Books

9 Comics and Graphic Novels About Finding a Place to Belong

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I’m a huge sucker for books where the central theme is characters learning to accept themselves for who they are and find a place they can belong and truly be themselves. Because let’s face it, such struggles are also rampant in real life and as much as I like reading books to escape from the real world, I do also like to see some real life issues tackled well in books.

Graphic novels and comics hold a special place in my heart, so of course I’m all for graphic novels and comics that have these themes. The gorgeous art helping to better evoke their stories, their joy, sadness, and growth, and it gives you a deeper insight into the world around them.

If you like such books, then you’re in luck. Here’s a list of graphic novels and comic books which feature characters seeking acceptance, both from themselves and others, and looking for a place to belong where they can finally be themselves. These books are from several genres, from contemporary slice of life to fantasy, sci-fi, magical realism, and more.

Some feature characters finding their home and where they belong, while some are about characters realizing that looking for a place to belong might be the issue and they’re allowed to just be themselves, wherever they are.

If you do add these books to your reading list, I hope you enjoy reading them and experience the myriad emotions they invoke!

Himawari House by Harmony Becker

Noa travels back to Japan in the hopes of reconnecting to her roots, and moves into a share house where she meets Hyejung and Tina, two young women who came to Japan for their own reasons. Together they navigate the ups and downs of life in Japan while struggling to find themselves, figure out and pursue their paths while being true to themselves. This heartwarming coming-of-age graphic novel that explores friendship and community in a raw way, and I was left with a bittersweet feeling when I finished reading it.

the city on the other side graphic novel book cover

The City On The Other Side by Mairghread Scott and Robin Robinson

Isabel feels unwanted. She lives in San Francisco with a mother who’s more interested in throwing parties and Isabel being the picture perfect child. When she goes to visit her Dad, she stumbles upon a fairy on an important mission. And just like that, she’s thrust into a war between fairies, on a mission to deliver a magical necklace.

With a new friend and a mushroom faerie, Isabel sets out to fulfill her mission, because for the first time in a while someone needs her help, and she’s not about to let them down.

sheets by Brenna Thummler book cover

Sheets by Brenna Thummler

Marjorie feels overwhelmingly lonely and invisible. She spends most of her days going to school and running her family’s laundromat. Her quiet life is turned upside down when she meets Wendell, a ghost who’s haunting the laundromat. Their meeting sets off a series of events that changes both their lives, in this heartwarming graphic novel about friendship, grief and perseverance. The story is brought to life with gorgeous art and a vibrant color palette.

school for extraterrestrial girls comic book cover

School For Extraterrestrial Girls by Jeremy Whitley and Jamie Noguchi

Tara grew up in a strict household, following all the rules set by her parents. But when she breaks one of the rules, her life is turned upside down. She discovers that she’s actually an alien, and her parents might not be her parents but her kidnappers. As she grapples with these discoveries, she’s taken by the government to a school for girls like her.

With everything she knew about her life turning out to be a lie, Tara struggles to adjust to life in her new school, relate to the other extraterrestrial girls, and control her new powers.

nylon road graphic novel by Parsua Bashi book cover

Nylon Road by Parsua Bashi

Part graphic novel, part memoir, Nylon road explores the life of a young Iranian woman, from growing up under Shiite Law, her abusive marriage, leaving Iran, to her struggles adjusting to life in a new country. In this novel, she’s visited by her younger selves and faces the choices she made, who she was, and how much she’s changed over the years.

anya's ghost graphic novel book cover

Anya’s Ghost by Vera Brosgol

Anya is frustrated with a lot of things: her body, her family, school, her daily life. When things can’t get any worse, she falls into a well and finds a skeleton at the bottom, and now she’s being haunted by a ghost called Emily. It turns out to be not so bad, as having a ghost friend has its perks. But Emily plans on sticking around Anya forever, and that comes with some consequences in this young adult graphic novel with a dark twist.

the prince and the dressmaker book cover

The Prince And The Dressmaker by Jen Wang

Prince Sebastian has a secret: he loves to wear dresses and at night he puts on elaborate gowns and stuns Paris as Lady Crystallia. Frances makes all his dresses and dreams of being a celebrated dressmaker. But she can’t lay a claim to Lady Crystallia’s dresses, because this might reveal Prince Sebastian’s secret. Things get complicated when keeping the secret threatens an amazing opportunity for Frances.

a silent voice book cover

A Silent Voice by Yoshitoki Oima

This follows Shoko, a girl with hearing disabilities who ends up being bullied in school, and Shoya, a boy who bullied her in elementary school. Years later, Shoko and Shoya meet again in different circumstances. Shoya was forced to suffer the consequences of his actions and now struggles to accept himself and associate with others. Shoko still struggles with effects of bullying over the years and fears she’s a burden to others.

A Silent Voice explores bullying, depression, hypocrisy, suicide, the failings of school systems and society in general. It’s a heavy and heart wrenching manga.

tomboy graphic novel book cover

Tomboy by Liz Prince

This graphic novel memoir explores Liz’s early years growing up as a tomboy. She hates doing anything “girly,” and in high school, she struggles to fit in as people tease and bully her for being a tomboy. As she grows, Liz comes to realize that she preferred to do what the boys did because she wanted the independence they have, and she hated the gender expectations placed on women.


If you’re looking for more graphic novels and/or comics, check out these posts:

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