As summer vacation time draws nearer and schools in Ontario prepare for the summer break, teachers often think of ways to encourage children to read over the summer. Inspiring students who ‘hate to read’ can be quite a challenge. The authors of the blog teachingauthors.com highly recommend graphic novels. (Graphic novels are not to be confused with Manga novels which are a genre unto themselves). Graphic novels are similar to comic books in that they rely heavily on illustrations to convey meaning and the text is short.
Author Mary Ann Rodman suggests the following novels for students:
Drowned City: Hurricane Katrina and New Orleans—Don Brown
Honor Girl: A Graphic Memoir–Maggie Thrash.
In Real Life–Cory Doctorow
Anything by Raina Teigemeier (e.g., Drama)
The Dumbest Idea Ever!–Jimmy Gownley
Roller Girl–Victoria Jamieson
Sunny Side Up–Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm
Into the Volcano–Don Wood.
Flora & Ulysses–Kate DiCamillo, K.G.Campbell
The Hidden: A Child’s Story of the Holocaust–Loic Dauvillier.
The Lost Boy–Greg Ruth
If you haven’t read a graphic novel, I (Cathy) suggest you try one. The experience may surprise you. The content can be quite sophisticated and intense. When I taught a teacher education focused children’s literature course, I used the book Persepolis to introduce my teacher candidates to graphic novels. Persepolis is an autobiographical graphic novel by Marjane Satrapi depicting her childhood up to her early adult years in Iran during and after the Islamic revolution. (The title is a reference to the ancient capital of the Persian Empire, Persepolis). The book depicts religious, political, and economic struggle. Simplistic, but powerful.
Try one this summer!