Picture Books for Teens!

Posted by kacates on October 19, 2011

The theme of Teen Read Week this year is “Picture It @ Your Library”. And I thought, what better way to celebrate than to point out some of my favorite picture books for the older crowd? That’s right, I’m encouraging you to go check out some picture books. Don’t let the little kids hog all the fun this week. Here’s a great list for you to start from:


Picture This by Lynda Barry

Acclaimed comics artist Lynda Barry offers a guide to freeing your creative potential with this guided tour led by her character the Near-Sighted Monkey. Barry (and Monkey) provide all kinds of exercises for the budding young artist as well as fascinating stories and facts about what it is to be a comics artist.

  Rapunzel’s Revenge, by Shannon and Dean Hale and Nathan Hale

You probably think you know the story of Rapunzel, but you’ve never heard it like this before. In the Hales’ tale, Rapunzel, trapped in her tower by her supposed mother, gets tired of waiting for rescue and uses her magically long hair to free herself, before running into Jack (of Beanstalk fame) and setting off on a mission to find and free her birth mother.

  There’s a Hair in my Dirt! by Gary Larson

This twisted story from the creator of The Far Side comic strip features a biology lesson as told to a young earth worm angry to find a human hair in his supper.

  Amiri and Odette by Walter Dean Myers and Javaka Steptoe

Award-winning YA author Myers joins forces with illustrator Steptoe to retell the classic ballet of Swan Lake as a hip-hop ballad taking place in the inner city.

  We Are the Ship: The Story of Negro League Baseball by Kadir Nelson

Kadir Nelson is one of my favorite illustrators, and here he uses his beautiful artwork to illustrate the story of the Negro Leagues of the early and mid twentieth century, when African-American baseball players were banned from playing on Major League teams.

  The True Story of the Three Little Pigs by Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith

Okay, for this one you’re going to have to go raid the children’s department, because unfortunately I don’t have a copy down in the teen section. But I had to include it since it’s a favorite of mine and practically a classic. Read along as Al Wolf tells you what really happened to those three little pigs and their houses.

  The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick

This book is a hybrid, told half through beautiful charcoal drawings and half through words. It’s the story of young orphan Hugo, whose life in hiding in a Paris train station is thrown into upheaval when he discovers a mysterious automaton – a mechanical man. Read this, then get ready to see Martin Scorsese’s film based on the book coming out in November.

  The Arrival by Shaun Tan

This is a true picture book, with no words anywhere to be found – well, maybe on the title page. Oscar-winner Tan uses his striking images to tell the wordless story of a man leaving his family behind to immigrate to a new land.

  The Mysteries of Harris Burdick by Chris Van Allsburg

In this book, illustrator Van Allsburg, creator of classics like The Polar Express and Jumanji, provides the reader with fourteen drawings, each with their own title and caption, and leaves it up to the reader to create stories to go along with the images. If you like this one, you should also check out The Chronicles of Harris Burdick, featuring 14 best-selling authors telling their own stories based on Van Allsburg’s illustrations.

  Woolvs in the Sitee by Margaret Wild and Anne Spudvilas

A genuinely creepy picture book, perfect for the days leading up to Halloween. A teen living alone in an abandoned building hides from the “woolvs” he sees wandering the outside world.

Posted in Reading suggestions, Teen Read Week

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