We asked our pals in NoBrow & Flying Eye Books for their top Christmas Guide for 2019, so if you are stuck for idea’s on what to buy the person who has everything, you have come to the right place.
Released earlier this year to widespread acclaim, In Waves by AJ Dungo is a rare work of non-fiction that is as moving as it is fascinating. A dual narrative, AJ weaves together a history of the great heroes of surfing with the deeply personal story of his relationship with his late partner Kristen, and her prolonged battle with cancer.
Since its release In Waves has received widespread critical acclaim and was recently nominated for the grand prize at the prestigious Angouleme festival. A very special graphic novel that will touch the heart of any reader.
Americana (And The Act of Getting Over It)
Americana by Luke Healy is a unique book: part travelogue and part graphic memoir it’s a work that effortlessly stitches together multiple narratives across time and place. The main story is more than compelling enough- Luke recounts his 147 day journey across the 2660 mile long Pacific Crest Trail (a staggeringly long hiking path that winds up from America’s desert border with Mexico to Canada’s mountainous one).
However, the journey that Luke documents is more than just a hike, it’s the culmination of a lifelong obsession with the USA that he has never quite managed to shake. In his own words:
“I’m driven by my hunger for the American experience. But also by the hope that if I gorge myself on it, I’ll become sick of the taste.”
Written with an easy humour, Luke has a good eye for details and for capturing the subtleties of conversation and a culture not his own. A thoroughly enjoyable read that you don’t necessarily have to be a traditional travelogue fan to enjoy.
DeadEndia: The Broken Halo
The Broken Halo (written and illustrated by cartoonist and all round wonder Hamish Steele) follows on from where DeadEndia: The Watcher’s Test finished off, but can also be read as a stand alone graphic novel if you fancy jumping straight in. But a short summary for any newcomers: war is brewing across the thirteen planes. And as always, haunted house attraction and portal to hell Dead End is right at the centre of it.
DeadEndia manages to achieve what few can do – simultaneously combining high paced action with delicately written characters who feel as fully fleshed out as long-long friends.
A mind-bending feat of illustrative talent, SKIP by Molly Mendoza has to be seen to be believed. Molly’s a true new powerhouse in the illustration world, and this book more than displays her wide range of skills.
The story itself is an epic tale of friendship, compassion and growth. It follows the two main characters, Bloom and Gloopy, as they travel through alternate worlds, skipping through dimensions to encounter weeping giants, alligator islands and topsy-turvy 2D worlds. A must for any self-described illustration aficionados, or for those with a love of the surreal.
A recent Eisner-award winner, Lorena Alvarez is a true rising star in the comics and illustration industries. Hicotea is the mesmerising follow-up to her 2016 book Nightlights, and is equally as visually stunning.
Within Hicotea Lorena explores our own relationship with nature and animals, creating a work which is as thought provoking as it is beautiful. The story follows Sandy, who after peeking into an empty turtle shell whilst away on a school trip is transported into a magical new dimension. Filled with sculptures, paintings and books, the turtle’s shell is a museum of the natural world. But one painting is incomplete, and the turtle needs Sandy’s help to finish it…
Hilda and the Mountain King
A must buy for any Hilda fan, Hilda and the Mountain King is the sixth instalment in Luke Pearson’s beloved Hilda series. Following on from the harrowing cliff hanger in The Stone Forest which saw our blue-haired heroine wake up in the body of a troll, Hilda and the Mountain King is a tale packed full of adventure and excitement.
A great choice for either a dedicated fan of the comics or for someone wanting to read beyond the events of the first series of the Netflix show, Hilda and the Mountain King delves deeper into the community of Trolls of which we’ve previously only seen snippets of, and whilst doing so revealing more about Trolberg than we’ve ever seen before.
Kai & the Monkey King
The third in Joe Todd Stanton’s series of stories about the adventurous Brownstone family, this book is also an excellent stand-alone read. Professor Brownstone takes us to China this time round, telling us the tale of Kai and her search for the mischievous and rebellious Monkey King. Bursting with dangerous beasts, magical myths and (believe it or not), powerful peaches, we follow Kai as she begins to realise that our heroes might not always be all they’re cracked up to be.
The perfect gift for any budding adventurers or those interested in ancient myths and legends, Joe’s lush illustrations can be stared at for hours.
The Sleepy Pebble and Other Stories
Getting children to sleep – an age old problem, which an endless amount of books have been written about. However The Sleepy Pebble and Other Stories offers a unique alternative to endless self-help books: a collection of soothing stories accompanied by a selection of techniques to help your child practice mindfulness, and to aid relaxation at bedtime.
Written by Professor Alice Gregory (sleep researcher and professor of psychology at Goldsmith’s University) and children’s book author Christy Kirkpatrick, The Sleepy Pebble is elegantly illustrated by Eleanor Hardiman.
A chapter in the last section of the book written by Professor Gregory lists a series of tips to aid sleep, and some advice on how to utilise the book to the best of its ability. An ideal gift for any parents looking for a little bit of help with the bedtime routine.
From the Great Pyramid of Giza, which stands as proud today as it did when it was first built, to the lustrous and alluring Hanging Gardens of Babylon, journey across the world and through time, marvelling at incredible feats of humankind and the awe-inspiring wonders they produced.
The dream gift for anyone with a love of history, Ancient Wonders is fully illustrated throughout by the talented Avalon Nuovo, who really brings these fabled artefacts and monuments to vivid life.
Fanatical About Frogs
Did you know that some frogs grow as big as a newborn baby, while others are smaller than your fingernail? Or that frogs eat their prey whole, using their eyes to swallow their food?
Find other such fantastical facts in Fanatical About Frogs by Owen Davey, the next in line in his acclaimed animal series (Mad About Monkeys, Crazy About Cats). This gorgeously illustrated work of non-fiction would appeal to anyone with a fondness for animals, and is currently on the shortlist for the 2020 Blue Peter Book Awards!