There are few things better than a sweet middle grade graphic novel. They’re full of magic and friendship and hope, and it’s hard not to fall in love with those sorts of stories regardless of age. And these LGBTQ comics for middle graders really hit that sweet spot. With uplifting storylines and important subject matter, LGBTQ comics for middle graders are the perfect addition to any budding TBR or classroom library. Don’t believe me? Just check out these beauties.
15 LGBTQ Comics for Middle Graders
Snapdragon by Kat Leyh
This one’s for all the quirky kids who feel like they don’t quite fit in. In fact, it’s a celebration of exactly those kinds of people: the ones who are unapologetically themselves. Like the town witch. Or, well, the old woman everyone calls a witch. Snapdragon isn’t afraid of her, though. In fact, when Snap rescues a family of baby opossums, Jacks is the first person she can think of to help her save them. Turns out Jacks is just selling roadkill skeletons online. Creepy, sure, but not exactly witchcraft — or is it? As Snap and Jacks develop an unlikely friendship, they realize that they have more in common than they realized, and maybe even share a bond that goes back decades.
The Girl from the Sea by Molly Knox Ostertag
Morgan loves her family and her little group of friends, but she can’t wait to get away from her tiny island home. She’s pretty sure it’s the only way she’ll ever be able to be true to herself. But then one night she’s saved by a selkie and true love’s kiss gives her the ability to walk on land. As much as Morgan likes Keltie, she’s determined to keep their relationship — and the truth about where she came from — a secret.
Jukebox by Nidhi Chanani
This graphic novel is a celebration of music and family. When her dad disappears, Shaheen and her big cousin Tannaz discover a time traveling jukebox with the ability to transport the listener back to important periods in music history. But when exactly has her father disappeared to? And can they find Shaheen’s dad before the records run out?
Lumberjanes by Noelle Stevenson, Shannon Watters, Grace Ellis, and Brooke A. Allen
Camp shenanigans, girl power, and friendship abound in this incredible comic about a magical summer camp. I love this comic book series for its ridiculous supernatural shenanigans, positive friendships, and representation of an array of characters across the LGBTQ spectrum. There are dozens of volumes at this point as well as graphic novel offshoots. It’s just so good and fun and perfect for kids who love magic and adventure and and lots of big-hearted storylines.
The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang
A young seamstress and aspiring designer is secretly hired by the prince to help him create the ballgowns of his dreams. By day, Prince Sebastian plays the role of perfect son and prince and does all that’s expected of him. But every night, he slips into Frances’s designs and becomes Lady Crystalia. He can finally be truly himself. Except not quite. Because nobody knows Lady Crystalia is the prince. And he wants it to stay that way. But in hiding his secret, he’s also hiding his best friend’s talents from the world. And if he doesn’t figure out how to be true to himself and the people around him, he might just lose the one person who has always accepted him without question.
A lovely graphic novel exploring gender identity and expression as well as young love.
The Tea Dragon Society by Katie O’Neill
Katie O’Neill is a master of sweet LGBTQ comics. Between this and others like Princess Princess Ever After and Aquicorn Cove, it’s clear O’Neill is creating her own canon of modern fairytales. The reason I picked The Tea Dragon Society to single out on this list versus the others (which are also wonderful and deserve a read) is because of the heartwarming friendships and adorable character design — and let’s be real, it was all about the tea dragons. I have no doubt readers of all ages will fall as head over heels in love with the concept of these needy little creatures as I did.
Seance Tea Party by Reimena Yee
These days it seems like all of Lora’s friends are growing up, but she still wants to play make believe. Is that really so bad? Then a séance tea party with her stuffed animals brings the perfect friend into her life: Alexa. Sure, she might be the ghost that haunts Lora’s house, but that just makes their connection even more special. Lora’s always liked spooky things, after all. But as Lora begins to find some living friends and Alexa searches for answers about her human life, it seems like their time together might be coming to a close. Still, just because Lora’s starting to realize growing up might not be so bad, that doesn’t mean she’s ready to let go of Alexa.
