Anya’s Ghost by Vera Brosgol– Anya, a Russian-born teenager, falls down a well. In this well she meets a ghost, who decides to tag along when Anya is rescued. With her new friend, Anya starts to change from the awkward, struggling teenager into someone popular and liked. Unfortunately, there is more to Anya’s Ghost than the happy imagery and vibrant colors would suggest.
i.d.: Stuff that Happens to Define Us by Kate Scowen and Peter Mitchell— i.d. offers 12 first-person accounts about life’s pivotal moments–those universal experiences from our youth that mar us, mold us, and make us who we are. By turns thoughtful, painful, funny, and fierce, i.d. powerfully demonstrates that what defines us in youth doesn’t have to confine us forever.
Degrotias: a Tale of Rwanda by Jean-Philippe Stassen– Degrotias is a work of fiction, but it’s source material is so steeped in fact that it’s difficult not to become emotionally invested in both the story and the events behind it. Degrotias, the title character, is a young man psychologically torn apart by the genocide in Rwanda in the middle of the 1990s. We follow his story through a series of alcohol-induced flashbacks to how life was before the tragedy and how it changed during. Degrotias is not a story for the weak of heart. Though the imagery is never as violent or horrid as the actual events, the implications remain tragic. At the same time, they offer an important illustration into events that many people might have put on blinders to.
Laika by Nick Abadzis– Laika was the abandoned puppy destined to become Earth’s first space traveler. Nick Abadzis blends fiction and fact in the intertwined stories of three compelling lives. Adazis casts light on the story of an engineer of the Soviet space program and the lab technician responsible for Laika’s life, both portrayals of a pivotal moment in modern history. This graphic novel depicts the hidden moments of deep humanity behind the cold hard facts. Laika’s story will speak straight to your heart.