Archive for the ‘graphic novels’ Category
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The Australian School Library Association NSW is holding a Professional Development day 27 February at the State Library of NSW: New Literacies, New Learning. Two of the speakers are Di Laycock and Allison Lee and they will both be talking about graphic novels. Both have graphic novel collections in their school libraries and encourage the format’s use in class by their teachers. I cited their previous writing on graphic novels in my thesis. If only I didn’t live so far from Sydney.
Di Laycock, Barker College
Different texts for different times (7 – 12)
This session will encourage teachers to consider graphic novels as different texts for different times; as texts capable of bridging the disconnect between students’ lifeworlds and the classroom, and as texts worthy of facilitating the development of multiliteracies in our students. As well as providing an overview of the codes and conventions of the graphic novel format, the theory and research that support the use of graphic novels for learning and teaching will be discussed via reference to specific examples of graphic novels and practical suggestions as to their use.
Allison Lee, Emanuel School
Different texts for different times (K – 6)
Children and young adults who are constantly surrounded by visual stimuli – movies, television, electronic billboards, magazines, computers, palm pilots, video games etc – have learned to associate images with storytelling. It is therefore easy to see why graphic novels have become increasingly popular over the last 10 years or so. This presentation will explain what graphic novels are (and aren’t), provide practical examples for using graphic novels for upper primary students and discuss their value as a classroom tool.
She said it took different skills to interpret the interplay of words and pictures in graphic novels – skills that were important in today’s highly visual world.
“You’re actually reading the pictures at the same time that you’re reading the words, so if you’re not used to it that can be very difficult. It’s something you have to learn.”
The above is a quote from Perth’s daily newspaper The West Australian and it was supplied to reporter Bethany Hiatt during an interview with me :) Last week I was interviewed about graphic novels and my research by Education Editor Ms Hiatt. My brain is mush due to thesis, but I actually made some lucid comments that gave the impression my brain is not mush :P On Saturday the article was published . Some of The West Australian’s articles are reprinted online, but comics just don’t cut it. You can only read it if you’re in Perth and you’re one of those people who read the paper. What newspapers already know (and are desperately grasping for ideas on how they can make money from the younger generation who don’t read papers) I have now worked out.
I felt almost famous being in the newspaper. Unfortunately my fame is only among those older people who read the paper. I’m not denigrating the older generation of newspaper readers and I’m not sure what the cut-off age is, but when I txtd my friends to tell them to look for me in the paper, their answers were along these lines:
- Ignore me (it happens a lot due to most of what I txt being something totally random that I think is enormously funny but no one else does)
- Tell me to save the article for when we next met up
- Tell me he’d look at it at work on Monday
I have a list of graphic novels written or illustrated by Australians. It’s not extensive and I often discover titles I’ve missed, but finding Australian graphic novels and comics may become easier. Debbie Cox contacted me to tell about two projects of the National Library of Australia which aim to ensure the library collects published work of Australian comics creators. Collecting Australian Fringe Publishing at the National Library of Australia and The Comics Claiming Project are about the collection and treatment of comics, graphic novels, manga and zines at the NLA. The projects focus on:
- What’s being published by Australian creators and publishers, whether published in Australia or not
- Whether the NLA is adding them to the collection
- If not, how the intake of these materials could be improved
How is this relevant to Australian comics and graphic novels creators?
The NLA needs help ensuring Australian comics, graphic novels, manga and zines are represented in the national collection. For creators this will mean a copy of published work is preserved in a controlled environment and made accessible to library patrons now and in the future. Information about these works will also be made available as a catalogue record to anyone anywhere with access to the internet.
I’m writing about the interviews I conducted with six librarians last year. (Names of people and libraries have been changed to ensure confidentiality.) One of the first topics we discussed was why their library had a graphic novel collection. The most common reason was because their borrowers wanted to read them, with interest gleaned through requests for purchase and circulation statistics once acquired. Ms Marchamley cited the popularity of graphic novels among her students as the reason for Banksia Park High School Library’s collection, “I don’t think you can deny that they’re not getting used, especially all the new ones.” Her colleague Ms Tyler continued, “I mean nothing really sits on the shelf.” Ms Turner said of Tuart Grove High School Library’s graphic novels, “There’s a little hard core of students who prefer that format, so they’re ticking over steadily.”
As a voracious reader of graphic novels, Mr Carlton had slightly different reasons for a library collecting graphic novels. He was passionate about the format and read them in his spare time. He referred to their popularity, but also considered graphic novels were “a part of literature.”
I think you can’t not have graphic novels in your collection, because not everyone wants [conventional books]. I mean if you’re going to have you know, audio cassettes,…you’re going to have videos, books, DVDs…It’s just another format. And you’ve got the internet in there, so you’ve got graphic novels whether you want it or not through the internet [ie. web comics].
I previously blogged about whether reading a graphic novel is equivalent to reading a conventional book. Some of the teenagers I talked to thought this wasn’t the case, but most of the librarians agreed it was – striving through their work to ensure young people encountered a variety of genres and formats in their reading, without making judgements on supposed “quality.”
I asked every group of teenagers what they would think if graphic novels were assigned as an English class text. Some teenagers thought this would be an “easy” option and it was the visual component which led to their demotion of the format as a “legitimate” text. These teenagers also happened to be those who had limited experience of the format. (Names have been changed to ensure confidentiality.)
Fourteen year old Anna believed,
People would choose the graphic novel without like thinking about it cause they’re like, ‘Oh yeah, it’s just a comic, it’ll be easy.’ But they won’t like think about like what you have to do. And they’ll just be like, ‘Oh it’s a change. And do that.’
Marty (age 14) said, “They’re not really books” and Jeremy (age 14) agreed, conjecturing that studying a graphic novel would compare unfavourably to a conventional book because it could not be studied it in depth.
That’s why we read more thorough books like The Red Cardigan  and stuff.
When I held focus groups with high school students for my PhD research some of the things they said were very funny – David being a case in point, although it was more what he did that entertained us. (Names have been changed to ensure confidentiality.)
David (age 15) was an avid reader, but felt graphic novels were “too short, too simple,” preferring “more complicated” conventional books, which were “better.” At one point David’s classmate Mia (who was passionate about manga) felt his dislike needed reassessment. Her comment was inaudible but David reminded her that he was allowed a contrasting opinion. David had read Stormbreaker: the graphic novel (2006) by Anthony Horowitz, Antony Johnston, Kanako and Yuzuru, so felt he was informed on the issue. Despite his negative views, during the focus group he began reading Courtney Crumrin in the Twilight Kingdom (2004) by Ted Naifeh.
Researcher: Do you think you’d try reading any of them, these, after seeing them today? You seem interested in it.
David: Graphic novels? I still think they’re no better than picture books.
Researcher: Yeah? You’re just reading it because it’s there in front of you?