The books Southern indie booksellers are recommending to readers everywhere!

Comics & Graphic Novels

I Escaped a Chinese Internment Camp by Anthony Del Col

This book shows the very ugly truth that is a reality for many people. This woman survived unimaginable conditions and lived to tell the tale. I have nothing but the utmost respect for her being able to share her truth, and feel this book really opened my eyes to the treatment of the Uyghur people of China.

I Escaped a Chinese Internment Camp by Anthony Del Col, (List Price: $19.99, Lev Gleason, 9781988247960, September 2023)

Reviewed by Lana Repic, E. Shaver Bookseller in Savannah, Georgia

Phoebe’s Diary by Phoebe Wahl

Incredibly earnest, honest account (in graphic novel form!) of a teenage theatre kid navigating the move to public high school from an unschooling/homeschool education in a smallish city in the Pacific NorthWest. I love Phoebe Wahl’s art and children’s books (she illustrates and writes), and I adored her peek into the boy-obsessed, music-loving, art-driven world she creates from her own teenage diaries. I laughed out loud, cringed, cried, and cheered. If you loved Judy Blume’s Are You There God, It’s Me Margaret, you’ll love Phoebe’s Diary.

Phoebe’s Diary by Phoebe Wahl, (List Price: 19.99, Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 9780316363563, September 2023)

Reviewed by Adah Fitzgerald, Main Street Books in Davidson, North Carolina

This One Summer by Jillian Tamaki

This poignant story paints those subtle shifts from childhood to adulthood for Rose as she spends time at a lake house with her parents, who are going through a rough patch, and her younger friend Windy, who suddenly seems immature. It’s a quiet story, full of melancholy and growing pains, but still so lovely and achingly honest.

This One Summer by Jillian Tamaki, (List Price: $18.99, First Second, 9781596437746, May 2014)

Reviewed by Julie Jarema, Avid Bookshop in Athens, Georgia

Roaming by Jillian Tamaki

Mariko and Jillian Tamaki are back with another slam-dunk of a graphic novel, this time their adult debut. I was captivated! This story of three friends visiting New York for the first time in 2009 after their first year of college was so relatable, especially the way they captured the different pairings between the trio. Zoe and Dani are long-time best friends who are reuniting after a year apart, but Fiona is the Dani’s new friend from college. I loved seeing the way tensions rose and dissipated. And as usual, Jillian Tamaki’s art is gorgeous!

Roaming by Jillian Tamaki, (List Price: 34.95, Drawn and Quarterly, 9781770464339, September 2023)

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

Ghost Book by Remy Lai

Remy Lai continues to be one of the best and most thoughtful creators working in children’s literature today. In her graphic novel Ghost Book, Lai gives us the loveable characters of July Chen who can see ghosts all around her and William, a boy whose not quite dead. Filled with vibrant images, mythology, and heart – Ghost Book proves once again that no one can weave together fun and deep emotion like Remy Lai!

Ghost Book by Remy Lai, (List Price: 14.99, Henry Holt and Co. BYR Paperbacks, 9781250810434, August 2023)

Reviewed by Caleb Masters, Bookmarks in Winston-Salem, North Carolina

One Smart Cookie by Mika Song

Fortunately, one of the adorable squirrels was learning to read and write. Their futures were bright, and cookies were just a few words away. If only they could think their way into the fortune cookie writer’s block. Darling and silly, this graphic novel is perfect for beginning readers of all ages.

One Smart Cookie by Mika Song, (List Price: 12.99, Random House Graphic, 9780593479759, August 2023)

Reviewed by Jilleen Moore, Square Books in Oxford, Mississippi

Two Tribes by Emily Bowen Cohen

Artwork was good but a bit simplistic. I enjoyed following Mia’s story as she tries to reconnect with her father and learn to balance her Hebrew and Native American heritages. Anyone dealing with divorced parents and different cultural backgrounds will enjoy this book.

