The S-Collection has a growing collection of graphic novels, as do a few other University of Illinois libraries. This guide offers strategies for locating and learning about graphic novels, as well as a select bibliography of graphic novel titles organized by age appropriateness.
Most books are located in the School (S-) Collection (Room 112, Main Library) of the Social Sciences, Health, and Education Library (SSHEL). However, books may also be located at the Center for Children's Books and older books may be located in the Rare Book & Manuscript Library (Room 346, Main Library), or in the Oak Street Facility. To verify the location of an item, search for the book in the Online Library Catalog. If you require assistance locating an item, please ask for assistance at the SSHEL Information Desk.
- Finding Graphic Novels
- Other Locations
- Article Databases
- Online Resources
- Print Resources
- Graphic Novels by Age Appropriateness
To find graphic novels in the S-Collection, you can browse in the call number 741.5 or do an advanced search in the online catalog for graphic novels as a subject; add additional keywords to find graphic novels by topic. You can also do a simple keyword search, and then narrow your search by Genre: Graphic Novels, in the right hand column. To find bibliographies of graphic novels do a keyword search for “graphic novels bibliography”. The main room of the S-Collection is room 106 in the Education Library. Items marked Education S-Collection are located in this room. However, due to space constraints, many of the S-Collection items are shelved in additional storage areas. Items marked Education Storage can be retrieved by asking at the reference desk, and items marked Education Oak Street Facility can be retrieved by requesting them through the online catalog.
To find books that discuss the use of graphic novels in education, search in the online catalog using the following phrases as subjects:
- “Comic books, strips, etc., in education”
- Keywords: “graphic novels” and “literacy”
To find books that discuss the role of graphic novels in libraries and school media centers, search in the online catalog using any of the following phrases as subjects:
- “School libraries - graphic novels”
- “Libraries - Special collections - Graphic novels”
- “Libraries - Special collections - Comic books, strips, etc”.
To find books about the history and criticism of graphic novels, search in the online catalog using the following phrases as subjects:
- “Graphic novels - History and criticism”
- “Comic books, strips, etc. - History and criticism”
The Center for Children’s Books is another good resource for graphic novels. All of their materials are non-circulating, and must be looked at in the Center.
The Undergraduate and Residence Hall Libraries have additional graphic novels and manga, many of which are appropriate for young readers and teens. Some popular teen manga series at the Undergraduate Library include InuYasha, Hikaru No Go, and Bleach.
Some of these databases are best used to search for titles of graphic novels, while others are helpful for finding articles on graphic novels. For additional help searching these databases, please see the S-Collection web site on Databases & Scholarly Articles.
- Children’s Literature Comprehensive Database
To find graphic novels in this book review database search using the term graphic novels. You can limit searches by award, reading level or grade, genre, publishing date, and country of publication.
- Education Full Text
Use keywords such as children’s literature and graphic novels to find articles in this Education database.
Use keywords such as childrens literature (no apostrophe) and graphic novels to find articles in this Education database.
- Library & Information Science Source (LISS)
Use keywords such as children’s literature and graphic novels to find articles in this Library and Information Science database.
NoveList includes information for a broad range of books. To find graphic novels do an advanced search for graphic novels as the genre. Add any additional terms to your search to find graphic novels on a specific topic, or limit your search by audience, grade level, author’s nationality, or additional options.
- Comic Book Awards Almanac
This is one of the most comprehensive online lists of graphic novel awards. It gives information about American and international awards, as well as lists of previous winners. This site has not been updated since 2007, but is still a great jumping off point for researching graphic novel awards.
- Graphic Novel Reporter
This site has graphic novel reviews by age group, including teens and kids; a newsletter; interviews with writers and illustrators; and a blog. It also features resources on graphic novels in libraries and great graphic novels for teens.
- Great Graphic Novels for Teens
The Young Adult Library Services Association puts together two annotated lists each year on graphic novels: “Great Graphic Novels for Teens” and “Top Ten Great Graphic Novels for Teens”. The titles are chosen as being representative of good quality literature that is also appealing to teens.
- List of Comic Awards
This Wikipedia entry lists many American and international awards for comics and graphic novels, as well as links to additional information about each award.
Bitz, Michael. Manga High: Literacy, Identity, and Coming of Age in an Urban High School. 2009.
This book profiles a comic book club in an urban New York City school, and looks at the role of manga in terms of literacy, cultural identity, and social development in the lives of nine student members. Appendixes include advice for starting a comic book club and a list of club members’ favorite manga titles.
