100 books like Seal of Approval

By Amy Kiste Nyberg,

Here are 100 books that Seal of Approval fans have personally recommended if you like Seal of Approval. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay

Eric Kurlander Author Of Hitler's Monsters: A Supernatural History of the Third Reich

From my list on Nazism and the occult.

Why am I passionate about this?

I would trace the genesis of Hitler’s Monsters to three distinct influences. The first was my childhood love of Golden, Silver, and Bronze Age comics––Batman, Superman, Captain America, The Avengers, The Fantastic Four––which, as illustrated by the Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, are replete with themes of Nazi occultism and border science. The second was a conversation with my thesis advisor early in graduate school, when he noted that he was advising a dissertation on German occultism (Science for the Soul). The third influence was observing the mid-2000s resurgence in rightwing populism across Europe and North America, seemingly fueled by recourse to esoteric and supernatural thinking. The rest, as they say, is history.

Eric's book list on Nazism and the occult

Eric Kurlander Why did Eric love this book?

For those interested in a compelling work of fiction built loosely around Nazism and the occult, Michael Chabon’s The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay is the perfect novel.

Whether it’s one of the protagonists, a young Jewish magician, escaping Nazi-occupied Central Europe in the coffin of the “Golem of Prague” or the eponymous cousins finding success with their own comic book series infused by contemporary esoterica, Kavalier & Clay evokes the world in which young, first and second generation Jewish immigrants from Central and Eastern Europe created the Marvel and DC superheroes and super(natural) villains, often allied with the Third Reich, that have defined our popular culture for the past eighty years. 

By Michael Chabon,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Winner of the 2001 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, 'The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay' is a heart-wrenching story of escape, love and comic-book heroes set in Prague, New York and the Arctic - from the author of 'Wonder Boys'.

One night in 1939, Josef Kavalier shuffles into his cousin Sam Clay's cramped New York bedroom, his nerve-racking escape from Prague finally achieved. Little does he realise that this is the beginning of an extraordinary friendship and even more fruitful business partnership. Together, they create a comic strip called 'The Escapist', its superhero a Nazi-busting saviour who liberates the oppressed…


Book cover of The Ten-Cent Plague: The Great Comic-Book Scare and How It Changed America

Brett Dakin Author Of American Daredevil: Comics, Communism, and the Battles of Lev Gleason

From my list on the history of golden age comics.

Why am I passionate about this?

Brett Dakin is the author of American Daredevil: Comics, Communism, and the Battles of Lev Gleason and Another Quiet American: Stories of Life in Laos. Brett's writing has appeared in Foreign Affairs, the International Herald TribuneThe Washington Post, and The Guardian. A graduate of Princeton University and Harvard Law School, Brett grew up in London and now lives in New York City with his husbandand their dog, Carl.

Brett's book list on the history of golden age comics

Brett Dakin Why did Brett love this book?

David’s book came out while I was still searching for the truth about Uncle Lev, and it provided a useful and entertaining overview of the effort to censor comic books—catching Lev directly in its cross-hairs—and the industry code that was implemented as a result. Ultimately, David argues, “the generation of comic-book creators whose work died with the Comics Code helped give birth to the popular culture of the postwar era.”

By David Hajdu,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Ten-Cent Plague as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In the years between the end of World War II and the mid-1950s, American popular culture was first created in the pulpy, boldly illustrated pages of comic books. But no sooner had comics emerged than they were beaten down by mass bonfires, congressional hearings, and a McCarthyish panic over their unmonitored and uncensored content. Esteemed critic David Hajdu vividly evokes the rise, fall, and rise again of comics, in this engrossing history.


Book cover of Comic Book Nation: The Transformation of Youth Culture in America

Brett Dakin Author Of American Daredevil: Comics, Communism, and the Battles of Lev Gleason

From my list on the history of golden age comics.

Why am I passionate about this?

Brett Dakin is the author of American Daredevil: Comics, Communism, and the Battles of Lev Gleason and Another Quiet American: Stories of Life in Laos. Brett's writing has appeared in Foreign Affairs, the International Herald TribuneThe Washington Post, and The Guardian. A graduate of Princeton University and Harvard Law School, Brett grew up in London and now lives in New York City with his husbandand their dog, Carl.

Brett's book list on the history of golden age comics

Brett Dakin Why did Brett love this book?

