The books Southern indie booksellers are recommending to readers everywhere!

Comics & Graphic Novels

Muhammad Najem, War Reporter by Muhammad Najem

A Syrian kid living through the Syrian civil war decides to interview other kids his age using his phone to document what’s going on. He shares it on social media like YT Tw and FB. He felt like he was being targeted by bombs for his news videos. Tense, informative, serious, sad, but also has happy moments. Read it all in one sitting. Hard to put down.

Muhammad Najem, War Reporter by Muhammad Najem, (List Price: $12.99, Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 9780759556904, September 2022)

Reviewed by Eliza, Main Street Books in Davidson, North Carolina

Frizzy by Claribel A. Ortega

I needed this book so bad when I was younger! From middle school to high school, I hated my curly, frizzy, thick hair. I didn’t know what to do with it other than straightening it to make it look ‘pretty’ and I didn’t have anyone in my life with hair like mine, so my hair always felt like a problem. I loved that Marlene wanted to embrace her curly hair and started that journey for herself without permission. She unapologetically wanted to be her self and it completely warmed my heart. Thank you Claribel A. Ortega for this story! I cannot wait for other kids to read this and learn to love their hair!

Frizzy by Claribel A. Ortega, (List Price: $12.99, First Second, 9781250259639, October 2022)

Reviewed by Juliana Reyes, Bookmarks in Winston-Salem, North Carolina

Invisible: A Graphic Novel by Christina Diaz Gonzalez

Community service gains a whole new meaning for five middle school students in this must-have dual language graphic novel. Edgar award-winning author Christina Diaz Gonzalez even adds a signature mystery twist to the story that is sure to resonate with any one who ever felt lost in the wild world of middle school.

Invisible: A Graphic Novel by Christina Diaz Gonzalez, (List Price: $12.99, Graphix, 9781338194548, August 2022)

Reviewed by Angie Tally, The Country Bookshop in Southern Pines, North Carolina

Maybe An Artist, A Graphic Memoir by Liz Montague

This graphic memoir should be put into every middle and high school library in the country! As kids we are often told to do what we love, but there’s so much pressure on kids to succeed before they get a chance to figure out what success may look like for them. In this book Liz Montague documents the stress of trying to become something she wasn’t and how she eventually acknowledged and achieved her dreams of becoming an artist. I loved her illustration style — it is so simple and so effective!

Maybe An Artist, A Graphic Memoir by Liz Montague, (List Price: $17.99, Random House Studio, 9780593307823, October 2022)

Reviewed by Kate Storhoff, Bookmarks in Winston-Salem, North Carolina

Spotlight on: Gender Queer by Maia Kobabe

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Maia Kobabe Photo Credit Maia Kobabe

I spent a lot of time not knowing what I was, not having a label for how I felt. I can’t tell you how many countless pages of journal entries I wrote asking, “Am I gay, am I bi, am I a lesbian, am I a boy, am I a girl, am I neither, am I half and half” etc. This questioning took up a huge amount of my mental space, and I definitely wanted to hold the readers in that period of uncertainty, in that undefined grey area. ” ―Maia Kobabe, Interview, Geeks Out

 

Gender Queer by Maia Kobabe

What booksellers are saying about Gender Queer

  • Gender Queer is Maia Kobabe’s autobiography about eir journey to identifying as nonbinary and asexual, and coming out to eir family and society. It’s an essential read for everyone – whether you’re looking for beautiful representation or a path to learn more about our nonbinary and asexual friends. Gender Queer deals with so many issues that every young person goes through in life, no matter how they identify. It is an award-winning book for a reason! ―Emily Lessig from The Violet Fox Bookshop in Virginia Beach, Virginia
    Buy from The Violet Fox Bookshop

