The Gosh! Best of 2017 - Kids

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2017 is rolling to its inevitable close, and as the scythe drops on another year it's time for us to reflect on the new graphic novels we enjoyed the most over the past 12 months. Yes, it's the Gosh staff's favourite picks for 2017, split into two handy lists for your convenience: Adult (which you can find here) and Kids.

A few notes first:

  • We've only included books which are stand alone or the first volume in a series. There were plenty of brilliant continuing series carrying on this year, but we wanted to highlight things that you could pick up cold.
  • This covers us up to mid-November for releases. If the greatest book of the year comes out in the next 6 weeks, then our apologies!
  • We've not included any humour strip collections, just because we wanted to focus on narrative titles (or collections of short narratives).
  • All the titles here are now available in-store, marked with a bright blue Gosh! Best of 2017 sticker, so keep an eye out!
  • All titles are also now available to order via our online store. Click on any title in the list below to be taken to its store page, or click here to see the whole kids range.
  • The kids list covers a range from small children to YA, so we've put a minimum age recommendation for each.
  • These are in no particular order other than alphabetical!

So, without any further ado, here are our 2017 faves for kids!

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5 WORLDS THE SAND WARRIOR GN
Writer: 
Mark Siegel, Alexis Siegel
Artist: Mark Siegel, Xanthe Bouma, Matt Rockefeller, Boya Sun
Publisher: Random House
Age: 8+ Years

Three young characters, Oona, An Tzu, and Jax, must find the strength in their differences and come together to save their dying worlds. Each has a unique and fascinating backstory, revealed as we switch back and forth between the three and their cultures. A dark entity called the Mimic is infecting the titular five worlds, and the three must illuminate the light houses on each world to drive the darkness away. On their mission against these dark forces they must also fight against the prejudices they’ve grown up with about each other’s cultures. A brilliant new universe of adventure illustrated in spectacular fashion.

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ADVENTURES OF JOHN BLAKE HC
Writer: Phillip Pullman
Artist: Fred Fordham
Publisher: David Fickling Books
Age: 8+ Years

A time-jumping techno-fantasy adventure from His Dark Materials writer Phillip Pullman and artist Fred Fordham. The crew of the ghost ship Mary Alice is comprised of sailors from various moments in history, who sail the seas looking for a way back to their own time. John Blake, a mathematical genius, may have a connection to the ship’s predicament and to its ultimate fate. When a girl named Serena comes aboard, they try and find a way back to her time while the sinister, mysterious Dahlberg Corporation pursues them for their own nefarious purpose. For a comics-writing neophyte, Pullman does a terrific job, creating a wonderful mix of classic British adventure story blended with Tintin-style intrigue, all ably abetted by Fordham’s clean line and lush palette.

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ANNA & FROGA COMPLETELY BUBU SC
Writer:
Anouk Ricard
Publisher: Drawn & Quarterly (Enfant)
Age: 6+ Years

Blending simple, appealing illustrations with clear storytelling and warm, likeable characters, Anouk Ricard’s stories of Anna, Froga, Christopher the worm, Ron the cat, and Bubu the dog are ideal for introducing kids to the medium. Stories run from 2-4 pages and humourously covers the kind of squabbling, teasing, bluster and drama that is typical of all childhood relationships. Filled with verbal and visual puns, and pleasantly delivered moral lessons (don’t fib, kids!), there’s a lot to enjoy here for adults as well as children. 

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BRAVE GN
Writer / Artist:
Svetlana Chmakova
Publisher: Yen Press
Age: 8+ Years

SUNSPOTS! Jensen, a character briefly met in Svetlana Chmakova’s previous book Awkward, has an obsession about warning the world of the horrors of sunspots. We all remember that period when we had a passion that no one seemed to understand. Continuing the fantastic middle school universe from Awkward, we see Jensen trying to navigate warring friends, bullies, and finding a way to have his voice heard. I loved how the author spotlights that we should never trivialise bullying, and uses Jensen and his friends as a way of showing kids how to deal with these situations. That we shouldn’t run away, but try to be brave. 

