#GGN2019 Nominees Round Up, May 3 Edition

Birding is My Favorite Video Game by Rosemary Mosco
Andrews McMeel Publishing
Publication Date: April 17, 2018
ISBN: 978-1449489120

Panels from the webcomic Bird and Moon have been compiled to create this entertaining environmental science anthology. Divided into five thematic sections, the comics explore various topics including newts, fake bees, flora of the New England woods, and pygmy owls. The book brings a light touch to complex concepts like natural selection and climate change.

These comics makes one laugh. Mosco takes her science seriously, but never ruins the punchline. While filled with interesting facts and informational tidbits, Mosco’s drawings humorously depict the natural world. The book encourages the reader to move, explore, and invest time in the out of doors. As the title suggests, games can be played outside. Her choice of intentionally pixelated illustrations quietly serve as a reminder of what can be lost when we focus on our phones instead of the sky. With pieces on extinctions, invasives, and rising sea levels, Mosco also makes a strong comment on climate change. Schools with an environmental science curriculum could easily integrate this text into lessons and projects. The species index at the end, for example, provides proper names for all of her illustrations, a great help for budding naturalists. Recommend this title to teens already reading The Unstoppable Wasp and Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur as well as to those teens interested in biology or environmental issues.

–Kate Covintree


A Polar Bear In Love by Koromo
Yen Press
Publication Date: November 21, 2017
ISBN: 978-0-316-44171-1

When a lonely polar bear spots the gleaming white seal pup, it’s love at first sight (no matter that they are different species, natural predator/prey and both male). Li’l Seal is lost from his mother and frightened that Mr. Polar Bear is only tricking the seal and wants to eat him (the poor guy spends most of the story trembling uncontrollably). When Li’l Seal tries to escape, Mr. Polar Bear insists on coming with him and when the seal tells the polar bear that he doesn’t like being near the bear and the bear turns to leave sadly, the seal immediately apologizes. Li’l Seal eventually lets Mr. Polar Bear travel with him and takes comfort from him, but remains wary of his intentions.

This sweet story of loneliness and finding someone to love no matter who they are or how different they are from you will appeal to all teens, as well as relating to the feeling of being misunderstood. It’s a sweet natured, humorous manga, but with underlying deeper themes to make readers think. Teens will also enjoy the simplistic and kawaii artwork.

Readers who like shojo, yaoi romance and/or cute animals in their manga, like Chi’s Sweet Home, will be rooting for Mr.Polar Bear and Li’l Seal.

–Loren Spector


Behind You: One-Shot Horror Stories by Brian Coldrick
IDW Publishing
Publication Date: Oct 31, 2017
ISBN: 978-1631409530

Behind every human figure in this book is something else: a mysterious apparition, tall and gaunt, or a horrific mishmash of teeth and eyes, or a creature hovering in the darkness, claws outstretched, about to strike. Readers have only a single line of text in which to figure out what’s happening, and what happens next is left to the imagination. Conflicts are never resolved, and tension is constant, because each monster is succeeded by another, and the unsettling snippets of story will have readers looking over their shoulders, just in case…

Unsettling art accompanied by a single line of text makes each two page spread collected here a standalone scary story. Every illustration is a compelling blend of chiaroscuro and muted colors, with the eye drawn to the character being menaced by a creature they can’t quite see. However, readers get the sense that each protagonist is about to turn around and see what’s behind them, for better or worse.

Horror lovers and reluctant readers will enjoy this haunting collection, particularly fans of Junji Ito’s manga and Emily Carroll’s Through the Woods.

–Emily Tobin

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Great Graphic Novels for Teens

Great Graphic Novels for Teens Blogging Team @ YALSA's The Hub.