Comics Laureate Recommended: Schools & Libraries


Welcome to The Comics Laureate Recommended Reading List For Schools And Libraries

During my two and a half years as Comics Laureate, the question I’ve been asked more than any other by teachers and librarians wanting to build graphic novel libraries is: “Where do I even start?”

You can start here!

The Comics Laureate Recommended Reading List For Schools And Libraries is aimed squarely at teachers and librarians keen to build a collection of diverse, quality graphic novels for their schools or for the school-aged sections of their public libraries.

Not only can you click on that link to see the graphic novels in all their glory with covers, interior art and our written reviews, but – Important! – you can email for Excel spreadsheets containing titles, creators, ISBNs and prices so that you can share them with others, make your selections, do your sums and order from wherever you like.

Page 45, for example offers schools and all libraries 15% discount and free delivery on orders over £100 – regardless of whether they’ve from these lists. We can also help you make selections from these lists. Simply email to start that conversation – and for all orders.

I have personally read and relished every graphic novel under Very Highly Recommended and Highly Recommended and they have sold in vast quantities right in front of my eyes (as have many in Readers Have Also Enjoyed tab you’ll find on the spreadsheets we’ll send you; I simply haven’t read most of those).


I’ve split the recommendations into approximate age ranges, and those into two main tiers so that teachers and librarians starting from scratch can perhaps concentrate on choosing from Very Highly Recommended before expanding into Highly Recommended – and even Readers Have Also Enjoyed for larger libraries later on.

Manga has simply been split into age ranges.

Maturity and reading ages vary so vastly that very many books in the largest category, Intermediate, will be suitable for many Young Readers (all of the Phoenix Comics collections, like BUNNY VS MONKEY for a start!) and many books in Young Adult would be perfect for Intermediate Readers.

TBH the division of these categories into approximate age ranges has been the most paralyzing part of this process. Please look in Intermediate is what I’m saying! Thanks!

I consider Young Adult to be roughly 13-15, Young Reader to be roughly 2-7, and Intermediate (ages 8-12) to be a far more accurately understood term than ‘Middle Grade’. When we grade something in Britain we assess its quality. ‘Middle Grade’ therefore smacks of mediocrity to me, and since not one of the Intermediate books in Very Highly Recommended is remotely mediocre – they are all fabulous – let’s stop that rot right now. We don’t have to copy everything from America. Please see also: gun ownership, the evangelical right and the printed age ratings on manga books.

Manga Books: Age Ratings & Supply

The largest American publisher of comics from Japan (manga) prints age ratings on the back of their books. You might imagine that helpful. It is not.

These books are printed in America, land of the free where books are banned on a regular basis because the country is in thrall to political opportunists and the evangelical right. To avoid potential litigation the publisher is therefore playing it ultra-safe by rating its graphic novels far more restrictively than necessary.

It’s comedy pirates! Honestly!

I’ve rarely stumbled upon a manga which Viz rates as All Ages apart from POKEMON, and it would be perverse to prevent kids from reading any other manga until they are 13. By the age of 13 too many kids have stopped reading altogether. Instead, they’ve been watching the corresponding animation on TV – from the age of 7.

I work on the frontline of comics – on the actual tills – and I promise you that manga which America rates Older Teen are bought by parents for their younger teenaged children, and series like ONE PIECE which America rates Teen are being bought for their pre-teens and even 7-year-olds. Why not? It’s comedy pirates! I have therefore popped manga which America rates as Older Teen into Young Adult, and manga rated Teen into the combined category of Intermediates & Younger Readers otherwise it – along with your library shelves – would be empty.

Manga series can be long! I’d recommend, therefore, that smaller and start-up libraries begin with the first few in a series to gauge their success locally. You can always expand into subsequent volumes later on, or quietly suggest that readers start to spend their own money on those. The idea, after all, is to encourage every young person to read something, not to encourage a few to read everything!

All the books in the main manga lists are now freely available.

During the Covid pandemic lockdown increased demand for manga coincided with printers’ inability to print fresh copies because the printers were in lockdown too! Supply consequently dried up – and stayed unstable for almost two years – but it has since been restored. Hooray!

There are still a very few manga series, however, which are still difficult to supply on a consistent basis in spite of their continued popularity (including ONE PIECE), so we have only listed those, for now, in the Supply Problematic For Now tab in the spreadsheets we’ll send you. Please email your preferred supplier for up-to-date availability.

Fellow Retailers!

You can use these lists too, and I hope that you do.

As Comics Laureate I completed this project in full, on time, and in August 2023 I handed all the files in to The Lakes International Comic Art Festival which runs the role. They decided, however, that they didn’t have resources to action it.

Page 45 has therefore published it instead, because the demand has been deafening.

I do not consider the list to be Page 45’s proprietary property (although our reviews emphatically are), so if you are a fellow retailer wanting to engage and supply your local schools and libraries, please email and we’ll send you not only the Excel spreadsheets with titles, creators, ISBNs and prices, but all the cover art as well which – thanks to our Jonathan – can be matched to the spreadsheets via the images’ coded titles. This will save you considerable time in fashioning your own web pages or printed lists and you are very, very welcome.

The sole object is to get these brilliant and beautiful graphic novels into the hands of readers who’ll love them!


Stephen L. Holland
Comics Laureate 2021-2023
Patron of the Lakes International Comic Art Festival
Patron of Refuge In Literacy UK
October 2023