  • I think the thing I admired most about this book was the tender honesty with which Kobabe shares eir most intimate and private moments. This book shares with us the story of a brilliantly unique life while also inviting the reader in and bridging the gap between author and reader in the most personal ways. E leaves no detail of eir story unexplored or unexposed. How gracious e is with us, to be so truthful. Excellently done. Highly recommend to anyone curious to understand and learn more about the lived experiences of genderqueer individuals, or to anyone genderqueer themself looking to see themselves in literature.
      ―Juliet Rosner from E. Shaver, bookseller in Savannah, Georgia
    Buy from E. Shaver, bookseller

  • A beautiful memoir of self-discovery and what Maia overcame as a teen/young adult to finally feel at home in eir body, and things e *still* struggles with to this day. Captures the confusing and overwhelming experiences of young LGBTQ persons in a relatable, sometimes humorous(!) way  ―Mallory Sutton from Bards Alley in Vienna, Virginia
    Buy from Bards Alley

About Maia Kobabe

Maia Kobabe is a nonbinary, queer author and illustrator from the Bay Area, California. Eir first full length book, Gender Queer: A Memoir, was published in May 2019. Maia’s short comics have been published by The Nib and in many anthologies including The Secret Loves of Geek, Faster That Light Y’All, Gothic Tales of Haunted Love, Shout Out, Advance Death Saves and Be Gay, Do Comics. Before setting out to work freelance full-time, e worked for over ten years in libraries. Eir work is heavily influenced by fairy tales, homesickness, and the search for identity.

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Talli, Daughter of the Moon Vol. 1 by Sourya

I love it when the first volume of a series catches your attention and leaves you wanting more. When I started Talli, I wasn’t sure what to expect. At first, I thought it was going to be a normal run-of-the-mill Shonen-like manga where nothing crazily drastic happens to characters. Boy was I wrong. The second limbs start to fly and characters have intense personal issues/trauma means that what you are reading is going to have some meat to it. Really excited to find out more about the lore and characters!

Talli, Daughter of the Moon Vol. 1 by Sourya, (List Price: $19.99, Oni Press, 9781637150825, September 2022)

Reviewed by Ethan Davis, Oxford Exchange in Tampa, Florida

My Aunt Is a Monster by Reimena Yee

Such a wonderful, well-drawn, and well-written graphic novel! A girl learning how to be herself and loving all the oddities of the world, surrounded by supernatural family and daring adventures brings warmth to my heart. I also love that being blind isn’t the focus of this story, that having a disability is not all that she is, that kids who are blind can have just as many wacky adventures as those who are not. Overall, such a heartfelt graphic novel – I can’t wait for the next one (gives me Beetle & the Hollowbones vibes too!)

My Aunt Is a Monster by Reimena Yee, (List Price: $20.99, Random House Graphic, 9780593125465, September 2022)

Reviewed by Grace Quinn, Foggy Pine Books in Boone, North Carolina

If Anything Happens I Love You by Will McCormack

This book will feel like the longest and shortest book you have ever read. You feel the words and the images with every page. You will laugh, you will cry, and then you will ugly cry! If Anything Happens I love You addresses grief and school violence through they eyes and innocence of a child. A poignant story that will leave you deeply moved.

If Anything Happens I Love You by Will McCormack, (List Price: $16.99, Andrews McMeel Publishing, 9781524871253, September 2022)

Reviewed by Gretchen Shuler, Fiction Addiction in Greenville, South Carolina

Berserk Deluxe Volume 11 by Kentaro Miura

This is the best series of all time, hands down. Absolutely gorgeous artwork, incredible world-building, and intense developments. Berserk is about trauma and how you can overcome that trauma. There will always be hardships and the only thing you can do is keep moving forward. I will always recommend this series to everyone. Character development is unmatched. Berserk has inspired so many other creative works of art, and it fully deserves recognition. 11 out of 10

Berserk Deluxe Volume 11 by Kentaro Miura, (List Price: $49.99, Dark Horse Manga, 9781506727554, July 2022)

Reviewed by Ethan Davis, Oxford Exchange in Tampa, Florida

Silk Hills by Ryan Ferrier

Something weird is happening in Silk Hills and it’s not just the local obsession with Mothman. However, the unique, hallucination inducing moths that are native to this region of Appalachia are central to the story & the eccentric researcher who studies them assists our main character, Beth, who has been hired to find a missing man. Absolutely nothing goes to plan though and there’s more hiding in these hills than Beth was counting on. Fans of The X-Files will really enjoy this graphic novel & I really appreciated the Appalachian setting. I’d love to see more from these authors & artists!

