Great Graphic Novels (#GGN2022) Featured Review of The Black Panther Party by David F. Walker & Marcus Kwame Anderson

Cover Art

The Black Panther Party: A Graphic Novel History by David F. Walker and Marcus Kwame Anderson
Ten Speed Press / Penguin Random House
Publication Date: January 19, 2021
ISBN: 9781984857705

The Black Panther Party documents the rise of the revolutionary party from its inception in 1966 Oakland, California, to its dissolution in the 1980s. Key figures like Huey P. Newton, Bobby Seale, Eldridge and Kathleen Cleaver, Tarika Lewis, and Elaine Brown are introduced and highlighted, as well as the Party’s still-relevant Ten Point Program and the lethal influence of the FBI’s illegal counterintelligence program, COINTELPRO. 

Continue reading Great Graphic Novels (#GGN2022) Featured Review of The Black Panther Party by David F. Walker & Marcus Kwame Anderson

Great Graphic Novels (#GGN2022) Featured Review of Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen by Matt Fraction & Steve Lieber

The Selected Lists teams read throughout the year in search of the best titles published in their respective categories. Once a book is suggested (either internally or through the field nomination form), it must pass through a review process to be designated an official nomination. 

Each week, the teams will feature a review of one of the officially nominated titles. Additional titles to receive this designation will be listed as well. At year’s end, the team will use that list of nominated titles to select a final list and Top Ten. The previous years’ lists are also made available on The Hub.


Cover Art

Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen: Who Killed Jimmy Olsen? by Matt Fraction and Steve Lieber 
DC Comics
Publication Date: October 27, 2020 
ISBN: 9781779504623

Iconic sidekick Jimmy Olsen is the focus of this comedic limited series. Jimmy is a Pulitzer award-winning photographer, a member of one of the oldest and richest families in Metropolis, and also a goofy content creator for the Daily Planet‘s website whose antics keep the newspaper in the black. However, when one of his stunts ends up destroying a major landmark, he becomes embroiled in a mystery. After an assassin “kills” his decoy body, Jimmy goes into hiding to try and solve his own murder. 

This is an offbeat, fast-paced comic with a lot of laugh-out-loud moments anchored by an interesting mystery. It definitely helps for readers to have some familiarity with DC comics and the history of Superman, but Jimmy’s shenanigans both reference his classic stories with odd transformations and include more modern hijinks (especially acting as “irresponsible blogger Timmy Olsen” while undercover in Gotham). The artwork and coloring feels like a classic Silver Age comic and is accessible and full of visual humor.

Continue reading Great Graphic Novels (#GGN2022) Featured Review of Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen by Matt Fraction & Steve Lieber

Introducing Your 2022 Great Graphic Novels for Teens Team

Hello! I’m Crystal Chen, and I’m serving my second year as the Coordinator for the 2022 Great Graphic Novels for Teens Blogging Team. In my daily life, I work as a Young Adult Librarian out of a Bronx branch of The New York Public Library. I live in Brooklyn with one cat and lots of cacti.

The 2022 Great Graphic Novels team is gearing up to create another outstanding list of comics for teen readers ages 12 to 18 (check out our 2021 list!). We want our list to reflect the rich diversity of the teen experience and engage readers from all backgrounds, and we’re looking for books with strong writing and seamlessly integrated artwork that conveys clear visual flow and meaning. For Great Graphic Novels, we consider teen titles (and adult titles with strong teen appeal) that are published between September 1, 2020, through December 31, 2021. If you wish to recommend a comic for committee consideration, please fill out this field nomination form (note that neither publishers nor authors may nominate their own titles).

Great Graphic Novels team members work together to discover, nominate, and second books; review field nominations; write blog posts and annotations; log internal ratings and reviews; and attend monthly to biweekly virtual discussion meetings. Consistent participation is encouraged and members are required to read nominated titles before casting a vote. Final decisions are made in December, including naming a top ten list. Great Graphic Novels generally reviews 100-200 titles per year and considers books in a series as well as standalone titles.


