Thursday, November 5, 2015

Graphic Novels to Make You Think

The notion that graphic novels are too simplistic to be regarded as serious reading is outdated. The excellent graphic novels available today are linguistically appropriate reading material demanding many of the same skills that are needed to understand traditional works of prose fiction. Often they actually contain more advanced vocabulary than traditional books at the same age/grade/interest level. They require readers to be actively engaged in the process of decoding and comprehending a range of literary devices, including narrative structures, metaphor and symbolism, point of view, and the use of puns and alliteration, intertextuality, and inference.
~Robin Brenner, "A Guide to Using Graphic Novels with Children and Teens"

Graphic novels - they're not all just superheroes and manga, although those might be the most popular offshoots of the genre. These days you can learn about history, science, the media, and more from graphic novels - educators say "I wouldn’t assign a graphic novel to get specific dates and events in the heads of, say, a history student. But I would definitely assign a graphic conjunction with a textbook. A student can read it quickly, and it makes distant events live and breathe.” It's even a category on Goodreads! These days, publishers often put out a children's version of an adult book (The Omnivore's Dilemma For Kids) or a graphic version of a book (A Game of Thrones: Volume 1, The Graphic Novel), so it's unsurprising to see topics covered using the graphic novel format.

We've compiled a list of graphic novels for adults and young adults that will, hopefully, pique your fancy and perhaps slake your thirst for knowledge on a particular subject, from the science that brought you the Difference Engine to histories of the Dust Bowl and Great Depression and beyond. Like the educator quoted above, we probably wouldn't recommend any of these books be your only source of information about these topics, but we bet they help the events and issue that they chronicle come alive for you!

Hip Hop Family Tree by Ed Piskor

Bohemians: A Graphic History edited by Paul Buhle and David Berger with Luisa Cetti

Climate Changed: A Personal Journey Through the Science by Philippe Squarzoni

The Influencing Machine: Brooke Gladstone on the Media illustrated by Josh Neufeld

The Forgotten Man: A New History of the Great Depression - Graphic Edition by Amity Shlaes

Primates: The Fearless Science of Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey, and Biruté Galdikas by Jim Ottaviani & Maris Wicks [YA]

The Hammer and the Anvil: Frederick Douglass, Abraham Lincoln, and the End of Slavery in America by Dwight Jon Zimmerman

Bad Girls: Sirens, Jezebels, Murdereresses, Thieves & Other Female Villians by Jane Yolen [YA]

In the library catalog, you can also find graphic (or "visual") biographies, such as American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang, a National Book Award finalist in 2006, 21: The Story of Roberto Clemente, and the loosely autobiographical The Silence of Our Friends, about a civil rights related sit-in at Texas Southern University in 1968.

If you love graphic novels, be sure to check out Lomas Tramway's Graphic Novel Club! For more graphic novels from the library catalog, try a subject search using "graphic novels".

1 comment:

Nancy said...

THANK you! These look great. I've already put a bunch of them on hold!