I read my very first graphic novel in April this year. It was Batman: Hush by Jeph Loeb and illustrated by Jim Lee, and I absolutely loved it. It took me a while to understand the format of a graphic novel and for my brain to easily accept reading the images along with the font, but once I got through the first two chapters I realised that a whole new world of reading was opened up to me.
So far my favourite part of graphic novels has been the way in which the pictures, or artwork as I call it, add details to the story that are often not possible with words. I feel like it adds a level to the characters that would not necessarily be possible through words alone. As the old saying goes a picture says a thousand words and I have found that the beauty of graphic novels is that even though the characters and the settings are drawn for you, you are still able to allow your imagination to bring the world to life. You are able to impose your own perceptions, understandings, and life experiences onto the pages and into the world laid out before you. I find it to be quite a personalised experience, despite it being drawn for you.
There is quite a lot of research on how graphic novels can help to improve a students reading ability, or how it can assist people that speak multiple languages develop their language skills quickly, and for these reasons alone I feel it is important to have a strong graphic novel collection. More importantly still, I think that having a large collection is important in engaging those students that cannot make peace with a traditional novel. My first question to those that say “I hate reading” or “I could never finish a book” is: “Have you ever tried a graphic novel?”