Teaching Comic Books
Growing up with Comic Books
Despite the common misperception that comic books are exclusively a children’s medium, for a while there actually weren’t enough comics aimed at younger readers. Happily, that’s changed: These days there’s a diverse assortment of comics suitable for different age ranges. Below are lists of recommended reading and other resources. You can also ask your friendly local comics retailer or librarian for advice.
Photo by Charles “Teenie” Harris. Used with permission.
These are only a few of the sites where you can find regularly updated lists and reviews of graphic novels and comic books. Many other publications and organizations issue occasional reading lists, so check your favorite sources regularly!
Annually updated graphic novel lists, organized by age group, are available from the American Library Association through the Association for Library Service to Children and the Young Adult Library Services Association.
The list of nominees for the Eisner Awards, aka the Oscars of comic books, is always a good reading list and now includes multiple categories for younger readers (recent past nominations: 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010).
Diamond Comic Distributors’ Bookshelf site has “core lists” for kids, young adults, older teens, and adults.
Good Ok Bad has a list of “Great Graphic Novels for Kids,” reviews, annual best-of lists, and more.
No Flying No Tights is a review site founded by a librarian, covering graphic novels, manga, and anime by age group.
Indiana University Southeast Library has a list of graphic novels that feature diverse characters and diversity issues.
The Virginia Library Association’s new Graphic Novel Diversity Award, first presented in 2016, includes a youth category.
Above: Karen Green, Columbia University Graphic Novels Librarian. Photo © Wolfgang J. Fuchs. Used with permission.
For budding creators, the Adventures in Cartooning series is an inventive, inspiring, interactive exploration of comic book techniques, told in narrative form.
Scholastic’s Graphix imprint not only publishes wonderful graphic novels such as Bone and Amulet, but also has an online “comic builder” feature and drawing tips.