#Cybils2022 Graphic Novels


Invisible: A Graphic Novel
Christina Diaz Gonzalez, illustrated by Gabriela Epstein 
Nominated by: cheriee weichel

Five Latine students are thrown together because they all speak Spanish. What they know, and others (including the reader) learn is that they are not: they all have distinct experiences and cultures that make them different. Told in alternating viewpoints, they all work together to explain why they all ended up in their principal’s office. Much of it is in Spanish (translated, for the non-Spanish speakers). An excellent graphic novel not just for the representation it provides, but because each of the five characters are sympathetic and interesting, and they work together to help a woman and child who are experiencing homelessness. Engaging and fun, but also important, it’s an absolute delight to read. – Melissa Fox, The Book Nut

Little Monarchs
Jonathan Case
Margaret Ferguson Books
Nominated by: jkeeler

Set 50 year in the future, Little Monarchs features Elvie, a 10 year old, and her caretaker Flora, who are among the few that can survive during daylight. Thanks to Flora, a biologist, who created an antidote that allows her and Elvie to be able to walk among the sun and survive for a few days following the source, monarch butterflies. Unfortunately the antidote only lasts a few days and cannot be mass produced, leading the main characters to following the patterns of butterflies. Between wonderful illustrations is a scientific journal aspect, that Elvie is constantly updating as they journey. Overall, the way Little Monarchs was written, the journal aspect, the stem conversations and the hope for conservation, protection, and the idea that well-being is not only for us but for all lead to a great graphic novel. – Jennifer Caynor

Nadia  Shammas and Sara Alfageeh, illustrated by Sara Alfageeh
Quill Tree Books
Nominated by: afrjes7547

A fantasy novel with roots in real-life issues of war, imperialism, and loyalty, Squire is the story of Aiza, who trains to become a knight while hiding her identity. Knighthood provides an escape from poverty but it isn’t a magical answer, as Aiza’s mentor tries to ingrain in her. Squire exposes the narratives that we are told, showing that history is written by the victors. The artwork is stunning and the story is powerful. – Rosemary Kiladitis, Mom Read It

Swim Team
Johnnie Christmas
Nominated by: Lucy K

An incredible story about Bree and why swimming is the last thing on her mind, especially when Bree and her father have just moved to a new state. When school begins, Bree is hoping to get one of the many electives on her must list, but she realizes that none of them are available to her. So Swim 101 it is. There is one big problem, Bree is afraid of water and she can’t swim. This graphic novel brings up relevant social issues while keeping the story relatable. It presents a history lesson to readers as well as to Bree when she learns that segregation plays a huge part in why so many Black individuals have struggled with swimming. Themes of friendship, determination, kindness, bullying, family expectations, and advocating for yourself spill out into the story line making the reader wish they too were a Manatee. – Jennifer Caynor

The Flamingo: A Graphic Novel Chapter Book
Random House Studio
Nominated by: Maria Marshall

In the nearly wordless graphic novel, The Flamingo, a little girl and her grandmother are spending time together until the little girl finds a flamingo feather and her grandmother unravels a story of fantasy from her own childhood that traverses the readers imagination. With beautiful illustrations, Guojing brings to life a story of love and joy, bringing together generations of imagination and tender moments of family. – Kristen Harvey, Mrs. Harvey’s Library

The Woman in the Woods
Edited by Ashwin, Kate; McDonald, Kel; Pete, Alina
Iron Circus Comics
Nominated by: aquafortis

Native/indigenous authors have come together in The Woman in the Woods and other North American Stories to share a variety of stories passed down from their different cultures. Each tale has a different author/illustrator or duo and also involves different North American tribes from Metis, Ojibwe, Taino, Navajo, S’Kallam, Cree, Chickasaw, and Odawa. The stories range from trickster tales to nature stories and more. Each story was so unique and different that the reader wouldn’t know what to expect coming up and the illustrations brought forth each story to life and matched the tone of each theme. – Kristen Harvey, Mrs. Harvey’s Library

Wingbearer (Wingbearer, 1)
Liu, Marjorie, illustrated by Issakhanian, Teny
Quill Tree Books
Nominated by: Katy K.

Get lost in a world where magic meets adventure. Zuli lives in a sacred tree amongst the Wings, guardians of birds’ souls. The souls tell stories and talk about what they have seen in their life that make Zuli question what is really out there and what is she missing beyond the tree. When Zuli notices that birds are dying and as the tree that once bright life to these souls becomes dark, and the leaves not at all as lively as they used to be, something must be wrong. Wingbearer is a traditional hero’s journey with a brilliant twist, set with a backdrop of gorgeous graphics to tell a story rich and vibrant. Follow Zuli as she enters a world full of mystical creatures and insight into who she really is. – Jennifer Caynor

Young Adult Graphic Novels 


Across a Field of Starlight: (A Graphic Novel)
Blue Delliquanti
Random House Graphic
Nominated by: aquafortis

