April ushered in two important reports on censorship in the past year. The American Library Association released its report on the “Top 10 Challenged Books,” and PEN America released its report “Banned in the USA: Rising School Book Bans Threaten Free Expression and Students’ First Amendment Rights.”
Banned in the USA examines a nine-month selection of book bans from July 1, 2021, through March 31, 2022. The PEN report focuses on books removed, either entirely or while they were under review. The report offers an analysis with plenty of statistics. For those involved or interested in protecting free speech, particularly in our schools and libraries, this report is a must-read.
What Does it Say?
The Policy Problem
The most alarming aspect of the report is how policies were handled. PEN found that 98% of the bans resulted from reviews that deviated from the best practice policies recommended by the National Coalition Against Censorship and the ALA. These policies are in place to ensure a consistent and unbiased review avoiding a single voice having the power to remove books.
The deviations came in several varieties. In some cases, the school or library either had no policy or a weak policy. In other cases, schools had robust policies but decided not to follow them.
Where Are the Challenges Coming From?
Only 4% of the bans came from official community challenges, and 96% came from the school boards or administration. Instead of a challenge arising organically, “locally and spontaneously,” they have been fueled by state-wide and national movements. In the past, whereas a single book may have been challenged by a single parent, the challenges this year came from organized groups and can contain tens to hundreds of challenged titles. This large volume of challenges overwhelms the system and intimidates the administration.
It is more important than ever to stick to robust policies and ensure transparency in the book challenge process with an overwhelmed system. School boards and administration have been initiating challenges more than ever before due to pressure faced at open board meetings. Words like obscene and pornographic are thrown around to incite snap decisions.
Who is Affected?
As in past years, the banning focuses on BIPOC and LGBTQ+ authors, characters and themes, and social justice and sex education. Looking at the numbers by themselves is staggering. The 1,586 bans effectively silence the voices of 1,081 writers and artists. The bans affect access to roughly 2 million students!
The Graphic Novels
CBLDF counted thirty-nine separate graphic novels or books that rely heavily on sequential art. Below is a list of the thirty-nine books. If you read our article “All the Graphic Novels Texas Rep. Matt Krause Doesn’t Want Students to Read” many of these titles will look familiar. With Texas coming in as the state with the most book bans, it is clear that the intimidation tactics and playbooks on banning books are being put to use.
The sequential arts are in a precarious position. The visual nature of comics and graphic novels, which can improve comprehension of complex ideas, makes it even easier to target by taking images out of context or misconstruing them. We have seen cases of graphic adaptations such as The Handmaiden’s Tale, Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery,” and The Diary of Anne Frank become challenged or removed when the prose versions are not. It is important that we are protecting the medium in addition to free speech and ideas.
A Girl on the Shore by Inio Asano
From the Eisner Award-nominated Inio Asano, creator of Solanin and Nijigahara Holograph, comes one of his most challenging works yet; an intense teen romance set in what may at first glance be one of the sleepiest places in Japan.
When Koume and Keisuke’s relationship begins to take shape, it is apparent that they are both searching for something. Maybe Keisuke wants something more than a kiss from the fair Koume. Maybe Koume is looking for someone better than Misaki, the local playboy. But what they find in each other over the course of a summer might be far greater than anything they were expecting.
Their lives are going to change. And this will all transpire before high school exams!
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.
Adding The Handmaiden’s Tale to Your Library or Classroom
Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic by Alison Bechdel
Time Magazine #1 Book of the Year
National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist
Winner of the Stonewall Book Award
Double finalist for the Lambda Book Award
Nominated for the GLAAD Media Award
Alison Bechdel’s groundbreaking, bestselling graphic memoir that charts her fraught relationship with her late father. Distant and exacting, Bruce Bechdel was an English teacher and director of the town funeral home, which Alison and her family referred to as the “Fun Home.” It was not until college that Alison, who had recently come out as a lesbian, discovered that her father was also gay. A few weeks after this revelation, he was dead, leaving a legacy of mystery for his daughter to resolve.
