There’s been some discussion in my community about whether or not graphic novels “count” as reading. In the past, it’s been easy to convince people by noting that our most reluctant readers will pick them up – and that in itself is a good thing. But it is surely not the only reason to value this genre.
Lat year I read Nothing Can Possibly go Wrong (read the first chapter here) and Friends With Boys. I read them as part of an assignment; required reading of a sort. What an eye-opener. Engaging plots, great characters, strong storylines and themes. Without the pictures, no story. Without the text, no story.
Then I read Raina Telgemeir’s excellent graphic memoirs Smile and Drama. When I give them to my students they devour the books. My brand new copy of Sisters is already looking a bit worn. There is so much buzz about Sisters at my school that I may need to buy a second copy. ( I just noted on Raina’s website that she has taken over The Babysitter’s Club. Thank you Raina!)
Just this summer I read the moving To This Day by Shane Koyczan. I had heard his spoken-word essay on You Tube earlier in the year. To see it in print, illustrated , added so much to my experience of his work. Listen to him yourself, then go buy the book.
Want something for older readers? Head out to your local library or bookstore. Look for Maus, Persepolis, and Boxers & Saints. All three books will help you look at history in a new, more detailed way.
Learn more about graphic novels with this helpful guide from Scholastic: “Using Graphic Novels With Children and Teens.”
Please share any good titles in the comments, I would love to hear from you!