Middle Grade: Graphic Novels

Indigenous creators have been using the graphic novel medium to introduce young people to Indigenous traditional stories with great success. The majority of books found in this list feature characters found in many of our traditional stories.

In addition to being a great medium for telling our traditional stories, graphic novels are also a great way to introduce reluctant readers to books in a form they may find more appealing and accessible. Graphic novels can be used to help struggling readers strengthen their vocabulary, build reading confidence, and develop an appreciation for the art of storytelling.

Book cover of Giju's Gift: Adventures of the Pugulatmu’j

Adventures of the Pugulatmu’j: Giju’s Gift


Brandon Mitchell (Mi’gmaq)


Veronika Barinova and Britt Wilson


When her hair clip disappears, Mali is devastated—it was special, made by her giju’. Her mom thinks she lost it, but Mali knows it was stolen by the pugulatmu’j, the Little People. Soon after, Mali is surprised to meet Puug—and he’s wearing her hair clip. If she helps him find what he needs, she has a chance of getting it back. As they hunt for the objects on Puug’s list, Mali uncovers a lot of unanswered questions along the way. Will she really get her hair clip back? And why is Puug collecting these things anyway?

Book cover of Borders



Thomas King


Natasha Donovan (Métis)


On a trip to visit his older sister, who has moved from the family home on the reserve to Salt Lake City, a young boy and his mother are posed a simple question with a not-so-simple answer. Are you Canadian, the border guards ask, or American? The mother answers: “Blackfoot.” When border guards will not accept their citizenship, mother and son wind up trapped in an all-too-real limbo between nations that do not recognize who they are. This is a graphic novel adaptation based on one of King’s short stories.

Book cover of Rabbit Chase

Rabbit Chase


Elizabeth LaPensee (Anishinaabe/Métis)


K.C. Oster (Ojibwe/Anishinaabe)


Aimée, a non-binary Anishinaabe middle-schooler, is on a class trip to offer gifts to Paayehnsag, the water spirits known to protect the land. While stories are told about the water spirits and the threat of the land being taken over for development, Aimée zones out, distracting themselves from the bullying and isolation they’ve experienced since expressing their non-binary identity. When Aimée accidentally wanders off, they are transported to an alternate dimension populated by traditional Anishinaabe figures. To gain the way back home, Aimée is called on to help Trickster by hunting down dark water spirits with guidance from Paayehnsag. On their journey, Aimée faces off with the land-grabbing Queen and her robotic guards and fights the dark water spirits against increasingly stacked odds.

Book cover of Putuguq and Kublu: Attack of the Amautalik

Putuguq & Kublu and the Attack of the Amautalik


Roselynn Akulukjuk (Inuk) and Danny Christopher


Astrid Arijanto


In each of their adventures, Putuguq and Kublu learn about an element of Inuit mythology from their Elders, sometimes using what they learn to get the best of each other! This time, Putuguq and Kublu are at their grandparents’ house for lunch—caribou stew, Putuguq’s favourite! Putuguq’s worn out (and stinky!) kamiik remind his grandparents of the story of the amautalik and the orphan, a traditional story about a little child who outsmarts an ogress. Grandmother’s storytelling starts Putuguq’s imagination running wild, and after lunch, he and Kublu decide to act out the story they’ve just heard. But, for Putuguq, this is no ordinary play. He is determined to prove his fearlessness to an unsuspecting Kublu … with a little help from his stinky socks!

Book cover of The Woman in the Woods and Other North American Stories

The Woman in the Woods and Other North American Stories


Alina Pete (Cree), Kate Ashwin, and Kel McDonald


Loup Garrou, trickster rabbits, and spirits with names that can’t be spoken—the plains and forests of North America are alive with characters like these, all waiting to meet readers in this collection of folklore, retold in comics.

This fifth volume of the Cautionary Fables & Fairytales anthology series features updated takes on ancient stories from tribes spanning the continent. Featured creators include Jordaan Arledge, Maija Ambrose Plamondon, Milo Applejohn, and more.


These examples showcase how effective the graphic novel medium can be at sharing Indigenous traditional stories. This list of graphic novels provides a sample of engaging stories to captivate the middle grade audience.

A headshot of author and artist Jillian Metchooyeah

About the Author

Jillian Metchooyeah

Jillian Metchooyeah is an Indigenous Canadian author/artist. She is a member of the Dene Tha’ First Nation from northern Alberta, Canada. An avid library lover, she has worked in a library for over half of her life. She currently lives in Red Deer, Alberta with her two cats and hedgehog. She loves birds and all things nature.