part three recommendations for further inspiration

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Hirsh, K. (ed.) (1997) Mind Riot: Coming of Age in Comix. New York: Aladdin Paperbacks.

A compilation of short story form comix (with an “x”) written with the coming-of-age teenage confusion in mind. With subjects range from skateboarding to body image, Mind Riot aims to speak to young adults about their own lives and inspire them to create their own comics…and it succeeds!

Winick, J. (2000) Pedro and Me: Friendship, Loss, and What I Learned. New York: Henry Holt.

Judd Winick, of MTV’s hugely popular reality TV series The Real World, gets especially “real” in his touching graphic memoir that tells the story of his friendship with former roommate Pedro Zamora, a gay AIDS activist who eventually succumbed to the disease.

Cruse, H. (1995). Stuck Rubber Baby. New York: DC Comics.

Toland Polk is a gay-yet-still-stuck-in-the-closet teenager comes of age as a Civil Rights Movement sympathizer in the South in the midst of violent, impassioned social upheaval? How do you top a graphic novel that explores the deeply personal and emotional implications of simultaneously addressing sexual and racial identity in the politically charged early 1960s?

Talbot, B. (1995) The Tale of One Bad Rat. Milwaukie, OR: Dark Horse Books.

Powerfully moving story of an English girl named Helen who runs away from home with her pet rat to escape the arms of her alcoholic, incest-perpetrating father. Talbot uses parallels with the stories and life of Beatrix Potter to bring new meaning Helen’s emotional recovery.

Chin, O. (2003). 9 to 1: A Window to the World. Berkeley, CA: Frog, Ltd.

In the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, a Bay Area high school teacher gives the students a daunting assignment: interview someone you don’t know about how he/she is affected by the tragic historical event. Each student’s response to the assignment is an intriguing clashing of differing cultures, ideas, and political affiliations that truly lives up to this book's title.

Trudeau, G. (2005). The Long Road Home: One Step at a Time. Kansas City: Andrews McMeel Publishing.

Gary Trudeau, creator of the famous syndicated comic Doonesbury, has created something touching and politically relevant. An Iraq War veteran comes home without his legs and attempts to deal with the physical and emotional challenges of his disability.

Satrapi, M. (2003). Persepolis. New York: Pantheon Books.

Popular and critically acclaimed memoir about a girl’s coming of age in the culturally unstable country of Iran. The chapters manage to be funny, sad, and meditative, all while capturing an incredible range of themes - fear of political persecution, the importance of close family ties, juvenile's all here in this masterpiece.

Auster, P. [Adaptation by Paul Karasik and David Mazzucchelli] City of Glass (2004). New York: Picador.

This darkly entertaining adaptation of one of Paul Auster’s famed New York Trilogy stories is brimming with a lost sense of identity...along with a sense of desperation to somewhat regain that loss.

Thompson, C. (2002). Goodbye, Chunky Rice. Marietta, GA: Top Shelf.

Craig Thompson’s follow-up to his semi-autobiographical sex ‘n religion sensation Blankets. A small turtle named Chunky Rice leaves his deer-like pal to embark on a journey at sea in this heartfelt tale of loss, friendship, and memory that never loses its longing sense of sentiment.

Want more suggestions from another no-less-enthusiastic perspective? Steve Raiteri, a librarian in Xenia, OH, has compiled a great annotated selection of graphic novels. Just click here.

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