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February 2016


SUNSHINE, DECKS AND GRAPHIC NOVELS


So, that's another year out of the way!

I hope you enjoyed the school holidays.  I certainly did.  For me, it wasn't so much bookish as practical.  I cleared some land, levelled it, landscaped it and made a deck.  Not much time for reading in between all that but it was therapeutic to get out in the sun.

Because all this practicality left me little time to actually read, I decided to focus on something a little less wordy, but no less relevant - the graphic novel.  Now, I did read a few but they are a little too adult to be termed YA so I probably won't review them here (one was an excellent memoir of growing up in Yorkshire when the Yorkshire Ripper was on the loose - highly recommended, but not particularly YA friendly).

Devouring these graphic novels made me realise that literature comes in so many forms these days.  Traditionalists may find it easy to dismiss the graphic novel, but having read several excellent examples these last few weeks, the literary merit of the stories and themes they cover is not lessened by the presence of pictures; I would argue that they heighten the impact.  Working in a school library, it is an increasing challenge to gain and hold the attention of students (the humble book is up against A LOT of competition these days). By stubbornly holding on to traditional ideas of "the book", I can see we will get nowhere fast.  Don't get me wrong, "the book" is still hugely popular, but the goal is to capture those readers who aren't natural born readers; offer them something new that they can enjoy and be surprised by.  Gosh, I wouldn't be surprised if eBooks eventually come out with animated shorts embedded in them, or high definition pictures or links to references or whatever they can think of next.  And why not?

Anyway, I am drifting from my point a bit - what I really wanted to drive home is that the graphic novel is not a comic.  Do not make this mistake and get them confused.  When chosen wisely, the graphic novel is every bit as rewarding as an excellent book.  Why not dip your toe in the water next time you visit your public library?

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