ALA reveals the lists of best graphic novels for kids + adults

The American Library Association reveals their second annual list aimed at adults, and their first-ever list aimed at kids 5-12.

The Graphic Novels & Comics Round Table, a subcommittee of the American Library Association, announced earlier this week their annual “Best Graphic Novels” lists — one aimed at children aged 5-12, and the other aimed at adults.

The ALA has released a list aimed at teens for years, and last year they added one for adults. This is the first year they’ve created a list aimed specifically at kids under 12. Both lists aim “to increase awareness of the graphic novel medium, raise voices of diverse comics creators and aid library staff in the development of graphic novel collections.”

“Launching a new, carefully curated list of the best comics for children would have been a daunting task even during the best of times – and we have certainly not been in those over the last two years,” said Matthew Noe, president of The Graphic Novels & Comics Round Table. “But thanks to the expertise, attention and passion of this year’s committee, we can now present to you GNCRT’s addition to the recognition of children’s comics: our inaugural Best Graphic Novels for Children Reading List! There’s a comic here for every reader, from PreK to Grade 6, and in the Top 10 alone we’ve got witchcraft, friendly animals and a story of finding the courage to be one’s true self that will leave even adult readers teary-eyed.”

The selection committees for both lists include GNCRT members with a background in graphic novel selection and their use in adult programming and services.

Here’s the top 10 list for kids:

Arlo & Pips series. Written by Elise Gravel. Art by Elise Gravel.

  • King of the Birds, Vol. 1. 2020. HarperAlley, $7.99 (9780062982223).
  • Join the Crow Crowd, Vol. 2. 2021. HarperAlley, $12.99 (9780062394231).

The Golden Hour. Written by Niki Smith. Art by Niki Smith. 2021. Little Brown Books for Young Readers, $12.99 (9780316540339).

Just Roll with It. Written by Lee Durfey-Lavoie. Art by Veronica Agarwal. 2021. Random House Graphic, $20.99 (9781984897008).

The Magic Fish. Written by Trung Le Nguyen. Art by Trung Le Nguyen. 2020. Random House Graphic, $23.99 (9781984851598).

Measuring Up. Written by Lily LaMotte. Art by Ann Xu. 2021. HarperAlley, $12.99 (9780062973863).

Pawcasso. Written by Remy Lai. Art by Remy Lai. 2021. Holt Books for Young Readers, $21.99 (9781250774484).

Salt Magic. Written by Hope Larson. Art by Rebecca Mock. 2021. Holiday House, $21.99 (9780823446209).

Twins. Written by Varian Johnson. Art by Shannon Wright. 2020. Scholastic, $24.99 (9781338236170).

Unsolved Case Files series. Written by Tom Sullivan. Art by Tom Sullivan.

  • Escape at 10,000 Feet,Vol. 1. 2021. Harper Collins, $12.99 (9780062991515).
  • Jailbreak from Alcatraz, Vol. 2. 2021. Harper Collins, $12.99 (9780062991560).

The Witches of Brooklyn series. Written by Sophie Escabasse. Art by Sophie Escabasse.

  • The Witches of Brooklyn, Vol. 1. 2020. Penguin Random House, $20.99 (9780593119273).
  • The Witches of Brooklyn: What the Hex?, Vol. 2.  2021. Penguin Random House, $20.99 (9780593125441).

You can see all the graphic novels chosen by the round table on the ALA website.

And here’s the top 10 list for adults:

Ballad for Sophie
Filipe Melo, Juan Cavia, Gabriela Soares; 2021 – Top Shelf Productions
$24.99, ISBN 9781603094986

Department of Truth, Vol 1: The End Of The World
James Tynion IV, Martin Simmonds; 2020 – Image Comics
$9.99, ISBN 9781534318335

Dune: The Graphic Novel, Book 1
Brian Herbert, Adapted by Brian Herbert, and Kevin J. Anderson, Art by Raúl Allén, and Patricia Martín; 2020 – Abrams Comic Arts
$24.99, ISBN 9781419731501

Far Sector
N. K. Jemisin, Jamal Campbell; 2021 – DC Comics
29.99, ISBN 9781779512055

The Good Asian, Volume 1
Pornsak Pichetshote, Alexandre Tefenkgi, Lee Loughridge, Dave Johnson; 2021 – Image Comics
$14.99, ISBN 9781534320949

Invisible Differences
Julie Dachez, Mademoiselle Caroline; 2020 – Oni Press
$19.99 ISBN 9781620107669

My Alcoholic Escape from Reality
Nagata Kabi, Translated by Jocelyne Allen, Adapted by Lianne Sentar; 2021 – Seven Seas
$14.99, ISBN 9781645059998

Norse Mythology, Vol. 1
Neil Gaiman, P. Craig Russel, Jerry Ordway, Mike Mignola, Jill Thompson, David Rubin, Dave Stewart, Lovern Kindzierski; 2021 – Dark Horse
$29.99, ISBN 9781506718743

Run: Book One
John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, L. Fury, Nate Powell; 2021 – Abrams Books
$24.99, ISBN 9781419730696

Stone Fruit
Lee Lai; 2021 – Fantagraphics
$24.99, ISBN 9781683964261

You can find the full list of titles on the ALA website.

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