Guthrie Memorial Library: Why the Next Book You Read Should be a Graphic Novel

What is a graphic novel? A graphic novel is just like any other book: it has a story with protagonists, plot, and prose. The difference: for a graphic novel, its illustrations are just as important as the words. Maybe you’re already a big reader or maybe you’re not a reader at all. Why should YOU give graphic novels a try? Let’s a take a look at a few of the reasons the next book you check out should be a graphic novel: 

Why Read a Graphic Novel?

We’ll admit that reading a graphic novel isn’t the same as reading a “regular” novel. It’s a completely different reading experience. It challenges our minds in a different way, asking us to both interpret art and visual clues on each page.

Graphic novels are a fast-paced read! They are great for the reluctant reader who may not think that reading is for them. Many graphic novels are only 100-200 pages long and even slower-paced readers will be able to finish reading in an hour or two. These quick reads are also the perfect antidote for when you find yourself in the dreaded reading slump.

Broaden your horizons! When it feels like you’ve read the same few stories over and over, you might need a graphic novel to refresh your passion for reading. Some stories can only be told in the graphic novel format and by not opening yourself up to an entire format of books, you may be missing out on some spectacular storytelling.

If you are having trouble getting through a literary classic, sometimes the graphic novel adaptation is what you need. They are often more accessible and more approachable than their traditional counterparts. Never thought you’d get through 1984, The Great Gatsby, or To Kill a Mockingbird? Give the graphic novel a try!

Aren’t they for kids?

Graphic novels are for everyone! No matter your age, background, or interest, there is a graphic novel for you somewhere. Did you know that we have a graphic novel section on each floor of Guthrie Memorial Library?

  • In the Children’s Library you can find graphic novels like Dog Man, Narwhal and Jelly, or the graphic novel adaptation of the classic series The Baby-sitter’s Club.
  • In the Teen Library, you can find classic graphic novels like Maus and Persepolis, and our collection of Manga—which are Japanese graphic novels, like Bleach, Naruto, or Fruits Basket.
  • The Adult Department has a small but growing section of graphic novels that we’ll look at below. Is there is a book or series that you want to see in our graphic novel section? Make your request here.

Where do I start?

When you picture a graphic novel, comic heroes like Spiderman or Batman may come to mind, but graphic novels are not just superheroes. Graphic novels come in many shapes, sizes, and genres and are made for readers of all ages! Let’s look at a few graphic novels that may just be your gateway into this increasingly popular format of book:


The Cover of Always Never by Jordi LafebreAlways Never

by Jordi Lefebre

Always Never tells the story of Ana and Zeno who, after decades of living their own separate lives and facing many obstacles, finally decide to give their love one last chance. Jordi Lafebre tells a sweet, sweeping love story with a wonderfully unique twist—Always Never is told in reverse!

Perfect for hopeless romantics and romance readers.


Cover for Where the Black Stars RiseWhere the Black Stars Rise

by Nadia Shammas

Where the Black Stars Rise is a surrealist horror novel. It tells the story of Amal, a therapist-in-training, whose first client goes missing after being plagued by night terrors. Amal goes looking for her, only to be transported to another dimension. This dimension? It’s within Robert Chamers’ classic horror story “The King in Yellow”.

Perfect for fans of horror and suspense.


The Cover for Blankets by Craig ThompsonBlankets

by Craig Thompson

Blankets is an award-winning graphic novel memoir. It tells the story of the author’s childhood, first love, heartbreak, and loss of faith. Blankets is not a simple read—it is over 500 pages long and covers some sensitive topics, but it is a deeply moving story and well worth reading.

Perfect for readers of literary fiction or memoirs.


Cover of Berlin: City of StonesBerlin Vol. 1: City of Stones

by Jason Lutes

City of Stones is the first book in the Berlin trilogy by Jason Lutes. Set during Germany’s Weimar Republic, this book contains a series of overlapping narratives. These weave together grand historical concepts with human stories. There are many characters inhabiting this book, but the main character is the city itself.

Perfect for history buffs.


Book Cover for Lightfall by Tim Probert.Lightfall: The Girl & the Galdurian

by Tim Probert

Lightfall is a delightful new fantasy series about two unlikely allies who must save the world. It is both action-packed and beautifully illustratedLightfall was written for younger readers, but children and adults alike are sure to enjoy this whimsical story

Perfect for fans of Studio Ghibli


Book cover for March by John LewisMarch: Book One

With his graphic novel memoir, learn about the Civil Rights Movement through the eyes of the late Congressman John Lewis.  Its compelling narrative and cinematic illustrations set it apart from other kid’s history books. This makes March a great choice for the reader who is curious about history but hasn’t found the right book.

Perfect for kids who are curious about history.


Want even more?

Still looking for the right graphic novel? Check out this booklist filled with Must Read Graphic Novels that you can check out with your library card!

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