There is also the fact that graphic novels promote literacy, especially amongst children. Studies have shown that reading graphic novels actually "requires more cognitive skills than reading text alone." Not only do students have to take information from the text that they are reading, but they are now forced to examine and interpret the vast symbolism provided through the illustrations as well. Graphic novelist, Art Spiegelman, is quoted as saying that comics are "a gateway drug into books," and I would have to agree! Graphic novels are an easy and entertaining way to get children motivated to read.
I witnessed this personally with my younger brother, who always hated to read, especially for school! He would avoid it at all costs if possible! One day, however, I happened to bring home a graphic novel that I had been reading for my own enjoyment, and persuaded him to take a look at a couple of pages. Within minutes he was hooked! Our basement walls are now lined with the graphic novels that he has consumed, my mom happily providing the money because "at least he is reading something!"
As a result, I am a strong supporter of graphic novels, especially within the library system! As a future librarian (hopefully!), I really think that the value of reading graphic novels needs to be promoted more. There is a stigma attached with comics that they are not literary, but that is far from being true! Try telling that to Art Spiegelman, who won the Pulitzer prize for his historical graphic novel, Maus, which retells the story of his father's time spent in a concentration camp! Or Marjane Satrapi, whose Persepolis series is an autobiographical account of her life in Iran during the Islamic revolution. Even graphic novels like Naruto or Bone are important for the part that they play in larger popular culture. Graphic novels have value, and as such need to be viewed as something other than silly or a waste of time.
What do you guys think? Have you ever read any graphic novels? Do they have value in your eyes?
|Persepolis by Margane Satrapi|