The Kids Are All Right

Cozy Graphic Novels, Dragons, And More!

Happy Sunday, kidlit friends! Are your kids participating in any reading challenges this year? Kelly Jensen told me about this cool Smokey Bear Reading Challenge that we’re definitely going to participate in. It asks kids to read about wildfires and the environment and make a pledge to help protect forests against wildfires. If you’re looking for some book ideas, Karina rounded up four last year.

2024 is the tenth year of the Read Harder Challenge! Join us as we make our way through 24 tasks meant to expand our reading horizons and diversify our TBRs. To get book recommendations for each task, sign up for the Read Harder newsletter. We’ll also keep you informed about other cool reading challenges, readathons, and more across the bookish internet. If you become a paid subscriber, you get even more recommendations plus community features, where you can connect with a community of passionate, like-minded readers in a cozy and supportive corner of the internet. Sign up today!

Today I review some of my favorite cozy middle grade graphic novels as well as two great new picture book releases.

Bookish Goods

Book Dragon Stickers by BlueMoonStickers

Book Dragon Stickers by BlueMoonStickers

If you have kids who love dragons, you should check out these cute reading dragon stickers! $5+

New Releases

Cover of Do You Know Them? by Shana Keller, illustrated by Laura Freeman

Do You Know Them? by Shana Keller, illustrated by Laura Freeman

This is a really special historical fiction picture book about a young African American girl, Lettie, who is searching for her lost brothers. She reads the newspaper ads written by other African Americans after the Civil War who are searching for their loved ones, and she saves money to write her own ad. Keller includes real ads that were written by African Americans post-Civil War in search of their loved ones who had been separated due to enslavement and war. It’s essential reading to accompany conversations about post-Civil War history and the personal ramifications of the enslavement of African Americans.

Cover of People Are My Favorite Places by Ani Castillo

People Are My Favorite Places by Ani Castillo

This sweet picture book is a poem about how a young girl realizes during the COVID-19 pandemic that people are her favorite places. Though she misses them, she’s thankful she has ways to connect with them still. COVID-19 is never explicitly mentioned, so children experiencing a move away from loved ones or experiencing a prolonged illness will also appreciate this picture book.

For a more comprehensive list of new releases, check out our New Books newsletter.

Riot Recommendations

In winter, I love to read cozy graphic novels. They’re a great way to resist winter depression. Here are four middle grade cozy graphic novels to read.

Measuring Up cover

Measuring Up by Lily LaMotte, illustrated by Ann Xu

This is the graphic novel that inspired this list! I checked it out from the library after Eileen Gonzalez recommended it in Book Riot’s comic book newsletter, The Stack. I adored it! I could not stop smiling while I read. It’s about 12-year-old Cici, who has just moved from Taiwan to Seattle. She so misses her A-má (grandmother) and their time spent cooking together. She wants A-má to visit for her 70th birthday, but she can’t afford the plane ticket. To earn the money, Cici enters a kid’s cooking contest. LaMotte and Xu have another collaboration coming out in April of this year, Unhappy Camper. I can’t wait to read it!

Cover of Enlighten Me by Minh Lê, illustrated by Chan Chau

Enlighten Me by Minh Lê, illustrated by Chan Chau

This is a sweet and slim yet powerful graphic novel about a boy, Bình, who is being bullied at school because of his Vietnamese heritage. He fights back but then gets into trouble with the school. Immediately after, his parents take him and his sister on a silent Buddhist retreat that is supposed to help with meditation. Bình’s swirling thoughts and worries initially prevent him from meditating, but a nun’s stories about Siddhartha and Buddha’s past lives inspire him. I actually recommended this to my therapist recently, ha!

the tea dragon society cover

The Tea Dragon Society by K. O’Neill

This is the first book I think of whenever anyone says the word “cozy.” It’s an absolutely adorable and quiet fantasy series about Greta, a blacksmith’s apprentice, learning more about tea dragons as she befriends the shy Minette. Kay O’Neill is a great read in general for cozy middle grade graphic novels.

the cover of Garlic and the Vampire, showing a garlic-headed youth walks through a scary woodland

Garlic and the Vampire by Bree Paulsen

I haven’t read the Garlic graphic novels yet (there are two), but they are number one on my TBR. When the hesitant Garlic hears about a vampire who has moved into the forest surrounding her vegetable village, she knows she needs to protect her veg friends. But can she find the courage? The illustrations look so cute and charming!

I’ve had two pieces published in School Library Journal recently that I wanted to share. In a piece about the Schneider Family Book Award celebrating its 20th anniversary, I interviewed Dr. Schneider and many winning authors. It’s one of the few awards for disability representation, and it was an honor to write the piece.

I also wrote about the essential role sensitivity readers play in children’s publishing. I sometimes work as a sensitivity reader, and I’m happy I had a chance to explore what sensitivity readers do. I see a lot of misconceptions in the media!

If you’d like to read more of my kidlit reviews, I’m on Instagram @BabyLibrarians, Twitter @AReaderlyMom, Bluesky, and blog irregularly at Baby Librarians. You can also read my Book Riot posts. If you’d like to drop me a line, my email is

All the best,

Margaret Kingsbury