Tag Archives: graphic novels

Try a Graphic Novel this summer…

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:

Young Adult

Drowned City: Hurricane Katrina and New Orleans—Don Brown

Honor Girl: A Graphic Memoir–Maggie Thrash.

Nimona-Noelle Stevenson

In Real Life–Cory Doctorow

Middle school

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 EmpirePersepolis). The book depicts religious, political, and economic struggle.  Simplistic, but powerful.

Try one this summer!



Literacy development and genres: The graphic novel

When I (yiola) first began teaching  (in 2008) I asked student teachers if they knew about graphic novels.  The response was that few students were familiar with the genre or how and why it may benefit learning in the classroom. With each passing year more and more student teachers indicate they are familiar with graphic novels and more and more student teachers recognize the genre inside classrooms.

Some use the term graphic novels interchangeably with comics with others differentiate the two as distinct styles. In either case there are strong arguments for why the graphic novel is a powerful genre for literacy development.



I introduce student teachers to David Booth’s book “In Graphic Detail” and I share the graphic novel “In a Class of her Own” to demonstrate how critical literacy and language acquisition can be developed in meaningful and interesting ways.




The sharing of the graphic novel as a useful genre in the classroom is a highlight in my course. Many student teachers become inspired to use graphic novels once they are introduced to why they are effective and how to use them in a classroom setting.

Please share any great graphic novel titles that you know to be outstanding.