Graphic Novels Worth Teaching
Graphic Novels Worth Teaching

Nat Turner

By Kyle Baker

Before the civil rights movement (and I’m sure I don’t need to remind you) slavery was a huge part of the American system, even culminating in a civil war over the abolition of it. Again, it is so important to teach young people about the wrongs of slavery and the many horrors that were enacted on many people where enslaved during this time. Nat Turner by Kyle baker is an Eisner Award winning graphic novel that tells the true story of the leader of a rebellion against the slavers and of course its leader, Nat Turner himself. The story encompasses the many other people who fought beside him and shows many of the grim history involved. Not only will this teach your students all about one of the most important aspects of American history, but it will also keep them gripped to boot.

The Arrival

The Arrival
The Arrival

By Shaun Tan

Another hot topic that seems to have caused a current spike in xenophobia is immigration. All across the western world efforts are being made to ensure that people from other countries can’t get into our own country. All of our current problems are often blamed on immigrants and refugees and with all the news stories and talk of it can be easy to forget that often the only thing that really divides us is our language. The Arrival is an excellent graphic novel by Shaun Tan and it tells the story of a man who travels abroad ahead of his wife and child in order to obtain work, however he struggles to fit in amongst these strange surrounding and a new incomprehensible language. The book itself has no dialog and fittingly tells a tale only through images. We watch and share the man’s confusion as he tries to get to grips with the world around him, as he does, we do too. Not only will this allow students to sympathise with the struggle each immigrant faces arriving in a new country, but the book is also a masterclass in telling a story through images, perfect for those learning about art, illustration of even about drama and media.

Antonello in Venice

Antonello in Venice
Antonello in Venice

By Jean Dytar

Whilst we are on the subject of art, we can surely agree that there would be many graphic novels worth approaching to in order to learn about the subject. It’s a medium that focuses on drawn pictures and I also have no doubt that some of your student’s will at least be intrigued by the idea one day becoming an artist in the medium. Antonello in Venice by Jean Dytar is a graphic novel translated from the “Franco-Belgian” scene that will not only show off the medium but also teach readers about art history, specifically the life of Antonello da Messina, the artist credited with introducing oil painting to Italy during the 15th century. Though I’m sure if you’re teaching it you already knew that.