Tag Archives: graphic novels

The Graphic Treatment: Non-Fiction Graphic Novels for You to Check Out

15 Feb

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

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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

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Amazing Fantastic Incredible: A Marvelous Memoir by Stan Lee

amazing-fantastic-incredible

Michael Jordan: Bull on Parade by Wilfred Santiago

michael-jordan

Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi

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Maus: A Survivor’s Tale by Art Spiegelman (a classic!)

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

Not Just Superheroes: Three Comics that Feature Regular Heroes

16 Dec

I used to think that comics were just about superheroes, but after attending New York Comic Con and starting to manage the library’s graphic novel collection I’ve discovered just how wrong I was. Superheroes are entertaining and I’ve been really enjoying some of those stories, but comics offer so much more. If you’re looking for something a little different than the following series can get you started.

Lumberjanes

lumberjanes

(Available to borrow in collected editions at the library or in either collected editions or single issues online through Hoopla.)

You may have heard about this series. It won Eisner and Diamond Gem awards in 2015, was nominated as a Young Adult Library Services Association “Great Graphic Novel for Teens”, and a GLAAD Media Award for Best Comic Book. It was also recently featured in a crossover with Gotham Academy, another comic series. Lumberjanes takes place at Miss Quinzella Thiskwin Penniquiqul Thistle Crumpet’s Camp for Hardcore Lady-Types and follows the humorous action-packed adventures of five cabin-mates and best friends. Although it looks like an ordinary sleep-away camp with arts & crafts, badges to earn, and s’mores, it is actually hiding some supernatural secrets. If you ever imagined yourself as one of the Goonies or loved Stranger Things, you’ll probably enjoy Lumberjanes. One of the things I like most about the series is how well-developed the main characters and their friendships are. As they are unraveling ancient mysteries, the girls are shown to be unique individuals who are not stereotypes or generic. And above all they care about and look after one another. As their motto goes, “Friendship to the Max!”

The Backstagers

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(Available in single issues online through Hoopla.)

This is a new series so it won’t take long to catch up. When Jory transfers to a new high school, he’s afraid that he won’t fit in. He somewhat reluctantly, but bravely, decides to join the drama club as an actor but quickly discovers that he might fit in better with the stage crew. Little does he know that there are secret tunnels and rooms hidden beneath the school containing many mysteries. Since it’s a new series, it’s a little unclear what, if anything, the protagonists’ main goal is but in the meantime following their adventures is fun!

The X-Files

x-files

(Available to borrow in collected editions at the library or online through Hoopla.)

The X-Files is my favorite TV series of all time, and if it’s yours too, then you have to check out the comic series. These comics, by Joe Harris, continue the series after the end of Season 9 (but started before 2016’s revival season) so they are subtitled Season 10 and Season 11. They continue in the same manner of the TV series with standalone monster of the week stories intertwined with a larger mythology.

These are just a few of the MANY non-superhero comic series and I haven’t even mentioned the terrific non-fiction graphic novels. If you would like more recommendations stop by the library any time and ask!

-Written by Kim Iacucci, Young Adult Librarian

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