The Leak by Kate Reed Petty and Andrea Bell First Second / Macmillan Publication Date: March 16, 2021 ISBN: 9781250217950
Middle school student Ruth Keller is an aspiring news reporter who questions authority at every turn. When she discovers a strange black substance on the banks of her favorite lake, she throws herself into an investigation. As the pieces of the puzzle start to come together, Ruth thinks she has all the answers, but this story is going to put everything she thinks she knows about journalism to the test. When the spotlight finally shines on Ruth, she is forced to consider tough decisions that may impact her reputation as a reporter and even her closest relationships.
The Leak is a compelling title for younger readers with strong middle school appeal. The narrative is excellent at both showing and telling the reader how to evaluate information without sacrificing the story. While Ruth’s investigation is at the heart of the book, she is also navigating changing relationships with family, friends, and a possible romantic interest. She is dismissed and lectured to by some adults, and readers will relate to her frustrations when it seems like no one is listening to or respecting her.
Click here to see all of the current Great Graphic Novels nominees along with more information about the list and past years’ selections.
Drifting Dragons, vol. 1–5 by Taku Kuwabara Kodansha Comics Publication Date: December 17, 2019; December 17, 2019; February 18, 2020; April 3, 2020; August 25, 2020 ISBN: 9781632368904, 9781632369444, 9781632369451, 9781632369512, 9781632369529
Drifting Dragons is a historical fantasy and cooking manga that chronicles the daily life and adventures of the crew of a draking (dragon-hunting) airship. The Quin Zaza is introduced as one of the few draking ships still in operation in this world, and the crew has no port to call home. They follow the dragons and sell the meat, oil, and other byproducts to the locals wherever they are after a successful hunt. The series features a large ensemble cast, but the main characters are Takita, a young woman who is new to the ship and the draking world, and Mika, a brazen man whose driving motivation is how much he enjoys eating dragons. Mika’s appetite leads to many scenes of food preparation and chapters often end with a recipe.
Crush by Svetlana Chmakova Yen Press Publication Date: October 31, 2018 ISBN: 9780316363235
Jorge has a plan worked out for surviving middle school: stay close to his two best friends, Olivia and Garrett, avoid drama, and definitely don’t crush on anyone. Quiet and studious, Jorge prefers to stay on the sidelines, but he will use his size to protect others from bullying. One day, he notices his classmate Jasmine–really notices her. Does it mean he likes her? What if she doesn’t like him back? What should he do? Suddenly Jorge’s world is turned upside down as he has to navigate his own feelings and the revelation that Jasmine already has a boyfriend.
Crush by Svetlana Chmakova JY Publication Date: October 30, 2018 ISBN: 978-0316363242
No one wants to mess with Jorge Ruiz. Even though he is the biggest kid at Berrybrooke Middle School, Jorge doesn’t want to fight. In fact, he uses his size to help protect other kids from bullying. He just wants to play baseball and hang out with his two best friends, Olivia and Garrett. Middle school isn’t so bad for Jorge . . . until he realizes he has massive crush on shy, sweet Jazmine. Suddenly he is unable to speak, or even think, whenever she is around. And when Garrett wants to spend more time with the jerky football boys, and Olivia doesn’t want to be around Garrett anymore, Jorge doesn’t know how he will survive all the drama of middle school.
The Backstagers. By James Tynion IV. Illus. by Rian Sygh. 2017. BOOM! Studios, $14.99 (9781608869930). Jory, a new student at an all-boys school, feels left out of school life until he stumbles upon the backstage crew of the drama club and the mysterious tunnels they keep watch over.
Black Hammer, Volume 1: Secret Origins. By Jeff Lemire. Illus. by Dean Ormston. 2017. Dark Horse, $14.99 (9781616557867). Abraham Slam, Golden Gail, Colonel Weird, Madame Dragonfly, and Barbalien are trapped! In their old lives they were superheroes, but because of a strange occurrence in their multiverse they are thrust into life in a rural town from which they cannot escape.
Brave. By Svetlana Chmakova. Illus. by the author. 2017. Yen Press, $11.00 (9780316363189). Jensen, a daydreaming artist obsessed with sunspots and NASA, navigates middle school, bullies and math!
I Am Alfonso Jones. By Tony Medina. Illus. by Stacey Robison and John Jennings. 2017. Tu Books, $18.95 (9781620142639). Fifteen year old Alfonso Jones is shot by the police while shopping for a suit, and his loved ones and classmates are left behind to address his death and the larger issue of police brutality.
Jonesy. By Sam Humphries. Illus. by Caitlin Rose Boyle. Jonsey’s superpower is that she can make anyone fall in love with anything… except herself!
Middle school is the time of greatest change for teens. It is when you go from from 11 to 12-years-old to becoming an actual teenager. It is a time changing friendships and changing bodies, becoming more aware of yourself and of others. It is a time when identity is being explored, but also a time of growing empathy and sense of social justice. Books about the middle school experience are tricky to categorize, some speak to the younger side and some to the older, and choosing books for middle schoolers can be difficult because they are reading everything.
It’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.
Bandette 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!
Also 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.
This 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.
In 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