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Sunday, November 1, 2020

Librarians Talk Children's Books: Graphic Novels for Beginners

In today's video, we will be discussing graphic novels for kids. The first question is what is a “graphic novel”? The Merriam-Webster definition is "a fictional story that is presented in comic-strip format and published as a book”. This style started in the late 1970s and has greatly expanded in genres. The Pulitzer Prize winning graphic novel Maus (1986) uses the format to tell the story of the author Art Spiegelman interviewing his father about his experiences during World War II as a Polish Jew. The comic strip format allowed the author to tell the story as an anthropomorphic tale with different groups represented as mice, cats and pigs.

There is some controversy as some offers think the term “graphic novels” is just an “unnecessary semantic” change to appeal to non-comic readers. It is also important to note due to the variety of genres and age groups that read books the content of graphic novels can differ significantly. Even in a children’s collection of graphic novels the themes can differ from lower grade (K-3) appropriate, to middle grade (4-8) in content. Some parents may want to preview graphic novel materials before their children begin reading a new series.

There has been a big push among librarians and some teachers for acceptance of children’s graphic novels as a learning tool. Graphic novels are more approachable than traditional text novels. Readers are given more context through illustration but are still pushed to understand plot and character development. Luckily, with the boom of new graphic novel titles for kids there are a lot of great options!

Teresa’s Picks:
Benjamin Bear in Brain Storms! - Philippe Coudray
Owly: The Way Home - Andy Runton
Baloney and Friends - Greg Pizzoli

Eric’s Picks:
Big Nate by Lincoln Peirce
Narwhal and Jelly by Ben Clanton
The Bad Guys by Aaron Blabey

Ashlee’s Picks:
Fox & Chick by Surgio Ruzzier
Ricky Ricotta's Mighty Robot by Dav Pilkey
Amulet by Kazu Kibuishi