6 Diverse Graphic Novels You Can Read Now!

Whether you’re looking for a quick read or just want to find more diverse books, these six graphic novels are sure to be perfect for your trip to the pool!

Comics & Graphic Novels Diversity Graphic Novels Pop Culture Recommendations
Multi-colored hands made of tissue paper overlap to form a heart.

As summer comes upon us, readers are looking for the perfect book to take with them to the pool, beach, or on family road trip. With so many to choose from, it can be hard to narrow down your list to just a few. Some readers may even prefer to take shorter reads with them to accommodate their busy vacation schedules. What better genre than that of the graphic novel!

These beautifully illustrated, short yet powerful books give readers everything they could want in a book, just shorter! As we celebrate AAPI Heritage Month and prepare for Pride Month, we’ve assembled six incredibly diverse graphic novels that offer readers glimpses into the lives of those from diverse cultural backgrounds!

In Limbo by Deb Jj Lee

Trigger Warning: This book contains mentions of attempted suicide. Please exercise personal care when reading.

A side view of a young girl with her head peeking through colorful water. A red circle full of white and orange clouds

Ever since Deborah (Jung-Jin) moved to the US from South Korea, she could feel her otherness. Her English wasn’t perfect, teachers couldn’t produce her name, and her face made her feel wrong. As pressures from high school and fights with her mom escalate, Deb finds her mental health plummeting, resulting in an attempted suicide. But as she heals, Deb turns to art and self-care to guide her into a deeper understanding of her heritage and herself.

The Baker and the Bard by Fern Haught

A figure in a blue tunic and red pants has a basket of baked goods to their right as a blue figure plays a flute as butterflies buzz around them.

Juniper and Hadley have a good thing in Larkspur, spending their days apprenticing at a bakery and performing at the local inn.

But when a stranger makes an unusual order at the bakery, requiring a rare mushroom, Juniper and Hadley set out on a journey to find them. Along the way, they stumble upon a peculiar mystery. Something is emerging from the woods to eat the local farmers’ crops, leaving a glowing goo trail behind. Intent on finding the culprit, adventurous Hadley tows Juniper into the woods. What started as a simple foraging trip soon turns into a quest to save some furry friends and their caretaker in danger of losing their home.

The Magic Fish by Trung Le Nguyen

A boy in a brown jacket and brown pants holds open a brown book against a green background of a princess fish figure.

Tien’s parents may be Vietnamese immigrants and he may be a first generation Vietnamese American, but they still connect through reading fairytales. While their English improves daily, Tien can’t find the right words to tell them that he’s gay. Is there a way to explain what he’s feeling in Vietnamese? And how can his parents accept him if he can’t reveal his hidden self?

Measuring Up by Lily Lamotte and Ann Xu

A girl in a red shirt and white apron holds up a measuring cup full of stock as two pans boil in front of her.

Recently uprooted from Taiwan to Seattle, twelve-year-old Cici wants nothing more — besides fitting into her new school — than to celebrate her grandma’s 70th birthday with her.

Since she can’t go to her, Cici comes up with a plan to bring A-má to her by winning the grand prize in a kid’s cooking contest to pay for her plane ticket! Even though Cici only knows how to make Taiwanese food, she’s determined to channel her inner Julia Child to find a winning recipe, reunite with A-má, and maybe find a way to fit in with her friends and find herself too.

Call Me Iggy by Jorge Aguirre and Rafael Rosado

A boy in a red hoodie holds his head as he looks to his left at a girl in an orange button up shirt as she looks to her left. A silhouetted figure of a man in Columbian dress smiles at the viewer from the background.

After Ignacio (Iggy) bumps into Marisol at school, his world spins. As he tries to get her to like him, Marisol is much too bothered with school, work, and getting her legal papers to pay Iggy any attention. Fortunately, Iggy’s Abuelito is there to give him helpful advice. The thing is, his grandfather’s dead, and his ghost gives the worst advice. With his Abuelito’s spirit following him around, Iggy’s life unravels as he sets out on a journey of self-discovery to his learn about his Columbian heritage amidst the turmoil of the 2016 election.

Cute Mutants Vol 1: Mutant Pride by S.J. Whitby

Trigger Warning: This book contains mentions of misgendering, sexual assault, homophobia, transphobia, non-explicit rape threats, violence, gore, mutilation, and self-harm (as a way to use superpowers). Please exercise personal care when reading.

A figure in a mask, black hoodie, torn jeans and green converse stands with a bat over their shoulder stares at the viewed as objects and smoke surround them.

My name is Dylan Taylor, a human incarnation of the burning dumpster gif, and this is my life.

Dylan’s always dreamed of being an X-Men, but she and people have never gotten along. Cue one hot make-out session at a party with the hostess, and she can suddenly talk to objects. Now, there’s an entire group of people with strange abilities who are suddenly brought together to stop a mysterious mutant that’s causing unnatural disasters. But trying to make a difference makes things blow up in Dylan’s face, and the team is falling apart. Can Dylan bring them back together to stop the villain?

While graphic novels can be subjected to detestable comments and are often considered children’s books due to the inclusion of drawn and colored images, these illustrations allow readers to see characters as the authors envisioned them and break stereotypes around certain cultures. It also allows readers from different backgrounds to see themselves visualized in an accurate and respectful manner, letting them know that their stories and cultures are just as important.

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