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Q: What do the following titles
have in common?
Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
Ultimate Spider Man
Batman: The Dark Knight Returns
Dragon Ball Z
A: They can all be found in graphic novel format.
So, what is a graphic novel?
Graphic novels are similar to comic books. Like comic books, they use sequential artwork to help tell a story. However, they are more likely to be stand-alone stories, and plot lines are more extended. They deal with a range of topics, including adventure, memoirs, social issues, humor, horror, Christian themes, and autobiography. Most graphic novels are original stories, though many classic works of literature have been adapted in graphic format. Three such titles are listed above. These offer children and young adults another approach to literature that may be overwhelming to them in their original form.
A type of graphic novel that has become very popular with young adults is manga, Japanese comics that have been translated into English. They are often serialized magazine stories that have been collected into book form. Some of the English translations appear in the original right-to-left Japanese format. The Sailor Moon and Gundam Wing series are examples of manga.
Why encourage young adults to read graphic novels?
Graphic novels, with their wide range of subjects and visual appeal, are attractive to reluctant readers. Since recent studies have shown that reading scores have made no significant statistical gains since the 1970s, educators and librarians try to draw reluctant readers into a reading habit by offering them a variety of reading choices and formats. The demand for and resulting publishing boom in graphic novels has greatly expanded the variety of titles for young adults in this format.
Aren't most teens too old for superheroes?
In addition to their recreational reading appeal, the sophisticated nature of some graphic novels attracts many teens. Also, alternatives to the traditional superhero-based books for young adults abound. Art Spiegelman's Maus: A Survivor's Tale is a biography presented in graphic novel format that tells the story of a man's Holocaust experience. The book won a Pulitzer Prize in 1992. A number of graphic works emerged in response to the 2001 World Trade Center tragedy, including Heroes: The World's Greatest Super Hero Creators Honor the World's Greatest Heroes, 9-11-2001.
Most graphic novels for young adults are classified as nonfiction at the Duluth Public Library because of their emphasis on visual art.
The same care that is taken with selecting other materials for children and young adults is taken when choosing graphic novel titles. Youth Services staff members consult published reviews and examine the books to determine their potential appeal and their appropriateness for a young audience before making them available to the public.
Below are the call numbers at the Duluth Public Library for the titles mentioned above:
Heroes: The World's Greatest Super Hero Creators Honor the World's Greatest Heroes, 9-11-2001. (j974.71044)
Scott, Walter, Sir. Ivanhoe (graphic novel version). (Juv Fic Scott)
Spiegelman, Art. Maus: A Survivor's Tale. (YA 940.5381 or 940.5381 Sp43m)
Stevenson, Robert Louis. Treasure Island (graphic novel version). (Juv Fic Stevenson)
Takeuchi, Naoko. Sailor Moon series. (YA 741.5 Takeuchi)
Tokita, Koichi. Gundam Wing series. (YA 741.5 Tokita)
Twain, Mark. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (graphic novel). (Juv Fic Twain)
More may be found by doing a subject search on the Library Catalog using "graphic novels."