Saturday, April 18, 2009

Graphic Novels

For as long as I can remeber I had always thought that comic books and graphic novels were fro people who didn't want to read a "real novel". To some point I still think that way, but what I didn't realize was that graphic noves can be educational too. To be honest I have never picked up a comic bookor a graphic novel so I would never know if they are educational or not. According to the book Tooning In, some graphic novels can be very educational.

For example a novel call Alia's Mission: Saving the Books of Iraq by Mark Stamaty. This novel might be used in the intermediate and middle school grades. The authour recounts the heroic story of Iraqi librarian Alia Muhammad Baker as she rescues over 30,000 volumes from her library in Basra before it's besieged (Tooning In p. 154). Another example is, Barefoot Gen bye Keiji Nakazawa. This book offers students a unique look at the experiences of an ordinary Japanese family who opposed Japanese invlovement in World War II, the persecution that the family suffered because of this stance, and also the esperiences of some citisens of Hiroshima in the aftermath of the atomic bomo dropped by the United States (Tooning In p. 155).

What makes graphic novels right and good for classrooms? Graphic novels have themes and these themes are:
  • Individual development and Identity: Learning about myself, classroom community, and the food we eat.
  • Families: In our community and in other places.
  • Our community: How they meet our needs and wants
  • People, places, and environments: Cultures in our community, our Native American past, and making global connections.

These themes can be used to help students learn and students tend to learn better when they are engaged. To get them engaged, educators have to get the student's attention. To do that we need to use what they like. Whether all the students like graphic novels or not, they are still going to be more engaged because it's different from what they are use to. Not only that but the reading is much more complex and short. Like what a lot of graphic novel readers say, it's very fast pace. We were all students once and most of us still are, we know how it's like to be a student. If there is an easy way out, we will take it!

Like I said, I have never been a graphic novel reader and probably will never be. But I know a lot of people who do read them and say they aren't that bad! It's acutally really easy to read and fun. If this is true and some graphic novels are educational, wouldn't you want to use them in your classrooms? And you never know, teachers might learn a thing or two also!

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