The #GGNT2022 team is made up of 14 YALSA members from different types of library settings and backgrounds all over the country. They are:

  • Becky Proie, PA
  • Cyndi Hamann, IL
  • Dakota Hall, IN
  • Denise Farley, GA
  • Kacy Helwick, LA
  • Kathleen Barker, MI
  • Kelley Blue, ME
  • Kiera Vargas, KY
  • Mitzi Mack, FL
  • Rachel Johannigmeier, MO
  • Shaira Rock, IL
  • Traci Glass, NE
  • Dana Hutchins, Admin Assistant, TX

We look forward to getting started this year and reading some new and fantastic comics. If you have any questions, please feel free to email crystalchen@nypl.org

—Crystal Chen (she/her)

2022 Great Graphic Novels for Teens Coordinator

2021 Great Graphic Novels for Teens

2021 Great Graphic Novels Top Ten

The 2021 Great Graphic Novels for Teens list is now available!

The list consists of 126 titles selected from 145 official nominations, which were posted and discussed in blog posts on The Hub. The books, recommended for those aged 12-18, meet the criteria of both good quality literature and appealing reading for teens. View the full list.

In addition to the full list, the blogging team chose the following titles as its top ten:

  • Almost American Girl by Robin Ha. Balzer + Bray / HarperCollins. 2020. $12.99. ISBN: 9780062685094.
  • Blue Flag by Kaito. 
    • Vol. 1. VIZ Media. 2020. $12.99. ISBN: 9781974713011. 
    • Vol. 2. VIZ Media. 2020. $12.99. ISBN: 9781974713028. 
    • Vol. 3. VIZ Media. 2020. $12.99. ISBN: 9781974713035. 
    • Vol. 4. VIZ Media. 2020. $12.99. ISBN: 9781974713042. 
    • Vol. 5. VIZ Media. 2020. $12.99. ISBN: 9781974713059. 
  • Fights: One Boy’s Triumph Over Violence by Joel Christian Gill. Oni Press. 2020. $19.99. ISBN: 9781549303357. 
  • Go With the Flow by Karen Schneemann, art by Lily Williams. First Second / Macmillan. 2020. $21.99. ISBN: 9781250305725.
  • Guantánamo Voices: True Accounts from the World’s Most Infamous Prison by Sarah Mirk, art by Gerardo Alba, Kasia Babis, Alex Beguez, Tracy Chahwan, Nomi Kane, et al. Abrams ComicsArts / Abrams Books. 2020. $24.99. ISBN: 9781419746901. 
  • The Low, Low Woods by Carmen Maria Machado, art by DaNi. Hill House Comics / DC Comics. 2020. $22.99. ISBN: 9781779504524. 
  • The Magic Fish by Trung Le Nguyen. Random House Graphic / Penguin Random House. 2020. $16.99. ISBN: 9780593125298. 
  • Snapdragon by Kat Leyh. First Second / Macmillan. 2020. $12.99. ISBN: 9781250171115. 
  • Superman Smashes the Klan by Gene Luen Yang, art by Gurihiru. DC Comics. 2020. $16.99. ISBN: 9781779504210. 
  • Wonder Twins by Mark Russell, art by Stephen Byrne.
    • Vol. 1: Activate! Wonder Comics / DC Comics. 2019. $16.99. ISBN: 9781401294649. 
    • Vol. 2: The Rise and Fall of the Wonder Twins. Wonder Comics / DC Comics. 2020. $16.99. ISBN: 9781779501790. 

The suggestion form for the 2022 Great Graphic Novels for Teens list is open. If you’d like to suggest a title to the blogging team for consideration as a nominee, please fill out the form.

YALSA’s portfolio of book and media awards helps strengthen library services for and with teens by identifying quality, age-appropriate resources for librarians and library workers to share with the teens in their communities. Learn more about YALSA’s other book and media lists here.