Carter, James Bucky (ed). Building Literacy Connections with Graphic Novels: Page by Page, Panel by Panel. 2007.
Articles in this anthology include using graphic novels as a whole class novel and showing and telling history through graphic novels. An appendix lists graphic novels for an English language arts classroom.
Cary, Stephen. Going Graphic: Comics at Work in the Multilingual Classroom. 2004.
Cary looks at the theory and research behind using graphic novels in a multilingual classroom. He also details activities that combine comics, literacy, and social action.
Crawford, Philip Charles. Graphic Novels 101: Selecting and Using Graphic Novels to Promote Literacy for Children and Young Adults: a Resource Guide for School Librarians and Educators. 2003.
This introduction to graphic novels looks at promoting reading and improving literacy, collection development issues in school libraries, selecting age appropriate materials, cataloging graphic novels, and recommended titles for all ages, grades 3 to 12.
Goldsmith, Francesca. The Readers’ Advisory Guide to Graphic Novels. 2010.
This book examines the background of graphic novels, how to recommend graphic novels to readers who like graphic novels and who have never read them, themes in graphic novels, graphic novels to know, and graphic novel bibliographies in print and online.
Gorman, Michael. Getting Graphic!: Comics for Kids. 2008.
This title annotates comic fiction, nonfiction, and manga for readers ages 6-12.
Gorman, Michael. Getting Graphic!: Using Graphic Novels to Promote Literacy with Preteens and Teens. 2003.
Gorman looks at how to use graphic novels in libraries and classrooms, including programming with, collecting, and cataloging graphic novels. He also lists what graphic novels are best for preteens and teens.
751.5 M132u 1994
McCloud, Scott. Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art. 1993.
Praised throughout the cartoon industry by such luminaries as Art Spiegelman, Matt Groening, and Will Eisner, this comic book provides a detailed look at the history, meaning, and art of comics and cartooning.
The following bibliography is just a small portion of the S-Collection and UofI’s graphic novels. Look in the online catalog for the location of S-Collection books.
Cammuso, Frank and Jay Lynch. Otto’s Orange Day. 2008.
After a genie fulfills Otto the cat’s wish by turning the whole world orange, Otto realizes that his favorite color is not the best color for everything.
Rosenstiehl, Agnès. Silly Lilly and the Four Seasons. 2008.
Lilly is a spunky little girl who delights in the unexpected pleasures of each season, peering inside shells in the summer and tasting different kinds of apples in the fall.
Simon, Kristen Koerner. Tiffany’s Epiphany. 2009.
Tiffany the skunk bullies the other animals in the forest until Jack the rabbit confronts her and finds out that she is really just lonely but does not know how to make friends.
Smith, Jeff. Little Mouse Gets Ready. 2009.
Little Mouse gets dressed to go to the barn with his mother, brothers, and sisters.
Bitz, Michael. Why Did the Chicken Cross the Road? 2006.
A collection of pictures drawn by different artists. Various award-winning artists present their own verison of the classic joke, from Marle Frazee’s chicken who is searching for a luxury "coop," to Mo Willems’s chicken who confesses his motives to a police officer.
Q. S.398.2 B4573d:E
Berner, Rotraut Susanne. Definitely Not for Little Ones: Some Very Grimm Fairy-Tale Comics. 2009.
These Grimm fairy tales include “The Frog Prince,” “Tom Thumb,” “Rapunzel,” “Mother Holle,” “Jorinda & Jorindel,” “Lucky Hans,” “Hans the Hedgehog,” and “Little Red Cap.”
Gownley, Jimmy. Amelia Rules! The Whole World’s Crazy. 2009.
Volume 1 of a collection of comic stories featuring nine-year-old Amelia, who has moved from Manhattan to a small town in the wake of her parent’s divorce, and her fourth-grade friends, the Gathering of Awesome Super Pals, otherwise known as G.A.S.P.
Hale, Shannon. Rapunzel’s Revenge. 2008.
Rapunzel is raised in a grand villa surrounded by towering walls. Rapunzel dreams of a different mother than Gothel, the woman she calls Mother. She climbs over the wall and finds out the truth. Her real mother, Kate, is a slave in Gothel’s gold mine. In this Old West retelling, Rapunzel uses her hair as a lasso and to take on outlaws--including Gothel.
Holm, Jennifer L. and Matthew Holm. Babymouse: Dragonslayer. 2009.
An imaginative mouse who likes to read heroic fantasy novels finds herself on the school math team as it prepares to compete for the coveted Golden Slide Rule. This popular series is a fun read.
