In this graphic memoir, a standalone companion to Hey, Kiddo! (2018), Krosoczka recalls the summer he spent as a counselor at a camp for critically ill children, teens and their families. While at camp, he makes strong personal connections with the campers, his fellow counselors, and the adults who work there. He also comes to understand some of the complexities of life, illness, and death and how art can make a difference in the world.
Teens frequently seek coming-of-age stories which elicit strong emotional responses, and Sunshine certainly produces those feelings without becoming didactic or sentimental. Krosoczka deftly balances the difficult realities of Camp Sunshine with his own ever-changing perspectives of life and art. Of particular note in this memoir are Krosoczka’s unique illustrations. A limited color palette of gray and orange with the occasional splash of yellow helps to capture his multifaceted thoughts and memories from that time. The photographs, newspaper articles, and drawings that open the chapters add authenticity to Krosoczka’s experiences.
Teens who have already read Hey, Kiddo! will want to read more about Krosoczka’s life in this story. This graphic memoir will also be popular with teens who read novels and watch films like Me and Earl and the Dying Girlby Jesse Andrews, The Fault in Our Stars by John Green, and Five Feet Apart by Rachel Lippencott. Recommend this book to younger teens who have read Sharon Draper’sOut of My Heart or Rob Harrell’sWink.
Other Nominated Titles
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 feature a review of one of the officially nominated titles. Additional titles to receive this designation are listed as well. At year’s end, the team will curate a final list from all nominated titles and select a Top Ten.
In the Wild Light by Jeff Zentner; narrated by Michael Crouch Listening Library Release date: August 8, 2021 ISBN: 9780593399040
Cash and his friend Delaney are barely surviving in their small Appalachian town. Cash is being raised by his grandparents after his mother succumbed to opioid addiction, and Delaney is running from drug dealers and an unstable home while working at Dairy Queen. A small but profound scientific discovery by Delaney gives her leverage to earn them both places at a prestigious boarding school. Cash is torn between going and leaving behind the grandparents who have raised him and grabbing the otherwise unattainable opportunities the scholarship would give him. Convinced by Delaney to go to the new school, he discovers his inner poet, and goes through many coming of age experiences.
In the Shadow of the Fallen Towers: The Seconds, Minutes, Hours, Days, Weeks, Months, and Years after the 9/11 Attacks by Don Brown Etch/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publication Date: August 10. 2021 ISBN: 978-0-358-22357-3
Award winning author and illustrator Don Brown takes a look at the infamous 9/11 attacks and explores the tragic events of that day and its far-reaching, worldwide effects. This graphic novel encompasses the story of that day and beyond, incorporating personal stories with compelling illustrations.
Brown has managed to tell a complex story in a simplified and focused way that has the reader turning the pages quickly. The emotion of the day and the immediate aftermath is felt deeply, while moving on to the hope of recovery and the investigation into the attack’s origins. This is an easily accessible way for the reader to satisfy any curiosity surrounding that fateful day in our recent American history.
Click here to see all of the current Amazing Audiobooks nominees along with more information about the list and past years’ selections.
The Virtue of Sin by Shannon Schuren; Narrated by Erin Spencer and Kirby Heybourne Audio Published by Listening Library Publication Date: June 25, 2019 ISBN: 978-1984890665
The Virtue of Sin by Shannon Schuren tells the story of 16-year-old Miriam and Caleb who live in a place called New Jerusalem, a haven in the desert far away from the sins and depravity of the outside world led by its founder and leader: Daniel. The events revolve around the Matrimony ceremony in which each 16-year-old boy will say the name of their wife as God has told them. But the Matrimony ceremony goes wrong, the aftermath will shake the foundations of New Jerusalem. The story follows Miriam and Caleb as they discover more about New Jerusalem, Daniel, and the truth of their world.
Congratulations on Hey, Kiddo being nominated for multiple awards! As a reader, I particularly loved your chapter heading pages with all their fascinating details. As the creator, do you have a favorite page or panel in this book?
Thank you so much! My favorite aspect of an illustrated book is the page turn. It’s something that you really can only experience once the book is printed and in your hands. I just love that moment when you turn the pages and watch the story visually unfold. So…my most favorite page-turn in HEY, KIDDO is that scene when preschool Jarrett is struggling with the assignment to draw his family, and then in that moment when you turn the page, a double-page spread reveals the portrait drawn in crayon.
Super Late Bloomer: My Early Days in Transition, An Up and Out Collection by Julia Kaye Andrews McMeel Publishing Publication Date: May 1, 2018 ISBN: 9781449489625
Some people chronicle their lives in written journals, but for artist Julia Kaye expressing her emotions on the page came in a different form. When she started her gender transition in 2016, she found a way to chronicle her journey through the art of webcomics. This inspirational true life adventure follows all the ups and downs she went through during that time.