There are many definitions of graphic novels available. Arguments have been made for calling them comic books, art forms, genre, format, and illustrative storytelling forms. Below are a few descriptive statements about what graphic novels are.
Graphic novel is a term originated by Will Eisner to describe his book to a publisher. "Eisner's term was meant to distinguish serious works told in the comic book format from collections of humorous comic strips" (Crawford, 2003, p.1).
Graphic novels are a "format and not a genre. A genre refers to content, specifically the style or subject of the writing, such as mystery, romance, or science fiction" (Karp, 2012, p.3).
Graphic novels "are not limited to one genre category, or only a few; they embrace enough subjects to put them into every section of a library or bookstore" (Gravett, 2005, p. 8).
Graphic novels may also include "a collection of comic strips about a common set of characters; a collection of comic book-length stories (that is, thirty-two-page-stories) brought together in a longer narrative; and single sustained storytelling effort " (Pendergast, 2007, p.xv).
Crawford, P.C. (2003). Graphic novels 101: Selecting and using graphic novels to promote literacy for children and young adults. Salt Lake City, UT: Hi Willow Research & Publication.
Gravett, P. (2005). Graphic novels: Everything you need to know. New York, NY: Harper Collins Publishers.
Karp, J. (2012). Graphic Novels in your school library. Chicago, IL: American Library Association.
OpenClipart-Vectors. (2013). Comics interrogation question [Image]. Pixabay. https://pixabay.com/vectors/comics-interrogation-question-151341/
Pendergast, S. & Pendergast, T. (2007). U-X-L graphic novelists. (S. Hermsen, Ed.). Detroit: U-X-L/Thompson Gale.
A keyword search for graphic novels or comic strips in the library catalog is a great way to start. When searching for children's books, modify the initial search results to a location of MAIN Juvenile.
Another way locate books on a subject area is to use Library of Congress subject headings. Listed below are a selection of subject headings for graphic novels.