In her hands, personal history becomes a work of amazing subtlety and power, written with controlled force and enlivened with humor, rich literary allusion, and heartbreaking detail.
New Kid and Class Act 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?
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.
Moonstruck Vol. 1: Magic to Brew 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.
A Quick & Easy Guide to Queer & Trans Identities by Mady G and Jules Zuckerberg
A great starting point for anyone curious about queer and trans life, and helpful for those already on their own journeys!
In this quick and easy guide to queer and trans identities, cartoonists Mady G and Jules Zuckerberg guide you through the basics of the LGBT+ world! Covering essential topics like sexuality, gender identity, coming out, and navigating relationships, this guide explains the spectrum of human experience through informative comics, interviews, worksheets, and imaginative examples. A great starting point for anyone curious about queer and trans life, and helpful for those already on their own journeys!
Lighter Than My Shadow by Katie Green
Like most kids, Katie was a picky eater. She’d sit at the table in silent protest, hide uneaten toast in her bedroom, listen to parental threats that she’d have to eat it for breakfast. But in any life, a set of circumstances can collide, and normal behavior can soon shade into something sinister, something deadly.
Lighter Than My Shadow is a hand-drawn story of struggle and recovery, a trip into the black heart of a taboo illness, an exposure of those who are so weak that they prey on the weak, and an inspiration to anybody who believes in the human power to endure and to eventually find happiness.
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.
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.
When Stars Are Scattered by Victoria Jamieson and Omar Mohamed
A National Book Award Finalist, this remarkable graphic novel is about growing up in a refugee camp, as told by a former Somali refugee to the Newbery Honor-winning creator of Roller Girl.
Omar and his younger brother, Hassan, have spent most of their lives in Dadaab, a refugee camp in Kenya. Life is hard there: never enough food, achingly dull, and without access to the medical care Omar knows his nonverbal brother needs. So when Omar has the opportunity to go to school, he knows it might be a chance to change their future . . . but it would also mean leaving his brother, the only family member he has left, every day.
Heartbreak, hope, and gentle humor exist together in this graphic novel about a childhood spent waiting, and a young man who is able to create a sense of family and home in the most difficult of settings. It’s an intimate, important, unforgettable look at the day-to-day life of a refugee, as told to New York Times Bestselling author/artist Victoria Jamieson by Omar Mohamed, the Somali man who lived the story.
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.
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.
CBLDF Statement of Support for Gender Queer: A Memoir
Drawn Together by Minh Lê and Dan Santat
APALA Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature
Named a Best Book of 2018 by the Wall Street Journal, NPR, Smithsonian, Kirkus Reviews, etc.
When a young boy visits his grandfather, their lack of a common language leads to confusion, frustration, and silence. But as they sit down to draw together, something magical happens—with a shared love of art and storytelling, the two form a bond that goes beyond words.
With spare, direct text by Minh Lê and luminous illustrations by Caldecott Medalist Dan Santat, this stirring picture book about reaching across barriers will be cherished for years to come.
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.
Losing the Girl: Book 1 by MariNaomi
Claudia Jones is missing. Her classmates are thinking the worst . . . or at least the weirdest. It couldn’t be an alien abduction, right?
None of Claudia’s classmates at Blithedale High know why she vanished―and they’re dealing with their own issues. Emily’s trying to handle a life-changing surprise. Paula’s hoping to step out of Emily’s shadow. Nigel just wants to meet a girl who will laugh at his jokes. And Brett hardly lets himself get close to anybody.
In Losing the Girl, the first book in the Life on Earth trilogy, Eisner-nominated cartoonist MariNaomi looks at life through the eyes of four suburban teenagers: early romance, fraying friendships, and the traces of a mysterious―maybe otherworldly―disappearance. Different chapters focus on different characters, each with a unique visual approach.
I Am Alfonso Jones by Tony Medina, Stacey Robinson, and John Jennings
YALSA 2018 Top Ten Great Graphic Novels for Teens list
New York Public Library’s list of Best Books for Teens.
