Monday, November 20, 2006

Graphic Novels For Grownups

At the National Book Awards ceremony this week, the winner for young people's literature, M. T. Anderson, noted that one of the other finalists, Gene Luen Yang's graphic novel, American Born Chinese , was the first graphic novel to be nominated for a National Book Award. Graphic novel and comics blog sites hadn't missed this shift towards respect for the developing medium (1) (2) (3) (4).

This calls to mind a discussion which ran a few months ago on the Public Libraries email list, about what graphic novels librarians know about which simply are really good books, really good reads, regardless of the less familiar format. The suggestions began with the grandfather of the genre, Art Spiegelman's Maus, and included also Marjane Satrapi, Persepolis, Alison Bechdel, Fun Home; Craig Thompson, Blankets; Brian Fies, Mom's Cancer; and Harvey Pekar, The Quitter.

We are ordering both Anderson's The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, Vol. I: The Pox Party and American Born Chinese for the Young Adult collection; continue to order more graphic titles for all ages including the more manga-influenced segment of the genre (and with particular emphasis on a good opening day collection for children and young adults at Southside); and meanwhile continue to pursue other graphic novels that are good reads for grownups as we learn about them.

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