Great Graphic Novels (#GGN2023) Featured Review of Graceling: The Graphic Novel by Kristin Cashore and Gareth Hinds

Graceling: The Graphic Novel by Kristin Cashore and Gareth Hinds
Etch / Clarion Books
Publication Date: November 16, 2021
ISBN-13: 9780358250470

Celebrated illustrator Gareth Hinds adapts Kristin Cashore’s high-fantasy YA classic, Graceling! Katsa was born graced with lethal fighting skills, put to brutal use by her king from a young age. Out on a mission, she crosses paths with a mysterious fighter, the first to ever come close to beating her in combat. The fight changes her, and a series of related events work to unravel the mundane life of servitude and violence Katsa has always known.

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Great Graphic Novels (#GGN2022) Featured Review of Himawari House by Harmony Becker

Himawari House Cover Art

Himawari House by Harmony Becker
First Second / Macmillan
Publication Date: October 19, 2021
ISBN: 9781250235565

A young American, Nao, travels across the globe to attend school in Japan and to reconnect with her Japanese heritage. There, she discovers that her desire to fit in is complicated by her Americanness but finds a makeshift sense of belonging with other foreign exchange students Hyejung and Tina, who are also forging their own paths far away from home.

This coming-of-age story accurately captures the joys and pangs of young adulthood and the uncertainty of being caught between two worlds. Teens will find Nao, Hyejung, and Tina’s search for belonging, friendship, and identity both timeless and familiar. The art is at turns humorous and tender, and every character feels fully realized. A strength of this book is Becker‘s effective use of language (often phonetically described) to dismantle reductive and stereotypical ideas of bilingual speakers or speakers with accents. Instead, characters that speak in dialect, with accents, or with uneven syntax are shown to be just as deeply human, complex, and radiant as native or majority language speakers.

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Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers (#QP2022) Featured Review of They Better Call Me Sugar: My Journey from the Hood to the Hard Wood by Sugar Rodgers

They Better Call Me Sugar Cover Art

They Better Call Me Sugar: My Journey from the Hood to the Hard Wood by Sugar Rodgers
Black Sheep/Akashic Books
Publication Date: May 4, 2021
ISBN: 978-1617759710

WNBA All-Star Sugar Rodgers shares her story of growing up, poverty, family life, school, sports, friends, and how she eventually shaped a successful career as a professional basketball player for herself. 

The author’s writing style is clear and direct, and events happen chronologically. Tough issues are covered with a matter-of-fact tone. The book is less than 200 pages and Sugar’s voice is engaging and relatable. Basketball is central to Sugar’s story but she also talks about golf, meeting Tiger Woods, and the integral role of coaches in her life.

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Great Graphic Novels (#GGN2022) Nominations Round-Up, Fall

Great Graphic Novels Roundup Art
Due to the large number of nominees, not all titles are shown here. See full list below.

Each quarter, the Selected Lists teams compile the titles that have been officially nominated to date. These books have been suggested by the team or through the title suggestion form, read by multiple members of the team, and received approval to be designated an official nomination. At the end of the year, the final list of nominations and each Selected List’s Top Ten will be chosen from these titles.


The Apothecary Diaries, v.1. By Natsu Hyuuga. Art by Nekokurage. 2020. Square Enix Manga, $10.99 (9781646090709). 

Maomao is a palace servant who was sold into service to the Emperor. After saving one of the Emperor’s heirs, she is promoted to food taster, where she is able to use her skills as an apothecary.

Artie and the Wolf Moon. By Olivia Stephens. Lerner Publishing Group / Graphic Universe, $16.99 (9781728420202). 

Artie discovers that her mother is a werewolf and that she has abilities of her own. While attempting to discover what happened to her missing father, she comes across other supernatural enemies.

Asadora, v.3. By Naoki Urasawa. VIZ Media / VIZ Signature, $14.99 (9781974720118). 

When she was young, Asa survived a devastating typhoon, but on the same day saw a mysterious footprint in the town where she lived with her family. Now older, Asa becomes involved in a mission to stop the creature who made the footprint.

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Great Graphic Novels (#GGN2022) Featured Review of My Last Summer with Cass by Mark Crilley

My Last Summer with Cass Cover Art

My Last Summer with Cass by Mark Crilley
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers / Little, Brown and Company
Publication Date: March 16, 2021
ISBN: 9780759555457

Childhood friends Megan and Cass, separated for years by a move, have reconnected for a summer adventure in New York City where Cass currently lives. Both are artists, but each have different ways of exploring and learning about art—rebellious Megan challenges Cass’s way of creative thinking and way of life. They collaborate on a personal art project that could bring them both to a new level of artistry, but is it too big of a step for them as artists and as friends?

