Click here to see all of the current Great Graphic Novels nominees along with more information about the list and past years’ selections.
Banned Book Club by Kim Hyun Sook, Ryan Estrada, and Ko Hyung-Ju
Iron Circus Comics
Publication Date: April 21, 2020
Kim Hyun Sook is just starting college in 1983 during civil protests in South Korea, where the government is controlling what their citizens have access to and learn. Though she just goes to college to learn and earn a degree, Hyun Sook accidentally joins a Banned Book Club. Here, she quickly realizes there is a difference between what she wants to learn, what the government wants her to learn, and what she’s willing to do to make sure she learns what’s really important.
Though Hyun Sook is a college student, there is so much teen appeal that it’s dripping off of every page. With insight into a little-known conflict, readers dive into not-so-distant South Korea and see that rights and progress shouldn’t be taken for granted. Everyone loves a good dystopian novel with a citizen uprising, but this time the dystopia is real and the revolution is even more terrifying!
Fans of They Called Us Enemy by George Takei, Internment by Samira Ahmed, and the March Trilogy by John Lewis will rise up with this compelling graphic novel.
The Deep & Dark Blue by Niki Smith
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers / Hatchette
Publication Date: January 7, 2020
Twin brothers Hawke and Grayson of the Noble House of Sunderlay have few worries. Their cousin Reyden is expected to be crowned the new ruler as passed down by their grandfather. However, on the night of the feast their cousin Mirelle stages a coup that kills their grandfather. Mirelle then takes the kingdom as her own. Knowing they are in mortal danger, Hawke and Grayson decide to hide in a place Mirelle’s guards would never think to look, inside the all-female group of initiates to the Communion of Blue. Under new identities, Hanna (Hawke) trains with the guard to fight, while Grayce (Grayson) becomes a weaver and learns the power and magic of weaving. While they try to come up with an idea to save their kingdom, Grayce decides that she feels truly herself for the first time. But will Hawke and everyone else understand her?
This is a beautiful tale of twinship, adventure, intrigue, action, and love. The coloring is deep, dark, and daring and as vibrant as the artwork. This story tells the tale of growing into the person you want to be, even if that happens to be someone different from your family’s (especially twin’s) expectations.
Readers that are looking for more graphic novel titles that express gender nonconformity should try The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang and The Witch Boy series by Molly Ostertag. Readers looking for more graphic novel titles with magic should check out The Okay Witch by Emma Steinkellner, Witchy by Ariel Slamet Ries, and Grimoire Noir by Vera Greentea.