Well as we announced last year, we expected big things from the American Library Association’s Graphic Novels & Comics Round Table (GNCRT) — and here it comes. The group just announced the formation of a committee to oversee a Best Graphic Novels for Adults Reading List, which will launch in 2021.

The inaugural list will highlight the best graphic novels for adults published in late 2019 and throughout 2020. According to a press release, the goal is to increase awareness of the medium, raise up diverse voices, and aid library staff in developing graphic novel collections.

Why is this such a big deal? Because while graphic novels for kids and YA readers are incredibly well established in libraries, the adult sections are often more misunderstood or amorphous in nature. YALSA’s annual “Great Graphic Novels” list has been a huge factor in promoting material for young readers — and a curated list of books for adults will be a huge benchmark for librarians seeking to build their collections for adults. This is huge news for adult readers, who are frequently left out of graphic novel recommendation lists.

A committee of GNCRT members will determine the list, which will be announced at the ALA Midwinter Meeting in January 2021. Anyone can nominate a title for consideration through an online form that will be made available on the ALA website in January 2020, which makes this a truly collaborative process that pulls from multiple sources to make sure the list is as strong as possible.

“The GNCRT is very excited about this new reading list and the committee that developed the proposal for the new reading list strove to put together a framework for the selection of the best and most engaging graphic novels for the adult audience,” said Committee Co-Chair Kristin Anderson. “Other such lists exist for younger age demographics, so we thought it of great importance to create one for adults seeking fantastic graphic novel literature. Great care has been taken to ensure that all aspects of graphic novels be considered; from illustrations, to writing, to diverse content. It is our hope that this list sparks a new desire for these highly engaging materials.”

Find more details from the press release below.

Graphic Novel Eligibility and Nominations

Eligible graphic novels for the 2020 Best Graphic Novels for Adults will include all fiction and non-fiction titles published between September 1, 2019 — December 31, 2020 that appeal to adults age 19 or older. Nominations can be made by all members of the public, including committee members and ALA members though an online form that will be available in January 2020 on the GNCRT website.

Publishers are welcome to submit copies of titles to the committee for review, though they are not eligible to nominate their own titles for consideration.

Call for Volunteers/About the Committee

The Graphic Novels & Comics Round Table is seeking volunteers to serve on the 2020 Best Graphic Novels for Adults Selection Committee. This new committee will lead selection for the first GNCRT Best Graphic Novels for Adults Reading List. Members will evaluate eligible graphic novels for inclusion on the Best Graphic Novels for Adults Reading List and determine the Top Ten Best Graphic Novels for Adults. GNCRT members who are library staff and/or educators who have experience with selection and/or use of graphic novels for adults are encouraged to apply

Members will serve on a virtual committee that will form in December 2019, begin their term in January 2020, and run through December 2020. During their term, members will review nominated graphic novel titles and create a final Best Graphic Novels for Adults list to be announced at the ALA Midwinter Meeting in January 2021.

—Additional reporting by Heidi MacDonald


  1. When I was working as a Librarian, I help create and organize the Adult Graphic Novel/Manga collection at the Orange Public Library. As I’ve been a comics fan since I was a kid it did make it easier, as many of the TPBs I purchased were books I’d already read or with which I was familiar. Nice to see this addition by ALA.

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