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Graphic Novels and Graphic Non-Fiction

March 24, 2006

Runaways, Marvel teenage superheroesLast night I went to an excellent session on Graphic Novels. For those of you out of the loop, graphic novels are essentially comic books that are novel-length and typically bound in a traditional book format. They are sensationally popular with the young people (and myself).

The genres are pretty much unlimited. Although most people think of comics in relation to super heroes and possibly manga-style martial artsy type books, there are a number of graphic novels that cover everything from high-school (there are even Lizzie McGuire graphic novels) to the Holocaust. That leads me to the next point, which is that graphic non-fiction is an excellent resource, especially for students who are struggling with research because of their low reading levels.

I have non-fiction books about topics such as Harriet Tubman, the Titanic, and the American Revolution, all in “comic book” format.

Granted, it does add a little work to your plate. Not all graphic novels are suitable for young people, but I am assuming that if you are a school or children’s librarian, you make those kind of judgment calls with all books.

Please do not be deceived into thinking that this cheats kids out of “real reading.” Not only does it encourage reading, but the graphic novels themselves are an excellent source of “reading practice,” and studies have shown that the reading level of graphic novels is actually higher than many traditional adolescent novels. After all, they can get away with higher level words because they have pictures to describe them. Kids love them, and any librarian who deprives them of what they love to read is just evil. 🙂

**Climbs down from the pulpit**

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One comment

  1. Man, ‘The Runaways’ is such a good book!!! Where’s the next one man!?



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