Great Graphic Novels (#GGN2022) Featured Review of The Dire Days of Willowweep Manor by Shaenon K. Garrity and Christopher Baldwin

Dire Days Cover Art

The Dire Days of Willowweep Manor by Shaenon K. Garrity and Christopher Baldwin 
Margaret K. McElderry Books / Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: July 20, 2021
ISBN: 9781534460874

After jumping into the river to rescue a handsome young man on a dark and stormy night, Haley wakes in Willowweep Manor, a gothic mansion like those in her favorite books. She learns that the manor—and its caretaker brothers—are the only things keeping evil at bay in the “real world.” Together with this sibling trio, Haley must channel her knowledge of literary tropes to save Willowweep from an evil slime bent on destruction, all while becoming the hero of her own story.

Continue reading Great Graphic Novels (#GGN2022) Featured Review of The Dire Days of Willowweep Manor by Shaenon K. Garrity and Christopher Baldwin

Great Graphic Novels (#GGN2021) Nominees Round Up, June 4 Edition

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

Astronauts: Women on the Final Frontier by Jim Ottaviani and Maris Wicks
First Second / Macmillan
Publication Date: February 4, 2020
ISBN: 9781626728776

A lightly fictionalized memoir of Dr. Mary Cleave is used as a framework in this graphic nonfiction title that presents stories of early female astronauts and cosmonauts. Cleave was a member of the 1980 class of NASA astronauts, served as CapCom (Capsule Communications) for five space shuttle missions, went to space twice as a mission specialist in 1985 and 1989, and eventually ran NASA’s science program. This title shows how Cleave’s road to space was paved by Valentina Tereshkova, the first woman in space; the Mercury 13, women who passed all the astronaut medical exams but were not allowed to join NASA; the first mixed gender and racially diverse NASA astronaut class of 1978; and many more, including legendary Star Trek actress and NASA recruiter, Nichelle Nichols. 

Continue reading Great Graphic Novels (#GGN2021) Nominees Round Up, June 4 Edition

OUTspoken: Teen Graphic Novels for Pride Month

Though Pride month recently wrapped up, the need for these titles lasts all year. These positive, inclusive graphic novels span many genres (contemporary, fantasy, mystery, memoir) and include LGBTQia* characters just going about their business, whether that be going to school, finding love, solving crimes, rescuing princesses, or reaping souls. Of course, this is not an exhaustive list – add your favorites in the comments below!

*lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersexual, asexual

Continue reading OUTspoken: Teen Graphic Novels for Pride Month

Women in Comics: 2016 Eisner Award Nominations

eisnerawards_logo_13It’s that time of year again! The 2016 Eisner Award nominations have been announced and the list includes a ton of great female creators. So many, in fact, that there are too many for a single post. Rather than try to talk about all of these great comics, this post focuses on the nominees that will have the greatest appeal among teens and other fans of young adult literature.

BandetteBandette by Paul Tobin and Colleen Coover has once again earned a double nomination in both Best Digital/Webcomic and Best Continuing Series. This is an extremely fun series that follows a thief with a heart of gold on her adventures. Two volumes are currently available, Presto! (which was on YALSA’s Great Graphic Novels 2014 list) and Stealers Keepers! Also on the list for a second year in a row is Noelle Stevenson’s Nimona, which is nominated in the Best Graphic Album-Reprint. This one also qualifies for the currently ongoing 2016 Hub Challenge, so check it out now if you are participating!

Squirrel GirlAlso nominated in the Best Continuing Series category is Giant Days by John Allison, Lissa Treiman, and Max Sarin, a series that follows a group of friends through their lives at college. The irreverent and off-beat stories are hugely entertaining and have so far been collected in two volumes. For more college adventures, but with a superhero twist, The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl by Ryan North and Erica Henderson, which was nominated for Best New Series, follows Doreen Green as she tries to balance her life as a secret superhero with college life.

SuperMutant Magic AcademyThis year’s nominees in both the Best Publication for Kids (9-12) and the Best Publication for Teens (13-17) include a wealth of great titles by women, all of which are well worth checking out. Of particular note, Baba Yaga’s Assistant by Marika McCoola with art by Emily Carroll is an updated take on the Baba Yaga folk tale and is sure to appeal to those who enjoy creepy artwork and a modern take on familiar stories. Awkward by Svetlana Chmakova is also a great book that will have wide appeal. It tells the universal story of trying to fit in and make friends at a new school. Fans of This One Summer by Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki will also be excited to see that Jillian Tamaki’s newest work, SuperMutant Magic Academy has been nominated. These offbeat comics are all set at a boarding school that is slightly reminiscent of Hogwarts, but even more weird and hilarious.

