Disney Pixar represents the pinnacle of what can be achieved within modern animation, and its heartwarming tales present often complex ideas in ways that children can embrace and understand. The studio's most recent release, Finding Dory, is a sequel to the smash-hit Finding Nemo, but also so much more than that. Like its predecessor, it's a fun adventure film for the family, but it also tackles the difficult subjects of mental health, disability, and being different.

There’s a great number of children’s comics out there for fans of Finding Dory, and we’ve put together a list of five of the best independent comics for kids of a variety of ages to try out next.

  • Owly

    Andy Runton

    Andy Runton’s Owly series of graphic novels and children’s books are a great first foray into comics for the youngest of readers. Largely textless, Owly and his best friend Wormy go on adventures through the woods and often encounter obstacles in their path, but their persistence and good nature always get them through.

  • Johnny Boo: The Best Little Ghost In The World

    James Kochalka

    Acclaimed cartoonist James Kolchaka’s series of children's books following the adventures of Johnny Boo and his pet ghost Squiggle are great for introducing dialogue and a bit more conflict to slightly older children. The first volume “The Best Little Ghost In The World” sees Johnny and Squiggle encounter The Ice Cream Monster, while later volumes see him discover the importance of healthy eating and exercise, providing important lessons in the form of a cute ghost with a sick quiff.

  • Hilda And The Troll

    Luke Pearson

    Luke Pearson’s series of Hilda books are the perfect stepping stone for children discovering to read on their own, and especially learning how to read comics from panel to panel. Hilda is a young girl living in a mountain home, who goes on adventures with Twig, her deerfox companion. In the first volume, she encounters a rock suspiciously shaped like a troll. Later volumes see her join the scouts, move to a new city, and contend with a village of invisible elves.

  • El Deafo

    Cece Bell

    Heading more towards the realm of Young Adult comics, El Deafo tackles themes of disability from a different angle to Finding Dory. The book is a memoir that chronicles the changes that occur to a young girl’s life when she is required to wear headgear to assist her hearing. While initially upset and isolated by the disability that makes her different, Cece discovers a sense of confidence and self-worth that leads her to become El Deafo, super-listener, who embarks on a quest to find a true friend who will accept her for who she is.

  • Smile

    Raina Telgemeier

    Finally, another book that skews more Young Adult, but is very much recommended reading. Smile is Raina Telgemeier autobiographical account of the accident that shaped her teenage years. When she trips and damages her two front teeth, the next several years of her life are filled with dentist appointments, surgery, and headgear, all while trying to navigate the choppy waters of teen society. There’s something here for everyone who ever felt isolated or different as a teenager, and that goes doubly so for anyone in your life who is currently living through those years.


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