This content material comprises affiliate hyperlinks. While you purchase via these hyperlinks, we could earn an affiliate fee.
After I consider award-winning graphic novels, two instantly come to thoughts. They’re Alison Bechdel’s Enjoyable Residence: A Household Tragicomic and Alice Oseman’s Heartstopper collection. Though I’m not as well-read in graphic novels as some, I’ve learn each of these. I completely adored them for very completely different causes. Folks suggest Bechdel’s memoir so usually and so I think about you might have run throughout it earlier than. If you happen to haven’t learn it but, simply now that it mentions suicide. Oseman’s collection additionally has an emotionally abusive relationship and mentions previous experiences of homophobia and bullying. Each are excellent reads that I extremely encourage each reader to choose up.
For me, I appear to undergo phases. For some time I received’t learn many graphic novels after which all of the sudden I’m studying a ton. After which one thing modifications once more, and I’m again to studying issues with out many footage. It’s odd. Nonetheless, I discover that graphic novels are at all times a great addition to my studying rotation. In order that leads me to my checklist: you by no means know when an award-winning graphic novel is likely to be simply the factor on your studying life. I’ve some incredible ones to suggest beneath should you want concepts of the place to start out.
There are additionally quite a lot of awards on this checklist. I attempted to decide on each the perfect recognized ones and a few extra obscure awards to maintain you guess– I imply studying. Undoubtedly studying.
Let’s dive into 20 must-read award-winning graphic novels with one thing for each form of reader.
Geese: Two Years within the Oil Sands by Kate Beaton (Winner of Canada Reads 2023)
As I learn this, I had a way of foreboding that issues had been going to get very darkish in a short time. They did. Nonetheless, that is nonetheless an interesting memoir about Beaton’s two years working within the Canadian oil sands after graduating from faculty. Within the first few pages, she starkly outlines the issue of staying in a neighborhood that gives few viable financial alternatives for younger individuals. She summarizes it so succinctly: “It’s time for an additional empty chair across the desk. It’s time to go.” This was additionally one in every of former President Barack Obama’s favourite books of 2022. Keep in mind that it discusses sexual assault and its aftermath, in addition to drug use and habit.
Banned Ebook Membership by Kim Hyun Sook and Ryan Estrada (Recommended Ebook by the Freeman Ebook Awards for East and Southeast Asian titles for Kids and Younger Adults)
That is the story of the creator’s first 12 months at college in South Korea and the way she by chance joined a banned e book membership at her new establishment. At turns humorous and intensely shifting, this follows her personal political awakening and her gradual realization that it’s potential to battle towards and enhance the social system she was born into. When it comes to content material, there may be a minimum of a point out of sexual assault (though no depiction of potential circumstances) and in addition college students had been crushed on the web page in just a few situations.
They Known as Us Enemy by George Takei, Justin Eisinger, Steve Scott, and Concord Becker (Eisner Award for Finest Actuality-Based mostly Work 2020)
That is about George Takei’s private expertise as a baby caught up within the U.S. authorities’s detainment and incarceration of Japanese People after Japan attacked Pearl Harbor in 1941. I like to recommend this e book on a regular basis and hope as many individuals as potential will learn it. If you wish to study extra about this a part of U.S. historical past, I counsel beginning with this e book and on the Densho web site.
El Deafo by Cece Bell (Judy Lopez Memorial Award 2015)
Cece Bell’s pretty autobiographical e book is so wonderful that I like to recommend it to all ages of readers. Bell follows her childhood and her illness-acquired deafness in a method that even very younger readers can grasp and have interaction with. If you happen to’re in search of extra deaf characters, strive these 9 titles with deaf characters or these books about listening to loss. I additionally very a lot loved My Lifetime of Language, a memoir from professor of Deaf Research Paul Ogden.
The Arrival by Shaun Tan (Finest Ebook for Younger Adults, American Library Affiliation 2008)
Wordless and fascinating, Tan’s e book will go away you questioning how individuals ever handle to maneuver from nation to nation with out dropping vital elements of themselves and their family members. Intricate illustrations will information readers via a narrative that seems directly profoundly distinctive and nonetheless hauntingly acquainted. Tan is a kind of authors I preserve coming again to and whose work I like to recommend to different readers regularly.
