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Young Adult Library Association Names 2013’s Great Graphic Novels for Teens

A national organization of American librarians dedicated to services for teenagers and younger readers, the Young Adult Library Association has announced its annual list of comic books and graphic novels that “meet the criteria of both good quality literature and appealing reading for teens.” The list includes some titles also mentioned in ComicsAlliance’s list of the best comics of 2012, including My Friend Dahmer by Derf Backderf and Batman by Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo. “What do superheroes, serial killers and the stage crew have in common? They all have a place on the 2013 Great Graphic Novels for Teens list,” said Chair Rachael Myers on the YASLA website. “There is a graphic novel on this list for every teen reader and we think this is a valuable resource for teens and the librarians who work with them.”

YASLA identified ten of the fifty-five items on their list as particularly exceptional with respect to the organization’s mission, and they are (in alphabetical order by author):

– My Friend Dahmer by Derf Backderf (Abrams)
– Trinity: A Graphic History of the First Atomic Bomb by Jonathan Fetter-Vorm (Hill and Wang)
– Annie Sullivand the Trials of Helen Keller by Joseph Lambert (Disney/Hyperion)
– Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man (volume 1) by Brian Micahel Bendis and Sara Pichelli (Marvel)
– Friends with Boys by Faith Erin Hicks (First Second)
– A Flight of Angels by Alisa Kwitney, Rebecca Guay and others (DC Comics/Vertigo)
– The Silence of Our Friends by Mark Long, Nate Powell and Others (First Second)
– Stargazing Dog by Takashi Murakami (NBM Publishing)
– Drama by Raina Telgemeier (Scholastic/GRAPHIX)
– Daredevil (volume 1) by Mark Waid, Paolo Rivera and Marcos Martin (Marvel)

Not too surprisingly, very few superhero comics made YASLA’s master list, and only two superhero books made the top 10: Daredevil and Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man. The latter is an obviously appropriate choice but I think it’s interesting that Daredevil made the list. While excellent in many ways, Daredevil is often discussed as a comic made by and for comics aficionados. In other words, not what I would expect younger readers to necessarily enjoy more than other cape comics specifically designed to welcome a broader audience. It’s encouraging that the wisdom at YASLA is such that teens will appreciate that particularly great superhero comic.

The complete list includes a number of comics I’ve been meaning to read and some I’ve never even heard of, so I encourage you to join me in updating your shopping lists (or those of your teenage kids).

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