Alfonso Jones can’t wait to play the role of Hamlet in his school’s hip-hop rendition of the classic Shakespearean play. He also wants to let his best friend, Danetta, know how he really feels about her. But as he is buying his first suit, an off-duty police officer mistakes a clothes hanger for a gun, and he shoots Alfonso.
When Alfonso wakes up in the afterlife, he’s on a ghost train guided by well-known victims of police shootings, who teach him what he needs to know about this subterranean spiritual world. Meanwhile, Alfonso’s family and friends struggle with their grief and seek justice for Alfonso in the streets. As they confront their new realities, both Alfonso and those he loves realize the work that lies ahead in the fight for justice.
In the first graphic novel for young readers to focus on police brutality and the Black Lives Matter movement, as in Hamlet, the dead shall speak–and the living yield even more surprises.
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.
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?
The Witch Boy by Molly Knox Ostertag
From the illustrator of the web comic Strong Female Protagonist comes a debut middle-grade graphic novel about family, identity, courage—and magic.In thirteen-year-old Aster’s family, all the girls are raised to be witches, while boys grow up to be shapeshifters. Anyone who dares cross those lines is exiled. Unfortunately for Aster, he still hasn’t shifted . . . and he’s still fascinated by witchery, no matter how forbidden it might be.When a mysterious danger threatens the other boys, Aster knows he can help —as a witch. It will take the encouragement of a new friend, the non-magical and non-conforming Charlie, to convince Aster to try practicing his skills. And it will require even more courage to save his family . . . and be truly himself.
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.
Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood by Marjane Satrapi
BEST SELLER • A NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE BOOK •
In powerful black-and-white comic strip images, Satrapi tells the story of her life in Tehran from ages six to fourteen, years that saw the overthrow of the Shah’s regime, the triumph of the Islamic Revolution, and the devastating effects of war with Iraq. The intelligent and outspoken only child of committed Marxists and the great-granddaughter of one of Iran’s last emperors, Marjane bears witness to a childhood uniquely entwined with the history of her country.
Persepolis paints an unforgettable portrait of daily life in Iran and of the bewildering contradictions between home life and public life. Marjane’s child’s-eye view of dethroned emperors, state-sanctioned whippings, and heroes of the revolution allows us to learn as she does the history of this fascinating country and of her own extraordinary family. Intensely personal, profoundly political, and wholly original, Persepolis is at once a story of growing up and a reminder of the human cost of war and political repression. It shows how we carry on, with laughter and tears, in the face of absurdity. And, finally, it introduces us to an irresistible little girl with whom we cannot help but fall in love.
Nelson Beats the Odds and Tameka’s New Dress by Ronnie Sidney II and Traci Van Waggoner
Nelson Beats the Odds
Nelson used to think school was all about playing around and talking with his friends. When Nelson learns that he has been placed in Special Education, he fears being teased. Consequently, he keeps his learning disability and ADHD diagnosis a secret. With the encouragement of his parents and assistance from Mrs. T., his Special Education teacher, Nelson pushes the boundaries and discovers his potential. ”Nelson Beats The Odds” is an inspiring story that celebrates friendship, resilience and empowerment. The striking illustrations give life to ”Nelson Beats The Odds”, while the author’s story is perfect for students diagnosed with learning disabilities or mental health disorders.
Tameka’s New Dress
When you’re the new girl in school it can be a little scary. It’s even tougher when your parents aren’t there to help. Some of the kids might be friendly but what about that mean girl who’s always picking on you? The author brings up the subjects of childhood trauma, parental substance abuse, kinship care and bullying with a gentle touch suitable for even the youngest children. Tameka’s New Dress shines a light on these tough things and lays them out on the table to talk about. He also presents us with a strong girl in Tameka, who not only finds adults who can and do support her, but also finds a way to confront her bullies without becoming a bully herself. Real tips for real life situations are presented here – just what real little children need – a great addition to the library shelves.
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.
Maus 1: A Survivor’s Tale: My Father Bleeds History by Art Spiegelman
PULITZER PRIZE WINNER
A brutally moving work of art—widely hailed as the greatest graphic novel ever written—Maus recounts the chilling experiences of the author’s father during the Holocaust, with Jews drawn as wide-eyed mice and Nazis as menacing cats.