A huge thank you goes out to the members of the 2021 Great Graphic Novels for Teens Blogging Team for all the great work they put into curating this list. The members are:

Crystal Chen, coordinator, The New York Public Library, Bronx, NY
Erin Durrett, Clinton-Macomb Public Library, Clinton Township, MI
Denise Farley, Dekalb County Public Library, Decatur, GA
Traci Glass, Lincoln City Libraries, Lincoln, NE
Thea Hashagen, Mill Valley Public Library, Mill Valley, CA
Kacy Helwick, New Orleans Public Library, New Orleans, LA
Tina H. Lerno, Los Angeles Public Library, Los Angeles, CA
Matisse Mozer, Los Angeles Public Library, Los Angeles, CA
Mike Pawuk, Cuyahoga County Public Library, South Euclid, OH
Christine Pyles, Euclid Public Library, Euclid, OH
Celeste Rhoads, The American Library in Paris, Paris, France
Shaira Rock, Elmhurst Public Library, Elmhurst, IL
Becky Standal, Longview Public Library, Longview, WA
Isaiah West, Prince George’s County Memorial Library System, Largo, MD

2020 Great Graphic Novels for Teens List Announced

The official titles of YALSA’s 2020 Great Graphic Novels for Teens list have been announced.

The list consists of 103 titles selected from 178 official nominations, which were posted and discussed in blogposts on The Hub. The books, recommended for those ages 12-18, meet the criteria of both good quality literature and appealing reading for teens. View the full list.

In addition to the full list, the blogging team chose the following titles as its top ten:

  • Bloom. By Kevin Panetta. Art by Savanna Ganucheau. First Second. 2019. $17.99. ISBN: 978-1626726413.
  • Cosmoknights: Book One. By Hannah Templer. Art by the author. IDW Publishing. 2019. $19.99. ISBN: 978-1603094542.
  • I Was Their American Dream: a Graphic Memoir. By Malaka Gharib. Art by the author. Clarkson Potter. 2019. $16.99. ISBN: 978-0525575115.
  • Kiss Number 8. By Colleen AF Venable. Art by Ellen T. Crenshaw. First Second. 2019. $17.99. ISBN: 978-1596437098.
  • Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up With Me. By Mariko Tamaki. Art by Rosemary Valero-O’Connell. First Second. 2019. $17.99. ISBN: 978-1626722590.
  • The Life of Frederick Douglass: A Graphic Narrative of a Slave’s Journey from Bondage to Freedom. By David F. Walker. Art by Damon Smyth, Marissa Louise. Ten Speed Press. 2019. $17.99. ISBN: 978-0399581441.
  • Pumpkinheads. By Rainbow Rowell. Art by Faith Erin Hicks. First Second. 2019. $17.99. ISBN: 978-1626721623.
  • Simon & Louise. By Max de Radigues. Art by the author. Conundrum International. 2019. $18.00. ISBN: 978-1772620351.
  • They Called Us Enemy. By George Takei and Justin Eisinger. Art by Harmony Becker. Top Shelf Productions. 2019. $19.99. ISBN: 978-1603094504.
  • Witch Hat Atelier. By Kamome Shirahama. Art by the author. 2019.
    • Vol. 1. Kodansha Comics. $12.99. ISBN: 978-1632367709.
    • Vol. 2. Kodansha Comics. $12.99. ISBN: 978-1632368041.
    • Vol. 3. Kodansha Comics. $12.99. ISBN: 978-1632368058.

The suggestion form for the 2021 Great Graphic Novels for Teens list is open. If you’d like to suggest a title to the blogging team for consideration as a nominee, please fill out the form.

A huge thank you goes out to the members of the 2020 Great Graphic Novels for Teens Blogging Team for all their hard work in reading and selecting all the titles. Thank you again!

Members of the 2020 Great Graphic Novels for Teens Blogging Team are: Tina H. Lerno, chair, Los Angeles Public Library, Los Angeles, CA; Megan Baird, Yuma County Library District, Yuma AZ; Crystal Chen, The New York Public Library, Bronx, NY; Erin Durrett, Clinton-Macomb Public Library,Clinton Township, MI; Traci Glass, Nashville Public Library, Nashville TN;Thea Hashagen, Mill Valley Public Library, Mill Valley, CA;Lindsey Helfrich, Sacramento Public Library, Sacramento, CA; Kali Olson, The Blake School, Minneapolis, MN; Christine Pyles, Euclid Public Library, Euclid, OH; Celeste Rhoads, The American Library in Paris, Paris France; Loren Spector, Los Angeles Public Library, Los Angeles, CA; Becky Standal, Longview Public Library, Longview, WA; Allie Stevens, Calhoun County Library, Hampton, AR; Audrey Sumser, Stark Library, Canton, OH.

2018 Great Graphic Novels for Teens

In case you missed it, The Great Graphic Novels for Teens list was recently announced! Check out the top ten below!