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CASTLE IN THE STARS HC VOL 01
Writer / Artist:
Alex Alice
Publisher: First Second
Age: 10+ Years

Our young adventure-seeking misfit, Seraphin, dreams of going to the skies to find his mother who mysteriously disappeared years earlier in a hot air balloon. He and his father live in the sprawling castle of the Bavarian King Ludwig, where they work on plans for a great airship. They get entangled in a conspiracy between warring royal families, and must figure out how to foil the plans of mysterious figures trying to sabotage their flying machine. This sets up the scene for a wonderful story of espionage, adventure, and humorous mishaps. The pages are packed full of stunning watercolour illustrations that create a world similar to the works of Hayao Miyazaki. The start of a great historical fantasy series! 

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CORPSE TALK GROUND BREAKING SCIENTISTS GN
Writer:
Adam & Lisa Murphy
Artist: Adam Murphy
Publisher: David Fickling Books
Age: 8+ Years

Adam & Lisa Murphy’s brilliant Corpse Talk gets its first thematic collection, looking at the work of scientists whose work has changed the course of history. If you’re unaware, Corpse Talk is a series in the weekly Phoenix Comic, wherein a comic avatar of Adam Murphy interviews the resurrected corpses of historical figures. Each instalment runs a couple of pages on average, and deftly juggles gallows humour, slapstick, and honest to goodness educational material. Think Horrible Histories with zombies. A brilliant book that can be enjoyed by parents and their kids.

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LUMBERJANES GOTHAM ACADEMY TP
Writer
Chynna Clugston Flores
ArtistKelly Matthews, Rosemary Valero O Connell, Maddi Gonzalez, Jenna Ayoub, Nichole Matthews
Publisher: Boom
Age: 10+Years

The scouts of Miss Qiunzella Thiskwin Penniquiqul Thistle Crumpet's Camp for Hardcore Lady Types meet the young detectives of Gotham Academy in this Boom Studios / DC Comics crossover. When a Gotham Academy teacher goes missing, Olive & co’s investigation leads them into the middle of the woods where they run into the Lumberjanes, themselves in search of their missing Camp Director. The groups join forces for a ridiculously fun adventure which is perfect for fans of either franchise, or even complete newbies. Mystery, adventure, skeletal monsters: this one’s got it all!

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M.F.K. BOOK ONE HC
Writer / Artist:
Nilah Magruder
Publisher: Insight Editions
Age: 10+ Years

On a journey to scatter her mother’s ashes, a mysterious girl named Abbie wanders out of a sand storm and into a village beset by its own problems. Abbie doesn’t want to be a hero, wants nothing more than to be left alone, but the townspeople have been cowed into passivity by powerful marauders, and a hero might be just what they need. With the aid of Jamie, nephew to the town doctor who heals her, she reluctantly takes up the cause. A magical mix of fantasy and western, with a memorable lead character whose complexity elevates this book above a lot of similar material. Deftly blending slapstick comedy, drama and action, writer and artist Nilah Magruder has created a series we eagerly await the next volume of!

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PASHMINA GN
Writer / Artist: 
Nidhi Chanani
Publisher: First Second
Age: 10+ Years

Priyanka is an Indian-American teen who wants to know more about her Indian heritage and her absent father, but her mother refuses to speak with her about either subject. When she finds a magical pashmina hidden away in an old suitcase, she is transported to a magical India filled with colour and excitement, an expression of all of her dreams of the country. But when she finally has the chance to visit herself, will the reality match the dream, and will she really want to hear the answers to all those questiuons she had been asking? A neat little book that uses colour to tremendous effect when we’re transported into the vision of India that Priyanka sees when she dons the pashmina. The issues it addresses of second generation cultural alienation from parents and their country of origin are handled with sensitivity and understanding, told through the eyes of a relatable, likeable lead character.

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USELEUS A GREEK ODDITY SC
Writer / Artist
: Alexander Matthews & Wilbur Dawbarn
Publisher: Bog Eyed Books
Age: 6+ Years

One for fans of Asterix, as hapless Greek hero Useleus embarks on an Odyssey of adventure with his exasperated mentor, Minotaur. Creators Alexander Matthews and Wilbur Dawbarn are both Beano veterans, and they bring that irreverent humour to this strip, originally serialised in the Phoenix Comic. Filled with legendary laughs, monstrous mirth and historical hilarity, it’s the kind of book that parents can have a sneaky chuckle at when their kids aren’t looking.

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