The Gosh! Best of 2018 - Kids

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The end of another year approaches, and as usual it’s time for us to bang our collective Gosh heads together to generate our (entirely subjective) top picks for the year. It’s the Gosh Best of 2018, 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!

  • All the titles here are now available in-store, marked with a vivid magenta Gosh! Best of 2018 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 2018 faves for kids!


AQUICORN COVE HC
Writer / Artist:
Katie O’Neill
Publisher:
Oni Press
Age:
8+

Young Lana and her father return to visit their family in a small fishing community where, in her exploration of the seaside, she discovers the magical colony of Aquicorns. They and the coral reef they inhabit are currently under threat due to overfishing. Lana must help find a way for her magical undersea friends and town to coexist. A wonderful story to help teach children about the environment, and the ripple that one voice can have in bettering our future.

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BE PREPARED GN
Writer / Artist:
Vera Brosgol
Publisher:
First Second
Age:
12+

It’s been a long wait for Vera Brosgol’s follow-up to the phenomenal Anya’s Ghost, but Be Prepared doesn’t disappoint. No supernatural shenanigans this time, but rather a semi-memoir based on Brosgol’s experiences at Russian Summer Camp. As a young Russian girl in the American suburbs, Vera is struggling to fit in, She begs to go to Russian Summer Camp, hoping she’ll find a familiar identity there, but instead is sucked into all the dramas of in-groups, out-groups, and the misery of trying to find a friend in an often hostile pressure-cooker social environment. It’s not all misery, with Brosgol’s art bringing a light touch to proceedings, but there’s plenty of relatable growing pains content here, with the summer camp setting cementing a certain kind of American kids fiction feel. We have a signed bookplate edition of this title, available while stocks last!

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CARDBOARD KINGDOM GN
Writer:
Chad Sell, Jay Fuller, David DeMeo, Katie Schenkel, Kris Moore, Molly Muldoon, Vid Alliger, Manuel Betancourt, Michael Cole, Cloud Jacobs, and Barbara Perez Marquez
Artist:
Chad Sell
Publisher:
Knopf Books for Young Readers
Age:
6+

The elements of Chad Sell’s graphic novel sell themselves: a neighbourhood of kids, summer holidays, big adventures, tons of imagination and cardboard. Thanks to a pile of throwaway cardboard, 16 children in a neighbourhood have amazing adventures filled with robots, wizards, knights, and monsters. Sell masterminds the project and produces all of the art, enlisting the aid of different writers on each chapter to authentically capture the diverse voices of the neighbourhood. The book uses role playing as a way to talk about issues that children might have to deal with like divorce, bullying, gender identity, and trying to make friends. The power of imagination is never to be underestimated.

IDEAL COPY GN
Writer / Artist:
Ben Sears
Publisher:
Koyama Press
Age:
10+

This is actually the third instalment of Ben Sear’s Double+ series, following the adventures of Plus Man and his robot buddy Hank (though this time focusing on the former). Don’t fret, though, there’s no need to have read the previous two books to enjoy it. Blacklisted in the treasure-hunting trade, Plus Man and Hank are forced to get day-jobs! But it’s not long before they’re forced back into action, as the hotel they find catering work in hides a nefarious counterfeit business. Grand adventure in the tradition of Tintin and the like, all told with aesthetic somewhere between Maurice Sendak and Wallace and Gromit.

LOOSHKIN GN
Writer / Artist:
Jamie Smart
Publisher:
David Fickling Books
Age:
6+

Jamie Smart is one of the crown jewels of UK kids comics. His anarchic, surrealist humour - cut on acerbic, goth-toned adult comics - has hit big-time with young readers. Bunny vs Monkey is the standout hit from the pages of The Phoenix, but Looshkin is doubtless going to be hot on its heels. I mean, it’s great, for one thing, but also: cats. Basically, Looshkin is the embodiment of the mad feline that everybody believes their cat to be. Exploding cakes, mail order sharks, vicious squirrels, portals to other dimensions: life with Looshkin (and his equally loopy adoptive family the Johnsons) is exciting to say the least in these short hits of absurdist comedy gold.

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MAKING FRIENDS GN
Writer / Artist:
Kristen Gudsnuk
Publisher:
Scholastic
Age:
12+

Henchgirl creator (and Gosh fave) Gudsnuk is back with a new YA title about 7th grader Danny dealing with the difficulties of a new class and new pressures by creating a new best friend. Literally. See, Danny is given a magical sketchbook that allows her to bring her drawings to life, so the ideal best friend is created in Madison: funny, social, effortlessly cool. But what if this newly created person doesn't want to stay your friend? Worse still, what if they discover that they're not actually real? A laugh-out-loud story full of hijinks, wacky wish fulfillment, and having to deal with real world problems.

PRINCE AND THE DRESSMAKER GN
Writer / Artist:
Jen Wang
Publisher:
First Second
Age:
12+

Jen Wang, celebrated writer/artist of Coco Be Good, and artist on the Corey Doctorow-written In Real Life, returns with another solo project that’s something pretty special. It's the story of the friendship that forms between a young Parisian dressmaker and a prince who escapes the palace at night dressed in the finest gowns as soaring socialite Lady Crystallia. It's a gender fluid fairy tale as prince and dressmaker negotiate the social mores of the time while attempting to maintain the prince's secret. But how long can it last? It's a great story hook, written and illustrated beautifully by Wang.

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STEPHEN MCCRANIE'S SPACE BOY TP VOL 01
Writer / Artist:
Stephen McCranie
Publisher:
Dark Horse
Age:
12+

A sci-fi high school drama. Amy lives in a mining colony in ‘‘deep’’ space, but then Amy’s family decides to move from space back to earth The only problem is that transport from space means being frozen for 30 years, forcing Amy to struggle as she tries to adjust to changes that have occured in the interim. Amy makes for a wonderfully relatable lead as she is forced to leave home and discover how she fits into this new world. She tries to befriend a mysterious boy with a dangerous past, but soon realises the loneliness they both share. A story full of beautiful moments, of family, making friends, and coping with change.

TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD HC
Writer:
Harper Lee, Fred Fordham
Artist:
Fred Fordham
Publisher:
William Heinemann
Age:
10+

The story of a black man wrongly accused of a crime by a white woman in the Deep South and the neighborhood legend of a man named Boo who never leaves his house are both compelling pieces of the tale surrounding the Finch family. A wonderful adaptation of Harper Lee’s masterpiece. Fordham’s version is highly faithful, and the dialogue is true to the text of the book, supported by effective artwork. This graphic novel is a perfect complement and homage to the novel, and much closer to the original manuscript than the classic film. It is in no way a replacement, but is a perfect way to introduce children to this work and hopefully capture their minds and open a discussion on the heavy but necessary subjects tackled in the story.

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WELCOME TO ODDLEIGH GN
Writer / Artist:
Tor Freeman
Publisher:
Bog Eyed Books
Age:
8+

Sendak Fellowship winner Tor is the creator of numerous picture books, including the popular Digby Dog and Olive series. But Tor has also been a keen comics creator on the side, producing the webcomic Welcome to Oddleigh, which she initially self-published into print, but now we’re lucky enough to have the work in a mass market edition courtesy of Bog Eyed Books! This first volume collects five stories following Chief Inspector Jessie and Sergeant Sid as they police the oddball miscreants of Oddleigh, a town where weird settled down and made a home. To be honest, although we’re selling this as a kids book, there’s plenty here for adults thanks to Freeman’s deft hand at humour: Jessie’s hallucinatory trip to the dentist is a particular highlight. A lovely, funny, gem of a book!

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