  • The Backstagers. By James Tynion IV. Illus. by Rian Sygh. 2017. BOOM! Studios, $14.99 (9781608869930). Jory, a new student at an all-boys school, feels left out of school life until he stumbles upon the backstage crew of the drama club and the mysterious tunnels they keep watch over.
  • Black Hammer, Volume 1: Secret Origins. By Jeff Lemire. Illus. by Dean Ormston. 2017. Dark Horse, $14.99 (9781616557867). Abraham Slam, Golden Gail, Colonel Weird, Madame Dragonfly, and Barbalien are trapped! In their old lives they were superheroes, but because of a strange occurrence in their multiverse they are thrust into life in a rural town from which they cannot escape.
  • Brave. By Svetlana Chmakova. Illus. by the author. 2017. Yen Press, $11.00 (9780316363189). Jensen, a daydreaming artist obsessed with sunspots and NASA, navigates middle school, bullies and math!
  • I Am Alfonso Jones. By Tony Medina. Illus. by Stacey Robison and John Jennings. 2017. Tu Books, $18.95 (9781620142639). Fifteen year old Alfonso Jones is shot by the police while shopping for a suit, and his loved ones and classmates are left behind to address his death and the larger issue of police brutality.
  • Jonesy. By Sam Humphries. Illus. by Caitlin Rose Boyle. Jonsey’s superpower is that she can make anyone fall in love with anything… except herself!
    • v.1. 2016. BOOM! Studios, $9.99 (9781608868834).
    • v.2. BOOM! Studios, $14.99 (9781608869992).
    • v.3. BOOM! Studios, $14.99 (9781684150168).

Continue reading 2018 Great Graphic Novels for Teens

For the Love of Dogs (and a Few Wolves): Canines in YA Literature

Image by NDPetitt. See: http://www.morguefile.com/creative/NDPetitt
Image by NDPetitt. See: http://www.morguefile.com/creative/NDPetitt

This Valentine’s Day, because my husband needed to be away, my dog was my date.  That evening she and I took a walk, had dinner and lounged on the couch together.  I read while she dozed and snored.  In other words, we had a perfect evening.  This made me think that in this month of love, I’d like to honor our canine friends who devote themselves to us so unconditionally.

Below are several YA novels (and one adult novel well-suited to teens), some in print and some in graphic format, in which canines play a large part.  They may be the main character’s best friend or arch enemy, or even the story’s protagonist.  I’ve taken the liberty of including a few books with wolves. I’m hoping you’ll agree that the probable common ancestry of wolves and dogs — and also just the fact that these “wolf” novels are pretty great — justifies the inclusion of these works.

Make sure to also check out earlier Hub posts about dogs and other animals in YA literature.  See Laura Perenic’s “Dog Days of Summer…Reading” (8/7/12) and Kate McNair’s “Animals Who Shine” (9/14/12).

laika nick abadzisLaika by Nick Abadzis (2008 Top Ten Great Graphic Novels for Teens)

This is a fictionalized account of Laika, the Samoyed-husky who in November 1957 became the first sentient being to leave Earth’s orbit, on the Sputnik II satellite.  A dog who had survived on the streets of Russia, she was taken by scientists in order to further their space program, her life knowingly sacrificed.  This is a powerful and poignant graphic novel which shows how politics can generate intense pressure on scientists to be first in their field.  (younger teen graphic novel)

 

BB Wolf and the Three LPs by J. D. Arnold & Rich Koslowski (2011 Great Graphic Novels for Teens)

This graphic novel turns the story of The Three Little Pigs on its head.  In this version, BB Wolf is a farmer and blues musician in the Mississippi Delta in the 1920s. When the pigs decide that they’re going to take his land, BB Wolf strikes back in revenge.  There are parallels here to Jim Crow racial segregation and oppression and also to the life of the real Barnabus Benjamin Wolf, who influenced American Blues music and was executed for murder.  (older teen graphic novel)  Continue reading For the Love of Dogs (and a Few Wolves): Canines in YA Literature

Oldies but Still Goodies from YALSA’s Great Graphic Novels Lists


The War at EllsmereLately, I’ve had to weed my Young Adult Graphic Novel collection because I am just running out of room.
  Weeding is always a sad process, be it in a public library or in your personal collection – I just always think, well, if I just give them another month or another week, someone will pick up this book!   I always like to think that there’s a book here for every person, and unfortunately, some books just don’t get a lot of love or get matched up with their perfect person during their time in the collection. 

