Great Graphic Novels (#GGN2022) Featured Review of Seen: Edmonia Lewis by Jasmine Walls and Bex Glendining

Seen Cover Art

Seen: Edmonia Lewis by Jasmine Walls and Bex Glendining
BOOM! Box / BOOM! Studios
Publication Date: September 29, 2020
ISBN: 9781684156344

American sculptor Edmonia Lewis is the first figure featured in the new nonfiction graphic novel series Seen: True Stories of Marginalized Trailblazers. The goal of the Seen series is to present readers with the life stories of remarkable people who are passed over by the standard history textbooks. This first volume tells the story of an artist who achieved international recognition against all odds: Edmonia Lewis was female, Black, and Native American, seeking to attain an education and career in sculpture during the Civil War period in the United States.

This slim volume is accessible in size, length, and narrative. Readers will easily complete this in one sitting. The illustrations are realistic and reminiscent of museum dioramas or historical reenactments. Edmonia’s facial expressions wordlessly convey her thoughts and emotions throughout the ups-and-downs of her life and career. Primary sources like personal and business letters are quoted in dialog between characters. The volume concludes with a teaching guide aligned with common core standards, which is a great addition for educators or book club leaders looking to augment more mainstream coursework in Social Studies or Art History.

This book and series are not just for school libraries; the portable size, appealing cover art, and the focus on lesser told stories from history makes Seen: Edmonia Lewis and the second volume, Seen: Rachel Carson, great editions to nonfiction graphic collections in public libraries, especially where biographies are popular. Hand this short and pithy volume of untold American history to fans of the March trilogy by John Lewis, The Life of Frederick Douglass by David F. Walker, and They Called Us Enemy by George Takei. 

—Kelley Blue

Other Nominated Titles

  • Heaven’s Design Team, vol. 1 by Hebi-zou, Tsuta Suzuki, and Tarako (October 20, 2020)
  • How to Be Ace: A Memoir of Growing Up Asexual by Rebecca Burgess (October 21, 2020)
  • The Crossroads at Midnight by Abby Howard (February 23, 2021)

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 title suggestion 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.

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Great Graphic Novels for Teens

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