‘Brooms’ Writer Jasmine Walls Picks Her Favorite Books by Black Creators | Guest Post
Today we have a guest post by Jasmine Walls, writer of the YA graphic novel Brooms (check out our preview!), with a list of ten of her favorite graphic novels by Black creators to get Black History Month 2024 off to a good start. Enjoy!
In honor of Black History Month, and as a little encouragement to read stories by Black authors and artists year round, here are a few of my favorite graphic novels by Black creators.
Artie and the Wolf Moon, by Olivia Stephens: Olivia Stephens’ work is a delight, combining lush art with equally deft writing in this coming-of-age story. Artie’s journey isn’t just about finding herself and dealing with young love or interpersonal drama, she’s also got new werewolf abilities and antagonistic vampires to watch out for.
Twins, by Varian Johnson and Shannon Wright: Twins is a fantastic book for anyone with siblings, and a great window for any only children to catch a glimpse. Maureen and Francine’s story is very relatable, the ups and downs of sisterhood, the struggle of a new school, and the urge to resist change because it can be frightening. Varian’s story is charming and heartfelt and fits perfectly with Shannon’s art.
Static: Season One, by Vita Ayala and Nikolas Draper-Ivey: This is for all the superhero fans, and I speak as someone who has loved Dwayne McDuffie’s original Static for years. Vita’s writing both honors the character and breathes a fresh vitality to his story. Fast-paced, fun, and gorgeously illustrated, this book is hard to put down.
Archival Quality, by Steenz and Ivy Noelle Weir: For a quieter read, but one that doesn’t pull its emotional punches, Archival Quality will stay in your mind after reading like a (very benevolent) ghost. On top of trying to balance a new job and her own struggles with mental health, Celeste is trying to pick apart a ghostly mystery. Readers are carried along with her as she begins to question everything she knows, and how far she’s willing to go to find answers.
The Crossover, by Kwame Alexander and Dawud Anyabwile: This book is popular for good reason: With its energetic, eye-catching art and uniquely lyrical writing, every reader can find something to latch onto. Dive right into Josh’s world as he raps and writes and wipes the floor with his opponents on the basketball court. But not everything is perfect, and soon enough it starts to feel like his world is slowly fracturing between his twin pulling away and his father’s mystery ailments.
Wires Crossed, by Oneill Jones and Beth Fantaskey: Middle school can be tough, even more so when you don’t quite fit into any cliques. Beth and Oneill are a star creative team on this charming slice-of-life. Mia, a middle school science enthusiast, is just trying to keep up with all the changes that seem to be happening faster and faster while she feels stuck. Maybe winning the school’s science olympics won’t solve all of her problem, but it might end up teaching her exactly what she needs.
Anne of West Philly, by Ivy Noelle Weir and Myisha Haynes: As you might have guessed, this is a modern take on Anne of Green Gables, and the creative team couldn’t be more perfect. Ivy’s writing is so easy to fall into, and Myisha’s art is so bold and lovely that anyone would have a hard time passing it by. In this fresh new adaptation, Anne moves in with her new foster family and in true Anne fashion, is determined to make the most of it. What she doesn’t expect is for things to turn out not as she was hoping they would, but exactly how she needed them to.
Proctor Valley Road, by Naomi Franquiz, Grant Morrison, Alex Child, and Tamra Bonvillain: This book has so many great points, but I want to focus on Naomi’s absolutely stunning artwork. I’ve been a fan of Naomi’s work for years and the art in Proctor Valley is an excellent example of why. Perfect for fans of Paper Girls or Stranger Things, the teens in Proctor Valley are all that stand between their small town and the monsters determined to wreak havoc within it.
Long Way Down, by Jason Reynolds and Danica Novgorodoff: This book is heavy but beautiful. Jason’s writing embraces grief in ways that feel deeply relatable, even if the situation our young hero Will finds himself in may or may not be. Danica’s watercolor art style adds to the dream-like feel as Will encounters ghosts, all touched by the same cycle of violence, on the elevator as he heads out to exact revenge on the man he believes shot his brother.
M.F.K., by Nilah Magruder: Nilah’s art and world-building are such a great combination, and that’s especially apparent in this book. It would be a great pick for readers who are fans of Avatar: The Last Airbender or One Piece, with a fun and often quirky cast of characters living in a richly imagined world that is beautiful but often unkind. Abbie is a young woman on a journey who is reluctant to be caught up in this small town’s problems, but fate won’t let her get away that easily.
About Brigid Alverson
Brigid Alverson, the editor of the Good Comics for Kids blog, has been reading comics since she was 4. She has an MFA in printmaking and has worked as a book editor, a newspaper reporter, and assistant to the mayor of a small city. In addition to editing GC4K, she is a regular columnist for SLJ, a contributing editor at ICv2, an editor at Smash Pages, and a writer for Publishers Weekly. Brigid is married to a physicist and has two daughters. She was a judge for the 2012 Eisner Awards.
SLJ Blog Network