Great Graphic Novels for Teens: Top Ten Comic Book Companions of 2023!

The votes are in and YALSA’s 2024 Great Graphic Novels for Teens list will be coming to you during Lib Learn X later this month! While you wait, the 2024 GGNT Committee are delighted to share with you our annual, and very important, TOP TEN COMIC BOOK COMPANIONS OF THE YEAR!

1st Place: Two (aka Marumi, aka Meowguin)

Insomniacs After School
 by Makoto Ojiro
VIZ Media

Companion Description: A (stray?) cat who wanders the school and steals lettuce from sandwiches.

Reason for Nomination: While Two comes and goes to various school clubs, he always has time for a cat nap in the astronomy tower with our two protagonists in this slice-of-life manga series.

2nd Place: Opossum

Cursed Princess Club 
by LambCat
Webtoon Unscrolled

Companion Description: This companion attaches to Princess Gwendolyn’s head via chomping. Typically found upon waking in the morning.

Reason for Nomination: While her sisters attract songbirds and cute forest creatures, Princess Gwendolyn can’t seem to shake these creatures of the night… literally; they’re stuck to her head!

3rd Place: Masaru

Dinosaur Sanctuary
by Itaru Kinoshita
Seven Seas Entertainment

Companion Description:  Masaru is a triceratops who is missing one horn. His keepers need to boost his popularity or he may be transferred to another facility!

Reason for Nomination: A dinosaur who sits like a kitty! One committee member claims that she “cares more about Masaru than any other character (human or dino) in the series.”

4th Place: Daisy

Danger and Other Unknown Risks 
by Ryan North and Erica Henderson
Penguin Workshop

Companion Description: Daisy is a talking dog!

Reason for Nomination: Daisy is a floofy, steadfast companion to our hero, Marguerite, and is a great source of comic relief in this perilous, wacky adventure from the creators of The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl.

5th Place: El Jefe

Frontera 
by Julio Anta and Jacoby Salcedo
HarperAlley

Companion Description: A solitary jaguar

Reason for Nomination: El Jefe has a connection with teen Mateo and saves him from some truly bad actors. Your heart will break for El Jefe, based on a real jaguar in the Sonoran desert, a victim of the border wall separated from his pack.

6th Place: All the Familiars!

Unfamiliar 
by Haley Newsome
Andrews McMeel Publishing

Companion Description: Winston (a bunny), Marlow (a one-eyed cat), Ari (a bird), and Edgar (???)

Reason for Nomination: This quartet of adorable, opinionated, and sassy familiars will make you want to start practicing witchcraft.

It’s a Tie! 7th-10th place:

Percy

Cosmoknights 
by Hannah Templer
Top Shelf Productions

Companion Description: A fluffy space cat.

Reason for Nomination: Percy is an excellent judge of character when humans are not, and can transform into a giant warrior cat his princess can ride at the sound of a whistle.

Sena

The Infinity Particle 
by Wendy Xu
Quill Tree Books

Companion Description: An AI companion beloved by the MC, Clementine.

Reason for Nomination: SENA is the tiny, sassy AI caretaker every human needs.

Moby

Pearl of the Sea 
by Anthony Silverson,
Raffaella Delle Donne and Willem Samuel
Catalyst Press

Companion Description: Moby is a scrappy one-eyed dog who accompanies Pearl on her adventures

Reason for Nomination: Moby is up for all kinds of adventures and will defend Pearl if needed. He is not afraid to stand in Pearl’s way when she does questionable things… which is often.

Haley (aka Bitewing)

Nightwing
 by Tom Taylor and Bruno Redondo
DC Comics

Companion Description: Haley, otherwise known as Bitewing, is an adopted puppy with three legs.

Reason for Nomination: This is Bitewing’s second year on the list, and GGNT committee members are fiercely protective of this adorable blue-nosed pitbull puppy.

Stanley

Doughnuts and Doom
 by Balazs Lorinczi
Top Shelf Productions

Companion Description: Stanley is a snake who acts like a dog.

Reason for Nomination: Watch with delight as this steadfast and slinky companion steals doughnuts while humans are distracted.

Members of the 2024 Great Graphic Novels for Teens Blogging Team are: Kelley Blue (Coordinator); Meg Bowie; Jean Broughton; Jacqueline Bush; M’issa Fleming; Patricia Jimenez; Rachel Johannigmeier; Kaileigh Oldham; Ness Shortley; Mariela Siegert; Scot Smith; Cheyenne Sons; Lee Stokes; Adam Wheeler

What Would a Jedi Read? Reader’s Advisory for Star Wars Characters

Our favorite Star Wars characters need good book recommendations too! Yet, could you figure out a book picks for popular Star Wars characters off the top of your head? The latest and (apparently) final entry into the Skywalker saga within the Star Wars universe is just around the corner. It is always important to reflect on popular culture in the library. Such a large percentage of our collections embrace the idea of pop culture. Also, aspects of the fandoms can be great touchstones for reader’s advisory. If the teen you are trying to help doesn’t know how to explain their needs or desires in a book, asking for the name of their favorite Star Wars character could be the “in” that you need.

