Graphic Novels and Comics to Enjoy for Black History Month — or anytime!

Thanks to YALSA member Annierra Matthews, a Research Services Librarian at Mercer University, for compiling this collection of excellent graphic novels and comics featuring Black characters and/or produced by Black creators. Click here for the fiction collection she curated earlier this month.

Bingo Love by Tee Franklin, Jenn St.-Onge, Joy San, and Genevieve FT

Bingo Love by Tee Franklin, Jenn St.-Onge, Joy San, and Genevieve FT: Hazel and Mari fall in love with each other at church bingo in ’63. Torn apart by others around them, they can’t be together. Years later, they meet again at bingo and find the bravery to share their love with the world.

Continue reading Graphic Novels and Comics to Enjoy for Black History Month — or anytime!

Great Graphic Novels (#GGN2020) Nominees Round Up, May 23 Edition

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

The Life of Frederick Douglass: A Graphic Narrative of a Slave’s Journey from Bondage to Freedom written by David F. Walker and illustrated by Damon Smyth and Marissa Louise
Ten Speed Press
Publication Date: January 8, 2019
ISBN: 978-0399581441

He was born Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey on a plantation in Maryland. He was born a slave, but after he escaped and chose his own name—Frederick Douglass—he became a public speaker, abolitionist and the most photographed man in the nineteenth century. The story of Frederick Douglass from slavery to celebration by dignitaries from around the world is brought to life in this beautiful graphic novel that both tells his extraordinary story, but also provides readers context in the form of brief vignettes titled “lessons” that show the relation between what Douglass was experiencing and what was happening in the United States and abroad. Writer David F. Walker uses his introduction to inform readers that he wrote the book having Douglass “narrate” it himself by using Douglass’ published works to influence and shape the narrative voice. Thus, readers get a story told as much as possible by Frederick Douglass himself.

Continue reading Great Graphic Novels (#GGN2020) Nominees Round Up, May 23 Edition

13th Documentary Reading List for Teens

Filmmaker Ava DuVernay’s 2016 documentary 13th named after Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution explores race and the criminal justice system. The Thirteenth Amendment outlawed slavery with the exception unless it was a punishment for a crime. This documentary explores how slavery is continuing under the guise of mass incarceration.


Mass incarceration is a social justice issue and racial issue. 13th documentary, which is currently available on Netflix, is a film that is accessible and engaging to teens, and a must for everyone to see. Ava DuVernay has tweeted that public screenings “are allowed by Netflix in a first-of-its-kind general waiver ever made by the company. Show + share.” It is highly discussable. Here are a list of teen-friendly books that explore themes and content further for teen collections:

the-new-jim-crow-mass-incarceration-in-the-age-of-colorblindness  understanding-mass-incarceration-a-peoples-guide-to-the-key-civil-rights-struggle-of-our-time-by-james-william-kilgore  slavery-by-another-name-the-re-enslavement-of-black-people-in-america-from-the-civil-war-to-world-war-ii-by-douglas-a-blackmon

The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander

This explores that even though there has been a lot done to dismantle Jim Crow Laws, “the U.S. criminal justice system functions as a contemporary system of racial control.” It looks at most people who use or sell illegal drugs are white, but in many states 90 percent of those arrested and sent to prison for drug offenses are black or Latino. This in turns means that those incarcerated or on probation or parole are often denied employment, housing, education and public benefits. Written by a civil-rights lawyer, this is an engaging read that teens will appreciate in its readability and arguments.

Understanding Mass Incarceration: A People’s Guide to the Key Civil Rights Struggle of Our Time by James William Kilgore

Much like The New Jim Crow this explores how mass incarceration of African Americans and Latinos is creating a system where civil liberties are being violated through the criminal justice system. This also explores issues of mental illness and gender identification in the criminal justice system, and talks about the debilitating financial pressure that those arrested and their families face from court fees and fines. Teens will appreciate this engaging narrative and introduction to mass incarceration that offers an overview with enough facts and figures. Continue reading 13th Documentary Reading List for Teens

2016 Hub Challenge Check-In #9

Not signed up yet 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 EST on June 23, so sign up now!

the hub 2016 reading challenge

This has not been my most successful Hub Challenge year, due a lot to the 500+ page adult book I’m working on and my discovery that I like video games, but I am trying! I’m a little behind but the two most recent titles that I’ve read I have really enjoyed. First was Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates. I actually started it in February and then put it down. At the time, I wasn’t able to commit my full attention to is and I felt like the book –  which is a letter to his son about police violence, institutional racism, and the joy and pain of African American and black cultures –  deserved more. So I waited a week or two and started again when I had fewer distractions. It’s a very interesting and different for me since I have very little experience with the situations that Coates describes: I’m white and from a relatively privileged background. But I think it’s so important to read outside your experience in order to have empathy, compassion, and just plain knowledge of people different from you. Coates’ writing is lyrical and moving and worth taking time to digest. I hope this book is required reading while also hoping that someday our lives will be such that African American sons won’t need books like this from their fathers. Continue reading 2016 Hub Challenge Check-In #9

2016 Hub Challenge Check-In #4

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!

Hey Hub Challengers, we’re at week four, how are you doing? I’ve gotten a slow start to my reading but I feel it picking up now.

the hub 2016 reading challenge


This week I finished The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B by Teresa Toten. I had a bit of trouble getting into it at first but I’m glad that I stuck it out. It’s the story of Adam, a teen with OCD who has been in treatment and going to group therapy for a little bit when Robyn shows up. He is instantly smitten with her and decides that he must “get better” for her. Apart from his OCD, Adam has a lot more going on in his life: family stress between his mom and stepmom, the threatening letters that his mom is receiving but can’t seem to talk about, plus school and friends. I appreciated learning more about OCD and seeing Adam and his friends getting help when they needed it. Not to be too spoiler-y, but I’m glad that Adam and Robyn’s relationship developed to where it did by the end, and I thought they both acted really maturely.

I also read The Boston Girl by Anita Diamant. This book had been on my to-read list for a while so I was so happy to see it on the Amelia Bloomer list. I unabashedly love the Amelia Bloomer list and am excited about feminist books in general, so I pounced on the opportunity to read this. The book reads as a slice of life narrative of Addie Baum, the daughter of Jewish immigrants in Boston at the beginning of the 20th century. Addie narrates the earlier years of her life to her granddaughter telling her story and dispensing advice along the way. It’s a sweet story and as a Massachusetts resident, it was fun to recognize places around Boston and Cape Ann! Continue reading 2016 Hub Challenge Check-In #4