Late last year, Texas State Representative Matt Krause sent a letter to the Texas Education Agency and superintendents across the state; included with the letter was a list of almost 850 books. Krause requested that each district list which of the 850 books they had in their libraries and classrooms and how much money they had spent on them. Krause name-dropped several schools where books were banned, and he said the information collection was for the “welfare and protection of state citizens.” The list is a clear message that those books on that list are next.
Book Riot had an informative article breaking down the types of books targeted. The main categories targeted are books on student rights, race and racism, sex education, and 62% on LGBTQ topics. Going through the list, I noticed one entry that lists; Roe v. Wade — video. One has to assume this means any media that covers the existence of that landmark Supreme Court case.
It is no coincidence you can find many of the books currently challenged in Texas on that list. These challenges create pressure for them to be removed or never purchased. Several books have been in the news frequently (Gender Queer: A Memoir, New Kid). We wanted to highlight a complete list of the graphic novels on the list. Many of the graphic novels are award winners and need as much support to stay in libraries as some of the more frequently challenged and talked about.
The Breakaways by Cathy G. Johnson
Quiet, sensitive Faith starts middle school already worrying about how she will fit in. To her surprise, Amanda, a popular eighth grader, convinces her to join the school soccer team, the Bloodhounds. Having never played soccer in her life, Faith ends up on the C team, a ragtag group that’s way better at drama than at teamwork. Although they are awful at soccer, Faith and her teammates soon form a bond both on and off the soccer field that challenges their notions of loyalty, identity, friendship, and unity.
The Breakaways from Cathy G. Johnson is a raw, and beautifully honest graphic novel that looks into the lives of a diverse and defiantly independent group of kids learning to make room for themselves in the world.
The Bride Was a Boy by Chii
A heartwarming transgender love story, based on true events! A diary comic with an upbeat, adorable flair that tells the charming tale of Chii, a woman assigned male at birth. Her story starts with her childhood and follows the ups and downs of exploring her sexuality, gender, and transition–as well as falling in love with a man who’s head over heels for her. Now, Chii is about to embark on a new adventure: becoming a bride!
Class Act and New Kid by Jerry Craft
Winner of the Newbery Medal
Coretta Scott King Author Award
Kirkus Prize for Young Readers’ Literature!
Seventh grader Jordan Banks loves nothing more than drawing cartoons about his life. But instead of sending him to the art school of his dreams, his parents enroll him in a prestigious private school known for its academics, where Jordan is one of the few kids of color in his entire grade.
Eighth grader Drew Ellis is no stranger to the saying “You have to work twice as hard to be just as good.” His grandmother has reminded him his entire life. But what if he works ten times as hard and still isn’t afforded the same opportunities that his privileged classmates at the Riverdale Academy Day School take for granted?
The Deep & Dark Blue by Niki Smith
After a terrible political coup usurps their noble house, Hawke and Grayson flee to stay alive and assume new identities, Hanna and Grayce. Desperation and chance lead them to the Communion of Blue, an order of magical women who spin the threads of reality to their will.
As the twins learn more about the Communion, and themselves, they begin to hatch a plan to avenge their family and retake their royal home. While Hawke wants to return to his old life, Grayce struggles to keep the threads of her new life from unraveling, and realizes she wants to stay in the one place that will allow her to finally live as a girl.
Drama by Raina Telgemeier
From Raina Telgemeier, the #1 New York Times bestselling, multiple Eisner Award-winning author of Smile and Sisters!
Callie loves theater. And while she would totally try out for her middle school’s production of Moon over Mississippi, she can’t really sing. Instead she’s the set designer for the drama department’s stage crew, and this year she’s determined to create a set worthy of Broadway on a middle-school budget. But how can she, when she doesn’t know much about carpentry, ticket sales are down, and the crew members are having trouble working together? Not to mention the onstage AND offstage drama that occurs once the actors are chosen. And when two cute brothers enter the picture, things get even crazier!
The Fire Never Goes Out: A Memoir in Pictures by Noelle Stevenson
Named one of Bank Street College of Education’s Best Children’s Books of the Year!
In a collection of essays and personal mini-comics that span eight years of her young adult life, author-illustrator Noelle Stevenson charts the highs and lows of being a creative human in the world.
Whether it’s hearing the wrong name called at her art school graduation ceremony or becoming a National Book Award finalist for her debut graphic novel, Nimona, Noelle captures the little and big moments that make up a real life, with a wit, wisdom, and vulnerability that are all her own.
