Graphic Novels Take Two: Is This is the Year?
I know we already had a graphic novel round-up a in September, but I think in a year of so many strong titles- it deserves a revisit. We haven’t had a graphic novel win a medal or honor since 2019, so maybe now is the time. I’ll revisit my top three here along with their defining first lines.
A FIRST TIME FOR EVERYTHING by Dan Santat tops our list for graphic novel nominations and just won the National Book Award. Watching the main character grow throughout the novel and build relationships with his classmates is relatable and genuine. I’m not feeling a lot in plot development here… anyone differ?
I grew up in a small town just outside of Los Angeles. Everything I know about the world happened in Camarillo.A FIRST TIME FOR EVERYTHING
I find it important to compare EVERYTHING to another graphic novel memoir: SUNSHINE by Jarrett J. Krosoczka. In this book also, we see the main character grow through a short time period. I also appreciate the updates about later on in life. Both these novels excel in delineation of character, but SUNSHINE also prevails in development of theme, identity of oneself and acceptance of others.
I was sixteen when I first worked at a camp for kids with life-threatening illnesses. It forever changed the trajectory of my life.SUNSHINE
MEXIKID has been my frontrunner for a while, and in my last graphic novel post somebody posted that it was boring. And to that I say that plot is simply one of the six Newbery criteria and excitement is not always necessary. I think delineation of character, perspective and theme development are what really make this title a front runner. I also think the setting and attention to detail is key, especially how the details are excellently conveyed from Pedro’s perspective. For example, the entire border crossing fiasco and the description of the camper are what sticks out to me the most.
They call me Peter.. but my real name is Pedro. If your family’s from Mexico like mine is, you usually have a couple of names you can go by.MEXIKID
These are what I would call the top three graphic novels, and I would not be unhappy or surprised if they all won honors (and if MEXIKID won the medal). What do you think? Let us know in the comments.
Filed under: Book Discussion
About Emily Mroczek-Bayci
Emily Mroczek (Bayci) is a freelance children’s librarian in the Chicago suburbs. She served on the 2019 Newbery committee. You can reach her at email@example.com.
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