Saturday, January 19, 2019

Reviews: YA Graphic Novels (CYBILS Award Finalists)

The second set of graphic novels that I read for the CYBILS Award is YA graphic novels. Here are the finalists and my thoughts on them. Again, a number of them have 4.5s from me so our discussion about a winner was a good one.


Hey, Kiddo by Jarret J. Krosoczka WINNER
Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Review: The author's story is poignant: heroin addicted mother, absent father, and I think it's important for teens to hear that that there are all sorts of families out there. He had the advantage of grandparents who raised him with love, compassion, and support. This coming of age memoir is good in its telling of the power of art, friendship, teacher support, and belief in ones self. While we hear of his mother's bad decisions and behaviors, they do not dominate and we see that the author's passion for drawing is supported by those around him. 


Quince by Kit and Emma Steinkellner and Sebastian Kadlecik
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Review: What a fun and interesting story! Lupe gets superpowers at her Quince and spends an exhausting year saving people and thwarting bad guys while trying to pass her classes and get a date. I loved the illustrations, the diversity, and the quippy dialogue. It's also great to see a main character that is a smart Latina with a loving family, who is not into gangs or drugs and is not stick skinny.
On a Sunbeam by Tillie Walden
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
Review: So, this one didn't work for me. It has over 4.0 on Goodreads so I think it's just that I am not interested in the topic (outer space). I'll actually confess that I didn't finish it. I also had a difficult time reading some of the text, but I think teens would be just fine with it. I quite liked one of her other graphic novels, Spinning, but the topic (dance) was more interesting to me.
As the Crow Flies by Melanie Gillman
Rating: 4 out of 5
Review: I liked the illustrations in this graphic novel and the emphasis on diversity (main characters who are African American queer character and a trans character). I also like the obvious message of strong females tied into history. But, I think the heavy religious aspects will make it less accessible to all teens and I feel like I was left hanging a bit because the story doesn't take the kids all the way to the top of the mountain the ceremony that they keep talking about.
Grand Theft Horse by G. Neri
Rating: 4 out of 5
Review: I really like Neri's work (I gave Yummy 5/5) and enjoyed reading this one as well, but I don't know that it will appeal to teens as much. The illustrations are evocative of the feeling of the story, I love that it is true and is about his rebel cousin, and I like that it shows compassion toward animals. It's a good underdog story that shows the (evil) lopsided power of money and influence. 
The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Review: What a fun graphic novel and it's got such an important and powerful message: be yourself! I liked both the prince and the dressmaker, both of whom are following their dreams, even if it is in secret at first. And I was so worried that the King would be awful when he found out about his son, but he wasn't. 
Anne Frank's Diary: Graphic Adaptation
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Review: What can one say about Anne Frank? The story is so well known so I feel like I am reviewing the author's version, not the diary itself. I think the illustrator and adapter did a great job of conveying Anne's words, feelings, and the situation. The graphics make the reader feel Anne's words and how she felt in the annex. 





Challenges for which these qualify:




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