Great Graphic Novels for Teens Committee

Policies and Procedures

To prepare an annual annotated list of recommended graphic novels appropriate for teen readers.

Purpose of List:

The list presents graphic novels published in the past 16 months that are recommended reading for teens aged twelve to eighteen. It is a general list of graphic novels, both fiction and nonfiction, selected for proven or potential appeal to the personal reading tastes of teens.

For the purpose of the committee, graphic novels are defined to include trade compilations and original works published in a sequential art format. Such titles should incorporate acceptable literary and artistic quality with effectiveness of presentation.

Standard selection criteria consistent with the Library Bill of Rights shall apply. Librarianship focuses on individuals, in all their diversity, and that focus is a fundamental value of the Young Adult Library Services Association and its members. Diversity is, thus, honored in the Association and in the collections and services that libraries provide to teens.

The Committee:

The Great Graphic Novels for Teens Committee consists of ten members and one Chair.

Committee members must belong to YALSA and should include a mix of public and school librarians, the majority of whom should have background and experience in the selection and use of graphic novels.

Committee members, including administrative assistants and chairs, are appointed by YALSA's President-Elect and serve a term of one year. Committee members may be selected to serve a concurrent, second one-year term based on the member's first year performance and his/her interest and availability in serving another year, for a total of a two-year maximum concurrent term length on the committee

Members who have served two consecutive years as a member and/or administrative assistant may not be appointed to the same committee for three years from the conclusion of their last term. This guideline will not apply to the Chair.  In extreme circumstances, and at the President’s discretion, an exception may be made if a committee member resigns suddenly.  The President, after discussion with the Committee Chair, may determine that the best course of action is to fill the vacancy with an experienced committee member, and appoint a member in good standing who successfully served on the committee in question during the previous three years.

A YALSA Board member serves as a liaison to the committee to handle questions from the Chair regarding procedure, personnel, and the eligibility of titles.

If the Chair desires, an administrative assistant may be appointed by the Vice-President/President-Elect of YALSA, in consultation with the Committee Chair. The administrative assistant assists the Chair in duties that may include maintaining the nominations' database, tabulating votes and other such duties assigned by the Chair. The administrative assistant is a non-voting member of the Committee, and must be a YALSA member.

The Chair and/or administrative assistant of the committee will also contact publishers to obtain copies of nominated titles for all committee members.

Relationship with Publishers:

Committee members should not solicit publishers for free and personal copies of books. If members are offered or receive unsolicited copies of books from a publisher, they may be accepted. Committee members should not solicit publishers for favors, invitations, etc. If members receive these, however, they will use their own judgment in accepting. Publishers understand that such acceptance in no way influences members’ actions or selections.

Member Responsibilities:

By accepting appointment to this committee, each member assumes responsibility for reading, evaluating and nominating the graphic novels submitted for consideration in any year; attending the scheduled meetings at both the Annual and Midwinter ALA Conferences; and actively participating in the work of the committee, including electronic correspondence between meetings, plus any specific duties are assigned by the Chair.

Committee members are encouraged to solicit the opinions of teens on titles being considered for nomination.

Chair Responsibilities:

The Chair presides at all committee meetings;manages an electronic discussion list created by ALA at the request of the YALSA Program Officer; has sole responsibility for publisher contact and is a voting member of the committee with all the rights and responsibilities of the other members. The primary responsibility of the Chair is facilitator of the Committee’s charge, including all business matters such as notification of times and locations of meetings, preparation of an agenda and list of nominated titles. The Chair should only discuss a title after other committee members have had an opportunity to speak, so as not to unduly influence the decision. The Chair works closely with the YALSA office.

To be selected for the recommended list, books must meet the following criteria:

  • Reflect an integration of images and words
  • Exhibit a clarity of visual flow on the page
  • Ability of images to convey necessary meaning
  • Outstanding quality of the artwork's reproduction
  • Narrative enhanced by the artwork
  • Narrative dominated by sequential art component

Eligibility Criteria:

  • Both young adult, and adult titles with strong teen appeal, may be considered
  • Both fiction and non-fiction are eligible
  • Adapted materials must remain true to, expand, or complement the original work
  • Books published within the assigned calendar year, January 1 to December 31, in addition to those published between September 1 and December 31 of the previous year.
  • Nominations may be accepted from the field and Committee up to November 1 of that calendar year.
  • Though graphic novels need not be published in the United States, they must be widely available for purchase in the U.S. at the time of consideration.
  • Reissues will be considered if there has been significant change to the original content of the work since first issued. Whether or not the changes are significant enough is ultimately determined by the Chair.
  • Collections of comic strips will be considered only if they contain an overarching story arc.


