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Graphic Novel Memoirs and Biographies

The graphic novel format lends itself beautifully to illustrated life stories, either of the author's own life or another person's. Here are some recommendations from our librarians.

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Cover of Epileptic

Hailed by The Comics Journal as one of Europe’s most important and innovative comics artists, David B. has created a masterpiece in Epileptic, his stunning and emotionally resonant autobiography about growing up with an epileptic brother. 

Cover of Fun Home: A Family Tragico

A fresh and brilliantly told memoir from a cult favorite comic artist, marked by gothic twists, a family funeral home, sexual angst, and great books.

Cover of The Voyeurs

A real-time memoir of four turbulent years in the life of renowned cartoonist and diarist Gabrielle Bell.

Cover of The Best We Could Do: An I

This beautifully illustrated and emotional story is an evocative memoir about the search for a better future and a longing for the past. Exploring the anguish of immigration and the lasting effects that displacement has on a child and her family, Bui documents the story of her family's daring escape after the fall of South Vietnam in the 1970s, and the difficulties they faced building new lives for themselves.

Cover of Girl on Film: A Graphic No

Follow novelist Cecil Castellucci in this insightful memoir of making art, the nature of memory, and being a teenager in 80s New York City.

Cover of Can’t We Talk About Some

In her first memoir, Roz Chast brings her signature wit to the topic of aging parents. Spanning the last several years of their lives and told through four-color cartoons, family photos, and documents, and a narrative as rife with laughs as it is with tears, Chast's memoir is both comfort and comic relief for anyone experiencing the life-altering loss of elderly parents. Available to download: eBook

Cover of Hot Comb

An auspicious debut examining the culture of hair from the Rona Jaffe Foundation Award-winning cartoonist.

Cover of Marbles: Mania, Depression

Cartoonist Ellen Forney explores the relationship between "crazy" and "creative" in this graphic memoir of her bipolar disorder, woven with stories of famous bipolar artists and writers.

Cover of I Was Their American Dream

I Was Their American Dream is at once a coming-of-age story and a reminder of the thousands of immigrants who come to America in search for a better life for themselves and their children. 

Cover of Fights: One Boy’s Triump
Joel Christian

Fights is the visceral and deeply affecting memoir of artist/author Joel Christian Gill, chronicling his youth and coming of age as a Black child in a chaotic landscape of rough city streets and foreboding backwoods. 

Cover of Rosalie Lightning: A Graph

Eisner-nominated cartoonist Tom Hart's touching and beautiful graphic memoir about the untimely death of his young daughter, Rosalie.

Cover of Americana (And the Act of

This intimate, engaging autobiographical work from an Irish visitor to the United States recounts the author's own attempt to walk the length of the USA's west coast. Healy's life-changing journey weaves in and out of often humorous reflections on his experiences in America and his development as an artist, navigating both the trail itself and the unique culture of the people who attempt to complete it. 

Cover of Qualification: A Graphic M

A graphic memoir brimming with black humor, which explores the ultimate irony: the author's addiction to 12-Step programs.

Cover of Relish: My Life in the Kit

Lucy Knisley loves food. The daughter of a chef and a gourmet, this talented young cartoonist comes by her obsession honestly. In her forthright, thoughtful, and funny memoir, Lucy traces key episodes in her life thus far, framed by what she was eating at the time and lessons learned about food, cooking, and life. 

Cover of Gender Queer: A Memoir

In 2014, Maia Kobabe, who uses e/em/eir pronouns, thought that a comic of reading statistics would be the last autobiographical comic e would ever write. At the time, it was the only thing e felt comfortable with strangers knowing about em. Now, Gender Queer is here. Maia's intensely cathartic autobiography charts eir journey of self-identity, which includes the mortification and confusion of adolescent crushes, grappling with how to come out to family and society, bonding with friends over erotic gay fanfiction, and facing the trauma and fundamental violation of pap smears.

Cover of Blossoms & Bones: Drawing

Visionary artist and New York Times bestselling author Kim Krans returns with a decadently illustrated and incredibly raw graphic memoir that chronicles her multi-layered search for truth and recovery from an eating disorder and infertility in the throes of a health and wellness-obsessed culture, touching on the healing potentials of creativity and spirituality.

Cover of Belonging: A German Reckon

A revelatory, visually stunning graphic memoir by award-winning artist Nora Krug, telling the story of her attempt to confront the hidden truths of her family's wartime past in Nazi Germany and to comprehend the forces that have shaped her life, her generation, and history.

