One thing that I’ve really enjoyed since becoming a fan of sequential art books (aka graphic novels; aka comics) is the discovery of non-fiction stories told in comic form. Just as with typical non-fiction books, there are non-fiction graphic novels on every topic imaginable. From the history of beer (The Comic Book Story of Beer: The World’s Favorite Beverage from 7000 BC to Today’s Craft Brewing Revolution by Jonathan Hennessey) to the American Civil War (Battle Lines: A Graphic History of the Civil War by Ari Kelman) no topic is too big or small for the graphic treatment.
El Deafo by Cece Bell
The first non-fiction graphic novel I recall reading and enjoying was Cece Bell’s El Deafo. This book is for children but I think anyone would enjoy it. Bell recalls what it was like growing up hearing impaired. She imagines herself as a superhero who, with the help of her hearing aids, can hear people speaking in other rooms. But it can be lonely being different and Cece’s story will resonate with many.
For more graphic biographies try:
The Imitation Game: Alan Turing Decoded by Jim Ottaviani
Amazing Fantastic Incredible: A Marvelous Memoir by Stan Lee
Michael Jordan: Bull on Parade by Wilfred Santiago
Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi
Maus: A Survivor’s Tale by Art Spiegelman (a classic!)
The March series (Book One, Book Two, Book Three) has won numerous awards since its debut including the 2016 National Book Award. It depicts Congressman John Lewis’ first-hand account of the Civil Rights Movement. Although I’ve read several books on the subject, this series helped me to truly understand how astonishing the movement was.
Although it’s short, and cannot possibly cover everything about Hurricane Katrina, Drowned City: Hurricane Katrina & New Orleans by Don Brown still revealed some facts that I did not know, or that I had forgotten about the devastating event. The brief, stark narration and dialog convey the confusion, anger, and sadness in the storm’s aftermath.
But maybe you’re looking for something a little more fun? Check out Human Body Theater: A Non-Fiction Review by Maris Wicks. Described as “The all-singing, all dancing anatomy extravaganza”, this book presents scientific information about human anatomy with easy to understand and humorous illustrations and dialog.
The library also has books on The Gettysburg Address: A Graphic Adaptation and The United States Constitution: A Graphic Adaptation, both by Jonathan Hennessey, and Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species: A Graphic Adaptation by Michael Kelly.
And if none of these topics interests you, but you’d like to read something else in graphic novel format you can drop by the library to browse our non-fiction graphic novel section to see everything that we have!
-Written by Kim Iacucci, Young Adult Librarian