Flamer by Mike Curato
It’s the summer between middle school and high school, and Aiden Navarro is away at camp. Everyone’s going through changes―but for Aiden, the stakes feel higher. As he navigates friendships, deals with bullies, and spends time with Elias (a boy he can’t stop thinking about), he finds himself on a path of self-discovery and acceptance.
Gender Queer: A Memoir by Maia Kobabe
2020 ALA Alex Award Winner
2020 Stonewall — Israel Fishman Non-fiction Award Honor Book
In 2014, Maia Kobabe, who uses e/em/eir pronouns, thought that a comic of reading statistics would be the last autobiographical comic e would ever write. At the time, it was the only thing e felt comfortable with strangers knowing about em. Now, Gender Queer is here. Maia’s intensely cathartic autobiography charts eir journey of self-identity, which includes the mortification and confusion of adolescent crushes, grappling with how to come out to family and society, bonding with friends over erotic gay fanfiction, and facing the trauma and fundamental violation of pap smears.
Started as a way to explain to eir family what it means to be nonbinary and asexual, Gender Queer is more than a personal story: it is a useful and touching guide on gender identity—what it means and how to think about it—for advocates, friends, and humans everywhere.
The Handmaid’s Tale: The Graphic Novel by Margaret Atwood Art & Adaptation by Renee Nault
In Margaret Atwood’s dystopian future, environmental disasters and declining birthrates have led to a Second American Civil War. The result is the rise of the Republic of Gilead, a totalitarian regime that enforces rigid social roles and enslaves the few remaining fertile women. Offred is one of these, a Handmaid bound to produce children for one of Gilead’s commanders. Deprived of her husband, her child, her freedom, and even her own name, Offred clings to her memories and her will to survive.
Provocative, startling, prophetic, The Handmaid’s Tale has long been a global phenomenon. With this beautiful graphic novel adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s modern classic, beautifully realized by artist Renée Nault, the terrifying reality of Gilead has been brought to vivid life like never before.
Identity: A Story of Transitioning by Corey Maison
Identity tells the complex and moving tale of a young person who knows that their true gender is not the one they were assigned at birth. With unconditional love and support from her mother, Corey successfully starts the transition process with hopes of being comfortable in her own skin, being accepted by others, and raising awareness of young people who wish to transition. At 16-years-old, Corey has become a voice for other trans teens, battling bullies and helping others who are on their own individual journeys of identity.
Juliet Takes A Breath by Gabby Rivera and Celia Moscote
Juliet Milagros Palante is leaving the Bronx and headed to Portland, Oregon. She just came out to her family and isn’t sure if her mom will ever speak to her again. But don’t worry, Juliet has something kinda resembling a plan that’ll help her figure out what it means to be Puerto Rican, lesbian and out. See, she’s going to intern with Harlowe Brisbane – her favorite feminist author, someone whose last work on feminism, self-love and lots of other things will help Juliet find her ever elusive epiphany. There’s just one problem—Harlowe’s white, not from the Bronx and doesn’t have the answers. Okay, maybe that’s more than one problem but Juliet never said it was a perfect plan…
Critically-acclaimed writer Gabby Rivera adapts her bestselling novel alongside artist Celia Moscote in an unforgettable queer coming-of-age story exploring race, identity and what it means to be true to your amazing self. Even when the rest of the world doesn’t understand.
Kiss Number 8 by Colleen AF Venable and Ellen T. Crenshaw
A 2019 New York Public Library Best Books for Kids
A 2020 Tayshas Reading List Selection
A 2020 Maverick Graphic Novel Reading List Selection
Mads is pretty happy with her life. She goes to church with her family, and minor league baseball games with her dad. She goofs off with her best friend Cat, and has thus far managed to avoid getting kissed by Adam, the boy next door. It’s everything she hoped high school would be… until all of a sudden, it’s not.
Her dad is hiding something big―so big it could tear her family apart. And that’s just the beginning of her problems: Mads is starting to figure out that she doesn’t want to kiss Adam… because the only person she wants to kiss is Cat.
Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up With Me by Mariko Tamaki and Rosemary Valero-O’Connell
One of FORBES Best Graphic Novels of 2019
On BCCB 2019 Blue Ribbons List
One of NPR’s Best Books of 2019
Booklist 2019 Editors’ Choice
One of Bitch Media’s Best Queer YA Novels of 2019
Laura Dean, the most popular girl in high school, was Frederica Riley’s dream girl: charming, confident, and SO cute. There’s just one problem: Laura Dean is maybe not the greatest girlfriend.