Another readable academic work, Bradford’s book helped me situate the history of comics within the broader narrative of post-war America’s emerging youth, pop, and consumer cultures.

By Bradford W. Wright,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Comic Book Nation as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

As American as jazz or rock and roll, comic books have been central in the nation's popular culture since Superman's 1938 debut in Action Comics #1. Selling in the millions each year for the past six decades, comic books have figured prominently in the childhoods of most Americans alive today. In Comic Book Nation, Bradford W. Wright offers an engaging, illuminating, and often provocative history of the comic book industry within the context of twentieth-century American society. From Batman's Depression-era battles against corrupt local politicians and Captain America's one-man war against Nazi Germany to Iron Man's Cold War exploits in…


Book cover of The Great Comic Book Heroes

Brett Dakin Author Of American Daredevil: Comics, Communism, and the Battles of Lev Gleason

From my list on the history of golden age comics.

Why am I passionate about this?

Brett Dakin is the author of American Daredevil: Comics, Communism, and the Battles of Lev Gleason and Another Quiet American: Stories of Life in Laos. Brett's writing has appeared in Foreign Affairs, the International Herald TribuneThe Washington Post, and The Guardian. A graduate of Princeton University and Harvard Law School, Brett grew up in London and now lives in New York City with his husbandand their dog, Carl.

Brett's book list on the history of golden age comics

Brett Dakin Why did Brett love this book?

Jules wrote this book in 1965, so it certainly doesn’t reflect the latest scholarship. But as probably the first critical history of the Golden Age, it’s a valuable read—and a lot of fun!  Jules gives a real sense of what it was like to be alive, in New York City, creating these great works.

By Jules Feiffer,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Great Comic Book Heroes as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A great book about the super heroes of comic books( Superman, Captain Marvel, Human Torch, The Flash, Green Lantern, The Spectre, Hawkman, Wonder Woman.Sub Mariner, Captain America, Plastic Man, The Spirit, Afterword. All in colorful comics book style. In tub 87


Book cover of Showa 1926-1939

Sean Michael Wilson Author Of The Minamata Story: An Ecotragedy

From my list on literary manga.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a comic book writer from Scotland now living in Japan. I have had more than 40 books published with a variety of US, UK, and Japanese publishers. I am the only professional manga writer from Britain who lives in Japan. In 2016 my book The Faceless Ghost was nominated for the prestigious Eisner Book Awards, and received a medal in the 2016 'Independent Publisher Book Awards'. In 2017, my book Secrets of the Ninja won an International Manga Award from the Japanese government – I was the first British person to receive this. In 2020 I received the ‘Scottish Samurai Award’ from an association linking Japan and Scotland.

Sean's book list on literary manga

Sean Michael Wilson Why did Sean love this book?

A key cliche which comic book writers like myself are trying to get over is that comic books and manga are just for kids. That has never been true. This Showa book is an excellent example of that, as the four volumes range over a 63 year period (1926 to 1989) in Japanese history in which we learn about the war, Japanese society, the changes over time, and Mizuki’s personal story. Such comic books and manga, or graphic novels to give them their fancy modern term, are an excellent way to learn about a wide variety of topics with both text and visual working together in an engaging dance. Mizuki was one of the key figures in Japanese manga but for me, this book on history and culture, told in a personal way is his most impressive work.

By Shigeru Mizuki, Zack Davisson (translator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Showa 1926-1939 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A fascinating period in Japanese history recounted by manga s most distinguished author. Showa 1926 1939: A History of Japan lays the groundwork for Eisner award-winning author Shigeru Mizuki s historical and autobiographical series about Japanese life in the twentieth century. Depicted against his trademark photorealistic backdrops, Mizuki effortlessly portrays a nation forced into a period of upheaval and brings history into the realm of the personal. Indeed, as a child coming of age in the Showa era, the author s earliest memories coincide with key events of the time. It all begins with the Great Kanto Earthquake, a natural…


Book cover of Moonbound: Apollo 11 and the Dream of Spaceflight

David Hitt Author Of Homesteading Space: The Skylab Story

From my list on for a graphic novel exploration of space.

Why am I passionate about this?

