Comics in school?!?

Yes. Comics, or Graphic Novels are here to and they are here to stay. You might find it unthinkable, but the kids love them, critics (sometimes) praise them and teachers endorse them. Me? I buy them and I’ve tried a few out and I’m okay with making them part of my collection.

Most kids start off with fiction graphic novels, which tend to have lower AR levels, and so struggling readers are excited to have them. There are completely original series as well as adaptations of full length books for them to read.

Once kids reach higher AR levels, they can struggle to find Grapic Novels that aren’t too low. Enter nonfiction graphic novels. I ordered a new set just this year of famous battles from all of America’s major military campaigns. I haven’t read them but the boys are excited. 

My favorite nonfiction graphic novels are Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales by Nathan Hale. You can check out his site here. I bought them because they looked fun and decided to read them after purchasing one which may have had gruesome content.

In the first book we learn that the author has the same name as a famous American spy from the Revolutionary War, Nathan Hale.

“I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country.” 

-Nathan Hale

The author tells us Hale’s story but then, on the gallows, amagical eagle   appears and pulls Hale into a history book, allowing him to tell stories from before and after his time. These tales are used to stay his execution in homage to 1001 Arabian Nights. 

I don’t care what you say, World War I is hard to understand! Hale uses animals to represent the different countries, like a bulldog for England. It helps a lot! I think this is the highest leveled book in the set, falling in the fourth grade range somewhere.

After Treaties, Trenches Mud and Blood, Gale said he wouldn’t tackle an entire war in one book again. This is a nice look at the ironclad ships the were created in the Civil War. Educational without being overwhelming.

Yep, this is the one I was worried about content-wise. It’s a tragic tale but Hale did something perfect in this one. The narrator notices his audience seems agitated and so he stops and tells us to skip ahead to page ____ if we don’t want to see the worst part of the story. I read through it anyway and the story is handled well, informative but not gory.

I read a lot of biographies but this was one of the best about Harriet Tubman I’ve ever read. Telling the story in this style makes Harriet, or Minty as her friends and family called her, seem much more real, if that makes sense.

This is the newest story and I haven’t gotten to it yet. I’m excited to see how Hale tells this famous story.

While I barely touched the tip of the iceberg of Graphic Novels, I think I’ve been able to honestly tell you about the ones I recommend to kids myself. What a sneaky way to get kids to enjoy history!

And if you’re worried about the historical integrity of the stories, just ask the fact checker baby!


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