This list will be continually re-assessed as new books come out and possibly take older contenders out of the picture. The current list was done in July of 2020. I wasn’t able to find any Canadian kids/teen manga creators, but if you know of any, please let me know in the comments!
Here they are, in alphabetical order by title:
Younger Readers (Ages 8+)
by Svetlana Chmakova
I love all of Chmakova’s books about life in middle school, but Awkward remains my fave!
Cardinal rule #1 for surviving school: Don’t get noticed by the mean kids.
Cardinal rule #2 for surviving school: Seek out groups with similar interests and join them.
On her first day at her new school, Penelope–Peppi–Torres reminds herself of these basics. But when she trips into a quiet boy in the hall, Jaime Thompson, she’s already broken the first rule, and the mean kids start calling her the “nerder girlfriend.” How does she handle this crisis? By shoving poor Jaime and running away. Peppi soon realizes that sometimes you have to break the rules to survive middle school!
by Tayson Martindale
On a crisp autumn morning, beneath a pile of fallen leaves, a strange creature made of cereal boxes and paper rolls awakens. He doesn’t know where he is or why he is, only that he must make his way home.
But the road back is filled with dangers, surprises, and a dark secret that could change the world.
Box Boy is a comic about friendship, journey, the pursuit of purpose, and the adventures that happen along the way.
Delilah Dirk and the Turkish Lieutenant
by Tony Cliff
This Indiana Jones-esque high-flying adventure makes me super happy! It’s the first in a trilogy.
Lovable ne’er-do-well Delilah Dirk is an adventurer for the 19th century. She has traveled to Japan, Indonesia, France, and even the New World. Using the skills she’s picked up on the way, Delilah’s adventures continue as she plots to rob a rich and corrupt Sultan in Constantinople. With the aid of her flying boat and her newfound friend, Selim, she evades the Sultan’s guards, leaves angry pirates in the dust, and fights her way through the countryside. For Delilah, one adventure leads to the next in this thrilling and funny installment in her exciting life.
The Mighty Zodiac: Starfall (Vol. 1)
by J. Torres (the Canuck), Corin Howell, Maarta Laiho
Who doesn’t love animal martial artists?!
One dark and quiet night in Gaya, six stars fall from the sky. Master Long, the ailing leader of the Mighty Zodiac, sends his warriors out to collect the stars before the Moon Rabbit Army can get their paws on them first. If the Rabbits get the stars, the balance of nature—and the fate of all of Gaya—will be in danger. But Long’s plans to use the stars to “cure” his illness may be just as dangerous—and bring an end to the Mighty Zodiac itself.
The Nameless City
by Faith Erin Hicks
Part 1 of a trilogy.
Every nation that invades the City gives it a new name. But before long, new invaders arrive and the City changes hands once again. The natives don’t let themselves get caught up in the unending wars. To them, their home is the Nameless City, and those who try to name it are forever outsiders.
Kaidu is one such outsider. He’s a Dao born and bred–a member of the latest occupying nation. Rat is a native of the Nameless City. At first, she hates Kai for everything he stands for, but his love of his new home may be the one thing that can bring these two unlikely friends together. Let’s hope so, because the fate of the Nameless City rests in their hands
Older Readers (Ages 12+)
Scott Pilgrim’s Precious Little Life (Vol. 1)
by Bryan Lee O’Malley
For older teens.
Scott Pilgrim’s life is totally sweet. He’s 23 years old, he’s in a rock band, he’s “between jobs,” and he’s dating a cute high school girl. Nothing could possibly go wrong, unless a seriously mind-blowing, dangerously fashionable, rollerblading delivery girl named Ramona Flowers starts cruising through his dreams and sailing by him at parties. Will Scott’s awesome life get turned upside-down? Will he have to face Ramona’s seven evil ex-boyfriends in battle? The short answer is yes. The long answer is Scott Pilgrim, Volume 1: Scott Pilgrim’s Precious Little Life.
Supergirl: Being Super
by Mariko Tamaki (the Canuck) and Joelle Jones
She’s super-strong. She can fly. She crash-landed on Earth in a rocket ship. But for Kara Danvers, winning the next track meet, celebrating her 16th birthday and surviving her latest mega-zit are her top concerns. And with the help of her best friends and her kinda-infuriating-but-totally-loving adoptive parents, she just might be able to put her troubling glimpses of another world-behind her. Until an earthquake shatters her small town of Midvale…and uncovers secrets about her past she thought would always stay buried.
Supermutant Magic Academy
by Jillian Tamaki
For Older Teens
SuperMutant Magic Academy is a prep-school for mutants and witches but their paranormal abilities take a back seat to everyday teen concerns. Science experiments go awry, bake sales are upstaged, and the new kid at school is a cat who will determine the course of human destiny. In one strip, lizard-headed Trixie frets about her nonexistent modeling career; in another, the immortal Everlasting Boy tries to escape this mortal coil to no avail. Throughout it all, closeted Marsha obsesses about her unrequited crush, the cat-eared Wendy
Through the Woods
by Emily Carroll
Journey through the woods in this sinister, compellingly spooky collection that features four brand-new stories and one phenomenally popular tale in print for the first time. These are fairy tales gone seriously wrong, where you can travel to “Our Neighbor’s House”—though coming back might be a problem. Or find yourself a young bride in a house that holds a terrible secret in “A Lady’s Hands Are Cold.” You might try to figure out what is haunting “My Friend Janna,” or discover that your brother’s fiancée may not be what she seems in “The Nesting Place.”
The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl: Squirrel Power (Vol. 1)
by Ryan North (the Canuck) and Erica Henderson
Wolverine, Deadpool, Doctor Doom, Thanos: There’s one hero that’s beaten them all-and now she’s got her own ongoing series! (Not that she’s bragging.) That’s right, you asked for it, you got it, it’s SQUIRREL GIRL! (She’s also starting college this semester.) It’s the start of a brand-new set of adventures starring the nuttiest and most upbeat super hero in the world!