silent_voice_1In the category of Best U.S. Edition of International Material-Asia, both A Silent Voice by Yoshitoki Oima and A Bride’s Story by Kaoru Mori made the list. These series have both earned YALSA recognition in the past as well and should definitely be in your Manga collection. As an added bonus, A Silent Voice qualifies for the 2016 Hub Challenge, so you have no excuse not to start reading it now! Continue reading Women in Comics: 2016 Eisner Award Nominations

2016 Hub Challenge Check-in #10

Not signed up for YALSA’s 2016 Hub Reading Challenge? Read the official rules and sign up on the original post. Anything you’ve read since the awards were announced counts, and the challenge runs until 11:59pm on June 23, so sign up now!

the hub 2016 reading challenge

My Challenge reading has slowed down in recent weeks due to other titles demanding my attention (book club picks, adult nonfiction, and recommendations from patrons), but we’ve got over two months still to read, so I’m feeling good about my progress. The most recent titles I’ve finished are Mike Mullin’s Ashfall, and Lumberjanes, Vol. 2: Friendship to the Max. Continue reading 2016 Hub Challenge Check-in #10

Women in Comics: Even More Superheroes

Image of Wonder Woman by ErikaWittlieb. Licensed with a CC0 license.
Image by ErikaWittlieb. CC0.

Shortly after I first started writing this series of posts on female-created comics, I wrote a post that highlighted some of the best superhero comics created by women, but since that time some great new comics have debuted featuring female superheroes written and/or drawn by female creators. This post will help you find a brand new superhero for all your reading (and maybe even cosplaying!) needs. Continue reading Women in Comics: Even More Superheroes

2016 Hub Challenge Check-in #2

Not signed up for YALSA’s 2016 Hub Reading Challenge? Read the official rules and sign up on the original post. Anything you’ve read since the awards were announced counts, so sign up now!

Welcome to the second check-in for the 2016 Hub Reading Challenge! As always, there are some great books eligible for the Challenge this year, which makes it easy to get excited about participating!

the hub 2016 reading challenge

Continue reading 2016 Hub Challenge Check-in #2

One Thing Leads to Another: An Interview with Noelle Stevenson

Can you have a black Walter White or a female Lex Luthor without making an uncomfortable political statement? Can you have a epic, doomed gay love story like Titanic where you’re not just playing into the tired “tragic gays” trope? Can the character lose a fight dramatically and it not be seen as them being inherently less competent or valuable?

Check out previous interviews in the One Thing Leads to Another series here.

In the grand scheme of things I’m a relatively new member of the fan club.  Other than sort of intermittently following Looking for Group, I wasn’t clued in to the wonders of web comics until a friend linked me to a random (and perfect) comment about Sky High, which lead to me poking around on tumblr and finding this and this and this.  And this.  I joined immediately, for the pop cultural references, social commentary, comics and, of course, Nimona.  You probably should too, if you haven’t already.  The intermittent Scooby-Doo commentary alone is worth it.

And now here we are, a couple of years later, and Nimona is a real book that I can give to So Many People this holiday season (who are hopefully not reading this intro where I just spoiled their gift) and Noelle Stevenson has won a couple Eisners and been short-listed for the National Book Award (the first ever web comic to be nominated.) Nimona and Lumberjanes have already starting popping up on multiple end-of the year Best lists, including nominations for YALSA’s 2015 Great Graphic Novels for Teens, Quick Picks, and Popular Paperbacks honors.  Not to mention her work on Wander Over Yonder, Runaways (!!!), and in various anthologies (teenage Wonder Woman! Goddess of Thunder!)  In other words, if you haven’t had the pleasure, do yourself a favor.  Seriously.  I dare you to read the interview below or to check out any of Noelle’s work and not go full fangirl or fanguy immediately.  It’s impossible.  

Thank you, Noelle, for your Twitter feed, for making me cry when Nimona [redacted], for your generosity and vulnerability below and on tumblr.  Being a confused woolly little person wandering around making bad weird choices is a lot more fun when you have Nimona and April (and Ballister and Mal and Ripley and…) to keep you company. 

Always Something There to Remind Me

noelleauthorphoto, credit Leslie RannePlease describe your teenage self.

I was homeschooled for half of being a teenager and in public high school/college for the rest! It meant that I went from being THE COOLEST homeschooler to being this weirdly overconfident drama club kid who carried a lunchbox, was the only girl in school with short hair, and wore skirts over pants. I was a very try-hard teen who somehow didn’t really care what people thought of me, in practice. I made arm warmers out of socks and had no idea how to apply liquid eyeliner.

What did you want to be when you grew up? Why?

I wanted to be an artist, then I wanted to be a singer. Then I wanted to be an artist again. Then I wanted to be an actress and an artist at the same time. Then I wanted to be an actress, and artist and a writer. Eventually I dropped the actress part. For a short time I wanted to be an architect but then my mom told me it involved math and I changed my mind.

What were your high school years like? 

