In this adaptation, readers can immerse themselves in Hope Larson’s illustrations which give form to hard-to-visualize concepts like “tessering.” Gorgeous renderings of favorite characters alongside the original engrossing story are sure to delight new and old fans alike!