Celebrating Girl Power in Graphic Novels

9:30:00 AM

I'm really excited to be a part of First Second's Girl Power blog tour! Even though it's no longer Women's History Month, I think it's important to celebrate and uplift girls and gender non-binary / gender fluid children every day. And with the spring weather finally heading our way, it's a perfect time to pick up new books and spend an afternoon outside with kids reading books featuring amazing girl characters.

Today I'll be recommending some graphic novels which relate to two of my loves: girl power and travel. Each of these books transports the reader to a different time, place, and/or world and follows some inspiring, multi-dimensional young women. I should note that while I think these books are incredible and important for young girls, I by no means think that these should only be for women and girls. Everyone would gain from reading these books, and everyone should be reading these kinds of books.

Post-1906 San Francisco and a Parallel Fairy World

The City on the Other Side by Mairghread Scott, Robin Robinson

The City on the Other Side comes out TOMORROW, but I was excited to dive right into this one right after returning home from San Francisco. It's set in the wake of the 1906 earthquake and fire, switching between our world and a parallel fairy world, where the war between Seelie and Unseelie shape both their world and ours. Isabel learns about family, determination, and loyalty through her journey. What's more, the illustrations are colorful and gorgeous. 

Girls and Aliens in Space

Zita the Spacegirl Series by Ben Hatke

You cannot talk about exploring different worlds and graphic novels featuring girl main characters without mentioning Ben Hatke's Zita the Spacegirl series. The 3-book series (a boxed set is coming out this fall!) is incredible. Zita is spunky, brave, clever, loyal, persistent, and more. The books are fun and have great character arcs. Zita befriends many creatures and it's very much about teamwork and the importance of helping others. I cannot recommend this graphic novel series more!

Star Scouts by Mike Lawrence

I have to admit that I'm recommending this before I've finished reading the book, but I think it's really important feature Star Scouts because the main character, Avani, speaks Hindi and is a new girl at school dealing with bullies while also being part of the Star Scouts unbeknownst to those around her. Yes to more WOC in space and sci-fi!

19th Century France, Royalty, and the Breaking of Gender Norms

The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang

I've featured The Prince and the Dressmaker on the blog already, but it was just recently released and movie rights were picked up by Universal a few days ago. I've seen so many people, including those who don't usually read graphic novels, gush about this book lately and for good reason! Besides the gorgeous illustrations and amazing story, it's truly a book for our time. It's so overtly progressive in a way that is so refreshing for YA graphic novels. I loved Jen Wang's In Real Life, but this feels so much more important. It really addresses gender roles and expectations and breaks those apart in a way that feels both contemporary and not (I mean this in a good way). I legitimately cannot stop talking about and recommending this. It's great for those who love and don't love graphic novels and can easily cross over for both younger and older audiences. It's a book for everyone!

Hilarious Gender-Stereotype-Defying Fantasy

Cucumber Quest: The Doughnut Kingdom (#1) and The Ripple Kingdom (#2) by DG Gigi

This is the type of series that you can't take too seriously. It's hilarious and perfect for younger readers/audiences. There's a wide variety of characters, both good and bad. Some are ridiculous and others hit at something a little deeper. I love the turning of the chosen one/hero trope on its head. It's kind of predictable and incredibly silly, but I think kids would really enjoy the series. Cucumber Quest is a quick read. A bit random at times but just a fun, enjoyable ride. 

Inspiring Women in Real Life and From Around the World

Brazen: Rebel Ladies Who Rocked the World by Penelope Bagieu 

I'm a sucker for books/anthologies about women who've impacted and changed the world but have been left out of our history books. I love Penelope Bagieu's work, and Brazen is no different. The book features all types of women from around the world and from different cultures. It spans from far history to the current day. Some of these women are slightly more well-known while many of them are people I've never heard of, accomplishments I didn't even necessarily think to attribute to anyone. This is a fantastic way to expose readers of all ages to more history-making women!

What are some other "girl power" graphic novels that you would recommend? Have you read any of the ones I've suggested? Do you plan on checking any of them out? Let me know in the comments or on social media!

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  1. These look really cool! I've been meaning to pick up a graphic novel for a while so this list is perfect for me =)

    1. Thank you! Yay, hope you'll like them. Let me know soon if there's any you want to borrow. I have most of these, if not all, and could lend them to you. :)

  2. Love your note about these not only being for girls - that's so important! (there are no "girl books" or "boy books" - only human books!!!

    1. Exactly! I originally didn't have that, but then I realized that people might take this post the wrong way :)

      Thanks for stopping by!

  3. Aw these look so cool! I am a complete newbie to graphic novels and these seem like such a great place to start :D thanks so much for this, your blog is the cutest too! xx

    elizabeth ♡ ”Ice Cream” whispers Clara
    (I would love to follow each other on bloglovin if you like :D)

    1. Yay! Do let me know if you end up picking any of them up. Highly recommend starting with The Prince and the Dressmaker. :)

      Def will go follow you on BL and will def check out your blog <3


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