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Graphic Novels: A Gateway To Literacy

Many of you don’t know Owly, an owl featured in the wordless graphic novels by Andy Runton. But for two boys, he is their new best friend. At a time when they were struggling to learn to read, Owly provided just what they were looking for: a deep, meaningful story that they could read themselves.

Learning to read is more than just decoding the letters on a page. It’s also knowing how a book works, understanding structure and comprehending the story itself. While it’s easy to dismiss graphic novels as just “comic books,” I would urge any parents out there that have children at home who love graphic novels or manga to give in. If Stone Rabbit, Spiderman and Fashion Kitty are what keep your children begging for more, so be it.

While they dream of being a superhero or a Babymouse with attitude, they are developing a love of books and reading. They are also making a connection with the library that will last a lifetime. Here at RCPL, we have something for everyone, including more than 4,600 graphic novels for children and more than 9,000 for adults and teens.  (Did I mention they’re free with your library card??)

Yes, adults, because children aren’t the only ones who can get re-engaged with reading through graphic novels. I see plenty of adults in our library, that wouldn’t normally pick up a book, reading graphic novels. It’s exciting. I also know plenty of guys who are huge fanboys, with good reason. Maus by Art Spiegelman won a Pulitzer Prize in 1992. Comic books also broke color barriers by featuring the first African American superhero, The Black Panther, in 1966. Comic books and graphic novels can tackle heavy issues with words and images working in concert, in much the same fashion as a picture book. Often the images convey as much or more about the human experience as the words.

So, that’s why two boys (and many more) and I love Owly (and Batman and Calamity Jack!) Check out our great graphic novels for children and tweens!

  • Amelia Earhart: This Broad Ocean
  • Binky the Space Cat
  • The Dodgeball Chronicles: Knights of the Lunch Table
  • Korgi Book 1
  • Nancy Drew, Girl Detective
  • Owly
  • Star Wars: Clone Wars Adventures
  • Zeus: The King of Gods

Find all these and more at RCPL.


