Graphic Novels – What’s the Buzz?

Comics – well they aren’t real books!

That was the view of the lady that ran the Children’s Library in my home town. She was a great librarian and story-teller in the old tradition, and she was instrumental in assisting a large number of children to fall in love with books. But in this instance she was wrong, and I am so pleased she was.

Reviewer Sam has long loved reading graphic novels. I had thought I was indulging him letting him read these types of books as I had grown up with the belief that comics and graphic novels were akin to letting him have some time on the iPad, and we all need to relax with some fun activities. Turns out my ‘bad parenting’ was actually helping him develop as a reader. Yeah for me!

It seems that graphic novels rather than dumbing down reading and language abilities can actually increase them. The words used in graphic novels are some of the most frequently used words in the English language. Combining these words with pictures actually helps develop language skills, as the images help with decoding unknown words. In addition, the images help readers develop a deeper understanding of the book’s plot and characters by offering additional clues to the text.

These two characteristics of graphic novels means they are great tools for developing reading skills in reluctant readers and those with learning disabilities, they can also help develop English language skills in non-English readers. (Actually when I was learning French we often read the Asterix books in the original French to help with our learning).

The other thing about graphic novels are they are the great leveller. Children of all ages and reading abilities can read the same book and talk them. What a way to encourage children into books. In fact reviewer Sam read the graphic novel of Percy Jackson and The Lightening Thief before he read the actual novel, so they can actually encourage children to move on and read mainstream novels. As an added bonus graphic novels are also exposing children to different forms of art, capturing the imagination of a very visual driven generation.

The range of graphic novels has expanded from the traditional super-hero comics and Asterix and Tintin to graphic versions of classic novels and children’s books. There are also novels that only come in a graphic format. I asked reviewers Sam to explain why he likes graphic novels. He responded that they are a quick read, and good to read when you are tired or sick, but you actually know more about the story because of the pictures.

Sam has given us a brief review of two of his favourite graphic novels.

Amulet: The Stonekeeper by Kazu Kibuishi

Emily’s father died in a car crash. Now she, her mum and her brother Navin head to their Great Uncle Silas’ house, where they find an ancient amulet and another world.

I liked this graphic novel because it is about a young heroine learning to control her powers, but she has the weight of two worlds and her family on her shoulders. I also like Emily because she is a bad-ass butt kicker.

I would recommend this book for readers over 8.

Percy Jackson and The Lightening Thief by Rick Riordan

This story is about three friends (Percy – son of Posiden and stubborn as a mule, Anabeth – daughter of Athena ad smart as…well Athena, Grover the satyr who is hungry for Pepsi cans).  The friends go on a quest to find Zeus’ (the Greek God of Thunder) Lightening Bolt. But Hades also wants the Lightening Bolt and has Percy’s mum hostage. What will Percy do?

This book is also good fo readers 8 and over.

 

 

Buy The Amulet from the Book Depository

Buy Percy Jackson from The Book Depository

 

 

Sites I used while Researching this Blog

http://dyslexia.yale.edu/EDU_GraphicNovels.html

http://www.scholastic.com/parents/blogs/scholastic-parents-raise-reader/raising-super-readers-benefits-comic-books-and-graphic-novels

http://www.readingwithpictures.org/2012/04/why-teach-with-comics/

Graphic Novels – What’s The Buzz?

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