If you are of a certain vintage, you may recall the thrill of getting your hands on Archie Comics. Or maybe you were into Marvel. The abundance of superhero films today reflects their continued popularity. Today’s kids aren’t any different. Illustrations bring a text alive, and like you, children love the adventure as you visually follow the characters throughout the story. Even better, graphic novels now offer high quality writing with challenging and meaningful themes, while still being just as exciting and fun to read. They are definitely not limited to slapstick jokes and superheroes.
In fact, graphic novels just might be the way to get a reluctant reader of any age interested in books.
If your child is struggling with reading, graphic novels can help kids develop their literacy skills. The illustrations provide contextual clues to the meaning of a text, which makes reading less intimidating. Often the language is straightforward, and together with the drawings to cue the gist of the story, children can grow into confident readers because there is less cause to become frustrated.
Perhaps your child is a strong reader, but lacks interest.
Graphic novels may be the key to captivating bored readers. They are user friendly and visually attractive, and will likely draw in your kid. Page upon page of type in a standard novel might repel them, but enticing illustrations will engage them.
Don’t worry about graphic novels being lighter fare, because many are not. These stories also focus on gender equality, race relations, friendships, self-esteem, or the various contemporary issues that face your tween and teen. You’ll find mysteries, historical themes, satire and adventure, fiction and non-fiction alike. Historical graphic novels have become invaluable learning tools, because the visual telling of the past that often includes dialogue between characters is more exciting to many kids than a traditional textbook.
Some are lighter fare, and what’s wrong with that? Let your child still have fun with reading. They’ll read the heavier material at school. It’s important that they are reading independently, and hopefully nagging you for another visit to the library or bookstore.
Also, don’t leave out the girls!
Graphic novels have often been singularly associated with boys. Perhaps more boys consume the genre, but there are amazing books for your girls. My daughter loves them. I find that the female characters are strong, courageous and adventurous. It’s girl power set to illustrations.
If you still need convincing, then why don’t you pick up “Maus: A Survivor’s Tale” by Art Spiegelman. Published in 1986 and winner of the Pulitzer Prize – Special Awards and Citations, this true Holocaust story was one of the first graphic novels (albeit for adults) which generated a transformation in the way these books are appreciated. It legitimized the genre. Graphic novels began to earn the respect they deserve. Enjoy!
Image from Smile by Raina Telgemeier