‘Gender Queer’ tops the ALA’s ‘Most Challenged Books of 2021’ list

Half the books on 2021’s top 10 list were targeted for including LGBTQIA+ content.

In a year that saw the highest number of book challenges in libraries and schools since the ALA began compiling data on the topic, the graphic novel Gender Queer by Maia Kobabe topped the American Library Association’s list of most challenged books for 2021.

More than 700 book challenges — which are reported attempts by citizens and parents to have books removed from their public library or a school library — were recorded by the ALA, a record number since they began sharing data and making this list in 2000. This resulted in almost 1,600 individual book challenges or removals, as some challenges were against multiple titles.

“The 729 challenges tracked by ALA represent the highest number of attempted book bans since we began compiling these lists 20 years ago,” said ALA President Patricia “Patty” Wong. “We support individual parents’ choices concerning their child’s reading and believe that parents should not have those choices dictated by others. Young people need to have access to a variety of books from which they can learn about different perspectives. So, despite this organized effort to ban books, libraries remain ready to do what we always have: make knowledge and ideas available so people are free to choose what to read.”

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Comics Lowdown | Creators file class action suit against Action Lab Entertainment

Plus: News on TOON Books, Image Comics, Archie’s new editor-in-chief and more!

Nearly 40 creators have signed on for a class action lawsuit against Action Lab Entertainment and Action Lab president Bryan Seaton. Action Lab has published a long list of titles over the years, including Spencer & Locke, Princeless, Jupiter Jet, Midnight Tiger, Molly Danger and many others.

According to ClassAction.org, the 46-page complaint “contends that although Action Lab promised to print, promote and market creators’ works, report quarterly sales and income numbers, properly maintain social media accounts, and generally make a reasonable effort to sell comics, the company has largely done none of these things and even failed to inform creators when its office shut down ‘without reason.’”

Creators listed in the complaint include David Pepose, Rylend Grant, Jorge Santiago Jr., Jeremy Whitley, Ken Marcus, Tom Rogers and many more. You can read the full legal complaint here.

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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:

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Comics Lowdown | S. Clay Wilson passes away

Plus: ‘Brzrkr’ orders, ‘Immortal Hulk’ #43, Stan Lee, John Porcellino and more!

Underground cartoonist S. Clay Wilson, creator of the Checkered Demon, Captain Pissgums and his Pervert Pirates, and numerous other transgressive characters, all of whom he wedged into his signature hyper-detailed panels, has died at the age of 79. Wilson grew up in Nebraska and eventually moved to San Francisco, where he was a contributor to Zap Comics and an integral part of the underground comix scene. He suffered a traumatic brain injury in 2008 and the condition worsened in 2010.

Brian Cronin sums up his life and career at CBR, but if you really want to get your heart broken, read this 2010 interview with Wilson’s sister about his early work and how the brain injury affected him. And for a fuller appreciation of his art and thought, here’s a Comics Journal interview that was done shortly before his injury.

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Comics Lowdown | Youth Media Awards announced

Plus: Egyptian cartoonist arrested; columnist proposes banning MAGA wear at conventions.

Library Talk: The American Library Association’s Midwinter meeting just ended, and the big event, as always, is the Youth Media Awards—this is when the Newbery and Caldecott medals, and a host of other awards, are announced. For over 10 years, graphic novels have won some of these awards; last year, Jerry Craft’s Class Act won the Newbery Medal, the first graphic novel to be so honored. This year’s awards:

  • Dragon Hoops by Gene Luen Yang, with color by Lark Pien, was a Printz Honor Book (runner-up for the Printz Award for excellence in literature for young adults);
  • When Stars are Scattered, by Victoria Jamieson and Omar Mohamed, illustrated by Victoria Jamieson, color by Iman Geddy, was a Schneider Family Book Award honor book (for “books that embody an artistic expression of the disability experience”);
  • Kent State: Four Dead in Ohio by Derf Backderf and Solutions and Other Problems by Allie Brosh were among the ten winners of the Alex Award for adult books that appeal to teen audiences;
  • Catherine’s War, by Julia Billet, illustrated by Claire Fauvel, and translated from French by Ivanka Hahnenberger, was an honor book for the Mildred L. Batchelder Award for translated books.

On Twitter, librarian Matthew Noe took a tour of the virtual booths of all the comics publishers at the show, with a word or two about each one. If you are interested in learning more about comics publishing and who does what, this is a great place to start!

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American Library Association releases annual ‘Great Graphic Novels for Teens’ list

‘Almost American Girl,’ ‘Superman Smashes the Clan,’ ‘The Magic Fish’ and more make this year’s list.

The Young Adult Library Association, a division of the American Library Association, has announced their ‘Great Graphic Novels for Teens’ list for 2021.

The list includes 126 titles, which were chosen from 140 nominations. The books, recommended for teens between 12 and 18, “meet the criteria of both good quality literature and appealing reading for teens,” the site says.

In addition YALSA also revealed the narrowed-down top 10 selections for the year, which include:

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‘Drama’ once again lands on the ALA’s ‘Most Challenged Books’ list

Raina Telgemeier’s graphic novel continues its run on the yearly list of the most challenged/censored books.

The award-winning, best-selling graphic novel Drama by Raina Telgemeier has yet again found its way onto the American Library Association’s Top 10 Most Challenged Books list. The ALA released the list of the most challenged/censored books of 2019 earlier this month.

Challenged for “LGBTQIA+ content and for concerns that it goes against ‘family values/morals,’” Drama has appeared on the yearly list five times since it was published in 2012. This year it came in at No. 8, sandwiched between The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood and J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series.

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‘New Kid’ wins the Newbery Medal

Several graphic novels were honored at the American Library Association’s annual Youth Media Awards.

The American Library Association recognized several graphic novels this past weekend as part of the 2020 Youth Media Awards at their Midwinter Meeting in Philadelphia. These included the prestigious Newbery Medal, which has been given out since 1922 to “the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children;” the Coretta Scott King Book Award; and many others.

The winner of this year’s Newbery Medal was New Kid, the graphic novel by Jerry Craft that was published by HarperCollins Children’s Books. It also won the Coretta Scott King (Author) Book Award. It’s interesting to note that these aren’t in a “graphic novel” category or anything like that; The Newbery Medal is the highest honor the ALA gives out every year, and this is the first time a graphic novel has won it outright.

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Quoted: Jillian & Mariko Tamaki on frequently challenged ‘This One Summer’

As their award-winning book continues to face censorship, they note that, “A book doesn’t stop existing by taking it off the shelf. Nor do the ideas contained within.”

Mariko and Jillian Tamaki, whose This One Summer, landed at the top of the American Library Association’s list of 2016’s most challenged books, issued a statement about the book’s frequent challenges:

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‘This One Summer,’ ‘Drama’ top list of most banned books of 2016

‘Big Hard Sex Criminals’ also among the most challenged books, according to the American Library Association.

Mariko and Jillian Tamaki’s This One Summer and Raina Telgemeier’s Drama topped the list of 2016’s most challenged books, according to the American Library Association. Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky’s Big Hard Sex Criminals also landed in the top 10 as the seventh most challenged book of 2016.

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