A coming-of-age tale with an artistic flair, My Last Summer with Cass brushes all the right strokes of the challenge of growing up and sometimes growing apart. Going off to college always creates that complication, and the question of saving versus giving up on a childhood friendship is one that all teens can end up relating to. The soft and subtle coloring beautifully complements and elevates the expressive artwork. This is a heartfelt tale about standing up for yourself, even if sometimes the person you have to stand up to is you.

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Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers (#QP2022) Featured Review of Nubia: The Real One by L.L. McKinney and Illustrated by Robyn Smith

Cover Art

Nubia: The Real One by L.L. McKinney, Illustrated by Robyn Smith 
DC Comics
Publication Date: February 23, 2021
ISBN: 978-1401296407

Nubia has Amazonian strength, but after using her strength to stop a robbery, she is the one who ends up in handcuffs. Even a superhero is not immune to racist police brutality, and sadly, this is not the first time something like that has happened to her. When her best friend is repeatedly harassed by a white boy who will not take no for an answer and a protest turns deadly, Nubia must decide whether she is going to potentially reveal her secret identity to protect the ones that she loves.

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Great Graphic Novels (#GGN2021) Nominees Round Up, November 12 Edition

Click here to see all of the current Great Graphic Novels nominees along with more information about the list and past years’ selections.

Dragon Hoops by Gene Luen Yang Book Cover
Dragon Hoops by Gene Luen Yang

Dragon Hoops by Gene Luen Yang
First Second / Macmillan
Publication Date: March 17, 2020
ISBN: 9781626720794

Life can be more riveting than fiction, and Dragon Hoops proves that with a stellar biographical look at Gene Luen Yang’s true story of the phenomenal men’s varsity basketball team at Bishop O’Dowd High School in Oakland, CA, where he previously worked. Intermixed with his own life story as a comic book creator, father, and a teacher, Yang shares his love for storytelling and presents it under a new light in this gripping play-by-play of the 2015 season of the Bishop O’Dowd Dragons as they attempt to win it all in the California State Championship.

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Great Graphic Novels (#GGN2021) Nominees Round Up, October 22 Edition

Click here to see all of the current Great Graphic Novels nominees along with more information about the list and past years’ selections.

Superman Smashes the Klan by Gene Luen Yang and Gurihiru
DC Comics
Publication Date: May 12, 2020
ISBN: 9781779504210

In 1946, Lan-Shin (Roberta) Lee and her family move from Chinatown to central Metropolis and attempt to fit in with their neighbors. But when the Klan begins harassing the Lees, Roberta must team up with new friends to help Superman take down the Klan in this smart, action-packed adventure.

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Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers (#QP2021) Nominees Round Up, May 26 Edition

Click here to see all of the current Quick Picks nominees along with more information about the list and past years’ selections.

Dragon Hoops by Gene Luen Yang
First Second / Macmillan
Publication Date: March 17, 2020
ISBN: 978-1626720794

Award winning graphic novelist, Gene Luen Yang, tells the story of the varsity boys basketball team’s quest for a state championship at the high school he taught at before becoming a full-time author. Yang also grapples with his own literary future, as well as offers background about the history of basketball and how it relates to this team’s chances for victory.

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Great Graphic Novels (#GGN2020) Nominees Round Up, November 28 Edition

Click here to see all of the current Great Graphic Novels nominees along with more information about the list and past years’ selections.

Making Friends: Back to the Drawing Board by Kristen Gudsnuk
Scholastic/Graphix
Publication Date: July 30, 2019
ISBN: 9781338139266

In 2018’s Making Friends, seventh-grader Dany discovers a magical notebook among her late aunt’s things that brings whatever is drawn in them to life, including friends, magical rings, and an evil (but good-looking) disembodied head. Making Friends: Back to the Drawing Board takes place soon after the events of the first one, with the gym at Melton Middle School, the location of the final showdown, still a hazard zone. And Dany still struggles with friendships, particularly with Cara, who she describes as “Madison and Aleesha’s friend (not mine).” When Cara tells Dany she’s annoying, Dany actually pays her to pretend to be her friend, but it doesn’t really help. Agonizing over going back to school, Dany decides to create a clone to do it for her. Cloney lives inside of a “pikkiball” (essentially a pokeball) in an amazing room that recalls I Dream of Jeannie, and Dany can stay inside the pikkiball, playing video games and watching Cloney live her life for her. Things become even more complicated when Cloney and Dany break a bottle in the basement while digging out her sister’s old math tests and unleash a magic dog on the town.

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