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Updated by Valley Libraries Radio Reference on Apr 12, 2021
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January 27 - 29, 2021: Graphic Novels

In the last few decades, graphic novels have evolved far beyond their superhero origins. True, there are still plenty of superheroes, but there are also memoirs, literature reimagined, and many other unique and wonderful stories to be found in graphic novels. This week on Valley Libraries Radio Reference, we’re highlighting graphic novels that we think you’ll really enjoy!

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Sarah's selection

Sarah's selection

I’m currently reading Joel Christian Gill’s graphic memoir entitled Fights: One Boy’s Triumph Over Violence. This autobiographical book is a very personal look at Gill’s childhood amid abuse and bullying. As a way to survive during his youth, he turned to violence himself, eventually finding solace in a few special places - like libraries and young love. Gill’s illustrations have moments of brightness and become vibrant with emotion despite the dark topics. In the end, this becomes a story of hope and new beginnings. Gill’s own website says that he has dedicated his life to creating stories to build connections with readers through empathy, compassion, and ultimately humanity” - Fights is a raw and harrowing story that accomplishes that mission.

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Ali's selection

Ali's selection

Ms. Marvel is one of the Marvel universe’s signature female characters. She first appeared in comics in the 1960s as Carol Danvers, an Air Force pilot who was caught in an explosion with alien superhero Captain Marvel, and absorbed his superpowers. Fast forward to 2014, and Kamala Khan, a 16 year-old Muslim Pakistani-American from Jersey City, becomes the fourth woman to don the title Ms. Marvel. Kamala idolizes Carol Danvers, now Captain Marvel, and laments the stringent restrictions placed on her by her parents. When a strange fog engulfs the city, Kamala makes a wish to be like Captain Marvel. Sure enough, her wish is granted, and Kamala is imbued with all Marvel’s powers. As the first Muslim female superhero with a solo series, Kamala Khan is a great example of how graphic novels can be used to introduce groundbreaking inclusivity to a traditional storyline.

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Jamie's selection

Jamie's selection

A happy-go-lucky narwhal and a sensible jellyfish are the stars of Ben Clanton's Narwhal and Jelly, a ridiculously cute graphic novel series for younger readers. Narwhal and Jelly don't have a lot in common -- in fact, Jelly thought narwhals were imaginary, and Narwhal thinks jellyfish sound made-up. But they're fast friends just the same, bonding over their shared love of waffles and adventures. Soon, they're recruiting other sea creatures to join their pod, throwing parties, and even coming up with secret superhero identities -- Super Narwhal and Jelly Jolt! The simple text and charming illustrations make this series a great choice for beginning readers, and they'll even learn a few facts about real narwhals and jellyfish along the way.