The Benefits of Diverse Graphic Novels for ELLs & 10 Books to Check Out
Benefits of Graphic Novels
Graphic novels are a category a books that can be highly engaging for students. This is particularly true for English Language Learners and struggling readers. Graphic novels have a large amount of picture support. This helps create context and gives meaning to unfamiliar vocabulary words. Older students are drawn to graphic novels since even students reading below grade level can enjoy these books.
Importance of Diverse Graphic Novels
Having a diverse set of books available is important for all students. This is particularly true for English Language Learners, students of color, and any group of students that do not typically see themselves represented in traditional children’s books.
Diverse Graphic Novels for ELLs
If you are looking to add to your classroom library or children’s book collection here are some great books to consider:
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Giants Beware (The Chronicles of Claudette): This series features a strong female main character who seeks out adventure.
Akissi: Feline Invasion This books tells about everyday life in Senegal from the point of view of Akissi, a young girl. The author Marguerite Abouet grew up in the Ivory Coast and brings a first hand perspective.
El Deafo This is a memoir of the childhood of Cece Bell. It tells how she lost her hearing as a young child and then had to navigate elementary school with a large hearing aid box. You can find a more extensive review of this book here.
Freddie Ramos Takes Off (Zapato Power) This series tells about the adventures of Freddie Ramos and his new super power shoes. Spanish words are used throughout the series but with enough context that non Spanish speakers will be able to understand their general meaning.
Princess Princess Ever After This is the story of two princesses and their adventures together. It highlights how the girls use their own strengths and come to rely on each other.
Pashmina Priyanka is a second generation American whose mother immigrated from India. This story tells many of the struggles of growing up while living between two cultures.
Here I Am This wordless graphic novel tells the story of a newcomer to the United States. It shows his confusion over the language and customs that are foreign to him. The author immigrated to the United States and intertwines her personal experience into the events but the vivid pictures allow readers to create their own versions of the story.
Azzi in Between This wordless graphic novel tells the story of a child that has the flee her home due to conflict. She has to adjust to a new culture and language along with worrying about family she left behind.
Luke on the Loose: TOON This book features an African American boy and his adventures chasing pigeons around New York City.
Hilo Book 1: The Boy Who Crashed to Earth This series tells the adventures of Hilo who crashed to who from another planet. He becomes friends with a diverse set of children and tries to figure out how he came to Earth. The main characters are Asian American and African American.