Award-winning author Minh Lê and illustrator Chan Chau collaborated to produce Enlighten Me, a graphic novel for young readers. After he is threatened with disciplinary action at school following a fight, Bihn and his family travel to Three Jewels Mountain Retreat for meditation exercises. Binh Bui, a Vietnamese boy, is taunted for eating cat and takes on the school bully. Thinking he is a hero, like those he sees in his video games, Binh is confused by the reaction of his parents and his vice principal. While at Three Mountains, Binh learns from the teachings of Sister Peace about the diamond of knowledge that grantsRead More →

Megan Wagner Lloyd and Michelle Mee Nutter have collaborated to create a graphic novel for middle grade readers. Squished features eleven-year-old Avery Annie Lee who lives in Hickory Valley, Maryland, with her six other siblings. Squished for time, space, and a little peace and quiet to perform her artwork, Avery decides to raise the money needed to build a bedroom in the basement. After trying dog walking and a lemonade stand, Avery realizes that money-making carries its own challenges. Soon, Avery earns that her family might be moving to Oregon. Distressed by all of the change in her life, she pitches a fit and threatensRead More →

Despite the prologue, this graphic novel (Messy Roots by Laura Gao) isn’t about the pandemic. The beautiful color pages of the first chapter describe what this book is really about: freedom and roots. Two concepts that can seem like opposites but that blend together in a beautiful combination in this book. Opening her story with her childhood in Wuhan, Gao makes it easy to see how different her adolescence in Texas is from her early years. As a child transplanted to the US at a young age, Gao quickly learns the importance of fitting in. She changes her Chinese name for the American “Laura” andRead More →

Set on Wilneff Island in Nova Scotia, Molly Knox Ostertag’s graphic novel The Girl from the Sea revolves around the life of fifteen-year-old Morgan Kwon.  Morgan likes to keep her life tucked neatly into boxes, but she finds that plan unraveling when she meets Keltie. Keltie brings a sort of wild, chaotic, fairy-tale magic to Morgan’s otherwise grounded life. Keltie is a selkie, a seal who transforms into a human to walk on land for a period of time.  It is Morgan’s kiss that provides the magic for the transformation. But Morgan wants to keep that part of her life hidden from her friends Serena, Lizzie,Read More →

With Heartstopper, Alice Oseman has created a heart-warming story of friendship that grows beyond those simple bounds, and the pictures in this graphic novel are as telling as its words. A drummer and mathematics wizard who is better at virtual sports than real ones, Charlie Spring is a sophomore at Truham School for Boys in England.  With the start of the new school year, he is seated next to a young man who is a year older and a star of the rugby team: Nicolas Nelson. When Nick sees the speed at which Charlie can run, he invites him to join the rugby team.  However,Read More →

When they were fifth graders, May Harper—a budding writer—and Libby Deaton—a budding artist, created Princess X.  “A blue-haired girl in a puff-sleeved princess dress, wearing a big gold crown and red sneakers” (3), Princess X was born on a sidewalk as chalk art, but the two girls took her home and built an imaginary empire—filling notebooks and sketchbooks with her adventures.  “The princess became their alter ego, their avatar, their third best friend” (8). Several years later, as the girls were entering high school, Libby and her mother were in a mysterious car accident.  Separated from her best friend, May couldn’t shake the dream that toldRead More →

When Greg Heffley from The Diary of a Wimpy Kid series gets to high school, his journal may look a lot like Larkin Pace’s hilarious blog in Rick Detorie’s (One Big Happy) The Accidental Genius of Weasel High. Larkin is 14 and a typical freshman tech geek: introverted and height-challenged; not comfortable with girls, jocks, or popular kids; wishing he was cooler than he is; has every classic Hollywood film memorized and can recite movie dialog on a dime; a small group of likewise oddball friends; and a family he’d rather escape from that claim relation to.  But Larkin knows he will be the nextRead More →

At the start of their junior year at Georgia O’Keefe School for the Arts (aka Fashion High), Chloe, Mackenzie, Isabel and Erika are best friends. But over the couse of the year their friendship is seriously tested as each girl faces a variety of personal challenges and has to make hard choices about who she is, what she wants, and what’s important to her.    The story is told through Chloe’s illustrated journal as she looks back over a year that has altered the rules of their friendships and their social standing at school. Trying to make sense of everything that’s happened, the story chronicles the trust,Read More →

Tales from Outer Suburbia is a collection of short stories, in which we meet an exchange student who’s really an alien, a secret room that becomes the perfect place for a quick escape, a typical tale of grandfatherly exaggeration that is actually even more bizarre than he says – it’s an assortment of the odd and magical details  that are brought to life in mesmerizing and fantastic illustrations. Combining the amazing drawing style from his bestseller, The Arrival,with eloquent prose, Shaun Tan weaves a scrapbook tapestry of our modern world that is at times both strangely familiar and unbelievable.  My favorite story is “The Nameless Holiday” whereRead More →