Teaching and Library Resources for Comics by Women

March 23, 2017
By
There’s still about a week left in Women’s History Month, but librarians and educators can use our resources all year round! Below, you’ll find 19 comics by women for which we’ve made CBLDF Discussion Guides, Using Graphic Novels in Education columns, or Adding Graphic Novels to Your Collection resources — in some cases all three!

Aya

Aya: Life in Yop City by Marguerite Abouet and Clément Oubrerie

This graphic novel is loosely based on Abouet’s life and centers around 19-year old Aya, her friends, and their families in the Ivory Coast working class suburb of Abidjan in the 1970s.

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Babymouse by Jennifer Holm and Matthew Holm

Babymouse is an award-winning graphic novel series that showcases the trials and tribulations of elementary school students and teachers, as seen through the eyes of Babymouse, as spunky, lovable mouse who wrestles with popularity, quirky lockers, competition — in the school band, school play, math Olympics, and even the best birthday party ever — and more.

bad-girls

Bad Girls: Sirens, Jezebels, Murderesses, Thieves and Other Female Villains by Jane Yolen, Heidi Stemple, and Rebecca Guay

In this 146-page, predominantly text-based book, the mother-daughter team of Yolen and Stemple present a 2- to 5-page (prose) biographical sketch for 26 notoriously “evil” women from biblical times to the present. Following each sketch is a one-page comic drawn by Guay in which the authors discuss the woman profiled.

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Chiggers by Hope Larson

Chiggers takes an honest look at the timeless ritual of summer camp as seen and experienced first-hand by Abby, a young teen attending her last year as a camper at sleep-away camp. It’s a story about friendship, fitting in, love, and loyalty, and it interweaves realities and fantasies of summer life.

drama

Drama by Raina Telgemeier

Drama is a funny feel-good book about navigating the trials and tribulations of middle school. It emphasizes the importance of finding one’s voice as well as the need for teamwork and consideration, and depicts school-girl crushes and travails with humor and sensitivity, relayed through Telgemeier’s engaging text, wonderfully expressive characters, and her colorful and engaging visual montages.

El Deafo

El Deafo by Cece Bell

In this graphic memoir, the first comic to receive a Newbery Honor, Bell discusses with humor and honesty the challenges she faced as young girl after losing her hearing to illness.

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Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic by Alison Bechdel

Fun Home is a graphic novel memoir of the author’s childhood, particularly focused on her relationship with her closeted gay father Bruce. As Alison grows older and realizes that she is a lesbian, she and Bruce are both forced to confront how his repression may have affected her own self-image and the way that she dealt with her sexuality.

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Lily Renée, Escape Artist by Trina Robbins, Anne Timmons, and Mo Oh

This graphic biography covers the teenage years of Lily Renée Wilheim, who later became a comic artist in the United States. At 14 years old, Wilheim fled the Nazi occupation of her native Austria and was separated from her parents, finally reuniting with them two years later in New York.

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Lumberjanes by Noelle Stevenson, Grace Ellis, Shannon Watters, and Brooke Allen

Lumberjanes is an ongoing coming-of-age series about friendship and girl-power in the great outdoors. It is filled with humor and adventure as a lovably quirky diverse group of friends tackle wild, mystical mysteries using anagrams, astronomy, and Fibonacci series strategies, mixed in with brain power and pure brawn.

Ms Marvel

Ms. Marvel: No Normal by G. Willow Wilson and Adrian Alphona

In this Marvel reboot, Kamala Khan, a 16-year-old Muslim girl from Jersey City, New Jersey becomes the new Ms. Marvel. Wilson, Alphona, and the Marvel team create a modern twist offering fun and diversity for tween readers and beyond.

nimona stevenson

Nimona by Noelle Stevenson

Nimona is about a confident, occasionally snarky, and often inspiring shapeshifter named Nimona who ostensibly serves as supervillain Lord Ballister’s sidekick. Readers, however, soon find out that nothing is as it seems–not even our heroine.

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Nothing Can Possibly Go Wrong by Prudence Shen and Faith Erin Hicks

This graphic novel was adapted and drawn by Faith Erin Hicks from the young adult novel Voted Most Likely by Prudence Shen. It’s full of unlikely friendships and nicely nuanced characters who bend and shatter stereotypes and expectations. The book is all about friendships, cooperation, heartbreak, and the myopic pursuit of goals versus creative thinking. Along the way, there are break-ups, disappointments, and lots of fun.

Persepolis

Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood by Marjane Satrapi

Persepolis is the story of Marjane Satrapi’s childhood and coming of age within a loving, educated family that lived in Tehran during the Islamic Revolution and Iran-Iraq War. It is drawn in simple, stark, black and white ink with style, poignancy, and elegant detail as well as occasional flourishes (usually in the dream sequences) traditionally found in Middle Eastern art.

Pretty in Ink

Pretty in Ink: North American Women Cartoonists 1896-2013 by Trina Robbins

Cartoonist and comic historian Robbins presents a history of women cartoonists and of the cartoon and comics industry as a whole. Robbins has researched and relayed the stories behind the women in comics and cartoons, along with some outstanding samples of their work.

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Saga by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples

This sci-fi epic has quickly become one of the most critically acclaimed and celebrated comic series published in recent history. Applauded for its narrative complexity, world building, and characterization, Saga is a pure example of a great sci-fi/fantasy adventure, an instant classic and staple for all comic book collections.

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Smile by Raina Telgemeier

In this autobiographical coming-of-age graphic novel memoir, Raina Telgemeier ruminates with humor and honesty on the tumultuous challenges and perils of her teen years: from the trauma of falling one night on her way home from a Girl Scout meeting severely injuring her front teeth, to dealing with boys, earthquakes and the true meaning of friendship.

stuckinthemiddle

Stuck in the Middle: Seventeen Comics from an UNPLEASANT Age edited by Ariel Schrag

Stuck in the Middle is an anthology of comics by critically acclaimed cartoonists who take a bitingly honest look back at their “awkward” middle-school years, reflecting upon them with sensitivity and some humor.

Squish 3

Squish by Jennifer Holm and Matthew Holm

Squish is a comic book-loving, Twinkie-eating, blubbery, super-swell amoeba “kid” who wrestles with good and evil in life around him and learns about life’s responsibilities. He faces all sorts of challenges with his friends Pod, a nerdy, mooching amoeba who’s always working on some lay-brained science scheme to help him tame his world, and Peggy, a clueless, huge-hearted, super-sweet, happy-go-lucky loving paramecium.

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This One Summer by Jillian Tamaki and Mariko Tamaki

This One Summer is a touching coming-of age story that focuses on Rose and Windy, two long-time friends just entering adolescence. The story focuses on Rose in particular as she navigates her changing relationship with Windy, observes the relationships among local teens, and begins to recognize the strife in her parents’ own relationship.

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