Girl Haven by Lilah Sturges and Meaghan Carter
This magical graphic novel is the newest work from one of the authors of Lumberjanes. After Ash’s mom leaves, all that’s left of her is a shed full of mysterious curiosities related to the all-girls fantasy world she created as a child: Koretris. When Ash’s Pride club comes over after school one day and tries out one of the spells to enter Koretis, they’re shocked to find themselves transported. But Koretis is a world for only girls and everyone has always called Ash a boy. Shouldn’t the spell have kept Ash out? And what does it mean that Ash was let in?
Space Battle Lunchtime by Natalie Riess
A baker is whisked off to an intergalactic cooking competition when a contestant disappears at the last minute. Space Battle Lunchtime is the most popular televised cooking competition in the universe! It’s never had a human competitor, though. Peony will be the first. She may not know the difference between Earth salt and Mars salt, but she knows how to cook. Even if most of her competitors have it out for her, she’s determined to see this competition through to the end.
The Backstagers by James Tynion IV and Rian Sygh
Backstage at the theatre is a place of belonging. As the new kid at an all-boys school, Jory is taken in by the only people who make him feel like he belongs: the Backstagers. This group of theatre techs show Jory the incredible world behind the stage curtains, where they work hard to put on the best show anyone has ever seen. Just as important as the show is the unbreakable bond they share with each other.
I’m a Wild Seed by Sharon Lee de la Cruz
This graphic memoir explores what it means to be queer and a woman of color. Patriarchal and colonial society slowed Sharon Lee de la Cruz’s realizations about her sexuality. In I’m a Wild Seed, she deconstructs the journey that led to her discovery and acceptance of her LGBTQ identity as well as her concepts of freedom.
Heavy Vinyl by Carly Usdin and Nina Vakueva
Record shop fight club, anyone? Chris is living the dream working at her favorite record shop with the girl she’s crushing on. But it’s not all jams sessions and band recommendations. The employees of Vinyl Destination are fighting for musical justice as part of the coolest teen girl vigilante fight club around. What could be better than that? But when the gang enters a battle of the bands, they discover that a shadowy corporation is planning to destroy the fledgling world of digital music and blame the whole thing on Y2K — it is almost the turn of the century, after all. Not if Chris and her friends have anything to say about it, though. It’s time to fight for musical justice!
Nimona by Noelle Stevenson
Nimona is a modern classic when it comes to graphic novels, and for good reason. Between its sassy, non-conformist characters, fun artwork, and positive message about doing good in spite of what you’ve been taught to believe, it’s just a darn good read. Shapeshifter Nimona joins up with notorious villain Lord Ballister Blackheart to take on the Institution of Law Enforcement and Heroics and prove they’re not the good guys they claim to be. Easier said than done. Especially when Blackheart’s former rival and current nemesis also happens to be the man who stole his heart years ago.
Goldie Vance by Hope Larson and Brittney Williams
Did someone say kid detective? Goldie Vance lives with her dad at the Florida resort he manages. Her mother works as a mermaid at a club downtown. But Goldie’s dream is to one day become the hotels in-house detective, so she’s always on the case. And when the hotel’s current detective comes across a case he can’t crack, he agrees to mentor Goldie in exchange for her help. Along with the help of her friends and a cute girl she meets in town, she’ll be the best teenage detective around in no time.
Wynd Book One: Flight of the Prince by James Tynion IV and Michael Dialynas
In a world where magical heritage is punishable by death, a young boy with pointy ears must hide his true identity to survive. When his secret is threatened, he sets off on a journey with his best friend, a prince, and the boy of his dreams to stop a royal conspiracy before its too late. But the only way to save the day might be to accept the magic that’s been inside him all along.
Loved these LGBTQ comics for middle graders and looking for even more great LGBTQ reads for kids? Try some of these: