Reading List

One of the beautiful things about comics is the fact that they use both visual images and the written word, somewhere between a movie and a book that still allows for some serious creativity on the parts of the creators as well as the audience.

Here is a list of comics and graphic novels that tell the stories of extraordinary people dealing with very human obstacles such as substance abuse, familial abandonment, cultural conflicts, and the trials of everyday life.  Because graphic novels do address such a wide range of topics in different ways, we have provided a suggested age group and brief description for each text, not just for kids but also adults.  However, please read at your own discretion; the LHI does not take responsibility for others’ reading choices.

This is a continuous work in progress, so make sure to check back every so often!


Captain Marvel: In Pursuit of Flight


Age Group: 12+
Themes: self-discovery, woman-to-woman mentorship

Carol “Captain Marvel” Danvers, Air Force veteran and prominent Avenger, has taken on a new name and a new costume as she explores her past and present to take control of her future.


Hawkeye: My Life as a Weapon


Age Group: 15+
Themes: ordinary life, friendship, self-discovery

Clint “Hawkeye” Barton is an ordinary dude with extraordinary talents trying to navigate ordinary life with plenty of coffee, sarcasm, and everyday mistakes.


Iron Man: Demon in a Bottle


Age Group: 16+
Themes: alcoholism, depression, suicidal ideation

Tony Stark has had an unhealthy, complicated relationship with alcohol since he was six years old and his father first pushed a glass of whiskey into his small hands.  The strain of being a superhero as well as the head of an international corporation pushes him to rock-bottom and he has to find the strength to take back control of his life.


Iron Man: Industrial Revolution


Age Group: 15+
Themes: homelessness, alcoholism, mental illness

After losing everything to his alcoholism and now living penniless on the streets, Tony Stark meets a mentally ill yet brilliant man and his sister.  Between the three of them they find a way to inspire the residents of the run-down, disenfranchised, forgotten neighborhood into coming together and taking control of their future.


Ms. Marvel: No Normal


Age Group: 12+
Themes: coming of age, Islam, race/ethnicity, cultural differences

Kamala Khan is a sixteen-year-old Pakistani-American who loves video games and comics living in Jersey City, where the color of her skin and her family’s culture is a source of pity and ridicule.  This is a coming-of-age story about finding one’s personal identity while also figuring out all these strange new powers.




Age Group: 16+
Themes: coming of age, religion, cultural differences, national revolution, civil war

Persepolis is the autobiographical story of a woman who grew up in Iran during the Islamic revolution.


Runaways: Pride & Joy


Age Group: 12+
Themes: familial neglect/endangerment, homelessness, emancipation of minors, coming of age, LGBTQA+

A group of kids and adolescents struggle to find their place in the world when their parents have very strict ideas of who they should be.


Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man


Age Group: 8+
Themes: coming of age, self-discovery, race

In this reimagining of the original Spider-Man, Miles Morales is a 13-year-old half-black, half-Latino kid who has taken on the name and role of a well-loved, and very much white, superhero.  He explores responsibility, morality, and his sense of identity.


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