Reeling from her latest break up, Freddy’s best friend, Doodle, introduces her to the Seek-Her, a mysterious medium, who leaves Freddy some cryptic parting words: break up with her. But Laura Dean keeps coming back, and as their relationship spirals further out of her control, Freddy has to wonder if it’s really Laura Dean that’s the problem. Maybe it’s Freddy, who is rapidly losing her friends, including Doodle, who needs her now more than ever.
Fortunately for Freddy, there are new friends, and the insight of advice columnists like Anna Vice to help her through being a teenager in love.
Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery” by Miles Hyman
Winner of the 2017 Solliès Comics Festival’s Best Adult Graphic Novel
Shirley Jackson’s short story “The Lottery” continues to thrill and unsettle readers nearly seven decades after it was first published. By turns puzzling and harrowing, “The Lottery” raises troubling questions about conformity, tradition, and the ritualized violence that may haunt even the most bucolic, peaceful village.
This graphic adaptation by Jackson’s grandson Miles Hyman allows readers to experience “The Lottery” as never before, or to discover it anew. He has crafted an eerie vision of the hamlet where the tale unfolds and the unforgettable ritual its inhabitants set into motion. Hyman’s full-color, meticulously detailed panels create a noirish atmosphere that adds a new dimension of dread to the original story.
The Magic Fish by Trung Le Nguyen
NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR by the New York Public Library • Kirkus Reviews • Booklist • Publishers Weekly
2021 Harvey Award Book of the Year
Tien and his mother may come from different cultures—she’s an immigrant from Vietnam still struggling with English; he’s been raised in America—but through the fairy tales he checks out from the local library, those differences are erased.
But as much as Tien’s mother’s English continues to improve as he reads her tales of love, loss, and travel across distant shores, there’s one conversation that still eludes him—how to come out to her and his father. Is there even a way to explain what he’s going through in Vietnamese? And without a way to reveal his hidden self, how will his parents ever accept him?
Mama’s Boyz: In Living Color! by Jerry Craft
The humorous struggles of Pauline Porter, as she struggles to run the family bookstore. But that’s the easy part. The hard part is trying to raise her two teenage sons, Tyrell and Yusuf. She loves to read– they’d rather play video games. She likes to eat healthy — they’d rather eat junk food. She loves ol’ school music — they listen to hip hop. But it would all be worth it if they ever came to realize that all she wants to do is to keep them happy and safe. Based on the popular Mama’s Boyz syndicated comic strip.
Moonstruck Vol. 1–2 by Grace Ellie, Shae Beagle, and Kate Leth
2019, Texas Library Association’s Maverick Graphic Novel Reading List
Werewolf barista Julie and her new girlfriend go on a date to a close-up magic show, but all heck breaks loose when the magician casts a horrible spell on their friend Chet. Now it’s up to the team of mythical pals to stop the illicit illusionist before it’s too late.
No Girls Allowed: Tales of Daring Women Dressed As Men for Love, Freedom, and Adventure by Susan Hughes and Willow Dawson
A female pharaoh? A woman general in the Kahn’s army? A female Viking raider? No way, you say? Look again. Appearances can be deceiving … Based on legends, poems, letters and first-hand accounts, these seven biographical tales tell of women who disguised themselves as men. From ancient Egypt through the Middle Ages to the 19th century, this historically accurate graphic treatment is perfect to transport readers back to bygone eras. The lives of these daring women were often filled with danger and the fear of discovery. However, for the sake of freedom, ambition, love or adventure, these women risked everything. No Girls Allowed brings a contemporary edge to a part of history largely untold – until now.
Spinning by Tillie Walden
2018 Eisner Award Best Reality-Based Work
A New York City Public Library Notable Best Book for Teens
A Chicago Public Library Best Book of 2017
A 2018 YALSA Great Graphic Novel
A 2017 Booklist Youth Editors’ Choice
For ten years, figure skating was Tillie Walden’s life. She woke before dawn for morning lessons, went straight to group practice after school, and spent weekends competing at ice rinks across the state. Skating was a central piece of her identity, her safe haven from the stress of school, bullies, and family. But as she switched schools, got into art, and fell in love with her first girlfriend, she began to question how the close-minded world of figure skating fit in with the rest of her life, and whether all the work was worth it given the reality: that she, and her friends on the team, were nowhere close to Olympic hopefuls. The more Tillie thought about it, the more Tillie realized she’d outgrown her passion―and she finally needed to find her own voice.
Stage Dreams by Melanie Gillman
In this rollicking queer western adventure, acclaimed cartoonist Melanie Gillman (Stonewall Award Honor Book As the Crow Flies) puts readers in the saddle alongside Flor and Grace, a Latinx outlaw and a trans runaway, as they team up to thwart a Confederate plot in the New Mexico Territory. When Flor―also known as the notorious Ghost Hawk―robs the stagecoach that Grace has used to escape her Georgia home, the first thing on her mind is ransom. But when the two get to talking about Flor’s plan to crash a Confederate gala and steal some crucial documents, Grace convinces Flor to let her join the heist.
