3 More 2022 Cybils MG Graphic Novel Finalists

If you or the kids in your life are graphic novel fans, here are three more great choices, some of which we’ve purchased for our home since reading and all of which I purchased for the school media center, where graphic novels are the hottest thing going. You can read my reviews of Flamingo, Invisible, and Squire and of Swim Team, and read the official Cybils blurbs for all of them.

Wingbearer by Marjorie Liu and Teny Issakhanian. HarperCollins, 2022. ISBN 9780062741158. Read from a library copy and now own.  
Zuli has been raised in the great tree to which the souls of birds return after their deaths to prepare for rebirth, though Zuli herself is alive and human.  It’s the only world she’s ever known – but when the souls stop coming to the tree, she offers to leave so the guardian spirits of the tree can remain.  She’s joined first by her guardian owl, Frowly, and then a goblin boy, Orien.  Zuli has woefully little experience of the outside world, never even needing to eat or drink while in the great tree, so this combined with her curiosity and Frowly’s caution add humor to the story.  Orien is used to being despised for being a goblin, complicating the relationship. This is just the first installment of the quest, so there’s time for reflection on the nature of the world along with the adventure and humor.  This is beautifully reflected in the art, where more ordinary comic panels sometimes make way for full-page spreads of beautiful scenery or Zuli’s explanations of the world.  This was my own Cybils nomination, and I am so very pleased that it made it to the finalists.  My daughter and I are both looking forward to book 2, Wingborn, currently scheduled to come out in November 2023. 

Little Monarchs by Jonathan Case. Margaret Ferguson Books, 2022. ISBN 9780823451395 Read from a library copy. 
50 years ago the sun shifted, its light now lethal to mammalian life.  Now only small pockets of humans survive, mostly living underground.  But 10-year-old Elvie and her guardian Flora are able to travel by van and even sleep outdoors in hammocks, protected by the medicine Flora makes from the scales of monarch butterflies.  Survival takes a lot of time and effort – but Elvie is also trying to get an education, help Flora with her research into a longer-lasting vaccine, and find a way back to her parents, from whom they were separated years ago.  As they continue their journey, their already precarious situation is made even more so by the introduction of a young boy and a group of adults who, if they can be trusted, might be able to help with the mission.  This post-apocalyptic environmental survival story is filled with both danger and survival tips, and prompts readers to reflect on what we have now.  This is another really impressive graphic novel.  

Woman in the Woods by Kate Ashwin, et al. Iron Circus, 2022. ISBN 978-1945820977. Read from a library copy. 
This is a collection of magical short stories by various Native authors and artists.  In the opening story by Elijah Forbes, a child in a modern room with a Pride flag asks an adult if there were any people “like them” in their history.  They’re told yes with the Odawa creation story, where the creator spirit is feminine and masculine at the same time. Longer stories include the story of  Chokfi, the trickster rabbit, a funny Chickasaw porquoi tale by Jordaan Arledge and Mekala Nava; the Romeo and Juliet-like White Horse Plains by Rhael McGregor and Sylvia Boyer (Metis/Cree) and my favorite, Rougarou by Maija Ambrose Plamondon & Milo Appljohn, a Metis. story of understanding and looking beyond the surface.  Their are also some brief, beautiful sketches of contemporary life with myth: Woman in the Woods, a Taino story by Mercedes Acosta, By the Light of the Moon, a S’Kallam story by Jeffrey Veregge & Alina Pete and Into the Darkness, a Navajo story by Izzy Roberts & Aubrie Warner.  As is usual with short story collections, some of them felt higher quality than others, and I worried a little about kid appeal in this black and white book.  Still, it’s an important contribution to the genre and well worth reading. 

About Katy K.

I'm a librarian and book worm who believes that children and adults deserve great books to read.
This entry was posted in Fantasy, Graphic Novel, Middle Grade, Reviews, Sci-Fi and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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