Kibuishi, Kazu. The Stonekeeper. 2008.
Emily’s and Narvin’s mother is kidnapped and dragged into a strange and magical world where, it seems, the children’s great-grandfather has been before. It’s up to the children to set things right and save their mother’s life. This is book 1 of the Amulet series.
Krosoczka, Jarrett J. Lunch Lady and the Author Visit Vendetta. 2009.
The school lunch lady, a secret crime fighter, investigates a suspicious author after he visits the school and the gym teacher goes missing.
Lat. Kampung Boy. 2006.
Relates the life experiences, from birth to beginning boarding school, of a boy growing up on a rubber plantation in rural Malaysia.
Phelan, Matt. The Storm in the Barn. 2009.
In Kansas in the year 1937, eleven-year-old Jack Clark faces his share of ordinary challenges. But he also has to deal with the effects of the Dust Bowl, including rising tensions in his small town and the spread of a shadowy illness. Certainly a case of "dust dementia" would explain who (or what) Jack has glimpsed in the Talbot’s abandoned barn - a sinister figure with a face like rain. In a land where it never rains, it’s hard to trust what you see with your own eyes, and harder still to take heart and be a hero when the time comes.
Siegel , Siena Cherson. To Dance: a Memoir. 2007.
The author describes how she first decided she wanted to be a ballerina at the age of six, and how that dream carried her from her home in Puerto Rico to dance class in Boston to performing with the New York City Ballet
Smith, Jeff. Bone. 2005.
This is the first book of the popular Bone series. After being run out of Boneville, the three Bone cousins are separated and lost in a vast, uncharted desert. One by one, they find their way into a deep, forested valley filled with wonderful and terrifying creatures. But little do the Bones know, there are dark forces conspiring against them and their adventures are only just beginning!
Q. S.741.595 T153a
Tan, Shaun. The Arrival. 2007.
In this wordless graphic novel, a man leaves his homeland and sets off for a new country, where he must build a new life for himself and his family.
Love, Jeremy. Bayou. 2009.
Lee Wagstaff is the daughter of a black sharecropper in the depression-era town of Charon, Mississippi. When Lily Westmoreland, her white playmate, is snatched by agents of an evil creature known as Bog, Lee’s father is accused of kidnapping. Lee’s only hope is to follow Lily’s trail into this fantastic and frightening alternate world. This is on the ALA 2010 list of Top Ten Graphic Novels for Teens.
Satrapi, Marjane. Persepolis. 2003.
Marjane tells the story of her life from when she was 10, growing up in Iran during the Islamic Revolution, through 14 when her parents sent her to live in Europe during the Iran-Iraq war. This popular graphic novel is often found on “best of” lists.
Shivack, Nadia. Inside Out: Portrait of an Eating Disorder. 2007.
In this book the author gives readers a harrowing look inside her battle with anorexia and bulimia through pictures and captions.
Sis, Peter. The Wall: Growing Up Behind the Iron Curtain. 2007.
Through annotated illustrations, journals, maps, and dreamscapes, Peter Sis shows what life was like for a child who loved to draw, proudly wore the red scarf of a Young Pioneer, stood guard at the giant statue of Stalin, and believed whatever he was told to believe. But adolescence brought questions. Sis learned about beat poetry, rock ’n’ roll, blue jeans, and Coca-Cola.
Spiegelman, Art. Maus: a Survivor’s Tale. 1986.
Maus is a haunting tale within a tale of a Jewish survivor of Hitler's Europe and his son, a cartoonist who tries to come to terms with his father's story and history itself.
Sturm, James and Rich Tommaso. Satchel Paige: Striking out Jim Crow. 2007.
Satchel Paige began his baseball career in the Negro Leagues in Alabama in the 1920s. For years, Jim Crow laws, which segregated blacks and whites, kept him out of the major leagues. But they couldn’t stop him from becoming a world-class athlete. This is a fictionalized account of a real-life sports hero.
Tamaki, Mariko. Skim. 2008.
"Skim" (Kimberly Keiko Cameron) is a not-slim would-be Wiccan goth who goes to a private girls’ school. When her classmate Katie is dumped by her boyfriend, who then kills himself, the entire school goes ito mourning overdrive. The popular clique starts a club to boost school spirit, but Skim sinks into an ever-deepening depression. This is on the ALA 2009 list of Top Ten Graphic Novels for Teens.
Yang, Gene Luen. American Born Chinese. 2006
Alternates three interrelated stories about the problems of young Chinese Americans trying to participate in the popular culture. Presented in comic book format.