Graphic novels and comics are fantastic storytelling mediums. With your library card, you can access thousands of digital graphic novels, comics, and manga through ComicsPlus, Hoopla, and our other eLibrary platforms. With rich visuals to accompany the text, the graphic format invites readers to exercise visual literacy skills and broaden their thinking. Illustrations also provide contextual clues and can help clarify narrative meaning. For example, a genre and time-bending tale of family and identity, Trung Le Nguyen’s “The Magic Fish” uses color as a visual marker: fairy-tale segments are blue, Tiến’s experiences are red, and his mother’s memories are swathed in yellow.
Nonfiction series like Science Comics and Maker Comics introduce and reinforce concepts like sustainability, ecological systems, and chemical principles with energetically animated and easy-to-follow panels. For the youngest of readers, series like Hello, Hedgehog! build vocabulary and introduce storytelling principles. The interplay between text and images may even leave readers with some surprises or new facets to the story to discover.
For a different sensory experience, try an audiobook adaptation of a graphic novel. Often with a full cast of narrators as well as a score and sound effects to create a rich soundscape, these adaptations add another dimension to the storytelling experience. With snippets of skates brushing against the ground, buoyant music, and a cast of 25 narrators, the audiobook of Newbery Honor Award Winner “Roller Girl” puts you right in the rink alongside the protagonist Astrid. The bustling noises of a farmer’s market and nature-evoking sound effects bring to life Lucy Knisley’s illustrations in “Stepping Stones,” a contemporary middle-grade graphic novel that sees Jen and her family relocate from city-life to farm.
Looking for ideas of what to read? The Association of Library Service to Children (ALSC) publishes Graphic Novels Reading Lists, and the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) creates annual “Great Graphic Novels for Teens” lists. For recommendations from us, check out the following Youth Services staff-curated book lists or submit a Personalized Picks request to get matched up with your next read!
Photo by Katie Bruce.
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