Diversity in Graphic Novels

Diversity in Graphic Novels Discussion

cover imageThe Southeastern Mass. Reader’s Advisory Roundtable met last Thursday to discuss graphic novels, with a focus on increasing diversity in our library collections and reader’s advisory (including “passive” RA such as displays and booklists.)

We  discussed the following readings:

Goldsmith, Francisca, The Readers’ Advisory Guide to Graphic Novels, Chapter 4: Moving Traditional Readers Toward Graphic Novel Options
Borrow it from MLS’s Professional Collection!

Ontario Public Library, Reader’s Advisory Conversation, pp. 10-11

TED Talk: Learning to See the Social, or How to Read a Graphic Novel

How to Read a Graphic Novel

We talked about our experience with reading graphic novels prior to preparing for this meeting, and found we had several people who were already aware of the range and depth that an adult graphic novel collection can have.

“The unique elements that apply to graphic novels and manga can pose challenges for reader’s advisors, but can be overcome by dedicating time to exploring the format. As with other literature, there are graphic novels for all genres and topics. It is important to recognize that graphic novels are not all the same and that a fan of one type of graphic novel may not enjoy others. – Ontario Public Library Association, RA Conversation

We talked about how graphic novels aren’t all “novels”; how graphic novels differ from illustrated books, and how the graphic novel versions of classic novels appeal to different readers for different reasons (e.g. gateway to reading the original, fanfiction aspect, focus on secondary characters as in Fagin the Jew by Will Eisner.) Somebody pointed out that, in terms of diversity, the graphic novel collection may already be the most diverse one in the average library. In discussing RA appeal factors, one member mentioned an additional appeal factor for graphic novels over traditional books is that they’re faster to read.

People shared personal favorites, including children’s/YA series that are enjoyed by all ages, such as Lumberjanes, Roller Girl, Bone, Nimona, and Speed Queen. We talked about the point made in one of the readings that, contrary to popular belief, graphic novels aren’t always appropriate for reluctant readers because they aren’t necessarily easier to read or simpler in context than traditional books. We discussed how the pictures and text are both necessary to understanding the context, and talked about how this idea was presented in the TED talk about graphic novels by Dartmouth College Associate Professor of English Michael Chaney, when he said: “Meaning is somewhere in between the pictorial and the textual.”

One member mentioned liking unreliable narrators and pointed out that some graphic novels could be considered to have unreliable narrators when the pictures seem to contradict the text.

We talked about incorporating more graphic novels into booklists and displays, and talked about why we should want to do that.

“Why would you want to steer a reader toward graphic novels? Certainly the format isn’t one that every reader may find intuitively comfortable. But the fact is that many readers have never explored the format due to simple prejudice, and part of what we do as librarians is offer lifelong learning opportunities – including the opportunity to reconsider decisions readers may have made about what’s a ‘good’ book.” – The Readers’ Advisory Guide to Graphic Novels, Chapter 4

Another idea the group mentioned were linking movies and graphic novels (e.g. Selma and March by John Lewis.) Other book/graphic novel pairings we came up with on the spot were Lolita in Tehran and Persepolis.

Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi was our benchmark title. One member of the group had already used this title and the film adaptation with her traditional book group, in a book/movie discussion. If you’re interested in our discussion of Persepolis, here are the RA-focussed discussion questions we started out with.

Second titles that we read and discussed were:

  • How to Understand Israel in Sixty Pages or Less by Sarah Glidden (Memoir)
  • Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic by Alison Bechdel (Memoir)
  • Marbles: Mania, Depression, Michelangelo, and Me: A Graphic Memoir by Ellen Forney (Memoir)
  • March, Vol. 1 by Rep. John Lewis (Memoir)
  • Ms. Marvel, Vol. 1: No Normal by G. Willow Wilson and Adrian Alphona (Fiction/Superhero)
  • Maus: A Survivor’s Tale by Art Spiegelman (Memoir)
  • Empire State: A Love Story (or Not) by Jason Shiga (Literary Fiction)

NOTE to SE-RART Members: Please add your RA summary of your second title to the blog under the Submit Second Title Info tab for future reference by everyone in the group and others!

Register for the Wednesday, December 7th, meeting (10am-12pm) through the MLS Event Calendar! It will be held at the Carver Public Library, 2 Meadowbrook Way, Carver.

 New members of the group are always welcome to join at any time or to try a session to see how it works! Read through the About page to find out more, and feel free to contact Laurie or Maggie with questions.


SE-RART Genre Study OctOBER 2016

cover imageThursday, October 20, 2016, 10am-12pm
OCLN Central Site, Braintree, 220 Forbes Rd. Suite 401
Benchmark Title:
Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi

We’re meeting today to talk about graphic novels reader’s advisory with a focus on diversity.

We will be discussing the following readings today, in addition to the benchmark title, Persepolis, and the second titles:

Goldsmith, Francisca, The Readers’ Advisory Guide to Graphic Novels, Chapter 4: Moving Traditional Readers Toward Graphic Novel Options

Appeal Factors in Graphic Novels and Manga from the Ontario Public Library

“Learning to See the Social, or How to Read a Graphic Novel” at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qAyEbgSPi9whttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qAyEbgSPi9w

How to Read a Graphic Novel
http://www.getgraphic.org/resources/HowtoReadaGraphicNovel.pdf

Meetings this year will be held on a few different days of the week and occasionally a different time, based on survey responses. We hope anyone who couldn’t attend any of the Wednesday-morning sessions last year will be able to join us for some of the meetings this year.