Lu and Fassen meet as children – one an orphan from a famous resistance movement, and the other from a secretive commune trying to evade the reach of the Ever-Blossoming Empire. Their experiences as budding nonbinary scientists, soldiers, medics, and young people trying to grapple with the world and maintain their friendship – are the close-up story against the backdrop of a science fiction epic. Blue Delliquanti’s art, a gorgeous, rainbow-palette of coziness, contrasts with the stakes of space and war, and mirrors the tension that the characters feel in keeping parts of their lives separate from their best friend. The Cybils panel loved that Delliquanti’s characters comprise a variety of racial and genderqueer identities, body shapes, but that that is never the point. Refreshingly, they just are, and we were drawn into this hopeful and imaginative future in part because of that. – Cecelia Larsen, The Adventures of Cecelia Bedelia

Huda F Are You?
Huda Fahmy
Dial Books
Nominated by: Eliza Blumenthal

Growing up in Dearborn Michigan, Huda Fahmy was surrounded by other Muslim girls, so that wasn’t setting her apart from everyone else. She wasn’t a gamer, or a fashionista, or an athlete, either. She was just… Huda. In her hilarious memoir, Huda F Are You?, Huda takes a deep dive into how she spent her teens becoming comfortable with being in her own skin. There are hilarious moments with her family and friends. Ultimately relatable as Huda goes through her teens figuring out who she is, we also see life from the perspective of a Muslim teen and her family. – Rosemary Kiladitis, Mom Read It

M Is for Monster
Talia Dutton
Harry N Abrams
Nominated by: RaiseThemRighteous by Jennifer Miller

When Dr. Frances Ai’s sister, Maura, dies unexpectedly, she works to bring her back to life. What comes back, however, is M, who looks like Maura, talks like Maura, but…isn’t quite Maura. Dr. Ai says that if the resurrection didn’t work right, she will put M under and try again, and M wants to keep living, so she pretends to “be” Maura. It’s not quite right, and doesn’t really go well at all. A very clever take on Frankenstein, one that is its own story while having echoes of the classic. It’s a study on identity and self- awareness as well as on grief and letting go. Most of all, though, it’s an exploration of what it means to be Human. – Melissa Fox, The Book Nut

Messy Roots: A Graphic Memoir of a Wuhanese American
Laura Gao
Balzer + Bray
Nominated by: Deborah K

In Messy Roots, Laura tells her story an an immigrant from China to Texas. She discovers who she is as a queer person and the daughter of immigrants, and her voice comes through clearly with humor and honesty. The story explores internalized and systemic racism, and a glimpse into life as a person from Wuhan during COVID-19 gives readers a glimpse into the resurgence of anti-Asian sentiment in America.

Rosemary Kiladitis, Mom Read It

Numb to This: Memoir of a Mass Shooting
Kindra Neely
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Nominated by: Jennifer Naughton

In Numb to This, Kindra Neely, a mass shooting survivor, shares a beautiful, poignant, and searing memoir of the years immediately after her traumatic experience at Umpqua Community College. The majority of Neely’s book focuses on the day of the shooting and what happened next: how she reacted in the short- and long-term, the impact of PTSD on her life, and the reality of a suicide attempt. The committee was impressed by how Neely narrated that aftermath with care and honesty. Numb to This will resonate with the anxieties of today’s teens, and its ultimately hopeful ending will have a positive impact on all its readers.

Cecelia Larsen, The Adventures of Cecelia Bedelia

The Greatest Thing
Sarah Winifred Searle
First Second Books
Nominated by: Max at Completely Full Bookshelf

The Greatest Thing is the story of Winifred as she navigates another year of school but this time without her best friends, navigating through making new friends, finding out who she is and dealing with the trials of being a teenager. Beautifully illustrated, Sarah Winifred Searles still manages to show the raw side of emotions as this book tackles many tough issues that are social/emotional as well as psychological. The reader’s heart will be captured as the characters struggle and show their flaws, have misunderstandings and come back together. – Kristen Harvey, Mrs. Harvey’s Library

Victory. Stand!: Raising My Fist for Justice
Tommie Smith and Derrick Barnes and Dawud Anyabwile
Norton Young Readers
Nominated by: Cecelia of Adventures of Cecelia Bedelia

As a graphic novel memoir, Victory. Stand! is a tight, focused narrative. The “present” is author Tommie Smith’s 1968 race for Olympic gold and the iconic podium moment; that is interspersed with flashbacks to Smith’s early childhood in Texas, his family’s move to California, and his own growing consciousness of the Civil Rights movement. It’s a gripping tale, made even more memorable by Dawud Anyabwile’s black and white linework, which provides a palpable sense of movement and focus. The committee thought the title’s art, readability, and interest to teens was unbeatable: anyone interested in history, Civil Rights, sports, the Olympics, and overcoming injustice would find something to enjoy in this book. – Cecelia Larsen, The Adventures of Cecelia Bedelia