Before getting to my lists, I'd also like to thank you all for your visits this past year and wish for all of us that 2014 be a year of peace, prosperity, good health, happiness and success.
March: Book One (Top Shelf), by Rep. John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell. Gr. 6-10. Congressman John Lewis reflects upon his own life, the struggles of black men and women during the 1950s, and how he became involved in the student nonviolent movement in Nashville, Tennessee. [NOTE: Nate Powell also illustrated another book on the Civil Rights Movement, The Silence of Our Friends, which I placed on 2012's Best Graphic Novels list).
Primates: The Fearless Science of Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey, and Birute Galdikas (First Second), by Jim Ottaviani and Maris Wicks tells how these three women began and followed their careers studying primates and the lessons they learned.
Relish by Lucy Knisley. One thing I loved about Knisley's 2008 memoir, French Milk, was her ability to write and draw about food in a delightful, mouth-watering way. With Relish, she explores her life in the kitchen while sharing some of her favorite recipes!
Dogs of War (Scholastic), by Sheila Keenan and Nathan Fox. Gr. 3-7 consists of three different stories set in three different wars: World War I, World War II, and the Vietnam War. While the stories are fiction, they've been meticulously researched and relayed in rich detail. Each vignette relates the trails and traumas,and dangers the dogs, their handler and fellow soldiers risk in battle, and the tolls the wars took on all concerned.
Bluffton: My Summers with Buster Keaton (Candlewick), by Matt Phelan. Gr. 4-7 is a story molded on silent film star Buster Keaton's early life, while telling a story of young Henry, a boy from Bluffon, Michican and his love for the girl next door. Henry meets the aloof and enigmatic Buster and a friendship ensues when a vaudeville troupe comes to town. While Henry is enchanted by the glamorous strangers, Phelan hints that Keaton sees something that he longs for in his friend’s more settled life.
Boxers and Saints (First Second) by Gene Yang - National Book Award finalist and two-book set that recounts the Boxer Rebellion (1900) from both sides - that of the Boxers (Chinese peasants who believed they could invoke ancient Chinese Gods/heroes to help them battle Western Imperialism and the Chinese Catholics they converted) and the Saints (the Chinese converts who wanted to bring peace to war-torn China.
Honorable Mention - Fiction
Monster on the Hill: Book One (Top Shelf), by Rob Harrell. Gr. 4-7
Every town has its own monster in Harrell’s delightful version of Victorian England, and the townspeople enjoy the thrill of being scared. All the towns, that is, except in Stoker-on-Avon. At the Town Council's bequest, an eccentric doctor agrees to help "fix" their dragon in the efforts of restoring his lost license. The town crier/street urchin yearning for adventure hides away and joins him and together they set out to help their monster find his voice and calling terrifying people again.
Battling Boy - an action-packed story about a 12-year-old demigod whose rite of passage is to save the monster-pocked city of Acropolis before he can return home, 'a man.' He's up against some overwhelming monsters and odds.
- School Library Journal's Top Ten Graphic Novels of 2013
- New York Public Library's Great Graphic Novels for Kids 2013
- Young Adult Library Association's Great Graphic Novels Top Ten List for 2013 (note that most of their titles were actually published in 2012).
- In closing I want to thank you for your visits and comments this past year and send you my sincerest wishes for a happy, healthy, successful 2014 - may it bring us all peace and prosperity to us all.
HERE'S TO A HAPPY NEW YEAR AND ALL THE BEST WISHES FOR 2014