A new study by Carol L. Tilley, a professor of library and information science at Illinois University, shows that “comic books are just as sophisticated as other forms of literature, and children benefit from reading them at least as much as they do from reading other types of books”. Click here to read the University of Illinois press release.
There are several sorts of graphic novels:
Non-fiction graphic novels are bringing to life stories, facts, figures or concepts. There are many historical and science graphic novels. Check out the Knowledge picture books section in the library to find for example:
- The story of Gladiators and the Colosseum, 937 /P *
- Surprise attack! the Battle of Shiloh, 970 /P
- Understanding Global Warming with MAX Axiom super scientist, 363.7 /P
- Magic school bus books (for primary pupil). “Horrible” books are half graphic and are a good continuation of Ms Frizzle’s adventures (many are stored in the yellow box on the LEXILE book stand, others in the relevant Knowledge section).
- Funny weather : everything you don’t want to know about climate change but probably should know, by Kate Evans, Knowledge section, 363.7
- Warning: Asterix books are not historical graphic novels, despite being quite well documented and smart 😉
- A Christmas Carol, adapted from Charles Dickens, DIC /P
- Jane Eyre, adapted from Charlotte Bronte, BRO /P
- The Lion, the Witch & the Wardrobe, abridged from C.S. Lewis, LEW /P
- Mr William Shakespeare’s plays. The words that Shakespeare actually wrote are spoken by the actors and the plot of the story is told underneath the pictures, SHA /P
It is a great way to access to our cultural heritage, but you actually miss the literary part of the works, so if you are a good reader, choose the original unchanged text.
Graphic novel series, like Tintin, Superman or Mangas are enjoyable and do help readers because they have relatively few words and the images contribute to the comprehension. All my children have become fluent readers in French thanks to our many comic books and once they can read, they can read more substantial texts.
Graphic novels stand alone are often remarkable pieces of art, combining plot, words and drawings. In some comics, nearly each picture could be made into a beautiful poster. For example:
- Rapunzel’s revenge, by Shannon, Dean and Nathan Hale, HAL /P
- The invention of Hugo Cabret, by Brian Selznick, Fiction, Fiction area, SEL (This is a different form of graphic novel where text pages and image pages alternate)
- A child in Palestine, by Naji Al-Ali, ALA /P
- Palestine, by Joe Sacco, SAC /P
- Persepolis: the story of a childhood, by Marjane Satrapi, SAT /P
- Persepolis 2: The story of a Return, by Marjane Satrapi, SAT /P
- Maus : a survivor’s tale, by Art Spiegelman, SPI /P
* /P means the books lives on the Picture Books Shelves