2008 Graphic Novels Finalists

Elementary/Middle Grade:

written and illustrated by Hope Larson

The mysteries and discoveries of adolescence are given a fresh-air, summer camp setting in this skillfully-drawn, sweetly-written graphic novel that always rings true.

Into the Volcano
written and illustrated by Don Wood
Blue Sky Press

Two brothers’ trip to Hawaii takes them into the heart of a real volcano hiding treasure and family secrets in the caves beneath its flows! The visual fireworks in this exciting mystery do not distract from its intense emotional core.

Jellaby, vol. 1
written and illustrated by Kean Soo

When Portia discovers a gentle giant something in her backyard, she becomes
determined to help it find its home. Gorgeously produced, with some subtle hints of a deeper mystery to come in the sequel.

Rapunzel’s Revenge
written by Shannon Hale
and Dean Hale
illustrated by Nathan Hale
Bloomsbury USA

In this twist on the old tale, Rapunzel frees herself from the witch’s prison, using her legendary hair, and sets off with her new pal Jack (of beanstalk fame) to save their town from the witch. A lively Wild West adventure with a hint of romance, and the most butt-kicking heroine this side of Alanna!

The Savage
written by David Almond
illustrated by Dave McKean
Candlewick Press

A grieving boy’s story of a savage living in the woods comes true in this eerie tale of horror for lads who “put on a real tough front… but like most of us, [are] just dead soft inside.”

There’s a Wolf at the Door: five classic tales
written by Zoe Alley
illustrated by R.W. Alley
Roaring Brook

The big bad wolf tangles up five classic yarns while chasing down some dinner, but his clever victims join forces to trip him up. A superb graphic novel for the picture book crowd.

Young Adult:

Emiko Superstar
written by Mariko Tamaki
illustrated by Steve Rolston

Teenaged Emiko’s summer goes from babysitting and ice cream shop jobs to nights spent with underground art “freaks” and fabulous creativity. But is this world she loves built entirely on a lie? Slightly gritty but warm, this will inspire anyone who has ever not quite fit in.

Kin: Good Neighbors, book 1

written by Holly Black
illustrated by Ted Naifeh

When Rue discovers she’s half-faerie, she is confronted with a choice: in the coming war between the faerie world and humanity, where should her allegiance lie? This atmospheric murder mystery/gothic fantasy is only the beginning of Rue’s story.

Life Sucks
written by Jessica Abel
and Gabe Soria
illustrated by Warren Pleese
First Second Books

This funny, believable, and ultimately, pretty sweet graphic novel swipes at popular notions of romantic vamp culture, mashing the myth into the mundane with hilarious results.


written and illustrated by Mariko Tamaki
and Jillian Tamaki
Groundwood Books

Atmospheric and intimate at the same time, this debut graphic novel about an angsty teen avoids the usual cliches through sheer sympathy and grace and the beautiful art lends it an unusual delicacy.

Three Shadows

written and illustrated by Cyril Pedrosa
First Second Books

When death stalks a child, the boy’s father does whatever he can to fight this tragic fate. A mesmerizing and ultimately heart wrenching look at how human beings deal with loss.

–Snow Wildsmith, organizer