As for the reading level, my kid is your average fourth grade reader. He's enthusiastic about reading, and not at all categorized as a 'reluctant' reader. Books litter the floor around his bed as he drifts off to sleep at night. But he's in this transitional space where he certainly has the comprehension level to tackle more advanced middle grade like Harry Potter, but the small font filling ALL THOSE PAGES, with nary an image to break things up, intimidates him (and many readers his age, from what I gather). So we read these types of books together - Harry Potter, The Land of Stories, A Wrinkle in Time, The Chronicles of Narnia, etc. Inevitably, we'll get to an exciting point in the book and he'll finish it on his own, sometimes late into the night. To be honest, I like having the excuse to read to him - and I think he does, too. As I discovered when I read Connecting Boys with Books, I should keep up this practice for as long as possible. It's an invaluable way of building vocabulary, and also spending that one on one time with your kids.
On his own, my son is enjoying a nice little middle ground of books that are still challenging and age-appropriate. Somewhere beyond The Magic Treehouse and Stink/Judy Moody, but not quite ready for an entirely solo read of The Warriors or Percy Jackson. Graphic novels are a great segue, and if they whet you kid's appetite to read, all the better! Here's the evidence in support of letting them READ WHAT THEY WANT. Yes, some of his choices make me roll my eyes (I'd rather he spend less time on Calvin and Hobbes anthologies). However, it all fosters a love of reading.
Now, some of these might not technically fall under 'graphic novel' at the library: they are just heavy on the cartoons like Diary of a Wimpy Kid (another favorite). Hopefully there is something new in the list that the young reader in your life will love - and, as always, give me your recommendations!
My kiddo picked up Dream Jumper: Nightmare Escape at the school book fair and it has a pretty cool premise, with the protagonist having the ability to enter the dreams of his friends and save them from the dream monster.
We've read Neil Gaiman's The Graveyard Book together, but, Fortunately, the Milk is one he read on his own and LOVED. It's crazy silly Gaiman at his finest.
Many kids love the Star Wars: Jedi Academy series as much as my kiddo, and he just finished the latest book in the series. I'd recommend the Strange Case of Origami Yoda as a good step up. It's more challenging material that still has ties to everyone's beloved Star Wars. Plus, each book has fun origami projects!
The Creature from My Closet Series is a fun recent discovery wherein a hybrid creature, emerges from the books in protagonist Rob's closet that he must take care of - the first being a Wonka Frankenstein creature, Potter-Wookie being a favorite.
Lunch Lady series is a little on the easy reading side, but my kid gobbled up these stories of a renegade Lunch Lady engaging with cyborgs, bake sale bandits and mathletes, to name a few.
The Misadventures of Max Crumbly is the Dork Diaries answer for boys. Not that I haven't brought up the latter to my boy for reading, but he demurred. Just as he did for the graphic novels of The The Baby-Sitters Club, even though he loves Raina Telgemeier's memoirs and her latest novel Ghosts. Max went over quite well, and it looks as if there will be more in the works.
Timmy Failure with his domestic polar bear and failure of a detective agency is laugh out loud funny.
My son blew through Secret Coders (and of course wants to code now) after he chose this as one of his books for the Global Reading Challenge.
It's rather serendipitous I pushed this post back to this week, as Modern Mrs. Darcy is devoting a whole week to kid lit with #ReadingForALifetime Twitter chats, an Instagram challenge and DAILY What Should I Read Next podcasts. I highly recommend checking it out if you have young readers in your life, or are a 'young at heart' reader!