Great Graphic Novels (#GGN2022) Featured Review of Run: Book One by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, L. Fury, and Nate Powell

Run: Book One by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, L. Fury, and Nate Powell
Abrams ComicArts / Abrams Books
Publication Date: August 3, 2021
ISBN: 9781419730696

The song “We Shall Overcome” comes to mind as you read the graphic novel memoir of the great John Lewis. His memoir centers on illuminating the reality of our country’s battle with racism. From sharing the history of the Vietnam War to showing the challenges of voting as Black Americans—and the brutal treatment that Black people endure just to advocate for equality—each moment can be felt, seen, and heard as you turn the pages of this memoir. This nonfiction graphic novel is a great tool to supplement textbooks.

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Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers (#QP2022) Featured Review of Before the Ever After by Jacqueline Woodson

Before the Ever After Cover Art

Before the Ever After by Jacqueline Woodson
Nancy Paulsen Books/Penguin Random House 
Publication Date: September 1, 2020
ISBN: 978-0399545436

ZT has the perfect life. He has a group of friends he’s super tight with. His family is loving and supportive, and his dad is a football superstar. But this idyllic life begins to unravel when his father starts getting debilitating migraines, ending his football career. As his father begins to lose his memory, ZT learns that not all success stories have happy endings. And sometimes supporting the people we love most can be incredibly difficult.

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Amazing Audiobooks (#AA2022) Nominations Round-Up, Spring

Each quarter, the Selected Lists teams compile the titles that have been officially nominated to date. These books have been suggested by the team or through the title suggestion form, read by multiple members of the team, and received approval to be designated an official nomination. At the end of the year, the final list of nominations and each Selected List’s Top Ten will be chosen from these titles.


*Prices shown are for Library Digital Download.

Admission. By Julie Buxbaum. Read by Julia Whelan. 2020. Penguin Random House Audio Publishing Group/Listening Library, $63 (9780593216996).

Chloe, privileged daughter of a beloved celebrity, watches helplessly as her mother is caught up in a college admission scandal benefiting her. Julia Whelan skillfully unpacks the emotions that go with Chloe’s questioning whether her parents believe she is enough. 

Amari and the Night Brothers. By B. B. Alston. Read by Imani Parks. Harper Collins/Balzer + Bray, $64.99 (9780063057968).

Amari believes her missing brother is alive. When a mysterious suitcase appears in her closest, she is whisked away to a land of magic. To find her brother, Amari must pass a series of tests in order to enter the Bureau of Supernatural Affairs. Strong narration supports this fantastical adventure.

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Amazing Audiobooks (#AA2022) Featured Review of When You Look Like Us by Pamela N. Harris

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When You Look Like Us by Pamela N. Harris; Narrated by Preston Butler III
Quill Tree Books
Publication date: January 5, 2021
ISBN: 9780063064317

Looking like they do, with brown skin, Jay, his friends and neighbors live knowing they are already one step behind.  Living in their neighborhood presents its own challenges where drug deals, violence, and both police interference AND ignorance are day to day problems. But now Jay’s sister Nic has disappeared and going missing in their neighborhood isn’t enough to warrant police investigation.  Not wanting to worry his grandmother, Jay strikes out on his own to find her leading him into danger and into finding an unlikely friend.  

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Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers (#QP2022) Featured Review of Becoming Muhammad Ali by James Patterson & Kwame Alexander, and illustrated by Dawud Anyabwile

Becoming Muhammad Ali by James Patterson, Kwame Alexander, and Dawud Anyabwile (illustrator)
Jimmy Patterson Books / Little, Brown and Company
Publication Date: October 5, 2020
ISBN: 978-0399547966

Cassius Clay Jr. was always the greatest—even if everyone didn’t know it yet. Before the world knew him as Muhammad Ali, Cassius hung out with friends, loved his family, and struggled with school, all against the backdrop of 1950s Louisville, Kentucky. In this fictionalized biography, writers James Patterson and Kwame Alexander show the reader Cassius’ life with a mix of prose and poetry.

The book is engaging and full of heart, with fully realized characters and a well-paced plot. The cover draws you in, and Dawud Anyabwile’s art throughout adds to the book’s appeal. The mix of prose and poetry adds interest. Students will be able to see themselves in Cassius and his best friend, Lucky.

