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April 17, 2010



I have been one of those stubborn people who distrusts graphic novels. I thought they weren't worth my time. Then Artemis Fowl and Alex Rider each came out in graphic novel. Then Rapunzel's Revenge. I'm slowly realizing that I'm going to have to change my standpoint, and your note here is helping me decide.
God bless.


My kids love graphic novels. I have a hard time reading them because there's too much pulling at me for my attention, but I want my children to be able to embrace all different kinds of books.


So bummed ... admin would not "allow" me to attend TLA this year. And I'm even local. 8[

And a BYU grad. 8]

Can't say that GNs are my fave medium but I do recognize that to a lot of kids they are THE LINK to a literary experience. And for that I'll continue to promote them.


Growing up, my vocabulary came from all sorts of comics: Calvin and Hobbes, Foxtrot, For Better or For Worse, the Far Side, etc. It got me interested in further reading, drawing and cartooning, and storytelling in general. I'd say it's a great gateway drug to reading, if that's what graphic novels can do.

...That probably doesn't help their case, does it?

Jennifer Minson

I get your points about how they are useful. I do. Anything to encourage reluctant readers. We (kids and adults) own many GNs. But I get frustrated at the library carrying so many because the librarians keep telling me how stretched they are to get books. We tried for nearly a year and half before we found a librarian who would order River Secrets for us. And they don't have lots of other items including classics that I'd like to see at the library. That's my frustration. I see the money spent on them at libraries as money that could be otherwise spent and I don't think we need so many Manga and GNs.

Princess Loucida

"A library is where children choose. A library is where children can discover what they love to read without someone trying to push them onto "harder" material or more "grown-up" books. A library is magic."

Love that quote :D


I've been a Cybils judge in the graphic novels category for the last two years so my shelves are usually full of graphic novels (either ones I've bought or ones I'm borrowing from the library). Thankfully my library has a wide selection for all ages.

Myrna Foster

My sister-in-law teaches fourth grade, and she hasn't read her "Rapunzel's Revenge" because one of the kids always has it. We may have to lend her ours. :)

I'd rather have my seven-year-old reading Garfield comics for hours than not reading.


I am so frustrated by how under-rated Graphic Novels/Comic Books are. I always loved reading novels as a child, and I know that I could have loved GNs as well... but I was NEVER EXPOSED TO THEM. I was given novels, I read novels, I loved novels, and aren't comic books about superheros, written for boys, with poor writing and worse art? Why would I want to read them?

I didn't even begin to see the light until I came to college. I'm majoring in illustration, and among the many avenues avaliable to us illustration majors is Comic Books. I've only read a few so far, but already I'm thinking, WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN ALL MY LIFE? A PIECE OF MY CHILDHOOD WAS MISSING, and I NEVER KNEW.

Why did nobody tell me? Why?

Megan J.

I'll admit that I had never read a graphic novel until yours came out. And I only read it because it was yours! But - I loved it. As I've said on here before, I read it to my class and they LOVED it. They wanted me to read Calamity Jack also, but I try to introduce a variety of books through read aloud time so they'll go pick up more of the same author or genre on their own! For my classroom library, I have a few graphic novels, and the kids are excited when I put more out. Our school librarian is awesome at finding all kinds of books that interest the kids!

Shannon Morris

Here, here to the fabulous librarians of the world. I have to say I 'library' in Murray, and my librarian, Danny, is awesome! And he can do the coolest tricks with library cards! As for graphic novels, yours was the first I read, now I'm hooked, as are my kids. For those who love GN's Neil Gaiman's 1602 (I think it's called) is AWESOME!

Becky at One Literature Nut

Hi Shannon! I'm an English teacher in Lehi, and I will admit to being hesitant to reading graphic novels, but I've read and enjoyed both of yours. I still struggle a bit with fantasy (as I do in real life), but I'm now branching out to try all sorts of graphic novels and quite enjoy them. In fact, I took a stack into my AP Literature classes, and I could hardly get my students' attention after that. :) Reading comes in so many different forms, that we definitely need to champion all sorts of reading interests that people have...especially in young readers. Thanks for this great post!


