Staff Note: Visual Reads is a monthly series focusing on the York County Public Library's ever growing collection of graphic novels. Whether you are partial to super heroes or love to see a well-done adaptation of your favorite novel, we've got plenty to choose from.
Our first post introducing graphic novels covered just some of the hundreds of superhero titles available from York County Library. Our second post introduced you to graphic novels that explore other types of stories. Our final post in the series focuses on the graphic novels that relate true tales of heroism, sacrifice and sometimes a little bit of humor.
Stranger than Fiction
There are plenty of times that nonfiction works can be just as entertaining as fiction. In fact, knowing that what you are reading actually happened can sometimes increase you interest in a book. Graphic novels are no different. While the grand majority falls into the fiction category, York County Library does purchase a number of nonfiction graphic novel titles for patrons of all ages to enjoy. Here are some of our favorites:
- March — This award-winning trilogy is a vivid first-hand account of John Lewis' lifelong struggle for civil and human rights, meditating in the modern age on the distance traveled since the days of Jim Crow and segregation. Rooted in Lewis' personal story, it also reflects on the highs and lows of the broader civil rights movement. This series benefits both from having John Lewis himself write it, as well as having gritty art that puts the reader in the time period.
- Drowned City: Hurricane Katrina & New Orleans — This title presents a graphic account of the events of Hurricane Katrina and its effects on the city of New Orleans and its people, detailing the selflessness, heroism, and courage, while also noting the incompetence, racism, and criminality. It has been a few years since Katrina, but the lessons readers learn from these stories can be applied to future disasters.
- Amazing Fantastic Incredible: A Marvelous Memoir — For those who love Marvel superheroes, this is the ultimate story of the man who is behind such comic book legends as Spider-Man, X-Men, the Avengers and many others. Stan Lee himself shares his iconic legacy and the story of how modern comics came to be.
- The Terrible and wonderful reasons why I run — Graphic novel memoirs fall into many different categories, but the medium lends itself well to humor. Matthew Inman takes this tact with his collection of comics and stories about running, eating, and his reasons for jogging across mountains until his toenails fall off. This title is perfect for anyone looking for motivation to get running.
- Persepolis — Persepolis is the story of Marjane Satrapi's childhood and coming of age within a large and loving family in Tehran during the Islamic Revolution; of the contradictions between private life and public life in a country plagued by political upheaval; of her high school years in Vienna facing the trials of adolescence far from her family; of her homecoming—both sweet and terrible; and, finally, of her self-imposed exile from her beloved homeland.
- Maus: A Survivor's Tale — While a book that features Nazi cats and Jewish mice seems like a fictional book, this tale is actually the true story of Vladek Spiegelman, a Jewish survivor of Hitler’s Europe, and his son, a cartoonist coming to terms with his father’s story. Casting his story as a common tale of mice versus cats allows kids to better relate while also giving us all a new look at what we thought was a familiar story of horror and survival.