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Posted on: February 4, 2020

Comic memoirs? Graphic biographies? 6 true stories to check out!

graphic memoirs collage 3

Comic memoirs? Graphic biographies? Many readers are familiar with the idea of comic books or graphic novels, but it can get a little trickier when you’re talking about true stories. But whatever you want to call it, illustrated memoirs and biographies can be a great way to get started reading nonfiction or graphic novels! 

If you’re not sure where to get started, we can help! 

Kate Buechler, a youth services librarian at Lake Elmo Library and Wildwood Library, put together this list of graphic memoirs and biographies she often recommends, along with some readers who may particularly enjoy each one.  

three graphic memoir covers

Relish: My Life in the Kitchen by Lucy Knisley

Recommended For: Aspiring chefs (or anyone who appreciates good food)

I recommend every single one of Lucy Knisley’s graphic novels, but Relish is a great place to start. Each chapter in this nostalgic and funny memoir includes an illustrated recipe.

The Best We Could Do by Thi Bui

Recommended For: My mom, specifically

This is a poignant story about family and about the ways in which having children can affect your life and your relationship with your parents. I have tried to get my mom to read this to convince her that the graphic novel format isn’t scary. It hasn’t worked. Yet.

Hey Kiddo by Jarrett J. Krosoczka

Recommended For: People who love a well-produced audio book

The author and illustrator of the popular Lunch Lady children’s series documents his tumultuous childhood living with a mother addicted to heroin in this National Book Award finalist. He masterfully ties drawings and letters from his early life into this book, and the full cast audiobook just won the Odyssey Award.

three graphic memoir covers

Quiet Girl in a Noisy World by Debbie Tung

Recommended For: Introverts (or extraverts that want to understand them)

This is a great read for anyone who may be hesitant to get into graphic novels, as the layout is very clear and composed of short vignettes rather than a longer narrative. The author’s second work, Book Love, is also good and especially perfect for any bibliophile.

They Called Us Enemy by George Takei, Justin Eisinger, and Steven Scott, illustrated by Harmony Becker

Recommended For: The history buff (or Star Trek fan)

When he was four years old the man who would grow up to play Mr. Sulu was suddenly deemed an enemy of the only country he’d ever known and his family was forced to live in a Japanese internment camp. In this memoir, Takei navigates loyalty, love, and oppression in this not-so-far-removed piece of American history.

Minding the Store: A Big Story about a Small Business by Julie Gaines, illustrated by Ben Lenovitz

Recommended For: Anyone who loves small businesses (or people who love New York City)

This chronicle of a family business is filled with anecdotes about opinionated neighbors, nosy relatives, and eccentric employees. In addition to being the setting, New York City is almost a character in this book. 

Still looking for something more? Reach out to a Washington County librarian at your local branch to get their best recommendation for you. Happy reading!  

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