We here at Diamond have known for years that comic books and graphic novels are excellent teaching and learning tools...but we're pleased to be able to report that independent scholars and critics agree with us!
Many of your colleagues have written extensively about the utility of adding graphic novels to the library collection and the classroom curriculum. Throughout this site, you'll find examples of their opinions, but we've also collected some of the very best excerpts on this page for you.
And if you happen across a great article or paper on using graphic novels and comics in libraries and/or classrooms, please let us know!
"Instruction for adolescents who are struggling readers is a challenge… for everyone involved. However, after introducing comics and graphic novels as instructional material in my class, I’ve seen a marked improvement in student performance, interest in reading, and fluency. I was able to document the results through a small pilot study and, based on the data, we will be continuing the research by extending the use of comics to other content areas."
8th Grade Educator
Stevensville Middle School
"I have to share a real success story that has been going on in my library over the past two weeks. I have been slowly trying to build a graphic novel collection in my library for about two years. The kids have been extremely positive and always look forward to when we bring in new books. Well, a couple of weeks ago, the Parent Advisory Council at my school gave me $2000 to buy graphic novels. I put out a notice saying that I was going to start a manga club and anyone interested should come at lunch to the library. I was expecting the 7 or 8 die-hards and maybe a couple of “looky-loos.” The first meeting we had 25 kids show up and several kids sent messages saying they would come to the next meeting, but couldn’t that day. They handed me a full page list of what titles they wanted, and the noise of these kids (mostly girls) excitedly chattered about manga was deafening! I bought most of what they wanted and then on our next meeting they quite literally mobbed the bookcart as I pushed it into our meeting room. Kids were hugging the bookcart they were so excited. And this time we had 30+ kids! They have already started talking about hosting an anime convention at our school complete with cosplay (dressing up in anime costumes). When we open the doors in the morning at least a dozen kids are there to exchange the manga they have already read. I have been thanked more times in the last two weeks than in the previous five years! I have never seen a reaction like this to any books that I have brought into the library before. If I ever had any doubts about the value of graphic novels (which I didn’t) this would have completely dispelled them!"
Saanichton, B.C., Canada
"Graphic novels have enriched my elementary media collection. Due to their inclusion, my circulation statistics have increased with my older male students and I have students talking and promoting books for the first time. It’s very fulfilling to see the students generate enthusiasm about reading without me having to formally plan a program or use incentives. My students love reading graphic novels and now see themselves as readers. What more could a media specialist ask of her students?"
Cranberry Station Elementary School
"As a reading specialist, I started to use comics and graphic novels to motivate my students to read. As I spent some time looking through all the titles that are available, I have come to realize that there is so much more potential for classroom use. Making inferences, drawing conclusions, vocabulary development are just some of the reading skills that can be taught effectively using graphic novels. I don’t believe that comic books should replace more traditional literature, but certainly there are wonderful graphic novels that can not only engage reluctant readers, but help them learn important reading skills and curriculum content."
Forest Lakes Elementary School
Forest Hill, MD
"Kids like comics. Their appeal crosses age, gender, and ethnicity. My students become excited and highly motivated when comics and graphic novels are used as part of instruction. They especially enjoy creating their own comics to demonstrate their understanding of content. Other teachers have been using this instructional tool as well. It’s been exciting to see the broad uses of comics to enhance learning at my school."
Century High School
"I love graphic novels, whether I am reading them for personal pleasure or working with them as a professional resource. As a format or medi[um], they have so much variety that it is truly possible to find a perfect title for every reader whether it is the gentle wordless humor of Runton’s Owly, Satrapi’s heartbreakingly funny memoir, Persepolis, the epic adventure of the Bone cousins in Jeff Smith’s Bone series or a game oriented manga title like Hikaru no Go. In this visually oriented 21st century, libraries need to be adding these materials at all levels of the collection. Visual learners, reluctant readers and fans everywhere will thank you."
Librarian & Technical Services Coordinator
Baltimore County Public Library
"Adding graphic novels and comic books to our library’s collections has been such a rewarding experience. I’ve been building a collection for almost 10 years now and it’s so great to see an active community made up of readers young and old that regularly check out stacks of books from our graphic novel collections. I couldn’t be happier. Seeing teens walking out with armloads of books including graphic novels as well as fiction has been extremely gratifying. Our circulation is way up and our library patrons are always waiting for the newest titles."
Teen Services Librarian
Brooklyn Branch of Cuyahoga County Public Library
"We have included graphic novels in our collection for approximately two years. They not only entice teens into the library, they prompt them to curl up in comfortable chairs, stay and read in the library."
Teen Services Librarian
Syosset Public Library
"Graphic novels and comics are essential purchases for public libraries in keeping up with trends in popular culture. It is an ideal way for libraries to connect with patrons of all ages and backgrounds. If you want your circulation statistics to increase invest in graphic novels and comics. A GN collection is a great asset in connecting books to TV and film. A link to other media increases the demand for the books. Some examples of media tie-ins are the anime series of Dragonball, Inuyasha, Ranma 1/2, and Yu-gi-oh. The films American Splendor, Ghost World, Road to Perdition, Spider-Man, and Sin City are based on comics and graphic novels. Public libraries cannot go wrong in purchasing graphic novels and comics, especially when the stories and characters have a wide range of appeal in the American culture."
Community Services Coordinator
Tompkins County Public Library