Kimiko Does Most cancers by Kimiko Tobimatsu and Keet Geniza (Joe Shuster Award for Finest Author 2022)
Younger, queer, and of combined descent, Tobimatsu tells the story of her analysis and navigation of the medical system as a breast most cancers affected person at 25. She has some actually thought-provoking encounters with medical care professionals and their assumptions about her as an individual. A captivating learn, I’m glad she survived to inform readers what it was like making an attempt to dwell a semi-normal life whereas coping with the actually terrible results of most cancers remedy. It is a superb title from a Canadian author and a Filipine-Canadian illustrator.
Pemmican Wars (A Lady Known as Echo vol. 1) by Katherena Vermette, Scott B. Henderson, and Donovan Yaciuk (Prix Aurora-Boréal, Meilleure bande dessinée 2022)
Katherena Vermette is Métis and makes Echo Desjardins the Métis foremost character of her graphic novel collection set in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Echo is a really remoted and withdrawn teenager who’s clearly coping with some issues as she navigates her college and residential life. As somebody who grew up distant from this character’s experiences, I loved this each for the depiction of her day-to-day life and in addition for the historic goals she has that just about really feel like flashbacks.
My Brother’s Husband by Gengoroh Tagame (Excellence Prize on the nineteenth Japan Media Arts Pageant in 2015)
This title has a really completely different appear and feel in comparison with the others on this checklist. The artwork type strikes me as extra manga than some others right here and the muscular male characters principally take heart stage. The story revolves round Yaichi Origuchi, a stay-at-home father of a bit woman, and his deceased brother’s husband, Mike Flanagan. Yaichi has considerably combined emotions about assembly his Canadian brother-in-law and studying extra about his brother’s life.
The Finest We Might Do: An Illustrated Memoir by Thi Bui (American Ebook Award 2018)
That is one other graphic novel that’s each historic and autobiographical. Bui first got down to chronicle a few of her household historical past and the e book is the results of these easy beginnings and what should have appeared quite humble efforts on the time. I completely can’t consider that Bui had by no means illustrated a comic book in her life earlier than penning this. It’s superb and in addition reveals that there’s nonetheless hope for anybody who has not tried one thing like this earlier than. It boggles the thoughts that Bui might change into so adept at it and produce one thing so stunning. This e book was additionally chosen as one of many U.S. Nationwide Endowment for the Artwork’s “Massive Reads” titles and should you prefer it, you may have a look at the opposite books on the NEA’s archive checklist or the lively titles checklist as there are some phenomenal selections on each.
Himawari Home by Concord Becker (Kirkus Prize for Younger Readers’ Literature 2022)
Becker illustrated They Known as Us Enemy above, utilizing her very expressive type. Himawari Home additionally introduces a personality who has ties to Japan, however beneath very completely different circumstances from these of George Takei’s. The three foremost characters of this novel join in Japan the place they research the language and tradition, whereas looking for themselves and eat tons of scrumptious Japanese meals.
When Stars are Scattered by Victoria Jamieson and Omar Mohamed (Walter Dean Myers Award 2021)
Based mostly on Omar Mohamed’s expertise rising up in a refugee camp in Kenya, the authors present the humanity, excessive poverty, and the inherent difficulties of rising up beneath these circumstances. I discover myself recommending this title over and over. So far as I do know, it is a standalone title and I actually want there have been a second half to it. Whereas I really like that Mohamed was ultimately capable of go away his circumstances, I preserve questioning how robust it should have been to regulate to life within the U.S. and the afterword wasn’t sufficient to fulfill my curiosity. I really feel like there may be one other e book to be written right here, however for now, I should fulfill myself by recommending this one to whoever will hear.
New Child by Jerry Craft (John Newbery Medal 2020)
This e book will get really helpful so much and for good purpose. Written from the angle of seventh grader Jordan Banks, Craft explores the life a non-white child at a predominantly Caucasian non-public college. The primary character’s loving dad and mom enroll him in a prestigious non-public college, Banks begins to really feel as if he has to study to navigate two worlds, neither of which does he match into all that properly. It is a nice title for youths and adults. I’m trying ahead to studying the third e book within the collection College Journey which is now obtainable (so hurry up and browse books one and two should you haven’t already!).
