BCALA X GNCRT 2021 Supplemental Reading Lists

BLM%20Reading%20List%20Logo300For the next iteration of our ongoing collaboration between the Black Caucus of the American Library Association (BCALA) and the Graphic Novels and Comics Round Table of the American Library Association (GNCRT), we are presenting monthly themed Black Lives Matter comics reading mini-lists with a continued focus on Black literature.

Titles are alphabetically arranged with their target audiences denoted in parentheses: A for Adult, YA for Young Adult, and J for juvenile. However, many of these stories cross age groups! In addition, each list includes a few supplementary works for a deeper analysis, and each highlights a Black-owned comics publisher.

You may notice that these lists include a slim collection of middle grade titles. This is due to the dearth of readily accessible comics and graphic novels by Black creators by established children’s publishing companies. For younger children, while some board books and picture books may suffice, there is a glaring shortage of middle grade comics and graphic novels by Black creators. Evidence has suggested a significant decline in pleasure reading by age nine (Scholastic’s “Decline By Nine”), a critical year to encourage a lifelong love of reading. As essential discussions are being held surrounding diversity in literature, reluctant readers, and attractive titles for young readers, the necessity for representation must be addressed. We implore publishers to uplift Black voices by hiring Black authors and illustrators to tell Black stories of all genres and topics in which Black readers can see themselves, and readers can view different experiences beyond their own lens.

Members of the GNCRT and BCALA may have contributed to the items listed here, and may have done so on a voluntary or paid basis.

Please see the core Black Lives Matter Comics Reading List page to review the criteria for inclusion for these lists as well the Black Lives Matter Comics Reading List Task Force committee roster and additional resources.

BCALA and the ALA Graphic Novels and Comics Round Table: Superheroes

Last updated January 21, 2021


This list is comprised of Super+heroes: characters who are heroic, fight back against the establishment, and have supernatural abilities they use for the common good. Many of these titles are origin stories of Black superheroes, and they all represent the nuances that come with having powers that could alter the world. While there are well-known Black justice purveyors on this list, you may notice the absence of others. Some of these characters have never been written or drawn by Black creators. Others have, but their Black-authored or Black-illustrated stories are no longer accessible. Still others have stereotypical or otherwise harmful depictions. We implore publishers to uplift Black voices by hiring Black authors and illustrators to tell Black stories.

BCALA and the ALA Graphic Novels and Comics Round Table: Afrofuturism

Last updated March 15, 2021


This list of 13 titles is centered on stories of a world where the intersection of science fiction, technology, and the arts are seen through the Black lens. It unapologetically celebrates the innovation that Black culture has to offer and have always had. It imagines a future where Black people are able to flourish and thrive without oppression or fear.

Afrofuturism exists in contemporary society not only in the comics and graphic novel spheres, but also in mediums such as music, social media, and films. It challenges the current world and re-envisions it to one where Black people freely shaped the world to one that is more equitable. Afrofuturism gives power to Black people, Black history, and Black advancement.

BCALA and the ALA Graphic Novels and Comics Round Table: Good Trouble

Last updated April 29, 2021


“You must find a way to get in trouble, good trouble, necessary trouble.” - John Lewis

Inspired by the indomitable Congressman John Lewis, this list comprises the history of Black folks who advocated for the disenfranchised, the invisible, and the voiceless. It speaks on those who caused necessary trouble to ensure that culture lives on, despite severe consequences. Good Trouble emphasizes that history cannot be told without the inclusion of Black history.

BCALA and the ALA Graphic Novels and Comics Round Table: Fantasy & Horror

Last updated June 10, 2021


This list takes an extraordinary look at worlds that are uncanny, magical, and grotesque. There are stories where magic is a part of life, while in others, magic exists in a different realm - a separate identity. Then there are tales where the supernatural is less wondrous, and more terrifying. Fantasy and horror can provide a catharsis for readers seeking a means to escape - or a way to contextualize - the trauma they experienced, particularly intergenerational trauma.

BCALA and the ALA Graphic Novels and Comics Round Table: Greenwood Avenue


2021 marks the centennial of the Tulsa Race Massacre, when a white mob stormed the Greenwood District of Tulsa, Oklahoma, destroyed Black homes and businesses, and murdered Black residents. Greenwood, also known as Black Wall Street, was one of the wealthiest Black communities in the United States - a fact that made the city’s government uneasy, and an active conspirator in its destruction.

Greenwood was an oasis for Black residents to live outside Jim Crow laws, and be, without repercussions. It was a district that celebrated Black bodies, Black intelligence, and Black worth. With its destruction, the city’s government sent the message that segregation was not enough - Black folks could not revel in their success and thrive. The comics on this mini-list tells a story of racial hate but it also relays the resilience, innovation, and success of Greenwood’s Black residents.

Check out each of the supplemental reading lists in the drop down section below!