LGBTQ+ Graphic Novels for Tweens and Younger Tweens

I love graphic novels and I’ll never pass up an opportunity to promote them, because, despite what some snooty parents and teachers have told me at the library, graphic novels are real books, thank you very much, and can make for perfect summer reading fare. Here are just a handful on fantastic graphic novels to put on your reading list this summer.

Princess Princess Ever After

This utterly adorable graphic novel puts a much-needed spin on the traditional fairy tale by having the princess in distress be rescued by, and fall in love with, a fellow princess. Sweet, gentle, and perfect for princess-loving readers everywhere.

Lumberjanes

Friendship to the max! A group of awesome girls at a summer camp are determined to have the best summer ever….even if it means fighting some pretty strange supernatural creatures or embarking on crazy quests! There’s an wonderful range of identities in this series, and the stories are artwork are fantastic. Lumberjanes is a whole lot of fun, and deserves all the hype it’s been getting on the interwebs.

Goldie Vance

I’ve shared my love of lesbian teenage sleuth Goldie Vance before, so her appearance on this list should come as no surprise. Readers who enjoy a good mystery will enjoy this fresh series inspired by classic teen detectives like Nancy Drew and Trixie Belden.

Skim

Being a teenager can be rough, especially when you don’t feel like you can be yourself, or that you even know yourself, for that matter. This period of realization, identity and crisis is explored in beautiful detail in the story of “Skim”, the name taken on by Japanese-Canadian “not slim” Wiccan high schooler Kim, who’s struggling to find herself, a process made even more complicated when she begins to develop feelings for a teacher.

Wandering Son

This manga series looks at the experiences of two children whose gender identities and expression challenge the more conservative cultural and social expectations of their community. Shuichi Nitori and Yoshino Takatsuki are two Japanese school children who struggle with their identities – one is a boy who feels like a girl, and the other is a girl who feels like a boy.

Interestingly, manga and anime featuring lesbian or gay romantic stories (百合 or やおい) is extremely common in Japan – as I’ve mentioned before, the first time I ever saw a lesbian couple on TV was in the anime Sailor Moon. While many of these series are targeted towards straight audiences and capitalize on the thrill of the forbidden “love that dare not speak its name”,  they can offer a means for creators and readers to push back against the prevalence of homophobia in society, and can even provide a lifeline for queer and questioning teens in a culture that is reluctant to even accept their existence. Shimura is noted for creating works that eschew the melodrama common in 百合 in favour of real stories – her series Sweet Blue Flowers, for example, was said to be “one of the most realistic portrayals of a young woman in love with another woman”.

Now these are just a few of the many incredible graphic novels for tweens and younger teens that include LGBTQ+ characters and content. What are some of your favourites??

This post was original posted on The Book Wars.

Advertisements

Book Review: Goldie Vance

Sixteen-year-old Marigold “Goldie” Vance has an insatiable curiosity. She lives at a Florida resort with her dad, who manages the place, and it’s her dream to one day become the hotel’s in-house detective. When Walter, the current detective, encounters a case he can’t crack, together they utilize her smarts, skills and connections to solve the mystery…even if it means getting into a drag race, solving puzzles or chasing a helicopter to do it!

New York Times bestselling and Eisner Award-winning writer Hope Larson and artist Brittney Williams present the newest gal sleuth on the block with Goldie Vance, an exciting whodunnit adventure that mixes the fun of Eloise with the charm of Lumberjanes.

Clamoring for more female-led graphic novels (that don’t involve superheroes)? Missing Veronica Mars and her crime-solving crew? Longing for some Florida sunshine? Then get your hands on a copy of Goldie Vance, stat! This fun,  colourful, exciting mystery romp has a bit of everything – humour, adventure, danger, friendship, romance, betrayal, and a spunky young heroine with both brains and bravery.

Image result for goldie vance vol. 1

Goldie is a heroine readers just can’t help falling in love with – she’s smart and sassy, but also down-to-Earth and extremely likeable. Goldie knows what she wants out of life (to be a detective), and she’s willing to put in the hard work to make that happen. She has great relationships with her friends and her divorced parents, and readers will thrill along with Goldie as she grows closer to her beautiful crush, Diane.

Untitled

Goldie Vance is such an important book because it presents a lesbian relationship in a refreshingly no-nonsense way. Goldie feels no angst or anguish over her feelings for Diane, and the relationship is handled with the same sweetness as any of the other relationships in the book. It’s so refreshing for young people to be able to see a strong, confident lesbian (or potentially bisexual – Goldie’s sexuality isn’t the primary focus of the text) protagonist being the star of her own show, and having her own sweet, romantic plot-line, completely with adorable blushes.

Goldie is also a biracial character, which adds another welcome layer of diversity.

The retro setting is a lot of fun, with vibrant pops of colour, cute clothes, and gorgeous cars making this feel like a sort of modernized interpretation of Grease, but this time with a clever biracial lesbian girl detective as our lead character!

Lots of fun for tween/teen/adult readers, Goldie Vance is a hero for the modern age, with vintage style but refreshingly modern sensibilities.