September 2021 Staff Picks

Graphic Novels
An intergalactic space war, Islamic revolution, a memoir of friendship with a notorious serial killer and a poignant coming-of-age tale round out this month's picks for adults. Thanks to Librarian Michael for these compelling selections.

Sin City: The Hard Goodbye by Frank Miller
One of the classic 90s comics. Frank Miller’s hardboiled noir story follows Marv, a down and out mountain of a man who is set up for murder. As Marv kills his way to the truth he encounters crooked clergymen, dirty politicians, hitmen, machine gun totting hookers, and cannibals! Miller’s stark, black and white artwork became iconic. While Miller went on to tell many stories in Sin City, this one is still my favorite.  

Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi 
This graphic memoir of growing up in Iran during the Islamic Revolution details a place and a time in history that I knew very little about. Satrapi is a child when the revolution begins and goes from seeing it as an exciting adventure to something darker and more dangerous as religious extremism takes hold. The story is complex and Satrapi tells it with a sense of humor that is surprising considering the often very serious events happening around her.  

My friend Dahmer: a graphic novel by Derf Backderf 
Imagine waking up one morning and learning that one of the most grisly and horrific serial killers in American history was that weird kid you were friends with in high school. Derf Backderf tells the story of what it was like knowing Jeffery Dahmer in his teen years: a strange, alcoholic, and severely troubled youth who was struggling to repress a growing darkness inside of him. It’s a disturbing, haunting, and sad tale that humanizes Dahmer without excusing what he would later do.  

Saga by Brain K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples
One of the best, if not the best, comic series going on right now. This epic space opera follows Marko and Alana, soldiers on opposite sides of a never-ending intergalactic war, as they travel throughout the galaxy trying to find a place for themselves and their daughter, Hazel. There’s crazy aliens, ghosts, monsters, love, death, and family! Vaughan, who also created Y: The Last Man, among other things, is pretty much a living legend in comics, and Fiona Staples is my favorite comic artist working today. The series has been on hiatus since 2018, so there’s time for everyone to get caught up!  

This One Summer by Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki
This is a beautiful coming-of-age tale. Rose is visiting her family's summer beach escape where she meets her slightly younger friend Windy - just like they have been doing for years. Only this time is different. Rose’s mom has been through some kind of trauma, which is not being openly discussed, there’s constant family tension; Rose is entering her teens and beginning to leave childhood, and her friend Windy, behind. But they also watch horror movies and talk about boys! This graphic novel is filled with small moments and some big feelings and is illustrated beautifully and the characters are complex and relatable.  

Teen Services Librarian Maggie offers gripping stories that will take you on an adventure, bring you down to earth, have you pondering the meaning of love, and make you think long after the last page is turned.

Teen Titans: Beast Boy by Kami Garcia, illustrated by Gabriel Picolo
This story reimagines the green-skinned Teen Titan’s origin story. Seventeen-year-old Garfield Logan has spent his entire life being overlooked and wants to feel seen before his senior year is over. When he accepts a wild dare, he finally impresses the social elite at his school and things start to change! Other changes are happening too, like growing six inches overnight and becoming much stronger and faster. You’ll love this fun, stunning graphic novel. The only bad thing is it ends too soon! 

Hey, Kiddo by Jarrett Krosoczka
This open and honest graphic memoir recounts the author’s childhood growing up in a non-traditional family dealing with addiction. Jarrett’s mom is an addict who is in and out of rehab and jail, and his dad’s identity is a mystery. Jarrett lives with his grandparents, who are two very loving but opinionated people who also have their own problems with alcoholism. Even though the author’s childhood was in the 1980s and 90s, his story still resonates today. Teens and adults who grew up in similar situations will especially relate but undoubtedly, this story will pull at everyone’s heartstrings.   

Mooncakes by Suzanne Walker, illustrated by Wendy Xu
This adorable and beautifully illustrated graphic novel is about witches and werewolves, good versus evil, complicated family relationships, and young love. Nova Huang knows more about magic than your average teen witch. She works at her grandmothers' bookshop, where she helps them loan out spell books and investigate any supernatural occurrences in their New England town. After hearing reports of a white wolf in the woods, Nova discovers evil forces are pursuing werewolves to take their magic, which puts her former crush, a werewolf named Tam, in danger. Now the two must work together if Tam is ever going to be safe again. 

Readers will be able to relate to the highs and lows our characters experience - both realistic and absurd! Words and illustrations combine to create stories you won't be able to put down. If you'd like more recommended reads for kids, tune in to the library's Facebook page on Mondays at 6:30 when librarian Matthew hosts Shelf Selected (all Shelf Selected book lists can be found here.)

Elementary age and younger
Donut Feed the Squirrels by Mika Song
After an unfortunate pancake incident, squirrel sisters Norma and Belly need breakfast! Fortunately, a new donut truck has just rolled into their park. This can only mean one thing: donut heist! Energetic illustrations pair well with the feisty, witty squirrels, making for a hilarious read!

Pizza and Taco: Who’s the Best? by Stephen Shaskan
Pizza and Taco are the best of friends! But their friendship soon turns into a chuckle-inducing rivalry when they try to decide who is the best. Ingenious illustrations combine photos of pizza and ground beef with bold cartoons that enhance the already over-the-top silliness.

Pea, Bee, & Jay: Stuck Together by Brian Smith
When Pea gets rolled off course by a thunderstorm during a rolling challenge, he has no idea how he’ll get back home to the garden! Thankfully, he is soon joined by Bee, a disguised queen bee, and Jay, a blue jay that still can’t fly. Hilarious hijinks, enhanced by the colorful illustrations, ensue as they make the journey back to the garden.

Middle Grade
Brave by Svetlana Chmakova
Jensen daydreams about being a brave hero, but the truth is that middle school is hard! Readers will root for hopeful, cheerful Jensen, even as his troubles seem to be overwhelming. Chmakova’s expressive illustrations depicting the challenges of middle school are an absolute delight!

Apocalypse Taco by Nathan Hale
When twins Axl and Ivan make a late-night taco run, they never expected getting demon-squid-taco-boxes! This kick-starts a totally weird, crazily creepy dive into science gone wrong. Tons of fun, but maybe skip your next Taco Tuesday!

Sanity & Tallulah by Molly Brooks
Best friends Sanity and Tallulah have a knack for causing mischief. Mischief like genetically engineering an impossibly cute three-headed kitten, which happens to escape just as the station begins mysteriously malfunctioning! Buckle up for this spectacular space adventure, and be sure to return for the second installment, Field Trip.