Great Graphic Novels (#GGN2022) Featured Review of A Girl Called Echo, v.4: Road Allowance Era by Katherena Vermette, Scott B. Henderson, and Donovan Yaciuk

A Girl Called Echo Cover Art

A Girl Called Echo, v.4: Road Allowance Era by Katherena Vermette, Scott B. Henderson, and Donovan Yaciuk
HighWater Press
Publication Date: April 27, 2021
ISBN: 9781553799306

Echo, a Métis teenager, embarks on one more trip to the past of her family and heritage. Her mother has returned, and she shares the family tree when Echo realizes she has been seeing her family members in the trips to the past. Echo travels first to 1885 during the trial and execution of Louis Riel after the Northwest Resistance, and she sees how the Métis’ rights to land are not honored by the Canadian government. She continues to travel to several parts of the past to meet her family members. She sees promises reneged on, and Echo wonders what that means for the future. As she heads toward graduation, Echo considers what she can do to stay strong and keep on fighting injustice with support from family and friends. 

Echo is a very relatable protagonist, and her ability to travel to periods of her family’s past provides Echo with a method of experiencing the history along with the reader. The story never shies away from the unfairness of the situation and the role the government still plays in its treatment toward Indigenous people. However, the story ends on a hopeful note as the work of past and present activists are explored. The artwork is realistic and draws the reader in, especially during moments of heightened emotion throughout the story. Another strong point of the story is the inclusion of LGBTQ+ content in the art and in the pronouns and titles used by characters. 

Road Allowance Era is a finale to a series that you should definitely give to readers of the previous volumes. This is a great recommendation for readers who enjoy graphic novels written from an Indigenous perspective such as Surviving the City by Tasha Spillet and Natasha Donovan and the anthology This Place: 150 Years Retold. Recommend this also to teens who enjoy graphic novels that explore history—such as the Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales series by Nathan Hale—and are looking to expand their historical knowledge. 

Rachel Johannigmeier

Other Nominated Titles

  • Quincredible, v.2: The Hero Within by Rodney Barnes and Selina Espiritu (July 13, 2021)
  • Solo Leveling, v.1 by Chugong and Dubu (Redice Studio) (March 2, 2021) 
  • Solo Leveling, v.2 by Chugong and Dubu (Redice Studio) (July 20, 2021)
  • Blue Giant Omnibus, v.1-2  by Shinichi Ishizuka (November 10, 2020) 
  • Captivated, by You by Yama Wayama (July 27, 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.