From historical fiction to memoir to suspense, this year’s top graphic novels, reviewed in Booklist from March 1, 2015, to February 15, 2016, reveal the rich potential in a wide-ranging form that’s only getting better as the years go by. Click on the titles below to request a copy. For the full list, visit Booklist's website.
Ghetto Brother: Warrior to Peacemaker by Julian Voloj. Illus. by Claudia Ahlering. 2015.
Benjy Melendez was instrumental in making peace among Bronx gangs in the 1970s, and Voloj and Ahlering artfully add meaningful context to his story. Ahlering’s photojournalism-inspired art is the perfect complement.
Rosalie Lightning by Tom Hart. Illus. by the author. 2016.
With stunning, evocative artwork, Hart tells the heartbreaking tale of his daughter’s death mere weeks before her second birthday and the grief he and his wife faced in the aftermath. Extraordinarily moving and beautifully executed.
Ruins by Peter Kuper. Illus. by the author. 2015.
The stages of a monarch butterfly’s migration to Mexico echo the metamorphosis of a marriage through Kuper’s colorful, expressive artwork and impeccable narrative, which features rich characters and a deliriously luscious setting.
Soldier’s Heart: The Campaign to Understand My WWII Veteran Father by Carol Tyler. Illus. by the author. 2015.
Tyler’s account of helping her shell-shocked father fill in the blanks from his military service—surely the source of his sudden, verbally abusive rages—is frank, compassionate, and rewarding.
Two Brothers by Fabio Moon and Gabriel Ba. Illus. by Fabio Moon. 2015.
In this adaptation of Milton Hatoum’s novel, twins Yaqub and Omar, after years of angry separation, finally reunite and send fissures through their family. Stark, high-contrast artwork emphasizes the simmering tension.