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Graphic Novel Ladder

Page history last edited by Teri Lesesne 14 years, 5 months ago

Graphic novels and their Asian counterparts (manga) have become much more mainstream and much more popular with tweens and teens in the past decade.  Graphic novel (GN) versions of familiar stories and series as well as classic literature are perfect formats for several populations including ELL, dyslexic readers, readers with limited vocabulary and comprehension, and visual learners.  They are also great for introducing more complex works to readers, too.   We can construct GN ladders or use GNs as steps on other ladders.   Two series of GNs aimed at young readers (2nd through 5th grade) might bve a good place to begin.  Use BabyMouse (Jennifer and Matthew Holm) and The Lunch Lady series (Jarrett Krocszka) as a place to begin discussing the form and format of GNs.  Talk about color (relatively monochromatic in these two) as one way to highlight important characters and events and objects.  Point out the specific format of each series and list the similarities and differences between them.  Have students point out what information is conveyed via text versus what is conveyed via illustration.  Do the two match or echo or are there differences?  Why?  Use the "Character Card" (see wiki page named Character Card) to initiate a discussion on character and how it is developed (text, illustration, combination?).  In the examples below, Ladder #1 is more male-oriented and Ladder #2 will appeal more to female readers.  Both stepstools will appeal to makle and female readers.


Here are some sample GN ladders.  For more GNs, take a look at YALSA's Great Graphic Novels for Teens here:  www.ala.org/yalsa 



Stepstool #1


Eternal Smile

     American Born Chinese


These two GNs are similar in format. Each contains three stories that seem unrelated at the outset.  However, there are connections among all three.  AMERICAN BORN CHINESE by Gene Yang is the first GN to be awarded the Prints Medal for distinguished contribution to literature for young adults.  ETERNAL SMILE showcases the talents of both Gene Yang and Derek Kim.  The connections among the three stories are much more obvious in AMERICAN BORN CHINESE as the 3 stories merge into one by the end of the novel.  The connections are a bit more subtle in ETERNAL SMILE and basically occur in illustrations and not in the text itself.



Stepstool #2


Tales of Outer Suburbia

     The Arrival


These are two GNs by Shaun Tan.  THE ARRIVAL is a textless GN.  TALES OF OUTER SUBURBIA is a collection of individual stories in GN format.  Direct students to Tan's website for more insight into both books:  www.shauntan.net



Ladder #1


Refresh, Refresh



               Notes for a War Story



Ladder #2


Plain Janes


          Robot Dreams

               Kristy's Big Idea

                    To Dance



Ladder #3


     The Wall

          Malcolm X: A Graphic Biography


                         Merchant of Venice                    

                             King Lear




Copyright 2010 Teri S. Lesesne


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