Embracing Graphic Novels!

Embracing Graphic Novels!

by Ethan Atwell

As a librarian, I frequently have caregivers come in with a child asking to help them find a “real” book, because the child primarily reads graphic novels. Graphic novels are one of the most amazing formats to enjoy reading. Below are benefits of reading graphic novels.

  1. Graphic novels are accessible. According to Louise Baigelman (2022) at Understood.org, the blend of images and words allows struggling readers to have more context while reading and not be overwhelmed by text. They also feel accomplished because they are able to finish a book.
  2. Graphic novels use similar brain activity as text-based reading. This means graphic novels are good for all levels of readers. According to Leslie Morrison (2017) at Northwestern University, graphic novels can be used to create more understanding of complex topics and themes.
  3. Graphic novels are quality reading materials. Scholastic (2022) states graphic novels require authors and illustrators to think deeply about their product. They have to combine limited text with intricate images to convey character thoughts and emotions, plot points, and more storytelling elements. They choose the best vocabulary, images, and layouts to tell their story.

Here are just a few good graphic novels available at Ames Public Library:

  • Early Elementary:
    • “Geraldine Pu and Her Lunch Box, Too!” By Maggie P. Chang. Geraldine’s favorite part of school is to see what her grandma packs each day for lunch.
    • “Arlo & Pips” By Elise Gravel. Arlo has a big brain, but Arlo has something else: a little pal who’s not afraid to tell him when he’s being insufferable!
  • Upper Elementary:
    • “Science Comics” By Various Authors. Illustrated graphic novels offering entertaining views and facts about different topics.
    • “Invisible” By Christina Diaz Gonzalez and Gabriela Epstein. Five different students forced together to complete community service.
  • Middle School:
    • “Real Friends” By Shannon Hale and LeUyen Pham. Shannon and Adrienne have been best friends ever since they were little, but not anymore.
    • “Witchy Vol. 1” By Ariel Slamet Ries. A kingdom where the strength of your magic is determined by the length of your hair.
  • High School:
    • “Squire” By Sara Alfageeh and Nadia Shammas. Aiza has always dreamt of becoming a Knight for the once-great Bayt-Sajji Empire.
    • “Wash Day Diaries” By Jamila Rowser and Robyn Smith. The story of four best friends following the ups and downs of their daily lives in the Bronx.