Two Tribes by Emily Bowen Cohen, (List Price: 15.99, Heartdrum, 9780062983589, August 2023)

Reviewed by Krista Roach, E. Shaver Bookseller in Savannah, Georgia

Misfit Mansion by Kay Davault

This graphic novel was such a delight to read. It acknowledges the importance of being able to see the many different make ups of family. Family is so much more than the people we are related to, it can be friends, community and sometimes we find it in the most unexpected places. I love how it shows that sometimes we are afraid of things we do not understand and once we take the step to look a little deeper our fear begins to diminish.

Misfit Mansion by Kay Davault, (List Price: 14.99, Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 9781665903073, July 2023)

Reviewed by Keeshia Jacklitch, Bookmarks in Winston-Salem, North Carolina

Arca by Jesse Lonergan Van Jensen

The Arca is spaceship filled with the last remaining survivors of the human race as they head off in search of a habitable planet in this fun, new post apocalyptic graphic novel. The elite run the show and reap the rewards, while the young people toil as servants, hoping to one day become elite themselves. Naturally, all is not as it seems, as the mystery behind this oppressive social structure starts to unravel. I blazed through this fun, ground level sci-fi story and loved it. The perspective and the art lend a much more enjoyable indie tone to what would normally come off as a big, dumb Hollywood style space epic. Recommended!

Arca by Jesse Lonergan Van Jensen, (List Price: 16.99, IDW Publishing, 9781684059980, July 2023)

Reviewed by Seth Tucker, Carmichael’s Bookstore in Louisville, Kentucky

Frontera by Julio Anta

Incredibly moving and powerful. Frontera gives emotional insight into deportations, border crossing and the separation of families. Through impactful graphics and storytelling, it showcases the harsh realties of those making a perilous journey across the border in search of a better life or in Mateo’s case the life they once had.

Frontera by Julio Anta, (List Price: $18.99, HarperAlley, 9780063054943, July 2023)

Reviewed by Keeshia Jacklitch, Bookmarks in Winston-Salem, North Carolina

Gunhild, Volume 1 by Fred Tornager

A fresh, creative, and colorful reimagining of Norse mythology. This story has heart and the motivation Gunhild has to become a God is inspiring! I hope to see much more of this world and these characters!

Gunhild, Volume 1 by Fred Tornager, (List Price: 13.99, Rockport Publishers, 9780760381915, July 2023)

Reviewed by Lana Repic, E. Shaver, booksellers in Savannah, Georgia

Colin Kaepernick: Change the Game (Graphic Novel Memoir) by Colin Kaepernick

Change the Game follows a young Colin Kaepernick as he navigates late high school, and his lack of offers to play college football. He confronts the societal obstacles in his way head on and continues to fight for and believe in himself. Great for young athletes who are looking for an inspiring story of overcoming challenges, both in the outside world and in their own heads.

Colin Kaepernick: Change the Game (Graphic Novel Memoir) by Colin Kaepernick, (List Price: 24.99, Graphix, 9781338789669, May 2023)

Reviewed by Alex Einhorn, Fountain Bookstore in Richmond, Virginia

The Mighty Bite by Nathan Hale

A trilobite has a dream to become famous and it gets silly from there; what’s not to love? Nathan Hale has crafted a delightfully wacky, hilarious, and clever graphic novel filled with ape gods, extinct animals, Amber the walking whale, a video-making contest, and a floating talking cat head. Pure fun!

The Mighty Bite by Nathan Hale, (List Price: 14.99, Harry N. Abrams, 9781419765537, April 2023)

Reviewed by Caleb Masters, Bookmarks in Winston-Salem, North Carolina

Night of the Ghoul by Scott Snyder

Wow! This was awesome! The illustrations with the limited color palette really helped tell the story and made for fantastic page compositions. The story was also great and really felt like it paid homage to all the classic horror movies and their monsters – I can absolutely see The Ghoul fitting right in next to them. I also very much enjoyed the split story telling between what was happening ‘in real time’ vs. showing parts of the film. Good stuff.

Night of the Ghoul by Scott Snyder, (List Price: 19.99, Dark Horse Books, 9781506728353, June 2023)

Reviewed by Olivia Stacey, E. Shaver, Bookseller in Savannah, Georgia

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