Each year the Young Adult Library Services Association, or YALSA, creates an annotated list of recommended graphic novels appropriate for teen readers. This list is created annually by a mix of both school and public librarians who have backgrounds in graphic novel collection development. It's a great resource for librarians and teachers and the teens they serve. They use the list to help them choose new titles to include in their collections. Said this year's chair Tina Lernø, "This selection of 138 outstanding comics, graphic novels, and manga represent the best titles of the year for teens; titles that are authentic and inclusive. We hope they'll find stories that resonate with them." This year’s selections include many great books with diverse LGBTQIA characters (including some titles written and illustrated by local Los Angeles creators like Rian Sygh, Julia Kaye, Jen Wang, and Tillie Walden). Here are some standouts:
The Bride Was A Boy by Chii shows the complex life of a trans individual in Japan, telling the autobiographical story of Chii’s gender transition and the effect it has on her romance.
I Hear the Sunspot: Theory of Happiness by Yuki Fumino follows two young men, Taichi and Kohei, as they dance around their feelings for each other.
High school hijinks abound in the cartoonish series The Backstagers written by James Tynion IV and illustrated by Rian Sygh. This series is about a stage crew at an all-boys school and the magical world behind the curtain.
Julia Kaye’s sweet and relatable auto-biographical comic, Super Late Bloomer, details the early months of her transition and how she learned to be her most wholly authentic self.
Travel back in time with Jen Wang’s The Prince and The Dressmaker. This beautifully illustrated graphic novel tells of a prince who is secretly taking Paris by storm as Lady Crystallia with help from his best friend (and secret weapon) a dressmaker named Frances.
Whether you’re new to graphic novels or have read comics for years, this list has something for everyone. Happy reading!