Today it’s time for one last Hub Reading Challenge Check-In before the challenge comes to a close.
How is everyone doing in the final days of Challenge reading? This year, as always, there a lot of great options eligible for the Challenge. As a big fan of graphic novels and illustrated works more generally, one thing I really appreciate is that there are so many of these that are part of the Challenge and that they appear across so many awards and lists (plus they are a good option if you are looking for some quicker reads in the last couple of days).
This year’s Challenge includes something for absolutely everyone, from a picture book biography entitled Ada Lovelace, Poet of Science: The First Computer Programmer by Diane Stanley and Jessie Hartland to the full-cast audio adaptation of Nimona. The diverse set of illustrated works (or graphic novel adaptations in the case of the Nimona audiobook) shows the broad appeal of these works, but I do have my own personal preferences.
As a fan of graphic memoirs and autobiographies, I’m excited to see a classic like Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood on the Popular Paperbacks list. This book not only tells the story of Satrapi’s life, but also gives readers a glimpse of life in Iran during the Islamic Revolution, a time period that many teens may know little about. Though it focuses on a very different historical time and place, March: Book 3 by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell similarly brings alive a significant period, the Civil Rights Movement in the U.S. It is a powerful story and a very worthy addition to the March series, so it is no surprise that it is on the Great Graphic Novels list and also won the Excellence in Nonfiction, Printz and Coretta Scott King Book Awards. If you haven’t yet had an opportunity to read March, I highly recommend moving it up on your list!
Though also a graphic autobiography, Becoming Unbecoming by Una (a pseudonym) offers a very different but equally engrossing reading experience. This book, set in 1977 in the north of England, combines artwork, photo-based illustrations, and press clippings to create an intense reading experience about sexual violence. Set at a time when a serial killer was murdering prostitutes, the book touches on these events, but also on the violence and bullying that Una experiences at school.
The Challenge has also offered an opportunity to read some great and diverse fiction. Black Panther: A Nation Under Our Feet by Ta-Nehisi Coates and Brian Stelfreeze is both a great superhero story and a perfect introduction to the character for any patrons who are intrigued after Black Panther’s appearance in Captain America: Civil War. From the world of manga, this year’s Great Graphic Novels also included Orange: The Complete Collection 1 by Ichigo Takano, which is a very engaging science fiction romance that touches on questions of time and changing the future. Though this one makes for a very different read than Black Panther, it is also a fun read and a great book to recommend to manga lovers. The final book on my list, Romeo and/or Juliet: A Choosable-Path Adventure by Ryan North, might not be fully illustrated, but it does have enough artwork to make it interesting to graphic novel fans. It also has a great deal of humor and a very unique take on the classic story of star-crossed lovers. Reading (or in some cases re-reading) these books has reminded me of how broad and wonderful the world of illustrated books is. There truly is something out there for everyone!
Let us know how you are doing with the Challenge in the comments below, and don’t forget about the sortable spreadsheet! Here are the guidelines in case you don’t remember:
- Format matters: a title that has been recognized for both the print version and the audiobook version can be both read and listened to and count as two books, but a book that has won multiple awards or appears on multiple lists in the same format only counts as one title.
- Books must be read/listened to (both begun and finished) since the award winners and selected lists have been released and finished before 11:59pm EST on June 22. If you’ve already read/listened to a title, you must re-read/listen to it for it to count.
- Anyone can participate, and just about everyone who doesn’t work for ALA is eligible to win our prize for Challenge finishers. Non-ALA/YALSA members are eligible. Teens are eligible. Non-US residents/citizens are eligible. (More eligibility questions? Leave a comment or email us.)
- Once you finish the challenge, we’ll contact you with details about creating and publishing your response.
- If you have finished the challenge, let us know here! The grand prize winner will be selected by 11:59pm EST on June 23. The winner will be notified via email.
– Carli Spina, currently reading A Mango-Shaped Space by Wendy Mass.
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