Introduction

Graphic medicine is a term meant to describe comics that intersect with healthcare, and hopefully the selections here give you an idea of what that can look like. If you want to know more about the idea of graphic medicine and works that fall into this category, check out https://www.graphicmedicine.org/ and all the fantastic resources there!

Dancing After Ten

Vivian Chong

Georgia Webber

Cover Image

In this powerful memoir, Vivian Chong tells the story of how she rebuilt and expanded her life after a mysterious illness left her blind.

Appeals to

Readers looking for an honest, yet hopeful memoir about adjusting to life with a disability will be taken in by Chong's frankness and the powerful mix of artwork from her and collaborator Georgia Webber.

Content Notes

Brief portrayal of sexual assault; ableism

Creator Identities:

Canadian, Chinese |

Visual impairment |

Main Character Identities:

Canadian, Chinese |

Disability |

Recommended by

Megan Rupe

Go With the Flow

Karen Schneemann

Lily Williams

Cover Image

When best friends Christine, Brit, and Abby help new girl Sasha with a period mishap and welcome her into their friend group in the process, they wonder what Sasha would have done if they hadn't been there to help. The sanitary product machines are always empty and their school doesn't have a nurse anymore because of budget cuts. This spurs Abby to start a campaign to make her school more period friendly, but she's so consumed by this fight she loses sight of what is really important, her friends.

Appeals to

Current and future period-havers will love this book about friendship and fighting for a more equal world.

Recommended by

Tayla Cardillo

Hey Kiddo

Jarrett J. Krosoczka

Cover Image

In this graphic memoir, Krosoczka looks back on his childhood being raised by his grandparents because his mother was battling addiction and his father was absent. With his adult perspective, he looks back at his upbringing with nuance and empathy for all the players as he explores what it means to be a family and the power of art to help a person find community and process their trauma.

Appeals to

Anyone whose family has been touched by addiction or some other unfortunate event that has caused a parent or parents to be absent from their lives.

Content Notes

Strong language, drug use and addiction, smoking, drinking, underage drinking.

Recommended by

Tayla Cardillo

In Waves

AJ Dungo

Cover Image

Several narratives wind together to form the experience that is In Waves. There's the story of AJ meeting his partner, her struggle with cancer, and stories from the history of surfing, all tied together in spare and beautiful art that uses color to delineate between stories. It's sweet and sad, reflective and poetic, and somehow perfectly like sitting at a beach alone at night.

Appeals to

Absolutely a great pick for readers who enjoy surfing, as it can be hard to find many narratives on the subject that aren't straight history or biographies of famous surfers. In a strange way, it is also a solid read-alike for readers of The Girl From the Other Side, as they're both stories about grief with simple and effective art.

Content Notes

Discussions of cancer and death are to be expected here.

Recommended by

Shannan Prukop

Just Roll with It

Lee Durfey-Lavoie

Veronica Agarwal

Cover Image

Maggie loves her family, the Chosen book series, and saying hello to the house when she gets home each day. So what if she also keeps a d20 with her every day to roll and determine her actions? And what about the fact that she worries if she doesn't say hello to the house, something bad will happen? As Maggie makes friends in her new school, she starts to confront some of her actions and realizes maybe, she does need some help and that's okay.

Appeals to

This comic is perfect for readers who like fantasy analogies in the modern day to discuss events happening in the characters' lives, like All's Faire in Middle School or Cardboard Kingdom. It's also a great choice for readers of Raina Telgemeier's books since they discuss illness and dealing with growing up in ways that are matter-of-fact and accepting.

Recommended by

Shannan Prukop

Kid Gloves: Nine Months of Careful Chaos

Lucy Knisley

Cover Image

In this graphic memoir, Kinsley uses her own experience with pregnancy to explore the history of pregnancy and birth, bust myths about miscarriage, and discuss hard topics like infertility. Even though Kinsley's experience with conceiving and later pregnancy was not all roses and pregnancy glow, she manages to make this book an engaging and enjoyable read from start to finish with her witty writing and soft art style.

Appeals to

The inside flap boasts: "Whether you have kids, want them, or want nothing to do with them, there's something in this graphic memoir to open your mind and heart."

Content Notes

Discussion of pregnancy loss, depictions of birth, depictions of vomit, traumatic birth experience, near death experiences

Creator Identities:

Bisexual |

Main Character Identities:

Bisexual |

Recommended by

Tayla Cardillo

Kimiko Does Cancer

Kimiko Tobimatsu

Keet Geniza

Cover Image

In this warm, thoughtful memoir, Kimiko, a queer multiracial woman, describes her experience navigating cancer treatment and cancer's effects on her relationships, health, and identity.

Appeals to

Kimiko Does Cancer is ideal for readers looking for cancer memoirs that question the mainstream cancer narratives or perspectives from cancer survivors who are not white and/or straight.

