It’s been proven time and again what a powerful experience it is for any member of a marginalized community to see someone like themself in art or pop culture. This can be especially powerful for a teen reader as they are in the process of learning more about themself and what it means to step in to the most exciting and genuine version of themself.
One of our editorial assistants, Trevor Ketner says, “As a nonbinary person, some of my most emotionally resonant experiences with recognition have happened while reading LGBTQ+ graphic novels. I think, perhaps, it has to do with literally seeing LGBTQ+ characters on the page.”
In a society that codes gender and identity so strongly with people’s appearance, the visual representations of LGBTQ+ characters in the JLG selections below hit home that LGBTQ+ teens are not alone in how they understand or experience the world or themselves.
The Power of Mirrors
These books are at turns funny, sweet, and moving (prepare to cry after reading The Prince and the Dressmaker) much like the lives of the teen readers who will see themselves in their pages.
For teens looking for LGBTQ+ graphic novels, whether it’s during Pride or any other time of the year, we wholeheartedly recommend these dazzling and beautifully rendered stories:
- The Avant-Guards Volume One by Carly Usdin, illustrated by Noah Hayes
(Hear Carly & Noah talk about this comic in our recent webcast “Art Illustrates Life”)
- Bloom by Kevin Panetta, illustrated by Savanna Ganucheau
- Check, Please! Book 1: # Hockey and Check, Please! Book 2: Sticks & Scones by Ngozi Ukazu
- Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up with Me by Mariko Tamaki, illustrated by Rosemary Valero-O’Connell
- On a Sunbeam by Tillie Walden
- The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang
Relatable narratives are critical for all young readers, allowing them to see themselves in characters and scenarios they can identify with and that help them feel connected. For more on diverse selections that provide mirrors for young readers, check out our recent webcast “Demand Diversity: Why Diverse Titles Are a Must in Your Library.” For more on graphic novels that present true-to-life stories, watch “Art Illustrates Life: Graphic Novels Aren’t Just for Superheroes Anymore.”