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U.S. Librarians Honor Children of the Sea, Ōoku, Pluto

posted on by Mikhail Koulikov
24 manga, OEL titles make ALA's annual Great Graphic Novels for Teens list

The American Library Association's Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) division named its list of the top ten graphic novels for teens published in 2009. Three manga, all published by Viz Media, made the list: the first volumes of Daisuke Igarashi's Children of the Sea and Fumi Yoshinaga's Ōoku: The Inner Chamber, and all three volumes of Naoki Urasawa and Takashi Nagasaki's Pluto manga published this year. Viz Media had the most books honored on the list.

This marks the fourth year that YALSA announced this list. Viz also had three separate books on the list last year, while three volumes of Death Note were on the inaugural list published in 2006 and announced at the start of 2007. Although no Viz books made the 2008 list, manga was still represented that year, with the honors going to Tokyopop's King of Thorn, Go! Comi!'s After School Nightmare, and CMX's Emma.

The top ten books are extracted from a larger list that YALSA also puts together annually of non-fiction and fiction books that it recommends as being “great graphic novels for teens” published in the preceding year. Of the 73 total individual titles selected from 127 official nominations for the newest list, 24 were manga, manhwa, or were released by a company primarily involved with manga publishing. In the four years that YALSA has announced the list, this year's was the largest, and had the most manga and manga-style books included.

In addition to its three top-10 books, six other Viz titles made the list: Letter Bee volume 1, Solanin, Otomen volume 1, Mixed Vegetables volume 1, We Were There volumes 1-4, and Kimi ni Todoke volumes 1 and 2. Del Rey had four books honored: Moyashimon volume 1, Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei volume 1, Yōkaiden volume 1, and the manga-inspired X-Men: Misfits. Tokyopop also had four books honored: Animal Academy: Hakobune Hakusho volume 1, Karakuri Odette volume 1, Takeru: Opera Susanoh Sword of the Devil volumes 1 and 2, and Orange. Three books from Yen Press also placed: Higurashi: When They Cry volumes 1 and 2, Cirque du Freak, and Svetlana Chmakova's Nightschool. Finally, CMX Manga (The Name of the Flower volume 1), Dark Horse Comics (Clover), Digital Manga Publishing (Train☆Train), and First Second (The Color of Earth manhwa) were each honored with one title on the list.

These lists are presented annually at the ALA's Midwinter Meeting. Each book is recommended for ages 12-18 and meet the criteria of being "both good quality literature and appealing reading for teens."

For comparison, the group chose to recommend a total of 53 books — 19 of them from Japan — last year. The year before, there were 43 titles honored, including nine manga.

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