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Children's Literature • Graphic Novels: Graphic Novels • Overview

This guide is a starting point for locating graphic novels in the juvenile collection.

About Graphic Novels

comic speech bubble text whatWhat are Graphic Novels?

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.


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.

Pendergast, S. & Pendergast, T. (2007). U-X-L graphic novelists. (S. Hermsen, Ed.). Detroit: U-X-L/Thompson Gale.

In the Collection

Getting Started • Keyword Search

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.

Explore Subject Headings

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.

More In the Collection

Graphic Novels • Main Collection

Keep in mind, not all graphic novels in the library's collection are categorized as juvenile. Classic and notable titles such as Maus: A Survivors Tale, Watchmen, and Jim Hensen's Tale of Sand, are located in the library's MAIN General Collection.



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