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Top 10 Circulated Graphic Novels of 2016

Top 10 Graphic Novels

When random jugs of Sunny D and begin to appear in the teacher’s lounge (leftover from one classroom celebration or another)…

Sunny D

…you know the end of the school year is near.

As the sun slowly sets on the 2015-16 campaign, I like to gaze off into the distance with a pile of circ stat printouts, absentmindedly munching a Hydrox cookie (another teacher’s lounge leftover)…


…contemplating the books that were checked out the most. Right now? Graphic Novels. Next? Who knows.

TOON Treasury

10. The TOON Treasury of Classic Children’s Comics edited by Art Spiegelman and Françoise Mouly

When I saw this book made the list again, I was a pleased librarian. I love this book. Kids love the contents of this book. Kids love the largeness of this book. I love that kids love this book (in whichever way they choose).

Escape from Lucien

9. Escape from Lucien (Amulet, Book Six) by Kazu Kibuishi

Yessiree, Amulet is on this list. I would have been shocked if it wasn’t.

El Deafo

8. El Deafo by Cece Bell

I have this board in the library where I put up pictures of books I love in our library (note to self: put up a board of books I hate in our library. I’m joking, but there is actually a good chunk of readers (the contrarians) who would probably snatch up the books on my Do Not Read Board). Where was I? Yes, books I love. El Deafo is on my books I love board. I’d like to say this contributed to the high circs, but I’m kidding myself – it was something way more powerful – reader word of mouth.


7. Sunny Side Up by Jennifer L. Holm, illustrated by Matthew Holm

This book holds a special place for me after deep-diving into it for Season 1 of The Yarn. It’s been great to see the love it’s been getting from students.

Night of the Living Dust Bunnies

6. Stone Rabbit #6: Night of the Living Dust Bunnies by Erik Craddock

A Stone Rabbit book snuck into the #1 slot last year, and I promised myself I would not be surprised again! Promise kept – this book in this place makes perfect sense. The Stone Rabbit series continues to be a circ monster in our library.


5. Treaties, Trenches, Mud, and Blood: A World War I Tale (Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales) by Nathan Hale

Ah-ha! One of the few books on last year’s list that’s on here again. It must have something to do with the fact that these books are completely awesome.

Hilo 1

4. Hilo Book 1: The Boy Who Crashed to Earth by Judd Winick

Okay – since Judd Winick isn’t reading this, I want to tell you something: I was a Real World San Francisco fanatic. I watched religiously. When Puck got kicked out – dang. I rewatched that episode at least six times. I even bought Mohammed Bilal’s album, for god sakes. I was a fan. And when Judd Winick was on the show, and he was a struggling cartoonist trying to get his strip picked up, I was rooting for him. And then he goes and makes this book – this great book – and I get to share it with students. I like that.


3. Sidekicks by Dan Santat

A dramatic return to the list! (Although, honestly, I think the only reason it fell off last year is because the copy we had fell apart and it lost valuable circ time as a new copy arrived).


2. Sisters by Raina Telgemeier

Were’ getting close to the end of the road, so you guessed it…


1. Smile by Raina Telgemeier

My Top 10 Most Circulated Graphic Novels list has ended up looking a bit like the New York Times Bestseller List – with books by Raina Telgemeier taking over.

More Top 10 coming soon.

About Travis Jonker

Travis Jonker is an elementary school librarian in Michigan. He writes reviews (and the occasional article or two) for School Library Journal and is a member of the 2014 Caldecott committee. You can email Travis at scopenotes@gmail.com, or follow him on Twitter: @100scopenotes.


  1. OF COURSE I read this! And YOU –TRAVIS– ARE AWESOME!!

  2. Eric Carpenter says

    Here’s mine:

    3 Way tie for 10th – Babymouse: A Very Babymouse Christmas, Squish: Brave New Pond, and Squish: Captain Disaster
    9th – The Return of Zita the Spacegirl
    8th – Sunny Side Up
    7th – Ariol: Bizzbilla Hists the Bullseye
    6th – Squish: Game On!
    5th – Legends of Zita the Spacegirl
    4th – Comics Squad: Recess!
    3rd – Squish: Fear the Amoeba
    2nd – Tiny Titans: Report Card Pickup!
    1st – Babymouse: Our Hero

  3. Jen Daly says

    Judd was AWESOME on Real World SF – most especially because he was such a wonderful friend to Pedro! And – Judd’s brother Orrin was on the telly in Fresno, doing the local news. The Winicks were rock stars in my book! Can’t wait to add this book to my library collection with my fall purchases!

  4. Raina is dominating the world.

  5. Sisters #1
    LEGO Ninjago Book 3 #2
    Smile #3
    El Deafo #4
    Action Bible illus. by Sergio Cariello #5 (we’re a Roman Catholic school)
    Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales: Big Bad Ironclad #6
    Babymouse: Dragonslayer #7
    Amulet Book 6 #8
    Legend of Zita the Spacegirl #9
    The Truth About Stacy (Baby-Sitters Club B&W ed.) #10

    And there were dozens of gns that had at least 9 circs for the year – the top 10 titles had 10 or more. My school has 161 students in PreK-gr. 8, only 136 of whom borrow books.

  6. Are these the top circulating graphic novels in your library, or from an overall circulation across multiple systems/schools?

  7. Our top gns are all 20 circs. And the majority of our top 50 of any format were gns. I’ll have to run a report on the format to give you exacts, but the Holms are well represented. And Hale. And Raina of course.