Tuesday, August 2, 2016

New & Novel: Graphic Novels for Kids

While many people think of graphic novels as "just comic books", the truth is that a good graphic novel doesn't simplify a story: instead, it amplifies it, drawing out details and adding emotional weight. For young or reluctant readers, in particular, a graphic novel format makes it easier to understand more complex stories. In fact, we'd argue that high-quality graphic novels are a key part of any library!
~Katherine Handcock, "Life in Pictures: Mighty Girl Graphic Novels for Young Readers About Real Life"

We've seen it time and time again - the child is looking at comic books, and the parent is trying to interest them in a "real" book or otherwise limit their consumption of that genre. It's true, comics can be inappropriate for the age group (check the ratings, T is for teen!) and there are a lot of superheroes and manga out there when you are looking to have your child read about real life. But! Françoise Mouly, art editor at the New Yorker, has been "dismayed to find not only a dearth of comics on American newsstands, but also a prevailing cultural attitude that comics were lowbrow filth, dangerous to children, and a fundamentally unserious medium,"  having grown up reading  Asterix and other comics in her native France, where comics are called "the ninth art, they stand alongside music and literature." Hannah Berry, blogging for The Book Trust, asserts:

Symbols and images can be interpreted from a very young age and are the bedrock of visual understanding before the written language, so it makes sense that they can be trusted. When you learn to read, you lose your reliance on image, and I've found that the longer it's been since a person read a picture book - ANY picture book - the harder they will find it to move some of that reliance from the text to the image. This is why people find the idea comics so childish: because it feels like regressing. In fact, it's just dusting off an old skill.

Some sites even recommend using comics as a tool to learn a foreign language. We understand that you want your child to read the classics and other literature, to not just limit their literacy to comics, but we also want you to know there are more comics out there in the 741.5s than might meet the eye. Here's a listing of some children's graphic novels - biographies, stories about overcoming diversity, and some just for fun - that you might suggest to your comic-loving child.

Hidden: A Child's Story of the Holocaust by Loïc Dauvillier

Amelia Rules: The Whole World's Crazy by Jimmy Gownley

The Only Child by Guojing

Smile by Raina Telgemeier (also Sisters and Kristy's Great Idea by the same author)

Fowl Play by Travis Nichols

Alia's Mission: Saving the Books of Iraq - Inspired By a True Story by Mark Alan Stamaty

Drawing From Memory by Allen Say

Lily Renée, Escape Artist: From Holocaust Survivor to Comic Book Pioneer by Trina Robbins

Fishfishfish by Lee Nordling

Binky the Space Cat by Ashley Spires
To Dance: A Ballerina's Graphic Novel by Siena Cherson Siegel 

El Deafo by Cece Bell 

Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson

Pablo & Jane and the Hot Air Contraption by José Domingo

Sunny Side Up by Jennifer L. Holm & Matthew Holm

Jane, the Fox & Me by Fanny Britt 

Awkward by Svetlana Chmakova  

Phoebe and Her Unicorn: A Heavenly Nostrils Chronicle by Dana Simpson

Robot Dreams by Sara Varon

Lumberjanes: Beware the Kitten Holy by Noelle Stevenson & Grace Ellis

Paths & Portals by Gene Luen Yang

The Nameless City by Faith Erin Hicks

Wake Up, Spring by Katherine Ferrier [eBook]

The Prison Island: A Graphic Memoir by Colleen Frakes  [eBook]

For more titles, check out "10 Great Kids Comics for Early Readers." 

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