When I was five years old, my father sat down with me in front of the television and we watched together as the Space Shuttle Columbia launched for the first time. Four decades later, I’ve authored a history of those early shuttle missions, been a part of developing future space missions, and, most importantly of all, watched several space firsts with my own son. Space exploration is humanity at its greatest – working together using the best of our abilities to overcome incredible challenges and improve life here on Earth – and I’m always grateful for the opportunity to share that inspiration with others.

David's book list on for a graphic novel exploration of space

David Hitt Why did David love this book?

If you’re exploring space history, Apollo 11 is THE moment above all others – the first footsteps on another world. In Moonbound, Fetter-Vorm both captures and contextualizes that moment brilliantly, using the words of the astronauts themselves to share the story of the mission, while also giving the big picture that got them there – in the process unpacking everything from Galileo to the layers of a spacesuit.

By Jonathan Fetter-Vorm,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Moonbound as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

On a summer night in 1969, two men climbed down a ladder onto a sea of dust at the edge of an ancient dream. When Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin first set foot on lunar soil, the moon ceased to be a place of mystery and myth. It became a destination.

Now, on the fiftieth anniversary of that journey, Moonbound tells the monumental story of the moon and the men who went there first. With vibrant images and meticulous attention to detail, Jonathan Fetter-Vorm conjures the long history of the visionaries, stargazers, builders, and adventurers who sent Apollo 11 on…


Book cover of Boxers

Benjamin Klas Author Of Second Dad Summer

From my list on finding your magnificent family of choice.

Why am I passionate about this?

When I came out of the closet in college, I lost friends and family who wouldn’t love me for who I was. As time went on, however, new family started appearing in surprising places: people that wanted to journey with me and stick by my side even though we weren’t related by blood or birth. New, chosen family found me. Reading stories about others searching for–and finding–family in the midst of the wackiness of life has always been a comfort. I hope that you find yourself immersed in the abundance of love that family (by blood or by choice) can bring.

Benjamin's book list on finding your magnificent family of choice

Benjamin Klas Why did Benjamin love this book?

Travel back in time to the Boxer Rebellion in the early 1900s. This graphic novel follows Little Bao as he gathers a brotherhood (and later is joined by a sisterhood) called the Society of Righteous and Harmonious Fists. People from many different backgrounds gather together to support each other to fight for the freedom of their homeland, China. I love the way that the clean illustrations in this graphic novel make the story explode in my mind as I follow this band of ragtag revolutionaries coming together as a family on a mission!

Bonus: There’s a companion graphic novel, Saints, that tells a parallel story from a very different perspective!

By Gene Luen Yang,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Boxers as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 12, 13, 14, and 15.

What is this book about?

From American Born Chinese author Gene Luen Yang: an innovative look at China's Boxer Rebellion told from two points of view, in two companion volumes. China, 1898. Bands of foreign missionaries and soldiers roam the countryside, bullying and robbing Chinese peasants. Little Bao has had enough. Harnessing the powers of ancient Chinese gods, he recruits an army of Boxers - commoners trained in kung fu who fight to free China from "foreign devils." But nothing is simple. Little Bao is fighting for the glory of China, but at what cost? So many are dying, including thousands of Chinese citizens who…


Book cover of The Swamp

Sean Michael Wilson Author Of The Minamata Story: An Ecotragedy

From my list on literary manga.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a comic book writer from Scotland now living in Japan. I have had more than 40 books published with a variety of US, UK, and Japanese publishers. I am the only professional manga writer from Britain who lives in Japan. In 2016 my book The Faceless Ghost was nominated for the prestigious Eisner Book Awards, and received a medal in the 2016 'Independent Publisher Book Awards'. In 2017, my book Secrets of the Ninja won an International Manga Award from the Japanese government – I was the first British person to receive this. In 2020 I received the ‘Scottish Samurai Award’ from an association linking Japan and Scotland.

Sean's book list on literary manga

Sean Michael Wilson Why did Sean love this book?

Tsuge is another of the early gekiga greats, who only recently allowed English translation of his classic work from the 1960s and 70s. Tsuge pushed the boundaries of what manga stories were about, into more abstract and surreal areas and visual presentation. This book is, like Tatsumi’s books, a glimpse of a little-known Japan beneath the common stereotypes. Its stories are told in an understated and sophisticated fashion. Literary manga indeed. Wonderful stuff, personally I love it.

