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Updated by Jen Blair on Dec 05, 2023
Headline for Winter Break 2022 - End of Year - Best Graphic Novels
Jen Blair Jen Blair
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Winter Break 2022 - End of Year - Best Graphic Novels

Graphic novels (with a smattering of nonfiction titles) are my favorite way to deal with days when I have what I call “short attention span theater.” I still want to read, but I can’t seem to concentrate on a prolonged story. These are my favorites this year.

Batpig: Too Pig to Fail by Rob Harrell | Goodreads

Batpig: Too Pig to Fail - Rob Harrell

Are you a Dog Man fan? These books are for you. Silly and action packed. I have so much love for Batpig.

From the publisher:
Grades 6 and up.
Ordinary pig, Gary Yorkshire, has his entire life turned upside down when a bite on the nose from a radioactive bat turns him into . . . BATPIG. With the support of his best friends, Brooklyn the bat and Carl the fish, he finally feels like he's getting a handle on this whole superhero business. That is, until he faces a battle against time itself, when an under-appreciated janitor slows down the clock so much that a math class never ever ends (the horror!). Can Batpig save the class from never-ending fractions?

Borders by Thomas King

Borders - Thomas King

A harrowing tale of a kid and his mom caught between the border of US and Canada.

From the publisher:
Grades 6 and up.
The story of a boy and his mother whose road trip is thwarted at the border when they identify their citizenship as Blackfoot. Refusing to identify as either American or Canadian first bars their entry into the US, and then their return into Canada. In the limbo between countries, they find power in their connection to their identity and to each other.

Call Him Jack: The Story of Jackie Robinson, Black Freedom Fighter by Yohuru Williams

Call Him Jack: The Story of Jackie Robinson, Black Freedom Fighter - Yohuru Williams and Michael G. Long

We all think we know the story of Jackie Robinson. We really don’t. This is a revealing look at the man behind the myth.

From the publisher:
Grades 6 and up.
A biography of the great baseball player with equal focus on Jack's life before and after baseball. This is the story of an iconic lifelong fighter for personal dignity and social justice, a fight in which Robinson did not always turn the other cheek.

Coven by Jennifer Dugan

Coven - Jennifer Dugan

What would it be like to be a witch? Having all that power, but still not finding a way to be safe in the world?

From the publisher:
Grades 8 and up.
Emsy has always lived in sunny California, and she'd much rather spend her days surfing with her friends or hanging out with her girlfriend than honing her powers as a fire elemental. But when members of her family's coven back east are murdered under mysterious circumstances that can only be the result of powerful witchcraft, her family must suddenly return to dreary upstate New York. There, Emsy will have to master her neglected craft in order to find the killer . . . before her family becomes their next target.

Demon in the Wood (Grishaverse, #0) by Leigh Bardugo | Goodreads

Demon in the Wood - Leigh Bardugo

Did you ever wonder about the story of Ravka’s road to power? Here it is.

From the publisher:
Grades 8 and up.
Before he led Ravka's Second Army, before he created the Fold, and long before he became the Darkling, he was just a lonely boy burdened by an extraordinary power.

Eryk and his mother, Lena, have spent their lives on the run. But they will never find a safe haven. They are not only Grisha--they are the deadliest and rarest of their kind. Feared by those who wish to destroy them and hunted by those who would exploit their gifts, they must hide their true abilities wherever they go. But sometimes deadly secrets have a way of revealing themselves . . .

Enemies (Berrybrook Middle School #4) by Svetlana Chmakova

Enemies - Svetlana Chmakova

Svetlana stan forever. She can do no wrong. Read this.

From the publisher:
Grades 6 and up.
Felicity's sure she's going to do something big. Exactly what is still a mystery, but she'll figure it out. Her sister, Letty, teases Felicity that she never finishes stuff, but that's just because Letty is so perfect. Still, life is good with plenty of friends--drawing with the art club and playing games with her buddies keep her busy. But when she decides to join a contest to show Letty that she CAN get things done, Felicity begins to wonder if friends becoming enemies is easier than she thought.

