Happy New Year! David, our outreach librarian, has chosen some of his favorite books published in the past decade. He has a preference for graphically inventive picture books and graphic novels. This is reflected in his choices below.
Baker, Jeannie. Mirror. Candlewick Press, 2010.
This is a very innovative and mostly wordless picture book created in a detailed collage style. It consists of two picture books which fold out and can be read side-by-side. It follows a parallel day in the life of two families: one in a Western city and one in a North African village.
Clowes, Daniel. Patience. 2016.
This full color graphic novel is a psychedelic science-fiction love story for adults that deals with depression, romance and time travel. It is rare to see such a fully realized graphic work by a single creator in such a distinctive style.
Kalesniko, Mark. Freeway. Fantagraphics, 2011.
A meticulous graphic novel, running over 400 pages, that tells a fictional story loosely based on the Disney studios in Burbank, California. Freeway explores the author’s alter-ego, Alex, on his artistic journey and how the reality of working as an animator clashes with his own idealistic dreams.
Napoli, Donna Jo., and David Wiesner. Fish Girl. Clarion Books, 2017.
This is a great collaboration by YA author Donna Jo Napoli and children’s book artist David Wiesner. Napoli has done many modern retelling of classic folk or fairy tales. Wiesner has won awards for his picture books. Their first graphic novel is a surrealistic mermaid tale about a girl trapped in an aquarium by the sea and the boy who discovers her.
Sala, Richard. Delphine. Fantagraphics Books, 2012.
A graphic novel that originally appeared in four single issues. Like Clowes, Sala is a comics auteur with a unique style all to his own. Delphine is a retelling of Snow White in a dark, contemporary setting. Full of mysterious twists and turns and a surprise ending with gorgeous artwork throughout.
Salmieri, Daniel. Bear and Wolf. Enchanted Lion Books, 2018.
This is a very quiet picture book with an interesting perspective. The artist has made great choices in showing the animals in their natural setting from a distance in a cold, silent environment.
Schwartz, Joanne, and Sydney Smith. Town Is by the Sea. Walker Books, 2018.
A melancholy, but powerful picture book. A young boy wakes up to the sound of the sea, visits his grandfather’s grave after lunch and comes home to a simple family dinner with his family, but all the while his mind strays to his father digging for coal deep down under the sea. The full page spread convey a great contrast between the warm and dark places.
2 books by Allen Say:
Say, Allen. Drawing from Memory. Scholastic Press, 2011.
Say, Allen. The Inkers Shadow. Scholastic Press, 2015.
In these two autobiographical graphic books, the famous children’s book creator Allen Say details his journey into becoming an artist from the time he was a child in Japan to his migration the States as a young adult. These books look decidedly different than any comic or children’s book I’ve ever seen.
Wilker, Josh. Cardboard Gods: an All-American Tale Told through Baseball Cards. Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, 2011.
This is a memoir structured around baseball cards from the 1970s and 1980s. It explores what it means to be a fan. I love how such simple cardboard items are able to evoke such heartfelt, and often dark, emotions and memories from the author.