2014 Best Graphic Novels/Comics/Picture Books

2014 was a year of pictures for me! I have completely fallen in love with graphic novels and comics, and because of my Children’s Literature class, I have fallen in love once again with picture books. I am ALL ABOUT the beauty of a great illustrated story, whether it be wordless picture books, or action-packed comics, or a full-length graphic novel/memoir. I love them ALL! And I read a lot of them this year! Here are my most favorites!

Comics!

This is a relatively new area I have found myself in, but now I am completely addicted! 🙂 I plan on reading SO MANY MORE next year!

15704307Saga (Volumes 1-3) by Brian K. Vaughn, Illustrated by Fiona Staples

Why it’s awesome: Words cannot even describe to you how epically AMAZING this comic series is! There is so much depth and development and story, you just can’t help but LOVE IT! (*Note: definitely an ADULT comic series!)

Ms. Marvel (Volume 1) by G. Willow Wilson, 20898019
Illustrated by Adrian Alphona

Why it’s awesome: Diverse woman super hero……HECK YES! Ms. Marvel kicks major butt! She is fearless and kind-hearted and determined….. ….everything you want in a teenage role model! Read it! It’s so awesome! 🙂

Graphic Novels/Memoirs!

20256612Tomboy: A Graphic Memoir by Liz Prince
(Link to my review)

Why it’s awesome: This is such an important memoir. Liz’s story is a testament to what it means to feel comfortable in your own skin. It makes you rethink everything you know and understand about gender expression and identity. The graphics are lovely, making the story really engaging. I read this in one sitting and enjoyed every second of it!

The Arrival by Shaun Tanarrival

Why it’s awesome: A wordless graphic novel with stunning illustrations, The Arrival captures the deep emotions that come with moving to a new place. This story is 100% relateable for each and every reader.

zitaReturn of Zita the Spacegirl by Ben Hatke

Why it’s awesome: LOVE this series! Zita is one of my favorite JF heroines. She is strong and resourceful and considerate of all creatures! And she is a B.A. spacegirl! 😉 This trilogy sets the background history for Zita the Spacegirl, and now I just want more. Please give us more, Ben Hatke. She is AWESOME!

Blue is the Warmest Color by Julie Maroh17465574
(Link to my review)

Why it’s awesome: A story about love and accepting love. A story about grief and hope. A story about finding yourself and growing to accept yourself for who you are, not who everyone else expects or wants you to be. A story about forgiving others and forgiving yourself. Blue IS the warmest color for Clementine, who tells her story through journal entries she has written over the years that Emma is now reading. Blue is the color of desire, it is the color of change, of growth, of acceptance, of love. A fantastic story told through sequential art.

sistersSisters by Raina Telgemeier

Why it’s awesome:  Raina once again engages readers with her relateable life-stories. In this soft sequel to Smile (another favorite of mine), Raina focuses on her relationship with the sister she had always wished for, and how their relationship wasn’t always as magical as she thought it would be! A cute and realistic depiction of siblings at their best–and worst!

Picture Books!

The Cat, the Dog, Little Red, the Exploding Eggs, the Wolf,the cat
and Grandma
by Diane Fox, Illustrated by Christyan Fox

Why it’s awesome: A great retelling that celebrates imagination! Such a cute and creative story!

the farmerThe Farmer and the Clown by Marla Frazee

Why it’s awesome: Beautiful. A wordless story that will melt your heart.

Quest by Aaron Becker 20708773

Why it’s awesome: My love for Aaron Becker’s work is ever-abounding! His wordless stories are stunning, engaging, and enchanting. Give them a read (read Journey first!)

unspokenUnspoken: A Story from the Underground Railroad by Henry Cole

Why it’s awesome: Beautiful wordless story about the realities of the Underground Railroad. This book illustrates the every day bravery of the people who helped escaped slaves during the Civil War. I really like the pencil illustrations, too. The pencil lines add so much depth to the story.

Gaston by Kelly DiPucchio, Illustrated by Christian Robinsongaston

Why it’s awesome: This is an adorable story about love and family, as told through dogs! Gaston is so cute and loveable! 🙂

17243953Hi, Koo! by Jon J. Muth

Why it’s awesome: Beautiful example of poetry capturing a moment in time, as the seasons change. And the watercolored illustrations are just beautiful!

Niño Wrestles the World by Yuyi Morales15953630

Why it’s awesome: Nino wrestles some pretty scary dudes! What a fun English/Spanish integrated story! You learn some pretty great Spanish words in this story, and through context clues you can understand what they mean! Nino is a fierce little kid, but two small monsters may take him down in the end….What will Nino do?!

locoLocomotive by Brian Floca

Why it’s awesome: REALLY LOVED THIS ONE! Tells a historical story of a train ride in the 1800s, complete with really explaining how the train works. Such great rhythm in Floca’s writing, and his illustrations are just beautiful! LOVE.

~*~*~

So those are my favorite illustrated reads from this year! I hope you go out and get a couple of these and read them next year. You won’t regret it!

Love and Crayons,
Jennifer

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