Comics Are For Everyone

Tina Lerno, Librarian, Digital Content Team,
Author Jerry Craft and his book New Kid
Author Jerry Craft and his award winning book: Photo credit Hollis King

I love comics and graphic novels and have been reading them since, well, forever. So it just warms my little librarian heart to see so many graphic titles announced at this year's YMAs (Youth Media Awards), or as some of us refer to them, the Librarian Oscars. And, for the first time in its history, the Newbery Medal was awarded to a graphic novel: Jerry Craft's wonderful New Kid.

This is a big deal! Comics have long been absent from literature awards, or not even considered. They have often been thought of by educators and caregivers as "something fun to read at home", but "not real reading," and not worthy of a book report or lesson plan. Why do picture books garner respect for only a short period of time? Why are they thought of as a tool to help children learn to read, but once that child begins reading chapter books and beyond, the legitimacy fades and turns to derision? Hopefully, with this year's YMAs we will see a major shift in that kind of thinking. Below are the graphic novels that won big in 2020.

Graphic Novel Award Winners - 2020:

Additionally, YALSA (Young Adult Library Services Organization) publishes a yearly reading list with a top ten of great graphic novels for teens. The list is a valuable tool for librarians and educators looking to grow their graphic novel collections, and for everyone who wants to find their next favorite read. I had the honor of leading the team of librarians that chose the 2020 list.

We selected titles that reflect the diverse populations we serve, as well as showcasing the ever-growing number of inclusive, and educational books (with pictures!). Check out the top ten or any of these award wining titles from the library today!

YALSA Top Ten Great Graphic Novels For Teens - 2020

Panetta, Kevin

Cosmoknights: Book One
Templer, Hannah

I Was Their American Dream: A Graphic Memoir
Gharib, Malaka

Kiss Number 8
Venable, Colleen A. F.

Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up With Me
Tamaki, Mariko

Simon & Louise
Radigues, Max de

Witch Hat Atelier: Volume 1
Shirahama, Kamome

They Called Us Enemy: A Graphic Novel Memoir
Takei, George

Pumpkinheads: A Graphic Novel
Rowell, Rainbow

The Life of Frederick Douglass: A Graphic Narrative of a Slave's Journey from Bondage to Freedom
Walker, David