On 1 August 2020, I launched a personal reading challenge to delve into Graphic Novels and to see if I could dispel the stereotypes I had assigned to them. I thought they were more comic than story, more for Marvel loving readers than dealing with tough subjects. I thought they would be boring and too easy to read. Was I wrong!
One year later, I am pleased to say these books have become a much needed, vital part of my reading diet. I spend more money on them then any other style of book and both my children are more likely to choose them up now too. Daughter has breezed through my collection, and son now delving into Manga (something I haven’t read before).
I am now writing an example of practice for my TRG group on my experience into breaking stereotypes and one year on, I am still discovering so much about graphic novels and learning from this challenge. I have found Twitter to be a useful, if not expensive, place to chat about Graphic Novels and there is a wonderful community living under the hashtag, #LetsTalkGraphicNovels. The folk I have met are astounding in their knowledge, experience and love for this style of text. We meet every couple of months to discuss a book, finding our varied interpretations fascinating and learning from each other.
With a dedicated bookshelf just for my growing collection, I thought I would share my current Graphic Novel summer reads! The stories come to life through the illustrations drawing the reader in for their own interpretations and views on where the story may lead. The limited text give you clues and lead the characters on their journey but there is more to be learned from the images.
Some say that graphic novels are perfect for the reluctant reader and I have to disagree on a couple of points. Firstly, can we stop using the phrase reluctant reader and secondly, graphic novels take varied skills to read and enjoy therefore are perfect for any reader, even middle aged ones like myself (though I also don’t like the phrase middle aged…).
If you haven’t yet picked up a graphic novel, then I urge you to visit your local library or bookshop and begin. No longer just Tintin and Asterix are there to be discovered but books about journeys, friendships and retellings of Classics.
Some of my favourites are…though this was tough to choose from the scores more on my shelf.
- Lightfall by Probert
- Anne of Green Gables by Marsden
- Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy by Ogle
- Cici’s Journal by Chamblain
- Amulet Series by Kibuishi
- Roller Girl by Jamieson
- When Stars Are Scattered by Jamieson
- Ham Helsing by Moyer
- Bumble and Snug by Bradley
- The Cardboard Kingdom by Sell
- City of Secrets by Ying
- El Deafo by Bell
- Georgia and the Edge of the World by Boyden
For more recommendations head to https://padlet.com/rruddick9zra/73uh2srzpbia. This is a padlet created by Richard Ruddick, a teacher from Norfolk. His use of graphic novels is inspiring. His padlet is updated regularly and will likely cost you a fortune!