Why Graphic Novels
Experienced parents know that the amount of reading their child does will directly and positively impact his reading fluency and vocabulary development. That is why graphic novels, once relegated to the category of lowbrow reading, have experienced a surge in popularity.
You may think that the graphic novel is primarily for mainstream American children who are peppered by snack-size visual and audio bombardment. If you desire that your children slow down and feast on the written word, you may cringe at the idea of a graphic novel version of Moby Dick. But before you issue a home-wide ban on these books, consider the following.
If you have a reluctant or beginning reader, your first concern should be fluidity and competency. You will find that graphic novel illustrations draw your child in even as the vocabulary becomes more complex. Then, because the graphics are so attention-grabbing, children often find themselves reading for pleasure.
If your reluctant reader is an older child, your primary concern may be making sure that he is culturally savvy. With graphic novels, vocabulary is introduced via contextual clues, making great literature accessible to more children. The interesting pictures and snappy dialogue (with little-to-no narration to bog the reader down) will encourage independent reading and learning. As the child's competence and confidence grow, his joy in literacy will increase.
Even if your older child is a competent reader, he will enjoy taking a break from the verbally intense books characteristic of higher-level learning. A 2006 study found that the amount of reading children did for fun decreased from the time they were eight through their teen years. Graphic books can re-engage them in the delights of reading for leisure and learning.
Some children may never read for pleasure. But most children, from the reluctant, faltering reader to the brilliant but easily bored adolescent will find graphic novels intriguing.
Check out these titles:
Five books in one, recommended for ages 8 and up. 24-Hour History is a beautifully illustrated graphic novel that focuses on five critical days in U.S. history. Includes:
- The Apollo 11 Moon Landing
- The Assassination of John F. Kennedy
- The Assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr.
- The Attack on Pearl Harbor
Four books in one, recommended for ages 8-14. Introduce your student to some of the most clever and tenacious unsung heroes of World War II with this collection of four true stories. Includes:
- Navajo Code Talkers: Top Secret Messengers of World War II
- Night Witches at War: The Soviet Women Pilots of World War II
- U.S. Ghost Army: The Master Illusionists of World War II
- The Unbreakable Zamperini: A World War II Survivor's Brave Story
Eight books in one, recommended for ages 9 and up. Disasters in History makes the gripping stories of world-changing historical disasters accessible to even reluctant readers. Includes:
- The Apollo 13 Mission
- The Attack on Pearl Harbor
- The Challenger Explosion
- The Donner Party
- The Great Chicago Fire of 1871
- The Hindenburg Disaster
- Shackleton and the Lost Antarctic Expedition
- The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire
The Faithful Spy is an accurate account of the German pastor who wrestled with the decision to plot to assassinate Hitler. Recommended for ages 10 and up.
This fully illustrated graphic adaptation looks at the Gettysburg Address, the bloody battle that prompted it, and the Civil War. Recommended for ages 12 and up.
Set of 13 books, recommended for ages 10 and up. These engaging graphic novels are perfect for the child who loves history but is not quite ready for pages and pages of plain type. Includes:
- The New World
- The Fight for Freedom
- The U.S. Emerges
- Problems of a New Nation
- Americans Move Westward
- Before the Civil War
- The Civil War
- The Industrial Era
- America Becomes a World Power
- The Roaring Twenties and the Great Depression
- World War II and The Cold War
- The Civil Rights Movement and Vietnam
Learn how Irena Sendlerowa joined the resistance and saved over 2,500 children from the Nazi-occupied Warsaw ghetto. Recommended for ages 13-16.
Donn was lost on a mountain at age 12. This graphic novel skillfully tells his gripping true story of survival and rescue. Recommended for ages 9 and up.
Historically accurate yet told with sensitivity for a younger audience, Stealing Home will help initiate conversations about discrimination, fear, empathy, and kindness. Recommended for ages 9 and up.
Three book set, recommended for ages 8-14. Written in an engaging graphic-novel style, these books include a brief history of three wars and the true stories of the people who lived through them. Includes:
- True Stories of the Civil War
- True Stories of World War I
- True Stories of World War II
This book's illustrated storytelling clarifies our nation's cornerstone principles, article by article and amendment by amendment, exploring meaning, background, and relevance. Recommended for ages 14+
Set of two books, recommended for ages 10 and up. From the innocent to the heroic, from the passive to the brutal, these graphic novels do a remarkable job of communicating one of the most perplexing and disturbing events in history. Includes:
- A Family Secret
- The Search