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NaNoWriMo Inspiration for Teens

With November halfway over, many aspiring writers are trying their best to complete NaNoWriMo (also known as National Novel Writing Month) where they are challenged to write a book by the end of the month.  Life is especially hectic for teens as they juggle school assignments, clubs, sports, etc. So if any teens are attempting to do NaNoWriMo, they need lots of inspiration as they forge ahead on their writing journey. Here’s a round up of some resources to motivate potential teen writers:

Fiction: 

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Best Fiction for Young Adults (#BFYA2020) Nominees Round Up, October 4 Edition

Click here to see all of the current Best Fiction for Young Adults nominees along with more information about the list and past years’ selections.

Wilder Girls by Rory Power
Delacorte Press / Penguin Random House
Publication date: July 9, 2019
ISBN: 978-0525645580

On an island off the coast of Maine, the students of an all-girls boarding school and the wilderness of the island – suffer from an infection of “the tox” which ravaged their bodies and minds as the fight for survival. Friends Hetty, Byatt, and Reece are pushed to extremes as they attempt to uncover the truth behind the mysterious disease while their classmates continue to die after gruesome flair ups of perplexing and grotesque symptoms while they wait for a cure and fight over rations delivered by boat from the mainland.

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Building a TTRPG Circulating Collection

 

Have you or your teen patrons jumped on the Dungeons & Dragons wagon yet? No teen program I have ever run has been as popular as my D&D club, even now, an almost-year after starting it. With the proliferation and popularity of Twitch streamers, podcasters, YouTubers, and voice actors gaming live for an audience, it’s easier than ever to get hooked. (Check out shows and podcasts like Critical Role; The Adventure Zone; Dice, Camera, Action; Acquisitions, Inc; and more.) Whether it’s a hobby, a lifestyle, a creative outlet, or a way to blow of real-life stress, lots of teens and young adults are looking to play.

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What Would Brian May Read?

My favorite movie of 2018 was Bohemian Rhapsody. I was thrilled to see it, and Rami Malek, win awards, but, as interesting as Freddy Mercury’s story is, I find Queen guitarist Brian May’s story equally as interesting. Not only is he one of the world’s greatest guitarists, he built his own guitar and has a PhD in astrophysics. Although he is now in his 70s he still plays and recently released a new single, “New Horizons”, to celebrate the space probe of the same name as it flew past Ultima Thule, the farthest object in the solar system that a spacecraft has visited. Brian May might be described as a Renaissance Man and I wondered are there Renaissance Teens who might be inspired by these books I think reflect aspects of Brian May’s life?

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Nerds in Love: Book Recommendations

It’s March, and I’m getting ready for C2E2, one of Chicago’s best pop-culture conventions. Whether you prefer the term nerd, geek, fanboy/girl, or pop culture enthusiast, 2019 is an excellent time to proclaim your love for things once stigmatized as being not cool, from playing Dungeons & Dragons to cosplaying as your favorite anime character to writing fanfiction of your favorite TV shows. YA authors and publishers are not immune to the geek chic trend; in Publisher’s Weekly May, 2017 article, “In the Age of Conventions, YA fans rule” they argue that the rise of novels with “plots that feature fandom, cons, and cosplay” is inevitable as authors interact more and more online and in person with their fans. In the novels that follow, fellow nerds find friendship and even love in comic book shops, at conventions, and while playing MMORPGS (for the uninitiated, that’s massively multiplayer online role-playing games).

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Riverdale Reads

Oh Riverdale – I have a special place in my heart for you, but I think your teenaged residents could use some time away from town quarantines and drug induced hallucinations and really horrible parenting. Luckily, YALSA’s 2019 award winners and nominees have books to help your beleaguered high school students cope with all the drama. (Warning: Season 3 Spoilers)

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What Would Anne and Maud Read?

I was incredibly excited when I first heard that Netflix and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation were creating a new series based on L. M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables. My Canadian friends and family were able to view Anne With an E before me and their reviews were mixed. Most had seen – and loved – the 1985 CBC TV series, which faithfully followed the book. It seemed that older friends and family, especially those who had read the books and/or seen the original TV series, disapproved of the “liberties” the new series took with the story line. Younger friends and family, who had less familiarity with the story, were intrigued at the way the new series explored darker themes

In addition to creating controversy, the new series, now renewed for a third season, has sparked a new interest in interest in the author and the world she created. Regardless of what you think of Anne With an E, these books are an exciting way to explore the world of Anne, and her creator, who liked to be called Maud (without an E).

   

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Month in Review: November 2018

What happened in YA last month? Here is a quick round up of featured posts on The Hub and other links to keep you up to date when collecting for your teens.

month in review | yalsa's the hub

 

At the Hub

Features:

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