Invisible by Christina Diaz Gonzalez | Goodreads

Invisible - Christina Diaz Gonzalez; illustrated by Gabriela Epstein

Five kids who are lumped together because they speak the same language. How do they band together to finally become visible? Told in English and Spanish.

From the publisher:
Grades 6 and up.
Can five overlooked kids make one big difference? Although they're sure they have nothing in common with one another, some people see them as all the same--just five Spanish-speaking kids. Then they meet someone who truly needs their help, and they must decide whether they are each willing to expose their own secrets to help--or if remaining invisible is the only way to survive middle school.

Ride On by Faith Erin Hicks | Goodreads

Ride On - Faith Erin Hicks

Horse-obsessed teens! Angsty friendships! This is one of my favorites of any of the books I’ve read this year.

From the publisher:
Grades 7 and up.
Victoria has always loved horses. But riding in competitions is high stakes, high stress, and shockingly expensive. And even though Victoria's best friend Taylor loves competing, Victoria has lost her taste for it. After a heartbreaking fight with Taylor, Victoria needs a new start--at a new stables. A place where she doesn't have to worry about anything other than riding. No competition, no drama, no friends. Just horses. Edgewood Stables seems ideal. There are plenty of horses to ride, and Victoria is perfectly happy giving the other riders the cold shoulder. But can she truly be happy with no friends?

Tales of a Seventh-Grade Lizard Boy by Jonathan Hill

Tales of a Seventh-Grade Lizard Boy - Jonathan Hill

An immigrant story, told from the perspective of an alien. You heard me.

From the publisher:
Grades 6 and up.
Threatened with diminishing resources, Booger Lizk't and his family flee their lizard community deep below Earth's crust to survive above among humans. The Lizk't family of Elberon now passes as the Tomkins family of Eagle Valley. 'Tommy Tomkins' wears a human face to school but can't seem to fit in no matter how he looks. The basketball team becomes a pipe dream when bullies label him a bug eater, and only Dung Tran, an immigrant from Vietnam and fellow outsider, sees Tommy for who he is inside, which is nothing like the outer-space lizard invaders on TV's hottest series. Can their friendship survive the truth?

The Tryout: A Graphic Novel by Christina Soontornvat

The Tryout - Christina Soontornvat; illustrated by Joanna Cacao

Almost too painful to read. Maybe this title should be listed under horror? Middle school is not for the weak. The true story of Soontornvat’s 7th grade cheerleader tryouts…which takes place in front of the ENTIRE SCHOOL.

From the publisher:
Grades 6 and up.
As one of the only Asian Americans in her school, Christina confronts both well-meaning ignorance and cruel racism, but in middle school fitting in is important, which is why she and her best friend Megan are both excited and nervous to try out for the popular cheerleading squad.

Victory. Stand!: Raising My Fist for Justice by Tommie Smith | Goodreads

Victory. Stand!: Raising My Fist for Justice - Tommie Smith; Derrick Barnes; Dawud Anyabwile

Beautifully told - the story behind the famous Black Power portrait of the 1968 Olympics.

From the publisher:
Grades 8 and up.
A groundbreaking and timely graphic memoir from one of the most iconic figures in American sports-and a tribute to his fight for civil rights. On October 16, 1968, during the medal ceremony at the Mexico City Olympics, Tommie Smith, the gold medal winner in the 200-meter sprint, and John Carlos, the bronze medal winner, stood on the podium in black socks and raised their black-gloved fists to protest racial injustice inflicted upon African Americans. Both men were forced to leave the Olympics, received death threats, and faced ostracism and continuing economic hardships. In his first-ever memoir for young readers, Tommie Smith looks back on his childhood growing up in rural Texas through to his stellar athletic career, culminating in his historic victory and Olympic podium protest.