Are Graphic Novels Real Novels?


Even library people have had the same reaction — and yes, graphic novels are REAL books! Recently, graphic novels have won awards from some of the most highly acclaimed literary committees in the United States. Graphic novels hook even the most reluctant readers with their visual nature, intricate plots and characters. Graphic novels are making their way into classrooms too – teachers recognize these illustrated books have unique stories and they’ve become their secret weapons in teaching children about composition and creative writing skills.

What more can you say? When a child falls in love with a book, or even a whole series of books, we should do everything we can to keep that love thriving, no matter the format.

True, some parents, teachers, and librarians worry that graphic novels do not provide children with the same experiences as true novels do. But point in fact: graphic novels have a ton of benefits for children.

  • Graphic novels include rich language and vocabulary that still challenge young readers to analyze and interpret words and sentences.
  • Graphic novels are incredible for visual learners. The illustrations often help children unravel the meanings of unfamiliar words, while at the same time giving perspective to emotions.
  • Graphic novels help readers to depend on their own critical thinking, using the illustrations and words to process information and draw their own conclusions. The back-and-forth between text and illustration builds brain muscles!
  • Graphic novels hook readers who sometimes pass over the wordy “intimidating” novels. When children read and enjoy what they are reading, they are building their vocabulary, improving their reading comprehension, and developing important literacy skills without realizing how hard their brains are working.

Your neighborhood Bienville Parish Library has a great collection of graphic novels — Come and check them out – more are being added to the collection every month! Below are just a few that are available.

  • Mighty Jack and the Goblin King / Ben Hatke; color by Alex Campbell and Hilary Sycamore.
  • Dog Man unleashed / written and illustrated by Dav Pilkey, as George Beard and Harold Hutchins, with interior color by Jose Garibaldi.
  • Plants vs. zombies. Garden warfare / story by Paul Tobin; art and cover by Jacob Chabot; colors by Matthew J. Rainwater; letters by Steve Dutro.
  • Manners matter on the playground / by Lori Mortensen; illustrated by Lisa Hunt.
  • Narwhal: unicorn of the sea / Ben Clanton.
  • The garden path / written by Paul Tobin; art by Kieron Dwyer; colors by Heather Breckel; letters by Steve Dutro.
  • Tom Thumb: a Grimm graphic novel / retold by Scott Sonneborn; illustrated by Nelson Evergreen.
  • Red’s planet / Eddie Pittman.
  • New kid / Jerry Craft; with color by Jim Callahan.
  • Stinky Cecil in Operation Pond Rescue / Paige Braddock.
  • Firelight / Kazu Kibuishi.
  • The Hobbit / J.R.R. Tolkien; adapted by Charles Dixon with Sean Deming; illustrated by David Wenzel.

In your opinion, are graphic novels real novels?

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