More than Words: Teen Books with Illustrations

As far back as cavemen, people have used pictures to tell stories. Today, authors still use visual art to enhance their stories, adding humor, emotion and drama that sometimes even words cannot fully express.

Only ten sentences long, but with art filling every page, Ain't Burned All the Bright is a powerful, visceral dive into what it means to be Black in America today.

Elizabeth Acevedo’s famous spoken-word poem is transformed into a visual feast in Inheritance: A Visual Poem. Colorful illustrations illuminate this journey through the pain and pride of her Afro-Latinidad heritage.

Medusa - The beautiful, powerful illustrations in this retelling bring to life Medusa’s island and the story of her persecution by the gods. When a young warrior arrives on her shore, Medusa keeps him at arm's length, unsure of the full danger of her curse. As their connection grows, the desire to see one another completely threatens to destroy them both.

Every night since his mom fell ill, Conor has the same nightmare, and one night he wakes to find a monster at his window. The monster has come to demand the truth from Conor. Even though the dark, striking illustrations create a sense of foreboding, A Monster Calls has a story that will reach right to your heart.

In Winger, Ryan is a junior at a fancy boarding-school where he plays rugby and lives in the dorm known for troublemakers. He’s really a normal guy, worried about being liked, doing well, and asking out his crush. Ryan’s drawings and doodles fill the book with wit and fun, but a violent tragedy will change him and his school forever.

Now you know that books with pictures aren't just for little kids! Maybe you'll be inspired to pick up these books and create some art of your own.