Maus is a haunting tale within a tale, weaving the author’s account of his tortured relationship with his aging father into an astonishing retelling of one of history’s most unspeakable tragedies. It is an unforgettable story of survival and a disarming look at the legacy of trauma.
Deogratias: A Tale of Rwanda by Jean-Philippe Stassen
2000 winner of the Goscinny Prize for Outstanding Graphic Novel Script
This is the harrowing tale of the Tutsi genocide in Rwanda, as seen through the eyes of a boy named Deogratias.
He is an ordinary teenager, in love with a girl named Bénigne, but Deogratias is a Hutu and Bénigne is a Tutsi who dies in the genocide, and Deogratias himself plays a part in her death. As the story circles around but never depicts the terror and brutality of an entire country descending into violence, we watch Deogratias in his pursuit of Bénigne, and we see his grief and descent into madness following her death, as he comes to believe he is a dog.
Told with great artistry and intelligence, this book offers a window into a dark chapter of recent human history and exposes the West’s role in the tragedy. Stassen’s interweaving of the aftermath of the genocide and the events leading up to it heightens the impact of the horror, giving powerful expression to the unspeakable, indescribable experience of ordinary Hutus caught up in the violence. Difficult, beautiful, honest, and heartbreaking, this is a major work by a masterful artist.
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.
They Called Us Enemy by George Takei, Justin Eisinger, Steven Scott, and Harmony Becker
In 1942, at the order of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, every person of Japanese descent on the west coast was rounded up and shipped to one of ten “relocation centers,” hundreds or thousands of miles from home, where they would be held for years under armed guard.
They Called Us Enemy is Takei’s firsthand account of those years behind barbed wire, the joys and terrors of growing up under legalized racism, his mother’s hard choices, his father’s faith in democracy, and the way those experiences planted the seeds for his astonishing future.
What does it mean to be American? Who gets to decide? When the world is against you, what can one person do?
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.
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.
Adding This One Summer to Your Library or Classroom
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!
Adding Drama to Your Library or Classroom
Blankets by Craig Thompson
Craig Thompson’s poignant graphic memoir plays out against the backdrop of a Midwestern winterscape: finely-hewn linework draws together a portrait of small town life, a rigorously fundamentalist Christian childhood, and a lonely, emotionally mixed-up adolescence.
Under an engulfing blanket of snow, Craig and Raina fall in love at winter church camp, revealing to one another their struggles with faith and their dreams of escape. Over time though, their personal demons resurface and their relationship falls apart. It’s a universal story, and Thompson’s vibrant brushstrokes and unique page designs make the familiar heartbreaking all over again.
This groundbreaking graphic novel, winner of two Eisner and three Harvey Awards, is an eloquent portrait of adolescent yearning; first love (and first heartache); faith in crisis; and the process of moving beyond all of that. Beautifully rendered in pen and ink, Thompson has created a love story that lasts.
Check, Please! Book 1: #Hockey by Ngozi Ukazu
Eric Bittle may be a former junior figure skating champion, vlogger extraordinaire, and very talented amateur pâtissier, but being a freshman on the Samwell University hockey team is a whole new challenge. It is nothing like co-ed club hockey back in Georgia! First of all? There’s checking (anything that hinders the player with possession of the puck, ranging from a stick check all the way to a physical sweep). And then, there is Jack―his very attractive but moody captain.
Saga: Volume 1 by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples
Winner of the 2013 Hugo award for Best Graphic Story
When two soldiers from opposite sides of a never-ending galactic war fall in love, they risk everything to bring a fragile new life into a dangerous old universe. From New York Times bestselling writer Brian K. Vaughan (Y: The Last Man, Ex Machina) and critically acclaimed artist Fiona Staples (Mystery Society, North 40), Saga is the sweeping tale of one young family fighting to find their place in the worlds. Fantasy and science fiction are wed like never before in this sexy, subversive drama for adults.
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.
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.
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.
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