Amen to that Shannon!

Je Reve

Cheers to the Tri-Hale Clan!


I couldn't get behind you on your comments about the animation industry—I felt they painted the industry with too broad a brush—but I feel you're spot on in this column. I am constantly puzzled by people who put up a gate towards literacy. I grew up on comics and Hardy Boy books. I learned vocabulary, culture, and politics from them. Those books lead me to mythology, science fiction & cryptozoology. Still people didn't approve, but I kept reading. The "classics" both modern & past seemed drab to me, but by college I was reading books on self-help, psychology, history, politics, and culture. I still read comics, graphic novels, and manga.

Today I write my own books and I read more than many of those people who disapproved of my reading materials. I thank my mum who bought me my first comic books and hunted down Hardy Boy books for me. If she had forced me to read "drab" classics I might never have learned to love reading.


I am one of those librarians who is purchasing Graphic Novels. I must say, I don't know enough about them to branch out much past Bone, Babymouse, Lunch Lady, and yours, but they are so popular and I have kids reading who just NEVER would check out a book otherwise (it breaks my heart that some people would rather a child just refuse to check out a book than stock some books that they WILL check out). LOVE those graphic novels.


I have one of those reluctant readers who loves Rapunzels Revenge and Calamity Jack. I wasn't opposed so much as just unaware of the genre until those two came out. Have you published a recommended GN list anywhere? Would love to get some good recommendations!


I just want to second the request fo the previous commenter for a list of your favorite graphic novels! I love graphic novels, but have a lot harder time finding recommendations for them than for other middle grade and YA books.


I was also originally a graphic novel skeptic, but I have seen how important these books are for children who have trouble reading and children who process things visually.

Also, Rapunzel's Revenge was freaking awesome. :D

David J. West

I practically learned to read on comics, so no matter how many novels I read now-I still enjoy graphic novels, lots of great stories there.


I'm a bookseller and spend about half my time working specifically in the children's section. I haven't noticed too much parental resistance to graphic novels, but I definitely agree that there seems to be a general kind of stigma on the genre. I've only read a handful of graphic novels myself, and while I enjoyed those, I don't feel very knowledgeable about the medium. So I really appreciate your points, particularly as one who is often asked, by parents, for recommendations (especially in regards to reluctant readers).

Genevieve Larson Ford

I'm a children's bookseller in a large store and there definitely is parental resistance. Not always, but I hear plenty of "Not that. Let's get you a REAL book." However, it may be also the slightly higher price that discourages some sales. It's cheaper to buy a regular novel. There are so many great graphic novels coming out. Check out Smile and the Babysitter's Club and MIssile Mouse.


Hear hear! I am so with you Shannon. If a love for reading is cultivated by any book, by all means, encourage that interest. I have not been a fan of graphic novels, previously thinking only of Spiderman or the like. However, I love the idea of graphic novels as transitory literature. I am going to purchase your g.novels for my own seven year old son. Kuddos!


Lisa Hansen

Graphic novels have been the perfect medium to get my son excited about reading. So Hallelujah! Amen! and Praise the Lawwwd! for your graphic novels. ;)


Understanding Comics The Invisible Art by Scott McCloud is a great book to recommend to anyone wanting to learn more about graphic novels. What they, why they are beneficial, etc.


Aha, I knew I'd find this post! You might like this comic:



You've raised some excellent points. As a teacher and avid graphic novel and comic book reader I think the most important thing is that a kid is reading something - and something that they enjoy. I also think it's important for kids to make their own choice of book so they can find out what books they like.

Hollie Giannaula

I am a librarian in a K-8 Catholic school. I am trying to help parents understand that graphic novels and books like Wimpy Kid, Junie B. Jones, and Captain Underpants are not just OK for kids, but can actually help them be better readers. May I use your comments to bolster my position?

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