Graphic novels … they sometimes make us a little nervous, right? As parents, we worry if they have any value.

In this episode of the Read-Aloud Revival podcast, I’m joined by the RAR Team, and we’re talking all things graphic novels.

Do they count as real reading? Will they make our kids lazy readers? And what about questionable content?

In this episode, you’ll hear:

  • what’s happening in your child’s brain when they read a graphic novel (aka what on earth is “multi-modal” reading?)
  • why some kids can’t get enough of them
  • our favorite graphic novels to read in our own homes

And you’ll find a whole slew of our favorites in the booklist below. Pop in your email for the printable version. Scroll down for the clickable version.)

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graphic novels we love

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Listener Guide

Use the time stamps below to skip to any part of the podcast:

1:45Graphics novels for middle schoolers and older
2:52Helping graphic novel fans expand their reading
6:22What is a graphic novel?
8:16Graphic novels as storytelling
10:06This matters: multimodal reading
11:34Jan Brett and her panels
13:26How graphic novels are like audiobooks
15:54Kortney’s artistic pals
17:31Choosing graphic novels
19:26Great sources
21:08Where to start
22:58Classics with scaffolding
29:43Drawing books
30:28Spreading a feast
35:39Let the kids speak

Graphic novels for emerging and reluctant readers:

Zita the Spacegirl
Good Rosie!
Little Robot
Snails Are Just My Speed!: TOON Level 1 (Giggle and Learn)
A Trip to the Bottom of the World with Mouse: TOON Level 1 (Toon Book: Easy-to-Read Comics, Level 1)
Maya Makes a Mess: TOON Level 2
Benny and Penny in How To Say Goodbye: TOON Level 2
3×4: TOON Level 1 (TOON Books)
Wordplay: TOON Level 1 (Toon Books)
Blip!: TOON Level 1 (Toon into Reading: Level 1)
Legends of Zita the Spacegirl
The Return of Zita the Spacegirl

Classics with scaffolding:

Tales from Shakespeare
More Tales from Shakespeare
Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales
King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table
The Adventures of Robin Hood
Macbeth: The Graphic Novel (American English, Original Text Edition) (Classical Comics)
A Midsummer Night’s Dream The Graphic Novel: Original Text (Classical Comics)
The Tempest The Graphic Novel (American English, Original Text)
Henry V: The Graphic Novel (American English, Original Text Edition)
The Giver (Graphic Novel) (1) (Giver Quartet)
A Wrinkle in Time: The Graphic Novel
Anne of Green Gables: A Graphic Novel
Anne Frank: The Anne Frank House Authorized Graphic Biography
The Iliad and the Odyssey

More graphic novels:

The Adventures of Tintin, Vol. 1 (Tintin in America / Cigars of the Pharaoh / The Blue Lotus)
One Dead Spy (Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales #1)
Rapunzel’s Revenge
Mighty Jack
The Faithful Spy: Dietrich Bonhoeffer and the Plot to Kill Hitler
The Action Bible
Mighty Jack and the Goblin King
Mighty Jack and Zita the Spacegirl
The Boxcar Children Graphic Novels 1: The Boxcar Children by Gertrude Chandler Warner (2009-04-09)
Saints Chronicles Collection 1
Book 3: the Yellow House Mystery (The Boxcar Children Graphic Novels)
The Underground Abductor (Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales #5): An Abolitionist Tale about Harriet Tubman
Saints Chronicles Collection 3
The Adventures of Tintin, Vol. 2: The Broken Ear / The Black Island / King Ottokar’s Sceptre (3 Volumes in 1)
Saints Chronicles Collection 4
Lafayette! (Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales #8): A Revolutionary War Tale
Alamo All-Stars (Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales #6)
Saints Chronicles Collection 2
Queen of the Sea

Books on drawing and comics:

Comics: Easy as ABC: The Essential Guide to Comics for Kids
Ed Emberley’s Drawing Book: Make a World
Adventures in Cartooning: How to Turn Your Doodles Into Comics
The Sketchnote Handbook: the illustrated guide to visual note taking
The Drawing Lesson: A Graphic Novel That Teaches You How to Draw

Links from this episode:

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Quotes to remember:

“I catch myself thinking that text-only is the best kind of reading … but that’s not the case. Reading a story in text-only is indeed a beautiful kind of storytelling, but so is visual storytelling.” – Sarah Mackenzie

We don’t know always exactly what our kids are getting from a book. We make our own judgments about what they’re doing, but that book might be feeding something in them that we don’t know fully what it is.” – Kortney Garrison

If our goal is that they fall in love with reading, these books can absolutely help them do that and be part of just a whole spectrum of reading.” – Kara Anderson

More books from this episode:

The Mitten
Honey… Honey… Lion!
Turtle in Paradise
Squish #1: Super Amoeba
Princess Academy
The Hat
The Princess in Black
The Iliad and the Odyssey
Babymouse #1: Queen of the World!
We Are in a Book! (An Elephant and Piggie Book)
The Jesus Storybook Bible Gift Edition: Every Story Whispers His Name
Lizzy Bennet’s Diary: Inspired by Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice

You’ll also enjoy:

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