Register for future meetings through the MLS Event Calendar!

New members of the group are always welcome to join at any time or to try a session to see how it works! Read through the About page to find out more, and feel free to contact Laurie or Maggie with questions.


Graphic Novels Suggested Titles and Readings

Graphic Novels are as varied as written books. Many of these suggestions aren’t “novels”, but nonfiction. Check out the descriptions of the books at http://libguides.ius.edu/diversitycomics to see what looks interesting to you. I’ve noted which of the SE library systems have them, but ComCat had most of them. Don’t pick anything by Marjane Satrapi since she wrote our core book.

You might want to look at your own library’s collection. Do you have mostly graphic novels that are more like traditional comic books (ones that get turned into movies), more “literary” graphic novels, mostly manga format, juvenile? How do you organize them? How does your library choose which ones to purchase? Who are your patrons who borrow graphic novels and what do they read?

To learn more about graphic novels and reading them, watch the Youtube video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qAyEbgSPi9w.  In “Learning to See the Social, or How to Read a Graphic Novel” Dartmouth College Associate Professor of English Michael Chaney presents a survey of contemporary graphic novels. Showing that the graphic novel is a complicated medium that makes abstractions visible through distortion and caricature,Chaney reveals that a panel is not always what it seems. Also check out http://www.getgraphic.org/resources/HowtoReadaGraphicNovel.pdf if you haven’t read a graphic novel before.

  1. The Adventures of Venus by Gilbert Hernandez (Artist) (Not Clams)
  2. American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang
  3. Babymouse: Dragonslayer by Jennifer L. Holm (Illustrator); Matthew Holm (Illustrator) (Not OCLN or SAILS but they have other Babymouse titles.)
  4. Birds of Prey: Of Like Minds by Gail Simone (only OCLN)
  5. Captain Marvel – Volume 2 by Kelly Sue Deconnick (Text by); Dexter Soy (Illustrator); Filipe Andrade (Illustrator) (Only CLAMS)
  6. Citizen 13660 by Mine Okubo (Not CLAMS)
  7. Clan Apis by Jay Hosler
  8. The Complete Ballad of Halo Jones by Alan Moore; Ian Gibson (Illustrator) (Not available)
  9. Daredevil by Mark Waid – Volume 1 by Mark Waid (Text by); Paolo Manuel Rivera (Illustrator); Marcos Martin (Illustrator) (Not available)
  10. Epileptic by David B. (CLAMS has)
  11. Exit Wounds by Rutu Modan; Noah Stollman (Translator)
  12. Fist, stick, knife, gun : a personal history of violence by Geoffrey Canada; Jamar Nicholas (Illustrator)
  13. Footnotes in Gaza by Joe Sacco
  14. Hereville : how Mirka got her sword by Barry Deutsch
  15. How to Understand Israel in 60 Days or Less by Sarah Glidden (Not SAILS)
  16. Jackie Ormes : the first African American woman cartoonist by Nancy Goldstein
  17. Kevin Keller: Welcome to Riverdale by Dan Parent (Not SAILS)
  18. Krishna – Defender of Dharma by Sweta Taneja; Rajesh Nagulakonda (Illustrator) (None)
  19. Marbles : mania, depression, Michelangelo, and me : a graphic memoir by Ellen Forney
  20. Medikidz Explain Autism by Kim Chilman-Blair; John Taddeo (Only SAILS)
  21. MP: The Manhattan Projects, Science Bad by Jonathan Hickman (Not OCLN)
    Marvel by Gerry Conway (Text); John Buscema (Illustrator Marvel: Best of the Best by Brian Reed (Text by); Robert de la Torre (Artist)
  22. My Father Bleeds History by Art Spiegelman
  23. Nothing Can Possibly Go Wrong by Faith Erin Hicks (Illustrator); Prudence Shen
    Peanut by Ayun Halliday; Paul Hoppe (Illustrator)
  24. The Photographer by Emmanuel Guibert; Frederic Lemercier; Didier Lefevre; Alexis Siegel (Translator)
  25. Primates: The Fearless Science of Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey, and Birute Galdikas by Jim Ottaviani; Maris Wicks (Illustrator)
  26. Radioactive by Lauren Redniss
  27. The Ride Together: A Brother and Sister’s Memoir of Autism in the Family by Judy and Paul Karasik
  28. Safe Area Gorazde by Joe Sacco; Christopher Hitchens (Introduction by) (Not SAILS)
    The Scrapyard Detectives by Batton Lash; Chad Denton; Nathan Shumate; Jesse Leon McCann (NONE)
  29. The Secret Science Alliance and the Copycat Crook by Eleanor Davis (Illustrator)
    Strangers in Paradise by Terry Moore (Not SAILS)
  30. Supergirl Archivesby Various (None)
  31. T-Minus: the race to the moon by Jim Ottaviani; Kevin Cannon (Illustrator); Zander Cannon (Illustrator)
  32. Waltz with Bashir by Ari Folman; David Polonsky

Other resources: http://guides.lib.umich.edu/c.php?g=282879&p=1888251

–Maggie