By Yoshiharu Tsuge, Ryan Holmberg (translator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Swamp as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The essential early work by the modern master of Japanese literary comics

Yoshiharu Tsuge is one of the most influential and acclaimed practitioners of literary comics in Japan. The Swamp collects work from his early years, showing a major talent coming into his own. Bucking the tradition of mystery and adventure stories, Tsuge’s fiction focused on the lives of the citizens of Japan. These mesmerizing comics, like those of his contemporary Yoshihiro Tatsumi, reveal a gritty, at times desperate postwar Japan, while displaying Tsuge’s unique sense of humor and point of view.

“Chirpy” is a simple domestic drama about expectations,…


Book cover of Baba Yaga's Assistant

Kelly Fernández Author Of Manu

From my list on middle grade magic and the supernatural.

Why am I passionate about this?

My name is Kelly Fernández (she/her) and I’ve been making comics since 2014. I’ve always been fascinated by stories about ghosts, monsters, and witches because I grew up in a family that believes in them. While writing my graphic novel Manu, I researched and spoke to Latinx friends and colleagues about their personal experiences with brujería (the Spanish word for witchcraft) to try and learn more about it across different cultures. I love comics because, like oral storytelling, it’s just another way for people to share their stories with each other!

Kelly's book list on middle grade magic and the supernatural

Kelly Fernández Why did Kelly love this book?

I’m a huge fan of Emily Carroll’s comic art, which is creepy, emotional, and perfectly echoes the tone of McCoola’s story. In this book, teenager Masha runs away from home to live with the terrifying, child-eating witch Baba Yaga. Luckily, Masha is able to impress the Baba Yaga with her wit and knowledge of Russian folklore. But when Masha’s little sister gets captured by the witch, Masha has to finally face the family troubles she’s been avoiding.

By Marika McCoola, Emily Carroll (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Baba Yaga's Assistant as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 10, 11, 12, and 13.

What is this book about?

Russian folklore icon Baba Yaga mentors a lonely teen in a wry graphic novel that balances gleefully between the modern and the timeless.

Most children think twice before braving a haunted wood filled with terrifying beasties to match wits with a witch, but not Masha. Her beloved grandma taught her many things: that stories are useful, that magic is fickle, that nothing is too difficult or too dirty to clean. The fearsome witch of folklore needs an assistant, and Masha needs an adventure. She may be clever enough to enter Baba Yaga’s house-on-chicken-legs, but within its walls, deceit is the…


Book cover of Castle Waiting

Shaenon K. Garrity Author Of The Dire Days of Willowweep Manor

From my list on set in the best mysterious manors.

Why am I passionate about this?

For The Dire Days of Willowweep Manor, artist Christopher Baldwin and I tried to create a Gothic manor with all the trappings: winding stairs, secret passageways, towers, crypts, and, above all, mysteries. Above all, it had to feel real enough that readers might want to visit. Chris created a 3D computer model of Willowweep Manor and used it as the basis for his background art. I filled the manor and its grounds with everything I’d want in my own manor, using these books and many others for inspiration. As it turns out, Willowweep is not exactly what it seems, but what Gothic setting is?

Shaenon's book list on set in the best mysterious manors

Shaenon K. Garrity Why did Shaenon love this book?

A pregnant noblewoman fleeing a less than happy happily-ever-after finds her way to Castle Waiting, an overgrown castle that’s become a haven for forgotten figures from fairy tales, folklore, and myth. Much of this unbelievably absorbing comic is spent simply exploring the castle and following the residents in their day-to-day lives. And what better way is there to spend one’s time? Linda Medley’s immersive artwork, with its flavor of old-fashioned woodcuts and classical book illustrations, makes Castle Waiting look like the perfect place to rest between adventures, or maybe stay and become one of the long-term residents.

By Linda Medley,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Castle Waiting as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This (wildly popular) graphic novel, a feminist fairy tale, is now in paperback.

Castle Waiting is the story of an isolated, abandoned castle, and the eccentric inhabitants who bring it back to life. A fable for modern times, it is a fairy tale that’s not about rescuing the princess, saving the kingdom, or fighting the ultimate war between Good and Evil ― but about being a hero in your own home. The opening chapter tells the origin of the castle itself, which is abandoned by its princess in a comic twist on “Sleeping Beauty” when she rides off into the…


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