Silk Hills by Ryan Ferrier, (List Price: $24.99, Oni Press, 9781637150382, June 2022)

Reviewed by Max Ruthless, Foggy Pine Books in Boone, North Carolina

Rooster Fighter, Vol. 1 by Shu Sakuratani

Rooster Fighter is a mad little manga about a rooster who kills demons. This inherently silly premise is played straight and hilariously so–the art and the fights are often epic and without gags: The gag is the premise itself. It’s a wonderful manga for people who don’t take things too seriously. Or keep chickens.

Rooster Fighter, Vol. 1 by Shu Sakuratani, (List Price: $12.99, VIZ Media LLC, 9781974729845, August 2022)

Reviewed by Alex Mcleod, The Haunted Book Shop in Mobile, Alabama

Over My Dead Body by Sweeney Boo

I love dark academia. My love for it started with Harry Potter as a child and has only grown since then. I was delighted to dive into a school of witches and warlocks that’s brimming diversity opposed to the same old tired tropes. When her friend Noreen goes missing in the cursed forest, Abigail will stop at nothing to unwrap the truth and save her mentee. The art is beautiful. This is going to be the perfect recommendation for Halloween and beyond!

Over My Dead Body by Sweeney Boo, (List Price: 17.9, HarperAlley, 9780063056305, August 2022)

Reviewed by Katlin Kerrison, Story on the Square in McDonough, Georgia

Mimi and the Cutie Catastrophe: A Graphix Chapters Book (Mimi #1) by Shauna J. Grant

Cuteness explosion! This precious kid’s graphic novel follows gap-toothed, pigtails-wearing Mimi and her magical toy dog Penelope. Mimi is all things cute, yellow rain boots, pink tutus, and bows and hearts and she loves it! Until it starts to get in the way, you can’t be cute and help, you can’t be cute and get messy when you play, and Mimi has had enough of the cute! Her solution? Become a superhero of course! Can Mimi prove everyone wrong and show that you can be cute and also be the best superhero in the universe?

Mimi and the Cutie Catastrophe: A Graphix Chapters Book (Mimi #1) by Shauna J. Grant, (List Price: $17.99, Doubleday Books for Young Readers, 9781338766660, July 2022)

Reviewed by Grace Sullivan, Fountain Bookstore in Richmond, Virginia

Crumbs by Danie Stirling

This graphic novel is absolutely adorable! What could be better than first loves, witchy powers, and magical bakeries? Ray is such a sweet and relatable protagonist, and I found myself rooting for her wholeheartedly throughout the book. At its core, Crumbs is a novel about self empowerment and the importance of personal choice– I loved it!

Crumbs by Danie Stirling, (List Price: $24.99, Clarion Books, 9780358467793, July 2022)

Reviewed by Jessica Baker, Bookmarks in Winston-Salem, North Carolina

Slip by Marika McCoola

I love a good metagenre work, so Slip, a graphic novel about visual art, is right up my alley. Slip’s artwork is emotional and striking in its roughness; it’s very reminiscent This One Summer by the Tamakis (which I love). A particularity of Slip’s art I adored is the agelessness of the human drawings, which makes the narrative’s themes feel universal even as the book focuses on young adults. The book is about defining oneself as an individual, particularly when your friends seem to need you. It’s a difficult and necessary topic, and McCool does really well with it.

Slip by Marika McCoola, (List Price: $17.95, Algonquin Young Readers, 9781616207892, July 2022)

Reviewed by Akil Guruparan, Fountain Bookstore in Richmond, Virginia

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