If you follow me on Twitter, you know that I’m a huge advocate for graphic novels and comics. They are my favorite format to read, and they bring such incredible depth to a reading experience, especially for young readers. They’re one of the fastest growing formats in the publishing industry (for good reason!) and they’re being used in classrooms more and more every day. Hooray!
Over the years, I’ve met a lot of teachers and educators who share my love of these formats, but 100% of them (seriously, I ask every one) have said that they encounter t pushback on the subject. Pushback from well meaning parents, pushback from administrators, pushback from their peers or fellow parents.
It usually goes something like this:
My kid only loves to read Dog Man [or another well loved comic series], and I want them to read quality literature. How do I get them to love these books?
While I understand these are well meaning people, who want their kids to be exposed to all the wonderful books out there, I have some problems with many parts of that question! What constitutes “quality literature” is first and foremost, subjective, and often situationally based. When you’re looking to enjoy reading, then the books you actually enjoy are quality. We won’t teach kids to enjoy reading by denying them their favorite books.
The only thing I hear in that question above is “my kid loves to read X”. They’ve already found something they love! I firmly believe that while we should always be introducing kids to new genres and formats in their reading lives, maintaining an attitude like this does nothing but teach kids that reading is something that must be ‘difficult’ or ‘challenging’. Our goal isn’t just to raise literate young people, it’s to foster a love of reading, which will last them throughout their lives.
I’ve also heard some pretty awful and ridiculous horror stories, a couple of which are shared below.
To be honest here, I could share HUNDREDS of tweets like this that people have shared with me through the years, but I’ll save your bandwidth and just leave it at this: on a daily basis these days, I’m meeting authors, parents and educators who want to share the magic of graphic novels with their kids. But, the pushback is real. Many people just don’t see how comics and graphic novels can be excellent sources of quality reading.
So here’s a list of resources for you, dear readers. Below are some links that describe just how wonderful graphic novels can be, in terms of literacy development, empathy and social growth, and many other facets of development and reading enjoyment. Please feel free to share them anytime you encounter someone who doesn’t quite get how wonderful these formats can be, and reach out to me if you’ve got additional info or links you’d like me to add.
It would be a shame for any kid to miss out on the wonderful experiences that can be found in reading widely, and including comics and graphic novels in a reading life can very often be the key to capturing all sorts of readers.
If you’d like to add any links to the list above, please tweet me @Jess_Keating, or email me at the address found on my contact page. Thank you!