Featuring gentle stories of emotional growth to rollicking fantasy adventures to superheroes both mythical and real, these 10
graphic novels for youth, reviewed in Booklist between March 15,
2016, and June 2017, are the cream of the crop. —Sarah Hunter
5 Worlds, v.1: The Sand Warrior. By Mark Siegel and Alexis
Siegel. Illus. by Xanthe Bouma and others. 2017. Random, $18.99
(9781101935866). Gr. 4–7.
An unlikely trio of kid heroes find themselves embroiled in a conflict spanning their five-planet system. Gorgeous artwork, fleshed-out world building, and a riveting plot give this
series starter plenty of verve.
Archie, v. 1. By Mark Waid. Illus. by Fiona Staples and others. 2016. Archie Comics,
$19.99 (9781627388672). Gr. 7–12.
This reboot of classic Archie comics taps into everything that made the original so charming, but its modern look and earnest sensibility give it exceptionally fresh, bracing new life.
Benny and Penny in How to Say Goodbye. By Geoffrey Hayes. Illus. by the author.
2016. TOON, $12.95 (9781935179993). PreS–Gr. 2.
In soft, warm art, the titular mice face the death of a friend. Exploring grief with remarkable subtlety and a deep grasp of children’s emotional complexity, this is an exemplary
installment in a stellar series.
Dog Man. By Dav Pilkey. Illus. by the author. 2016. Scholastic/Graphix, $9.99
(9780545581608). Gr. 1–3.
In classic Pilkey-style mania, a policeman with a dog’s head (long story) becomes the
world’s greatest cop. With doodle-scratch art, potty humor galore, and an unhinged plot,
this will be an unfettered delight for kids.
Faith, v.1: Hollywood and Vine. By Jody Houser. Illus. by Francis Portela and Marguerite
Sauvage. 2016. Valiant, $9.99 (9781682151211). Gr. 8–12.
Faith Herbert, aka Zephyr, is a masterpiece: realistically plus-sized, unabashedly nerdy,
and thrillingly powerful. With great storytelling, vivid characterization, and fantastic art,
this refreshing superhero story is a must-have.
Hilda and the Stone Forest. By Luke Pearson. Illus. by the author. 2016. Flying Eye,
$19.95 (9781909263741). Gr. 2–5.
In Hilda’s fourth adventure, Pearson has dramatically shifted the focus from the blue-haired girl’s lively derring-do to the realistic consequences of her escapades, and the
story’s never been better.
March: Book Three. By John Lewis and Andrew Aydin. Illus. by Nate Powell. 2016. Top
Shelf, $19.99 (9781603094023). Gr. 9–12.
The concluding volume of this award-winning series draws stunning parallels to today’s
political atmosphere while cogently depicting a pivotal moment in history. Worthy of every accolade.
Real Friends. By Shannon Hale. Illus. by LeUyen Pham. 2017. First Second, $12.99
(9781626727854). Gr. 3–6.
Hale’s moving, winsome graphic memoir, dynamically illustrated in Pham’s swooping,
richly hued artwork, gets straight to the heart of the rocky vicissitudes of childhood friendships.
Spill Zone. By Scott Westerfeld. Illus. by Alex Puvilland. 2017. First Second, $22.99
(9781596439368). Gr. 9–12.
In a town infected by a mysterious “spill,” Addison takes clandestine photos of the
spill’s effects for much-needed cash. Gritty art masterfully underscores the eerie horror of
Wonder Woman: The True Amazon. By Jill Thompson. Illus. by the author. 2016. DC Comics, $22.99 (9781401249014). Gr. 9–12.
Amid a sea of recent Wonder Woman content, Thompson’s rises to the top. Remodeled
as a fairy tale and rendered with exquisite expressiveness, this iconic story is transformed from simple heroism to heroic tragedy.
TOP 10 GRAPHIC NOVELS FOR YOUTH ing tale of perseverance captures the spirit of
sportsmanship and its ability to cross cultural
and political boundaries. The story doesn’t
shy away from the persecution faced by the
Tibetan people at the hands of the Chinese,
especially evident in a harrowing sequence
during the Uprising Day protest in 2000.
Mikkelsen’s artwork is clearly and simply rendered in a realistic style using brightly colored
sequential panels, with special emphasis given
to the emotional state of the characters. Includes a forward by the Dalai Lama and an
epilogue with color photos from the competition. —Summer Hayes
Duran Duran, Imelda Marcos, and Me.
By Lorina T. Mapa. Illus. by the author.
Sept. 2017. 140p. Conundrum, paper, $18
(9781772620115). 741.5. Gr. 9–12.
After a phone call brings news of her father’s
death, author-illustrator Mapa returns to the
Philippines to grieve with her mother and extended family. The trip sets off a powerful string
of memories, from her carefree childhood until
her teens, when the People Power Revolution
overthrew the Marcos regime and her family
immigrated to the U.S. Weaving together her
obsession with movies and music, family stories, and the huge cultural shifts taking place
during the 1980s, Mapa captures the excitement of living through a cultural revolution,
the security of growing up in a stable, loving
home, and the emotional anguish that can only
be experienced by a 14-year-old girl listening
to the Police’s “King of Pain” on endless repeat.
Illustrated in a sequential panel layout, the
expressive figures are well served by clean outlines and grayscale palette. Though the small
panels and abundant text can occasionally feel
crowded, the emotion shines through on every
page. Heavily nostalgic and told from an adult
perspective, this will appeal to older teens and
adults. —Summer Hayes
By Fanny Britt. Illus. by Isabelle
Arsenault. Tr. by Christelle Morelli and
Oct. 2017. 160p. Groundwood, $19.95 (9781554988594).
741.5. Gr. 7–10.
Britt and Arsenault follow up their award-winning Jane, the Fox, and Me (2013) with
this moving, gorgeously
illustrated story of a boy
seeking courage and trying to understand the
complicated dynamics between his anxious mother
and alcoholic father.
Louis and his brother,
Truffle, spend a few weeks
at a time with their father in his rural cabin,
which is fun until Dad starts to drink wine
and cry. Back at home with his mom, Louis
crushes hard on a girl in his class, but he can’t
muster up the bravery to say even one word
to her. For Louis, the combination of a con-
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