Content Notes

Some very brief, contextualized pictures of bare breasts; brief discussion of sex

Creator Identities:

Filipino, Multiracial |

Queer |

Main Character Identities:

Multiracial |

Queer |

Recommended by

Megan Rupe

Night Bus

Zuo Ma

Cover Image

At times beautiful, others terrifying, the experience of Night Bus is the experience of Xiao Jun's journey through nostalgia and fears for the future as well as his grandmother's dementia through a surreal lens. Explore the strange and familiar landscapes alongside Xiao Jun, and let the incredible art wash over as his journey winds its way through past and present, with hints at the future.

Appeals to

Luo Ma's use of space and strong emphasis on visual storytelling might appeal to fans of Tillie Walden, while the interconnected short stories that go between horrifying and sweet could be exactly what readers of Supermutant Magic Academy want next.

Creator Identities:

Chinese |

Main Character Identities:

Chinese |

Recommended by

Shannan Prukop

Run On Your New Legs

Wataru Midori

Cover Image

Shouta Kikuzato's dreams of high school soccer stardom were dashed when he lost his leg in an accident. When he runs to help a child, he meets Chidori, a prosthetist who recently started his own business. Chidori offers Kikuzato a partnership--Kikuzato will get a running blade in exchange for helping Chidori get his business off the ground. With new motivation, Kikuzato throws himself into track and para-athletics!

Appeals to

With strong characterization and a story with solid emotional beats for both the sports and Kikuzato's personal life, Run on Your New Legs will attract sports manga fans looking for something to read after Haikyu!! and Yowamushi Pedal as well as readers interested in stories featuring athletes with disabilities.

Content Notes

Discussion of depression

Creator Identities:

Japanese |

Main Character Identities:

Japanese |

Prosthesis |

Recommended by

Megan Rupe

Sincerely, Harriet

Sarah W. Searle

Cover Image

Harriet is bored at home after moving to Chicago. Her parents can't take her exploring, her summer reading is boring, and she misses her camp friends. As she looks for an outlet, Harriet meets Pearl, her elderly neighbor with a love of stories. When she starts having trouble with her body, Harriet will have to figure out a way to navigate her life and emotions.

Appeals to

This sensitive, thoughtful story about healthy self-expression and the power of stories would be ideal for readers looking for quiet, thoughtful stories about children living with chronic illnesses.

Creator Identities:

Gay |

Trans |

Main Character Identities:

Assumed Hispanic or Latine, Multiracial |

Multiple Sclerosis |

Recommended by

Megan Rupe

  • Megan

    | She/Her

    Features Writer

    Megan earned her MLIS from Simmons College and is currently the evening librarian at Bay State College in Massachusetts. She satisfies her voracious appetite for graphic novels and manga through regular visits to her local public libraries and puts her love of graphic novels to good use by adding to Bay State’s collection whenever possible. Megan maintains a personal blog, Ferret with a Strobe Light, where she discusses awesome books she’s read lately. When not engaged in reading or library work, she likes running, drinking tea, and working on her own stories and art.

    View all posts
  • Tayla

    | She/Her Branch Librarian

    Features Writer

    Tayla Cardillo (she/her) is the Branch Librarian of the Oaklawn branch of the Cranston Public Library in Cranston, RI. She is also a member of the ALA Graphic Novel and Comic Round Table and the chair of the Rhode Island Library Association Intellectual Freedom Committee. She completed her MLIS at the University of Rhode Island and her B.A. in English at Rhode Island College. Tayla has known that she wanted to be a librarian since she was 17 years old. When not doing library wizardry, she enjoys playing tabletop games and cosplaying.

    View all posts
  • Shannan

    | She/They Teen Services Librarian, San Antonio Public Library

    Features Writer

    Shannan waffled between English professor and librarian as career choices for all of college; eventually librarian won. She is a Teen Services Librarian with the San Antonio Public Library. When not running TTPRG games for their teens or teaching them how to bake, she's doing what she can to promote comics to anyone who will listen. At home they're likely deep in the middle of their latest cosplay project or watching B movies with her husband, while generally pushing the cats out of the way.

    View all posts
  • Martha

    | She/Her Youth Services Librarian, William Hall Branch of the Cranston Public Library

    Features Editor

    Martha Boksenbaum is Youth Services Librarian for the Youth Services Librarian for the William Hall Library of the Cranston Public Library. She purchases graphic novels, comics and anime for children and teens, and runs a manga and anime club for teens. She has served on ALA’s Graphic Novels and Comics Roundtable (GNCRT) Conference Committee and is currently a Member-at-Large for the GNCRT. She has also served on YALSA’s Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers Selection Committee. She works every day to champion graphic novels, manga and anime from her small library branch, and tries to keep up with the amazing number of comics being published today.

    View all posts
Liked it? Take a second to support us on Patreon!
Become a patron at Patreon!