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Find more Top 10 Graphic Novels for Youth
As the comics format evolves and matures at an increasingly rapid rate, the opportunity for innovation grows apace. Nowhere is this more evident than in these remarkable graphic novels, all reviewed in Booklist over the past 12 months.
Adventures in Cartooning: How to Turn Your Doodles into Comics. By James Sturm and others. Illus. by the authors. 2009. Roaring Brook/First Second, paper, $12.95 (9781596433694). K–Gr. 5.
This innovative comic provides a primer on the conventions of sequential storytelling for youngsters and a rip-roaring adventure quest to boot.
Bayou, v.1. By Jeremy Love. Illus. by the author. 2009. DC Comics/Zuda, paper, $14.99 (9781401223823). Gr. 9–12.
Set in the Jim Crow–era Deep South, this historical fantasy chronicles a young girl’s harrowing journey into a dark otherworld in an effort to save her father from a lynch mob.
The Color of Earth. By Kim Dong Hwa. Illus. by the author. 2009. Roaring Brook/First Second, paper, $16.95 (9781596434585). Gr. 10–12.
The opening volume to a lyrical and exquisitely visualized manhwa trilogy, this book begins the emotional and sexual maturation of a young girl and shows how her story mirrors her mother’s love life.
The Eternal Smile. By Gene Luen Yang. Illus. by Derek Kirk Kim. 2009. Roaring Brook/First Second, paper, $16.95 (9781596431560). Gr. 9–12.
Yang and Kim collaborate in this trio of stories, each with strikingly different visual styles but united by deft, dramatic reversals and portrayals of the potency of imagination.
Gunnerkrigg Court: Orientation. By Thomas Siddell. Illus. by the author. 2009. Archaia Studios, $26.95 (9781932386349). Gr. 6–12.
This first volume collecting Siddell’s delightfully enigmatic webcomic follows Antimony Carver’s escapades in a peculiar boarding-school/industrial-complex, which churns out oddities and deep intrigue with equal measure.
Meanwhile. By Jason Shiga. Illus. by the author. 2010. Abrams/Amulet, $15.95 (9780810984233). Gr. 4–9.
Shiga’s mad-scientist take on the choose-your-own-adventure concept first asks readers to decide between a vanilla or chocolate ice-cream cone, and soon demands that they choose wisely lest they annihilate all life on earth.
Mercury. By Hope Larson. Illus. by the author. 2010. Atheneum, $17.99 (9781416935858). Gr. 9–12.
Gentle doses of magic realism help tell dual stories set in the same town, one of Josey in 1859 and the other of her descendant, Tara, in 2009. A powerful look at the ways past touches present as well as a unique coming-of-age story.
Pluto, v.1. By Naoki Urasawa and Osamu Tezuka. Illus. by Naoki Urasawa. 2009. VIZ Media, paper, $12.99 (9781421519180). Gr. 10–12.
Urasawa takes a story arc from Tezuka’s classic Astro Boy manga and reimagines it as sci-fi noir, as Detective Gesicht is called on to investigate the murders of the most powerful robots on earth.
The Secret Science Alliance and the Copycat Crook. By Eleanor Davis. Illus. by the author. 2009. Bloomsbury, $18.99 (9781599901428). Gr. 4–6.
An unlikely group of friends united by their love of gadgetry team up against a sneaky villain in this edifying celebration of smarts and science.
The Storm in the Barn. By Matt Phelan. Illus. by the author. 2009. Candlewick, $24.99 (9780763636180). Gr. 5–8.
A young boy weathers the resolve-crumbling inertia of the Dust Bowl and screws up his courage to take on the menace lurking in the barn in this masterful homage to storytelling.
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