Like I said, I was homeschooled until I was 15, so I was pretty self-directed. I didn’t have a terrible time in high school as much as just being kind of…apathetic about it. It felt like a waste of time, so I made connections with the librarians and the art teacher and the drama club and I’d use those to get out of class all the time and go do my own thing. I cut class kind of a lot, actually. I felt a little like a ghost at public high school, but not in a bad way — it was kind of by design. I knew I’d only be there for two years and I had all these other plans. In the end, I’m really glad I did go to that school, because my art teacher was amazing. She was very overworked and basically taught 2-3 classes simultaneously, like literally at the same time in the same room, but she fought really hard to keep the IB Art track when the school was trying to slash it even when there were only 3 of us. She had the art school recruiters come visit the class and that’s pretty much how I figured out how to get to art school. She was really important in my life. I called her ‘Mom’ once, in front of my actual mom.

What were some of your passions during that time? 

I loved theater. We went to a ton of plays — my favorite ones were at the local university black box, but we went to ones at the bigger playhouses too sometimes. I was really into Sweeney Todd (the movie) at the time so we bought tickets to Sweeney Todd (the play) when it came to town. That one was a big deal! I loved movies in general, going to movies was probably my favorite thing to do. We had friends at the local art house movie theater too so we’d go there because they’d let us in for free. Maybe I was a pretentious teen?? I don’t remember being pretentious but I probably was. I loved reading and I’d hang out at the Barnes & Noble across the street from my school all the time — I read a lot of sci-fi and fantasy, or I’d just admire the illustrations in the kids’ picture books. I’d even take my friends there and do like, dramatic readings, and pretend to be an art critic while looking at all the book covers. I really, really wanted to have written the books on the shelves there. That store was the first place I went when I was home to see my books on display. It felt pretty good.

Would you be willing to share a difficult teen experience or challenge that you feel shaped the adult you became?

I was a really introverted kid, and a pretty cautious one. I was afraid of everything. I loved routine and I loved being safe and comfortable — I was a major homebody. I’d probably still be that person if I didn’t have the family I did. My family was really extroverted and adventurous, for the most part. We traveled a lot and I was always miserable. I was incapable of enjoying the awesome places we visited until much later. Then one time we were hiking in a rainforest in Guatemala and my parents decided to take us ziplining?? I swear I remember our guide having a wooden leg although I have no idea if that’s true or I made that up. Anyway, I was definitely NOT down for this. We had to climb waaaaay up in these skinny trees and onto these really rickety platforms, and THEN you had to stand on a box to make the jump. And I was like, no. My family was always pressuring me into doing stuff like this to me and I was never down for it. They got me up on the box somehow and I looked and there was NO way I was jumping. Not a chance. And I never would’ve jumped, seriously, except suddenly my mom just straight-up pushed me off the platform. Like she just threw me out of a tree. And I was fine! And I was ziplining! And I had a lot of fun!! As I grew up I stopped thinking that everything was going to kill me and I started thinking more like, well, I could die, but I probably won’t, so I might as well give it a try. It’s weird, but it’s the only way I am where I am now. Sometimes you have to just take a risk and jump. Or else your mom will throw you out of a tree. Continue reading One Thing Leads to Another: An Interview with Noelle Stevenson

2015 Young Adult Services Symposium Preconference: Panels & Pages

YALSA’s 2015 Young Adult Services Symposium included a pre-conference session on using graphic novels to inspire programming, recommended titles, a discussion with comics creators Terry Blas, Faith Erin Hicks, Mariko Tamaki, Gene Luen Yang, Leila del Duca, Joe Keatinge, and a discussion with teachers who use graphic novels in classroom instruction.


Robin Brennar, Teen Librarian and runs No Flying No Tights website, was our moderator.

First, librarians Cara and Emily talked about graphic novel readers advisory and using graphic novels in teen programming:

Who is your Batman?

Comic books always change. Your Batman may be different from your teens’ Batman. Lego Batman may be the Batman that resonates most with your teens! Keep this in mind when you do readers advisory and programming, your ideas and tastes may not match theirs. Continue reading 2015 Young Adult Services Symposium Preconference: Panels & Pages

Journey Through the 2015 National Book Award Longlisters

NBA2015Happy almost-Halloween, Hubbers! The leaves are changing, it’s cooling down (even in Arizona where I just was – it was 90 degrees! Brr!), and it’s my favorite time of the year. But, on to the books! Over the next couple of months, I thought I’d focus on the National Book Awards longlist for Young People’s Literature – although, due to my trip, I wasn’t able to get as much reading done as I’d have liked. But, we’ll start small this month, and I’ll be working my way through the longlist over these cold & rainy months to come. This month, I’m focusing on 3 books that are fun, interesting and perfect books for all the teens in your life. I know they’ve announced the finalists by now, but I thought it would be fun to celebrate all of the great books that made the longlist since they are all winners to me! Here we go…

Continue reading Journey Through the 2015 National Book Award Longlisters