  • Prior to nominating a graphic novel, it is expected that a committee member will have read the work. In the case of a field nomination, a committee member must read the work before seconding.
  • Nominations must be submitted on the official form, which is available on the YALSA website, from the YALSA Office or from the current committee chair.
  • Neither publishers nor authors may nominate their own titles.
  • The Chair will regularly disseminate a list of nominated titles to committee members.

Suggested Selection Procedures:

  1. Upon announcement of the previous list, members will begin reading and evaluating titles.
  2. Titles available or soon to be available can be located by reading Diamond Comics, Previews, Booklist, Publishers Weekly, School Library Journal and other review sites, and by also exploring the shelves of stores that sell graphic novels at regular intervals and the catalogs of library systems that purchase many graphic novels.
  3. In order to facilitate discussion at Annual:
    • Members will submit nominations to the Chair by May 1.
    • A survey, such as a straw poll will be conducted beginning May 15.
    • Committee members must vote no later than June 1.
    • The discussion list will be distributed to Committee members by June 15.
    • Committee members are expected to familiarize themselves with nominated titles to ensure a productive discussion at Annual.
    • Publishers may be contacted directly by the chair alone to request review copies for committee members.
  4. Discussion meetings at the Annual Conference will be scheduled by the Chair
  5. The period from Annual to November 1 will be used by the Committee members for further reading and evaluation. Additional nominations must be submitted to the Chair no later than Nov 1. The Chair will merge these nominations into a ballot for distribution to the Committee by December 1. Completed ballots must be returned to the Chair no later than December 15. The results will be distributed to Committee members no later than the end of the first week in January.

Discussion meetings will be scheduled for Midwinter by the Chair. A final list (or lists) will be assembled by ballot at the conclusion of the meetings. Comments from observers are welcome.

Meeting Procedures

Voting Process:

Throughout the year, at the discretion of the Chair, straw votes may be conducted periodically. The sole purpose of such voting is to guide discussion by revealing levels of support for individual titles.

With eleven members on the committee, 7 yes votes are required to place a title on the final GGNT list. Members can vote only on nominated books they have read.

The final list, with annotations written by the committee, will be due in the YALSA Office before the end of the Midwinter Meeting. The annotated list will be made available on the YALSA For Members Only Web site.


All Committee meetings will be open to all registered conference attendees. Persons with conference badges may speak when recognized by the chair. Before the committee discusses each suggested title, an opportunity will be given to observers to make short comments, 2 minutes or less per observer, about the books but the Chair reserves the right to cut short the discussion if necessary. Publishers’ representatives are requested to refrain from participating in discussion or asking for comments about their own books.


After titles have been selected, the Committee will prepare a list with necessary bibliographic information and brief annotations, which should be written in a style that will capture the interest of the target audience -- teens aged 12 to 18. Annotations should also reflect content, to address interests of selectors. Original comic information should be listed in the annotation. YALSA's "Procedures for Writing and Publishing Annotations and Bibliographies" should be used for guidance. Responsibility for editing the final list(s) and ensuring its/their availability to YALSA staff in hard copy and disk form no later than the final day of each Midwinter Meeting, falls to the Committee Chair.

Availability of Lists for General Distribution

The list of nominations will be updated monthly. The cumulative list will be available electronically on the YALSA website and the YALSA-BK discussion list, and posted on other appropriate discussion lists, such as PUBYAC and LM_NET.

The final list of nominations will be available after November 1.

The final list of selected titles will be available, as a press release, from the ALA Public Information Office the morning following the committee’s last meeting. The list is available on the YALSA web site at and will appear in the ALA publications: Young Adult Library Services and Booklist.