Amelia Earhart: This Broad Ocean by Sarah Stewart Taylor
AmazonHeather M. Says: Amelia Earhart: This Broad Ocean
Amazon Says: Amelia Earhart developed a love of flying at a very young age. As she followed her dream and built a name in the field of aviation—breaking numerous records along the way— more...
Amazon Says: Amelia Earhart developed a love of flying at a very young age. As she followed her dream and built a name in the field of aviation—breaking numerous records along the way—she inspired other women to soar to new heights. With an introduction by astronaut pioneer Eileen Collins, Amelia Earhart: This Broad Ocean focuses on Amelia's triumphant crossing of the Atlantic Ocean in 1928. Panel by panel, it offers a glimpse of her relentless ambition and tireless will to promote women's rights. Above all, it leaves us with a sense of her deep-rooted desire to touch the sky. less...
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Binky the Space Cat by Ashley Spires
AmazonHeather M. Says: Binky the Space Cat
Amazon Says: Binky is a space cat - at least in his own mind. He's really a house cat who has never left the family "space station." Unlike other house cats, Binky has a mission: to blast more...
Amazon Says: Binky is a space cat - at least in his own mind. He's really a house cat who has never left the family "space station." Unlike other house cats, Binky has a mission: to blast off into outer space (outside), explore unknown places (the backyard) and battle aliens (bugs). Binky must undergo rigorous training so he can repel the alien attacks that threaten his humans. As he builds his spaceship, he must be extremely careful with his blueprints - the enemy is always watching. Soon Binky is ready to voyage into outer space. His humans go out there every day and he's sure they need a certified space cat to protect them. But just as he's about to blast off with his co-pilot, Ted (stuffed mousie), Binky realizes that he's left something very important behind ? and it's not the zero-gravity kitty litter. In the first book in the Binky Adventure series, graphic-novel readers will delight in watching where this lovable and quirky cat's imagination takes him. less...
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AmazonHeather M. Says: The Dodgeball Chronicles: Knights of the Lunch Table
Amazon Says: FOR USE IN SCHOOLS AND LIBRARIES ONLY. New student Artie King is a nice, comics-loving kid who just wants to ease into life at Camelot Middle School without attracting too muc more...
Amazon Says: FOR USE IN SCHOOLS AND LIBRARIES ONLY. New student Artie King is a nice, comics-loving kid who just wants to ease into life at Camelot Middle School without attracting too much attention. But by second period, Artie already has enemies. He tripped Camelot's mean principal by mistake. An older less...
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The Demon of River Heights by Stefan Petrucha
AmazonHeather M. Says: Nancy Drew, Girl Detective
Amazon Says: Everyone's favorite girl detective makes her dazzling graphic novel debut!  An all-new series of full-color Nancy Drew graphic novels, with all-new comics stories based on th more...
Amazon Says: Everyone's favorite girl detective makes her dazzling graphic novel debut!  An all-new series of full-color Nancy Drew graphic novels, with all-new comics stories based on the series by Carolyn Keene, starts right here!  Join Nancy, along with Bess and George, as they search for missing student filmmakers and discover the deadly secret behind the local urban legend known as "The Demon of River Heights."  Ages 8 to 12. Papercutz is the exciting new graphic novel publisher that's building a huge following among the next generation of comics fans.  Even the most reluctant readers are becoming addicted to the Papercutz approach of giving classic characters a modern makeover!  Each Papercutz graphic novel features comics stories drawn in the style of the popular Japanese comics known as manga, and beautifully rendered with state of the art color.  While educators rave about the  high quality of the Papercutz writing and artwork, readers 8 and up are simply enjoying the great adventures found in each fun-filled volume.  Be sure to check out other Papercutz titles such as The Hardy Boys, Zorro and Totally Spies. less...
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AmazonHeather M. Says: Owly
Amazon Says: Owly is a kind, yet lonely, little owl who's always on the lookout for new friends and adventure. The first graphic novel in the series contains two enchanting novellas, "The more...
Amazon Says: Owly is a kind, yet lonely, little owl who's always on the lookout for new friends and adventure. The first graphic novel in the series contains two enchanting novellas, "The Way Home" & "The Bittersweet Summer," wherein Owly discovers the meaning of friendship, and that saying goodbye doesn't always mean forever. less...
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AmazonHeather M. Says: Star Wars: Clone Wars Adventures
Amazon Says: Inspired by the Cartoon Network's Clone Wars cartoons, this series uses the television show as a jumping-off point to tell new stories of heroism and villainy in the same str more...
Amazon Says: Inspired by the Cartoon Network's Clone Wars cartoons, this series uses the television show as a jumping-off point to tell new stories of heroism and villainy in the same stripped-down visual style. On the night-world of Nivek, Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker must first overcome the limitations of fighting in the dark before they can take on the dreaded Shadowmen! Meanwhile, Jedi Masters Mace Windu and Saesee Tiin discover that push can come to shove when using the Force to fight battledroids. And, fresh from leading an underwater assault against Separatist forces on the water planet of Mon Calamari, Jedi Master Kit Fisto and his remaining clone troops reach the surface to find a new threat awaiting them! Incredible action, hot art, and lightning-fast pacing are coming your way in this take on the Star Wars galaxy! less...
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Zeus: King of the Gods by George O'Connor
AmazonHeather M. Says: Zeus: The King of Gods
Amazon Says: George O'Connor is a Greek mythology buff and a classic superhero comics fan, and he's out to remind us how much our pantheon of superheroes (Superman, Batman, the X-Men, etc) more...
Amazon Says: George O'Connor is a Greek mythology buff and a classic superhero comics fan, and he's out to remind us how much our pantheon of superheroes (Superman, Batman, the X-Men, etc) owes to mankind's ORIGINAL superheroes: the Greek pantheon.  In OLYMPIANS, O'Connor draws from primary documents to reconstruct and retell classic Greek myths. But these stories aren't sedate, scholarly works. They're action-packed, fast-paced, high-drama adventures, with monsters, romance, and not a few huge explosions. O'Connor's vibrant, kinetic art brings ancient tales to undeniable life, in a perfect fusion of super-hero aesthetics and ancient Greek mythology.  Volume 1 of OLYMPIANS, ZEUS: King OF THE GODS, introduces readers to the ruler of the Olympian Pantheon, telling his story from his boyhood to his ascendance to supreme power.  less...
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