American Born Chinese language by Gene Yuen Lang (Michael L Printz Award 2007)
I discovered this at turns humorous and in addition very thought-provoking. I’m nonetheless undecided concerning the Monkey King character storyline, however it positively gave me elements to chew on as I tore via and located I loved this e book immensely. It’s one other title that I discover myself eager to revisit and suggest to others, so should you haven’t learn it, now’s your likelihood!
Isla to Island by Alexis Castellanos (College Library Journal Finest Ebook of the Yr)
This historic graphic novel will not be precisely wordless; as an alternative I might name it very restricted within the textual content it employs to convey its story. The story is a a lot wanted one a couple of woman named Marisol whose dad and mom ship her away from post-revolutionary Cuba to a brand new dwelling with in New York Metropolis. If you happen to take pleasure in this, you may additionally strive The Flamingo by Guojing, one other graphic novel with little or no textual content and a fascinating story.
Swim Staff by Johnnie Christmas (Longlist, Nationwide Ebook Awards 2022 for Younger Folks’s Literature)
The primary character, Bree, has to make some large changes after shifting to a brand new college, metropolis, and state. I favored this significantly as a result of it appeared to tread the vital line between specializing in particular person characters and weaving locally so properly. That is a kind of titles that I feel each grownups and youthful readers can and may learn.
Garlic and the Vampire by Bree Paulsen (New York Public Library’s Finest Books for Youngsters 2021)
If you happen to’re in search of lovely speaking greens and fruits, and an encouraging depiction of tension that will assist some readers see themselves within the pages of a e book, then look no additional. Though Garlic is a selected to go on what she thinks is a mission to confront the vampire on this tales, she will get way more than she bargained for when she truly finds him. This was additionally nominated for a 2023 Maine Scholar Ebook Award, an award that’s fully voted on by college students who like to learn.
Stone Fruit by Lee Lai (Lynd Ward Graphic Novel Prize 2022)
As quickly as I began studying Australian-born Lai’s debut, I used to be gripped by this sense of foreboding. Was it the paintings? Was it the customarily pained expressions on the primary characters’ Bron and Ray’s faces? I’m undecided however it positively struck me that their relationship was both fading or fully moribund. And that there was a profound loss that will merely should be handled. Whereas there is no such thing as a neat ending, I felt as if I benefited from immersing myself of their world and I give you the possibility to go to it too.
Can’t We Discuss About One thing Extra Nice: A Memoir by Roz Chast (Nationwide Ebook Critics Circle Award 2015)
It is a graphic memoir about Chast’s final 10 years or so together with her dad and mom as their well being declined. It’s also about how she struggled to take care of the truth of this declining well being as their one and solely offspring and the way surreal she discovered it to be working via this ultimate actuality. Generally humorous, that is additionally a deeply shifting work that anybody with getting old dad and mom might learn and possibly relate to.
Tangles: A Story About Alzheimer’s, My Mom and Me by Sarah Leavitt (CBC Bookie Awards for Finest Comedian or Graphic Novel 2011)
That is one other award-winning graphic novel that offers with an getting old guardian and their declining well being. That is additionally one other wonderful selection from a Canadian creator. What’s it with these individuals and their insightful and self-reflective selves? Is there one thing within the water up there in Canadia land? That’s what’s known as, proper? Simply kidding, as somebody who grew up south of that border, I don’t assume the water is all that completely different there. Nonetheless, I do generally marvel if the literary output of our northern neighbors could also be neglected compared to American authors, so I’m glad to do my half to focus on a few of these fascinating titles which can be related to what’s as we speak Canada.
Miss Quinces by Kat Fajardo (Pura Belpré Award Winner 2022)
Fajardo does such an incredible job of creating readers love the primary character, Sue, and completely facet together with her despite the fact that her loving household simply needs to assist her have a good time her quinceañera. I imply she simply needs to attract comics and browse all summer season. Is that an excessive amount of to ask for in life? I feel not! This was additionally printed on the identical time in Spanish as Srta. Quinces and it’s a nice learn any method you slice it.
And that’s it for my checklist! If you happen to nonetheless need extra, you can strive the perfect graphic novels for rookies (which has a bit overlap with my checklist above) or these genre-bending graphic novels. The latter of those two additionally has Taproot: A Story A couple of Gardener and a Ghost, which I completely adored. I need to admit that I discovered it a tiny bit scary, however I additionally discovered it (principally) comforting and wonderful.