Click here to see all of the current Great Graphic Novels nominees along with more information about the list and past years’ selections.
They Called Us Enemy by George Takei, Justin Eisinger, and Steven Scott, illustrated by Harmony Becker Top Shelf Productions Publication Date: July 16, 2019 ISBN: 978-1603094504
Before he was Sulu on the starship Enterprise, boldly going where no one has gone before, George Takei was a little boy struggling to understand why his family was packing up to go live in a horse stable. In 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt ordered the detainment of every person of Japanese descent on the West Coast and imprisoned 120,000 people in camps for years under armed guard. Takei and his family were sent to the Santa Anita Racetrack, then to Camp Rohwer in Arkansas, and finally the notorious Tule Lake camp for “disloyals.” Readers see history in clear, concise, compelling context and follow Takei on his journey from childhood ignorance to righteous anger and awareness to a life of dedicated activism.
In February 2016, the YALSA Hub published a booklist, Asexuality in Young Adult Fiction, as a response to teens wanting to see this kind of representation in books. It was a hard list to create as there were very few books at the time with any mention of asexuality or aromanticism, and most of the representation in the books listed is minimal at best. In that list, most representation was of side characters, or the word asexual was never explicitly mentioned. Over the past three years, some exciting books for teens have been published that center the Ace/Aro experience.
The Alex Awards are given to ten books written for adults that have special appeal to young adults, ages 12 through 18. The winning titles are selected from the previous year’s publishing. The Alex Awards were first given annually beginning in 1998 and became an official ALA award in 2002. For more information about the Alex Awards and this years other winners, see the YALSA website and the Teen Book Finder App.
Three of this year’s honorees were in attendance at #alaac18 to accept their awards, answer questions, and sign copies of their books. Below are brief recaps of their speeches along with a recommendation for fans of their work from each author.
Beneath the Sugar Sky by Seanan McGuire, narrated by Michelle Dockrey Audio Published by Macmillan Audio Publication Date: January 9, 2018 ISBN: 978-1427293794
“Beneath the Sugar Sky” by Seanan McGuire opens with seventeen year old Rini falling from the sky out of a magical door and landing into a pond behind Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children. Rini has traveled from her home world of Confection (a true Candyland) to the “real world” in search of her mother, Sumi. However, she discovers Sumi has died before Rini was even conceived. Rini and Sumi’s friends from Eleanor’s West Home for Wayward Children embark on a quest to find and resurrect Sumi in order to save the world of Confection and Rini’s life.