This One Summer by Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki
A New York Times bestseller
A 2015 Caldecott Honor Book
A 2015 Michael L. Printz Honor Book
An Eisner Award Winner
Every summer, Rose goes with her mom and dad to a lake house in Awago Beach. It’s their getaway, their refuge. Rosie’s friend Windy is always there, too, like the little sister she never had. But this summer is different. Rose’s mom and dad won’t stop fighting, and when Rose and Windy seek a distraction from the drama, they find themselves with a whole new set of problems. One of the local teens – just a couple of years older than Rose and Windy – is caught up in something bad… Something life threatening.
It’s a summer of secrets, and sorrow, and growing up, and it’s a good thing Rose and Windy have each other.
Tomboy: A Graphic Memoir by Liz Prince
Growing up, Liz Prince wasn’t a girly girl, but she wasn’t exactly one of the guys either (as she learned when her little league baseball coach exiled her to the distant outfield). She was somewhere in between. But with the forces of middle school, high school, parents, friendship, and romance pulling her this way and that, the middle wasn’t an easy place to be.
Tomboy follows award-winning author and artist Liz Prince through her early years and explores―with humor, honesty, and poignancy―what it means to “be a girl.” From staunchly refuting “girliness” to the point of misogyny, to discovering through the punk community that your identity is whatever you make of it, Tomboy offers a sometimes hilarious, sometimes heartbreaking account of self-discovery in modern America.
V For Vendetta by Alan Moore and David Lloyd
In the near future, England has become a corrupt, totalitarian state, opposed only by V, the mystery man wearing a white porcelain mask who intends to free the masses through absurd acts of terrorism.
Wait, What?: A Comic Book Guide to Relationships, Bodies, and Growing Up by Heather Corinna, Isabella Rotman, and Luke Howard
Listed as a 2019 Chicago Public Library Best of the Best book, as one of the Best LGBTQ Graphic Novels of 2019 by The Advocate and a Notable Children’s Book by the The Association for Library Service to Children, a division of the American Library Association!
This extremely modern guide to growing up excels in its field.From Heather Corinna, founder and director of Scarleteen.com, and Isabella Rotman, cartoonist and sex educator, comes a graphic novel guide that covers essential topics for preteens and young teens about their changing bodies and feelings.
Join friends Malia, Rico, Max, Sam and Alexis as they talk about all the weird and exciting parts of growing up! This supportive group of friends are guides for some tricky subjects. Using comics, activities and examples, they give encouragement and context for new and confusing feelings and experiences.
Wandering Son Vol. 1–8 by Takako Shimura
The fifth grade. The threshold to puberty, and the beginning of the end of childhood innocence. Shuichi Nitori and his new friend Yoshino Takatsuki have happy homes, loving families, and are well-liked by their classmates. But they share a secret that further complicates a time of life that is awkward for anyone: Shuichi is a boy who wants to be a girl, and Yoshino is a girl who wants to be a boy. Written and drawn by one of today’s most critically acclaimed creators of manga, Shimura portrays Shuishi and Yoshino’s very private journey with affection, sensitivity, gentle humor, and unmistakable flair and grace. Book One introduces our two protagonists and the friends and family whose lives intersect with their own. Yoshino is rudely reminded of her sex by immature boys whose budding interest in girls takes clumsily cruel forms. Shuichi’s secret is discovered by Saori, a perceptive and eccentric classmate. And it is Saori who suggests that the fifth graders put on a production of The Rose of Versailles for the farewell ceremony for the sixth graders ― with boys playing the roles of women, and girls playing the roles of men.
Y: The Last Man by Brian K. Vaughan, Pia Guerra, and José Marzãn, Jr.
Y: The Last Man, winner of three Eisner Awards and one of the most critically acclaimed, best-selling comic books series of the last decade, is that rare example of a page-turner that is at once humorous, socially relevant and endlessly surprising.
Written by Brian K. Vaughan (Lost, Pride of Baghdad, Ex Machina) and with art by Pia Guerra, this is the saga of Yorick Brown—the only human survivor of a planet-wide plague that instantly kills every mammal possessing a Y chromosome. Accompanied by a mysterious government agent, a brilliant young geneticist and his pet monkey, Ampersand, Yorick travels the world in search of his lost love and the answer to why he’s the last man on earth.
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