Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh and Eleventh Stack are celebrating Black History Month by highlighting books, music and movies by African American Artists or about the African American experience. We also have a ton of great events and programs for children, teens and adults. You can view all of our Black History Month posts here.
As a Youth Services Specialist, one of my favorite areas to highlight to resistant readers is the Carnegie Library’s Children and Teen Graphic Novel collections. It has long been acknowledged that graphic novels are a great way to ignite a life-long love of reading in kids, teens and even adults who have either fallen behind their peers in literacy skills, or who just haven’t found anything to interest them.
In the last 20 years the graphic novel genre has grown and morphed, radically changing its reach and public perception. Graphic novels can be fiction or non-fiction, they can cover topics that can interest anyone and everyone, regardless of race, age or gender.
One of my favorite graphic novels to hand to kids is Princeless, written by Jeremy Whitley and illustrated by M. Goodwin. Princeless is an amazing story and a strong representation of a woman of color who isn’t just a side character or, even worse, a damsel in distress.
Princeless follows Princess Adrienne, who has been locked in a tower by her parents. They are looking for a husband for her and have set up a test for potential suitors that requires them to slay a dragon. Adrienne is not cool with this and after freeing herself, recruiting the dragon to her side, and joining forces with a blacksmith named Bedelia, she sets off to find and free her sisters, who have been locked in their own towers.
The last “tween” I handed this book to came bounding back to the library the next day asking for more Princeless stories. It’s a strong story from a female point of view that kids can relate to. It shows kids that there is more to people, if you are willing to look.