Cover of March: Book One
John Lewis, Andrew Aydin,
and Nate Powell

March is a vivid first-hand account of Congressman John Lewis' lifelong struggle for civil and human rights, meditating in the modern age on the distance traveled since the days of Jim Crow and segregation. Rooted in Lewis' personal story, it also reflects on the highs and lows of the broader civil rights movement. Available to download: eBook

Cover of Imagine Wanting Only This

A gorgeous graphic memoir about loss, love, and confronting grief on a journey through deserted cities in the American Midwest, an Icelandic town buried in volcanic ash, islands in the Philippines, New York City, and the delicate passageways of the human heart.

Cover of The Impostor’s Daughter
Laurie Sandell

Growing up with her extraordinary father has given Laurie a knack for relating to the stars. But while researching an article on her dad's life, she discovers that he's not the man he says he is - not even close. Now, Laurie begins to puzzle together three decades of lies and the splintered person that resulted from them - herself.

Cover of Persepolis

Originally published to wide critical acclaim in France, Persepolis is Marjane Satrapi's wise, funny, and heartbreaking memoir of growing up in Iran during the Islamic Revolution. 

Cover of The Arab of the Future: A

In striking, virtuoso graphic style that captures both the immediacy of childhood and the fervor of political idealism, Riad Sattouf recounts his nomadic childhood growing up in rural France, Gaddafi's Libya, and Assad's Syria--but always under the roof of his father, a Syrian Pan-Arabist who drags his family along in his pursuit of grandiose dreams for the Arab nation.

Cover of Stitches: A Memoir

One day David Small awoke from a supposedly harmless operation to discover that he had been transformed into a virtual mute. A vocal cord removed, his throat slashed and stitched together like a bloody boot, the fourteen-year-old boy had not been told that he had throat cancer and was expected to die. Small, a prize-winning children's author, re-creates a life story that might have been imagined by Kafka. 

Cover of Maus

A brutally moving work of art--widely hailed as the greatest graphic novel ever written--Maus recounts the chilling experiences of the author's father during the Holocaust, with Jews drawn as wide-eyed mice and Nazis as menacing cats. 

Cover of They Called Us Enemy

A stunning graphic memoir recounting actor/author/activist George Takei's childhood imprisoned within American concentration camps during World War II. Available to download: eBook

Cover of A Drifting Life

Acclaimed for his visionary short-story collections, the legendary Japanese cartoonist Yoshihiro Tatsumi has come to be recognized in North America as a precursor of today's graphic novel movement. A Drifting Life is his monumental memoir eleven years in the making, beginning with his experiences as a child in Osaka, growing up as part of a country burdened by the shadows of World War II.

Cover of Blankets: An Illustrated N

Wrapped in the landscape of a blustery Wisconsin winter, this loosely autobiographical graphic novel explores the sibling rivalry of two brothers growing up in the isolated country, and the budding romance of two coming-of-age lovers. 

Cover of The Loneliness of the Long

A comedic memoir about fandom, fame, and other embarrassments from the life of the New York Times bestselling cartoonist.

Cover of The Man Without Talent

A Japanese manga legend's autobiographical graphic novel about a struggling artist and the first full-length work by the great Yoshiharu Tsuge available in the English language.

Cover of Spring Rain: A Graphic Mem

In 2005, Andy Warner traveled to Lebanon to study literature in Beirut, one of the world's most cosmopolitan and storied cities. As street protests grow and the city is rocked by political violence, Warner feels his grasp on reality slowly begin to slip as he confronts traumas in his past and anxiety over his future. Illustrated in beautiful and intricate detail, Spring Rain is an absorbing and poignant graphic memoir of a young man's attempt to gain control over his life as well as a portrait of a city and a nation's struggle to define its future in the predawn of the Arab Spring.

Cover of Darkroom: A Memoir in Blac
Lila Quintero

An arresting and moving personal story about childhood, race, and identity as seen by a Latina girl in the Jim Crow South.

Cover of Commute: An Illustrated Me

An intimate, clever, and ultimately gut-wrenching graphic memoir about the daily decision women must make between being sexualized or being invisible.

Cover of Everything Is Teeth
Evie Wyld
and Joe Sumner

When she was a little girl, passing her summers in the heat of coastal Australia, award-winning author Evie Wyld was captivated by sharks--by their innate ruthlessness, stealth, and immeasurable power--and they have never released their hold on her imagination. Here is a deeply moving graphic memoir about family, love, loss, and the irresistible forces that, like sharks, course through life unseen, ready to emerge at any moment.


Cover of Credo: The Rose Wilder Lan

A biography of a fascinating twentieth-century trailblazer--the writer, feminist, war correspondent, and libertarian Rose Wilder Lane.