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Graphic Novels and Comics to Enjoy for Black History Month — or anytime!

Thanks to YALSA member Annierra Matthews, a Research Services Librarian at Mercer University, for compiling this collection of excellent graphic novels and comics featuring Black characters and/or produced by Black creators. Click here for the fiction collection she curated earlier this month.


Bingo Love by Tee Franklin, Jenn St.-Onge, Joy San, and Genevieve FT

Bingo Love by Tee Franklin, Jenn St.-Onge, Joy San, and Genevieve FT: Hazel and Mari fall in love with each other at church bingo in ’63. Torn apart by others around them, they can’t be together. Years later, they meet again at bingo and find the bravery to share their love with the world.

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Black History is American History – Classroom Connections

This month, as we honor and celebrate Black History, we also recognize that Black History is not a box to be checked during the month of February alone. Black History is American History, and these resources are critical to the conversation, this month and every month of the year.

YALSA’s 2021 Excellence in Nonfiction Celebration is tonight (click here to register), and a booktalk event featuring the full list of nominated titles will take place on February 24. On that list is the excellent Lifting as we Climb: Black Women’s Battle for the Ballot Box by Evette Dionne.

Lifting As We Climb by Evette Dionne

This Coretta Scott King honoree focuses on the vital and often overlooked role of Black Women in the Suffrage Movement and connects the dots from the abolition of slavery to women’s suffrage, on to the civil rights movement and today’s activism, where women were and continue to be necessary and significant leaders.

The Library of Congress Born in Slavery collection offers digitized narratives collected as part of the Federal Writers’ Project (FWP) in the New Deal-era Work Projects Administration (WPA). These oral histories and photographs preserve the first person accounts of formerly enslaved people.

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Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers (#QP2021) Nominees Round Up, December 1 Edition

Click here to see all of the current Quick Picks nominees along with more information about the list and past years’ selections.

Class Act by Jerry Craft Book Cover
Class Act by Jerry Craft

Class Act by Jerry Craft
Quill Tree Books
Publication Date: October 6, 2020
ISBN: 9780062885517

In this follow-up to New Kid, familiar characters Jordan, Drew, and Liam return, but this time most of the story focuses on eighth grader Drew, one of the only Black students at the mostly white private school.  The boys wrestle with typical middle school things like puberty, and evolving friendships, but also more important, complex issues like identity, acceptance, and race and class.  Despite being friends, Jordan, Drew, and Liam live very different lives and that becomes more apparent for them in this installment. 

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Amazing Audiobooks (#AA2021) Nominees Round Up, March 11 Edition

Click here to see all of the current Amazing Audiobooks nominees along with more information about the list and past years’ selections.

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Light It Up by Kekla Magoon; Narrated by Landon Woodson, Karen Chilton, Cherise Booth, Eevin Hartsough, Christopher Carley, Peter Jay Fernandez, T.Ryder Smith, Julian Thomas, Kevin R. Free, and Korey Jackson
Recorded Books
Publication Date: October 22, 2019
ISBN: 978-1250128898
Shae Tatum hurries home from school one night. She has her earphones on, tuning out the world around her. Shae is tall and looks much older than her thirteen years. A case of mistaken identity leads to tragedy.

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Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers (#QP2020) Nominees Round Up, November 26 Edition

Click here to see all of the current Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers nominees along with more information about the list and past years’ selections.

cover artChangeling (Sorcery and Society #1) and Fledgeling (Sorcery and Society #2) by Molly Harper
Nancy Yost Literary Agency, Inc
Published August 22nd, 2018 and July 18th, 2019
ISBN: 9781641970457 and ISBN: 9781076160881

14 year-old Sarah Smith has grown up as a “snipe,” a non-magical member of the servant class.  One day, while in a panic, she shows a remarkable feat of magic in front of her employer. A snipe displaying magical powers could shake the foundations of society, so her employer takes her in as a “distant cousin” and introduces her to elite society as such.  Suddenly thrust into the upper class and enrolled at a magic school under a new name, Sarah must protect her secret from mean girls and teachers alike.

In Fledgling, further adventures of Sarah Smith ensue. She is finding her place at school with her friends. However, she feels a strong pull to find the other children like her, those with magic but not born into the elite magical class. Intrigue, romance and exciting action bring this chapter of the series to a satisfying close.

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