Monday, July 2, 2012
First Foray into the Graphic Novel
So, graphic novels. They are all over the place right now, right?? I've been hearing about them for a long time, but up until now had never read any. It's funny because when I was still officially majoring in art history, I was hoping to write my thesis on illustration from children's books, but that wasn't really taking off well with professors. However, I was shocked to learn that while that wouldn't be ok, graphic novels would be perfectly fine!? Of course if they were for adults...Anyways, I've digressed. So as I've been helping my mom a lot with my little brother's journey of actually learning the mechanics of reading (he LOVES stories and books, he'll literally sit and listen to an audiobook for ages and has way advanced comprehension skills!) but for the longest time, and we're still not over the hill, he's struggled with getting himself to actually do the reading, to sit and read himself. But Jess, he'll tell me, Why do I have to do it, you can just read to me or I can listen to a book! So, we're still struggling with this, but I've been reading and thinking a lot about the possibility of introducing him to graphic novels. Because he's the type of person that along with listening to stories, absolutely LOVES images, I guess I've imparted some of my art history-ness to him...but he'll literally just sit there and have a pile of books and go through them looking at the pictures; and I'm thinking how I can I continue this but add in him actually reading the words too! So, I finally decided to get some graphic novels, and I discovered that our library has a small section of them (and confession, I got two for myself as well hehe).
So, we've had the books for under a week, and he has already read, all by himself, all three of Geoffrey's Hayes' "Benny and Penny" books, he loves them (as do I)! He's already looking forward to the fourth one coming out this fall, Benny and Penny in Lights Out! And he can't wait to check out the Toon Books website which has a bunch of great resources and FUN available for free online! And yes, these don't have that much text, but they are probably around the same word count as "readers" and he seems to enjoy these so much more! And he's changing his voices for the characters, conveying the emotions more, and just with these three books, his fluency has become better! And I think it's definitely the combination of the words and images working together, but in a different way from picture books. And I think he picks up on it to, but probably can't explain it, because although he's getting more comfortable reading picture books himself, sometimes he says, No, Jess, that's not a reader! You have to read that to me. But with these he just jumped in! So if any of you wonderful readers have suggestions for more great graphic novels for young readers let me know!
I just finished my first graphic novel today as well! I read Siena Cherson Siegel's "To Dance". It was a lovely book filled with wonderful images. I think that this medium really added to the story because graphic novels seem to me to add alot of movement to the works because your eyes are moving across them at a faster rate, and so that adds to the sensation of the feeling of dancing a ballet. And now that I finished that, I started a bit of Barry Deutsch's Hereville: How Mirka Got her Sword. I first came across this book at the Jewish Museum in New York back in May, and I just thought the cover line was so great: "Yet another Troll-fighting 11-Year Old Orthodox Jewish Girl". So far it's pretty good, although my one complaint is the characters look and act older than they are supposed to be... but maybe it's just me.
Would love to hear of any good or bad experiences you've had with graphic novels, especially the young reader variation!