Cover of California Dreamin'

This poignant graphic novel depicts Mama Cass, the remarkable vocalist who rocketed The Mamas & the Papas to stardom, as you've never known her.

Cover of La Voz de M.A.Y.O: Tata Ra

La Voz De M.A.Y.O: Tata Rambo is based on the oral history of Ramon Jaurigue, an orphan and WWII veteran who co-founded the Mexican, American, Yaqui, and Others (M.A.Y.O.) organization, which successfully lobbied the Tucson City Council to improve living and working conditions for members of the Pascua Yaqui tribe.

Cover of We Served the People: My M

Debut cartoonist Emei Burell breathes new life into the stories her mother shared with her of growing up during mid-1960s Communist China.

Cover of Bix

Told in stunning illustrations, Bix is a near-wordless graphic biography highlighting the career of Leon "Bix" Beiderbecke, one of the most innovative jazz soloists of the 1920s next to the legendary Louis Armstrong. 

Cover of My Friend Dahmer: A Graphi

To the public, Jeffrey Dahmer was a monster who committed unthinkable atrocities. To Derf Backderf, "Jeff" was a much more complex figure: a high school friend with whom he had shared classrooms, hallways, and car rides. In My Friend Dahmer, writer-artist Backderf creates a surprisingly sympathetic portrait of a disturbed young man struggling against the morbid urges emanating from the deep recesses of his psyche - a shy kid, a teenage alcoholic, and a goofball who never quite fit in with his classmates. 

Cover of A Fire Story

Early morning on Monday, October 9, 2017, wildfires burned through Northern California, resulting in 44 fatalities and the destruction of homes and other property. A Fire Story brings together author Brian Fies's firsthand account of this tragic event and the fire stories of his neighbors and others in his community.

Cover of Glass Town

A graphic novel about the Brontë siblings, and the strange and marvelous imaginary worlds they invented during their childhood.

Cover of Audubon: On the Wings of t

The true story of an incredible artist and adventurer: one who encapsulates the spirit of early America, when the wilderness felt limitless and was still greatly unexplored.

Cover of Bowie: Stardust, Rayguns &

This graphic novel chronicles the rise of Bowie's career from obscurity to fame; and paralleled by the rise and fall of his alter ego as well as the rise and fall of Ziggy Stardust. As the Spiders from Mars slowly implode, Bowie wrestles with his Ziggy persona. The outcome of this internal conflict will change not only David Bowie, but also, the world. 

Cover of Our Lady of Birth Control:

Framing the biography with her own personal experiences of coming of age at the height of the sexual revolution, a comic book artist, writer and editor presents this historical graphic novel that illustrates the incredible life of Margaret Sanger, best known as the pioneer of birth control.

Cover of Amazons, Abolitionists, an

A bold and gripping graphic history of the fight for women's rights. 

Cover of Johnny Cash: I See a Darkn

Vividly portrays the unpredictable life of a loner, patriot, outlaw, and music rebel, making this unique biography a compelling read for multiple generations of graphic novel and music fans.

Cover of Eileen Gray: A House Under

In 1924, work began in earnest on a small villa by the sea in the south of France. Nearly a century later, this structure is a design milestone. Meet Eileen Gray, the woman behind the E-1027 house and a pioneer of the Modern Movement in architecture.

Cover of Who Killed Kurt Cobain?

The most iconic singer/songwriter of his generation, Kurt Cobain left behind a phenomenal body of work, legions of fans, and a mystery… a final letter addressed to "Boddah." Now, award-winning creator Nicolas Otero brings the story of this note to life.

Cover of The Beats: A Graphic Histo
Harvey Pekar
and Ed Piskor

The Beats takes us on a wild tour of a generation that, in the face of mainstream American conformity and conservatism, became known for its determined uprootedness, aggressive addictions, and startling creativity and experimentation.

Cover of The Twilight Man: Rod Serl

A biographical tale that follows Hollywood revolutionary Rod Serling's rise to fame in the Golden Age of Television, and his descent into his own personal Twilight Zone.

Cover of I Know What I Am: The Life

Often overlooked in the pantheon of Renaissance masters is Artemisia Gentileschi -- Italy's greatest female painter. In 17th century Italy, Artemisia braved the male-dominated sphere of painting to become a groundbreaking artist.

Cover of Year of the Rabbit

Tells the true story of one family's desperate struggle to survive the murderous reign of the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia. 

Cover of The Adventures of Alexande
Lillian Melcher

A breathtakingly illustrated and brilliantly evocative recounting of Alexander Von Humboldt's five year expedition in South America.