A 2018 International Design Report

From the earliest newspaper strips, comics have always been for kids everywhere. And they continue to delight youngsters all over the world. So here’s a global survey of three of the most visually outstanding graphic novels for kids published in the past year, from China, France, and Italy.

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My Beijing. Four Stories of Everyday Wonder

writer/artist: Nie Jun (Graphic Universe)

In My Beijing: Four Stories of Everyday Wonder – originally published in China – every day is a magical adventure for Yu’er. Yu’er is a young, physically challenged girl who lives with her devoted grandfather in a hutong (traditional neighborhood of courtyard houses). Nie Jun himself is a Beijing resident, and his delicate, atmospheric watercolors masterfully complement the sweetness and whimsy of his gentle, heartwarming fables.

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The Big Empty Life of Alphonse Tabouret

writers: Sibylline Desmazières and Capucine, artist: Jérôme d’Aviau (Lion Forge)

The Big Empty Life of Alphonse Tabouret is a charming and enchanting children’s fairy tale from France. It’s about an engaging little guy in search of a sense of purpose. Jérôme d’Aviau is an artist of remarkable versatility, and here his silly stick figure sketches and graphic metaphors maintain a skillful balance with Sibylline Desmazières and Capucine’s complex, layered handling of serious issues such as selfishness, loneliness, and depression. d’Aviau’s background in video game design also informs his visual approach to his character’s woodland journey along the way to self-discovery and fulfillment.

(click to enlarge)

(click to enlarge)

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Timothy Top, Book One: The Green Pig

writer/artist: Gud (Lion Forge)

Timothy Top is a third-grader who enjoys nature and loves comics. He’s also feeling helpless against the challenges he faces as an eight-year-old. Then one day he begins to discover that he has a magical power. And we become enchantingly immersed in Timothy’s world thanks to the smart, imaginative storytelling and marvelous, engaging artwork of Gud (Daniele Bonomo), one of today’s top names in Italian comics. Timothy Top: The Green Pig is the first book of a trilogy to be translated into English, and is an excellent introduction to Americans from age five all the way up to adults.

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