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Library News

Great Graphic Novels for Teens


Graphic novels are more popular than ever before, and last year saw great additions to this exciting and multifaceted genre. Before we chronicle the interesting book releases of 2020, let's take a look back at some noteworthy graphic novel releases from the past year.

By combining art with storytelling, graphic Novels have the ability to tell many different types of stories in a way that is fun and interesting for all readers. Far from being just about heroes and capes, the following titles take readers from an elementary school classroom to an autumn afterschool job to the pages of your favorite storybooks. Begin your journey by reading below and visiting your local Henrico library.

Guts by Raina Telgemeier – Raina Telgemeier creates autobiographical graphic novels full of school life, family issues, and lots of heart. Guts is another addition to her entertaining library. In this story, Telgemeier recounts her experiences with anxiety as a tween student. Through her recollections, she highlights the struggles that she encountered and tips she used to help herself as a young girl and through the rest of her life. Fans of Svetlana Chmakova, Victoria Jamieson, and Telgemeier’s Sisters and Smile will definitely want to check out this engaging comic.

Pumpkinheads by Rainbow Rowell and Faith Erin Hicks – I love pumpkins, autumn, Halloween, and everything related to them, so Pumpkinheads feels like a story written just for me! As two teen pumpkin patch employees named Deja and Josiah work through various romantic entanglements, they take the reader on a tour of a unique fall tourist attraction. Featuring stations like Gourdy Golf, the Corn Maize, a s’mores pit, a pumpkin slingshot, hayrides, and more, I immediately wished I could have worked at a place as cool as this as a teen.

Cheshire Crossing by Andy Weir and Sarah Andersen – Many readers are familiar with Andy Weir because of his science fiction novel The Martian, and Cheshire Crossing has the same sense of fun and adventure. In this story, the characters of Dorothy (The Wizard of Oz), Alice (Alice in Wonderland), and Wendy (Peter Pan) team up for a tense and magical adventure that all fans of action movies, classic literature, and fairy tales will enjoy. Also featuring cameos from Captain Hook, the Wicked Witch of the West, and a certain magical nanny, Cheshire Crossing is a great pick for readers wishing to stretch their imaginations and reconnect with their favorite classic tales.

The Tea Dragon Festival by Katie O’Neill – Reading and relaxing go hand in hand, and The Tea Dragon Festival is a perfect choice for anyone who is looking to relax with their next comic book experience. In her second story exploring the world of cute and cuddly tea dragons, O’Neill weaves a tale of pure friendship and devotion. The Tea Dragon Festival also features more adorable artwork of the different tea dragon species and their endearing antics. It is the perfect warm winter read for those who prefer their dragons cuddly rather than ferocious.

Ward’s Valley by Bobby Curnow and Brenda Hickey – An old gnome named Ward has lived alone in his peaceful woodland valley for a long time. When a stampede of wild animals arrives and they begin making themselves at home, Ward is shocked and furious. As the story unfolds, however, readers begin to question whether Ward is just being stubborn or if there is a frightening and sinister reason why innocent creatures should not come to the valley. A perfect read for fans of nature stories, fantasy, and gnome combat action! Also available on Hoopla.

The American Dream? A Journey on Route 66 Discovering Dinosaur Statues, Muffler Men, and the Perfect Breakfast Burrito by Shing Yin Khor – The American West is full of beautiful landscapes, interesting wildlife, and iconic natural and historical landmarks. If you travel Route 66 through this part of the country, however, you will also encounter many charming, strange, or unusual attractions that have accumulated throughout the road’s history. In this graphic novel, cartoonist Shing Yin Khor takes to the memorable highway and documents her exciting journey. While telling her story, she relates her experience as an immigrant from Malaysia to the culture of the places she visits. Featuring vivid illustrations of her sights, this selection is excellent for older teens who are eager for road trip experiences of their own. Also available on Hoopla.

Maker Comics: Bake Like a Pro! by Falynn Koch – When I looked at my library’s graphic novel shelf this past year, I did not expect to find a comic that would teach me how to be a better baker. Told as a “fantasy” story about a wizard teaching her apprentice the art of baking, this graphic novel teaches readers all the details that go into baking a perfect cake or other yummy concoction. The lighthearted illustrations of smiling ingredients being added to delicious recipes will inspire you to get started. If you enjoy this comic, pick up another title in the series! Maker Comics has books on auto repair, drawing, and cosplay.

Check out some of these today, and get ready for another fantastic year of graphic novels!

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