July 15, 2014 - 13:45 — ErinShinneman

Percy Jackson graphic novels are flying off the Naperville Public Library's shelves! Why? Because kids love the pictures, colors, special effects and adventurous story lines.

The "Percy Jackson & the Olympians" series by Rick Riodan includes five books.  Book number one is "The Lightening Thief".
In this story, Percy is a 12 year old demigod; the son of Poseidon.  He is about to be kicked out of boarding school.  And that's the least of his troubles.  Mythological monsters and the gods of Mount Olympus seem to be walking straight out of the pages of Percy's Greek mythology textbooks and into his life. 
Graphic novels, such as the Percy Jackson series, are cartoon drawings, like comics, that tell a story and are published in book form. The story is enhanced by the inclusion of both narrative and sequential illustrations. Some people call graphic novels expensive comic books.  Readers of graphic novels call them awesome!
Readers of graphic novels have lots to say about the dynamic graphic novel genre.  Kathleen, age 10, likes the visualization of graphic novels.  She says the pictures help tell the story.  Eunice, age 8, likes the visualization too, as she likes to see how the characters are feeling through the pictures.  She said you can see the characters specific emotions through the pictures.  And Gregory, age 8, who reads both graphic novels and traditionally formatted books, says he is drawn to graphic novels as the titles are "cool" and they have exciting covers.  The Star Wars series is Gregory's favorite choice in the extensive graphic novel collection which the Library circulates.
Fiction, or imaginary stories such as Percy Jackson, Pokemon, The Boxcar Children, or Star Wars, are not the only topics covered in graphic novels.  In recent years, non fiction, or books based on fact, have exploded into the graphic novel genre as well.  Biographies, books about someone's life, are plentiful.  "Houdini: The Life of the Great Escape Artist" by Agnieszka Biskup is an example of a graphic novel biography.  This book tells of Houdini whose name is forever linked with death-defying escapes and magic.
Science topics abound, as in the graphic novel also by Agnieszka Biskup, called "Vampires and Cells".  This book has a gruesome cover and content that covers blood, amoebas and organs.
You can learn history by reading graphic novels.  Read "The First Moon Landing" by Elizabeth Hudson-Goff to know more about astronaut Neil Armstrong's first steps on the moon, which took place 45 years ago this month.
Just like traditional forms of literature, graphic novels can be useful tools for helping students critically examine aspects of history, science, literature, and art.
If you are a reluctant reader, or know one, you may want to consider exploring graphic novels as motivation to read.  Graphic novels are short in length which is appealing to those who are put off by fat books with a lot of text and intimidating vocabulary.  Since the pictures in graphic novels are so plentiful and illustrative, reading comprehension is enhanced.  The pictures provide many clues to the story --- making reading a fun and inviting experience to a reluctant reader.

Graphic novels are now mainstream offerings in publishing, libraries and education. They are available in almost any content area and for any age reader.  If you have not yet been introduced to graphic novels, come on down to the Library and ask the library staff to show you where they are!