That got me thinking about this post; I wanted to spotlight older titles, but how would I choose them since there are so many great books out there from years past?  Then, aha!  I had an epiphany – what if I highlighted some of my favorite comics & graphic novels from YALSA’s Great Graphic Novels for Teens lists? 

So, I went back through all the GGNT lists, and picked out some of my favorites from the 2007-2011 lists.  Now, some of these books are pretty popular and some are not, but they are all great graphic reads for all different kinds of readers.  From Star Wars to cat burglars to Batman (well, Batwoman, but, close enough), everyone will find something fun to read on this list – and these are old books!  Well, oldish – and older books can be some of the best books.   So, join me, readers, on this walk down memory lane as we revisit some favorites and hopefully, put the spotlight on some forgotten or overlooked treasures.

2007 Great Graphic Novels for Teens:

Star Wars:  Tag & Bink Were Here by Kevin Rubio & Lucas Marangon:  From the inaugural GGNT list, I chose one of very favorite comics ever!  Tag & Bink are two bumbling rebels who, when they come face to face with Stormtroopers, decide to knock them out and steal their uniforms, and thus, their times as members of the Imperial Army begin.  They aren’t the most savvy or smartest of the bunch, so in addition to not being found out by Darth Vader and his minions, they are also trying to stay alive and get back to the other members of the rebellion.  What’s funny about this book is that Tag & Bink are involved in every major event that happens in the movies – and they’re usually on the verge of messing something up or getting themselves found out.  This book is great for Star Wars aficionados as well as newbies – because it introduces something new and hilarious to established movies with no prior knowledge needed.  All of your favorite characters from Episodes IV-VI make appearances here, and this book will definitely keep you laughing until the very last page!  Continue reading Oldies but Still Goodies from YALSA’s Great Graphic Novels Lists

Did You Love Lost? Try These Books!

palm_jungle
photo by flickr user brewbooks

Where I live, the temperatures and humidity are climbing these days, leaving me feeling a bit bedraggled and wilted. Weather like this prompts a strong nostalgia in me for one of my favorite TV shows, Lost, both because I feel as humidity-drenched as they all look on the island, and because the heat saps my energy, so I need a book with a hook strong enough to generate its own page-turning momentum, the way Lost expertly hooked me with truly bizarre discoveries, goosebump-causing unexplained phenomena, and never-quite-enough tidbits of the characters’ lives before the crash.

While I can never go back to the jaw-dropping, melodramatic delights of viewing Lost for the very first time, I can, and do, regularly seek out reading materials that will deliver that same tantalizing mix of survival, conspiracy, flashback storytelling with globetrotting locales, a diverse and varied cast of secret-keeping characters, and developments so strange I actually say, “What?!” out loud. The books in the following list all offered one or many of those factors.

MIND MGMT Vol. 1: The Manager by Matt Kindt – Perhaps an obvious pick, given that Lost producer Damon Lindelof loved this so much he wrote the foreword, and that Kindt has given Lost a very direct nod by numbering the “lost” flight in his story 815. It’s supposed to appeal to Lost fans. But just because a thing is supposed to appeal doesn’t always mean it hits its mark. Imagine my delight then, to be promised by Lindelof that I was in for just the kind of wild ride Lost used to deliver so reliably, and then to have the book in my hand actually take me on just such a ride. This is one of those plots that keeps unfolding to reveal new layers, introducing new characters, and feeding you information from the past and the present without ever explaining anything fully (so just resign yourself to a degree of uncertainty about everything).  MIND MGMT Vol. 1 was one of 2014’s Top Ten Great Graphic Novels for Teens, and the graphic format here really served the fragmented storytelling; what was going on in the frames could be saying one thing, and then the frame itself could say something else entirely, and the reader could follow the action through many places and time periods very quickly with a few key visual cues. The best part, for me, of discovering this bizarre (and, fair warning, violent) world; it’s an ongoing series.  Continue reading Did You Love Lost? Try These Books!