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February 1, 2016 BOOKLIST
Find more Top 10 Graphic Novels for Youth
Selected with the help of graphic-novel contributing reviewers, the following titles, all reviewed within the last 12 months, are the best of a year that has seen some intriguing changes in graphic-format publishing. Though none of this year’s best are for young children, a glance at the reviews in this issue provides reassurance that comics for that audience are gaining importance.
The Arrival. By Shaun Tan. Illus. by the author. 2007. Scholastic/Arthur A. Levine, $19.99 (0-439-89529-4). Gr. 6–12.
Surreal, amazingly detailed sepia-tone images in panels and double-page spreads burst with strong visual metaphors that speak to both the personal and universal immigrant experience—without using a single word.
The Castaways. By Rob Vollmar. Illus. by Pablo G. Callejo. Rev. ed. 2007. NBM/ComicLit, $17.95 (9781561634927). Gr. 6–9.
Vollmar’s heart-tugging, powerfully visualized view of the Depression unfolds through the eyes of a 13-year-old white boy, who finds a friend and mentor in an old black tramp.
Good as Lily. By Kim Derek Kirk. Illus. by Jesse Hamm. 2007. DC Comics/Minx, paper, $9.99 (9781401213817). Gr. 10–12.
Successfully tackling a tough task with precision, Kirk and Hamm depict Korean American Grace as a child, a teen, and an elderly woman—at the same time.
Houdini: The Handcuff King. By Jason Lutes. Illus. by Nick Bertozzi. 2007. Hyperion, $16.99 (9780786839025). Gr. 6–9.
Clean, straightforward storytelling and crisp black-and-white art characterize this stunning thumbnail profile of the proud, obsessed, and fascinating showman.
King Lear. By Gareth Hinds. Illus by the author. 2007. TheComic.com, paper, $15.95 (9781893131064). Gr. 7–10.
Using ink drawings washed in watercolor, Hinds gives Shakespeare’s tragedy an otherworldly aspect that reflects the emotional content of the classic as well as its powerful, dramatic battle scenes.
. By Cecil Castellucci. Illus. by Jim Rugg. 2007. DC Comics/Minx, paper, $9.99 (9781401211158).
YA novelist Castellucci calls up themes from popular teen fiction for her story of four girls who shake up the complacent town where they live. Rugg’s crisp, fresh-looking art catches all the nuances.
Re-Gifters. By Mike Carey. Illus. by Sonny Liew and Mark C. Hempel. 2007. DC Comics/Minx, paper, $9.99 (9781401203719). Gr. 7–9.
Korean American Dixie falls hard for a handsome guy in her hapkido class, but is he the right boy for her? The power and fluidity of martial-arts maneuvers and the emotional angst of a teenage crush are in perfect accord in artwork that fleshes out a resonant, well-told story.
Robot Dreams. By Sara Varon. Illus. by the author. 2007. Roaring Brook/First Second, paper, $16.95 (1-59643-108-3). Gr. 6–12.
The refreshingly quirky pairing of a dog and robot will pull readers into this nearly wordless journey, which traces the age-old cycles of friendship.
Satchel Paige: Striking Out Jim Crow. By James Sturm. 2007. Illus. by Rich Tommaso. Hyperion, $16.99 (0-7868-3900-7). Gr. 6–12.
The excitement of the game of baseball and the racist climate of the 1940s are vividly evoked in a story of fictional ballplayer Emmett Wilson, whose encounter with Satchel Paige enables him to deal with the discrimination he faces himself.
Stuck in the Middle: Seventeen Comics from an Unpleasant Age. Ed. by Ariel Schrag. 2007. illus. Viking, paper, $18.99 (9780670062218). Gr. 7–10.
How bad was it in junior high? Seventeen contemporary comics artists look back at the torture, torment, and wild enthusiasms of their teens in an anthology for readers facing adolescence as well as those already on the other side.
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