One thing I learned during the process is that y’all had questions and you were willing to ask them! Here are a few of the actual questions I received as a result of these posts:
Are you part of the LGBTQIA+ community?
No. But I’ve been taken of, loved and supported by queer people my entire life. (You probably have, too - even if no one has ever come out to you). As someone with a (small) platform and megaphone now, it’s my job to love and support them in return. One way I can do that is to amplify LGBTQIA+ creators and/or stories that affirm LGBTQIA+ experiences. These posts were always about that AND about connecting educators with books that might serve as life preservers for queer kids trying to navigate a world that can feel dark and scary. Just this week, the internet lost its mind because (gay rapper) Lil Nas X kissed another man during his performance at the BET awards. This, in the context of a year that is shaping up to break records for the number of ANTI-LGBTQIA+ laws being passed by state governments, makes the need to help queer teens see themselves represented in affirming ways feels more urgent than ever. It can be tempting to feel helpless during times like this, but big changes are always the result of small, incremental ones. Reading/literacy are my lanes. NOT using them for good would feel like a failure - both of imagination and character.
Why graphic novels (instead of real books)?
Because graphic novels are the entry point to a positive reading identity for so many kids. Plus, they encompass all genres. Focusing on graphic novels allows me to cast a wide net in the hopes that I’ll capture the hearts of all sorts of readers, include those who don’t know they are readers yet. And haven’t you heard? Graphic novels ARE real books - get into it.
Will you curate a list of graphic novels for me that ____?
No. When I get questions like this, I’m super tempted to say something like, “Dude, I’m not a DJ; I don’t take requests.” But the truth is that while I hope with all my heart that you find books for the kids you serve in my recommendations, I simply don’t have the time to curate customs lists for people - sorry!
Why only pick books published in the last 16 months?
Honestly, this made my job harder, but my hope was that doing so would increase the likelihood that I’d introduce people to books they hadn’t read yet.
Will you publish a complete list at the end of the month!
Yep! And here it is
Happy reading, y’all!
The Hazards of Love Volume 1: Bright World by Stan Stanley (author/illustrator)
I Never Promised You A Rose Garden by Mannie Murphy (author/illustrator)
Flamer by Mike Curato (author/illustrator)
The Girl From The Sea by Molly Knox Ostertag (author/illustrator)
Choose Your Own Adventure: Eighth Grade Witch by E.L. Thomas, Andrew E.C. Gaskaand and Valerio Chiol
The Magic Fish by Trung Le Nguyen
Beetle & the Hollowbones by Aliza Layne
You Brought Me the Ocean by Alex Sanchez and Julie Maroh
Girl Haven by Lilah Sturges, Meaghan Carter and Joamette Gil
The Deep and Dark Blue by Niki Smith
I’m A Wild Seed by Sharon Lee De La Cruz
Wynd Book 1: Flight of the Prince by James Tynion IV and Michael Dialynas
Snapdragon by Kat Leyh
Poison Ivy: Thorns by Kody Keplinger and Sara Kipin
How to Be Ace: A Memoir of Growing Up Asexual by Rebecca Burgess
The Fire Never Goes Out: A Memoir in Pictures by Noelle Stevenson
Tell No Tales: Pirates of the Southern Seas by Sam Maggs and Kendra Wells
The Tea Dragon Tapestry by K. O'Neill
Cheer Up: Love and Pompoms by Crystal Frasier, Val Wise and Oscar O. Jupiter
Jo: An Adaptation of ‘Little Women’ (Sort Of) by Kathleen Gros
Cyclopedia Exotica by Aminder Dhaliwal
Witchlight by Jessi Zabarsky
Heartstopper by Alice Oseman
Lumberjanes Vol 20: End of Summer
Incredible Doom by Matthew Bogart and Jesse Holden
Always Human by Ari North
What If We Were by Axelle Lenoir
Alone In Space by Tillie Walden
Check, Please! Book 2: Sticks & Scones by Ngozi Ukazu
Be Gay, Do Comics by Matt Bors and The Nib