There is a strong current trend among kids to read comic books or graphic novels instead of regular books. What do you think about that?
Ok, here we go. What do I think about that? What do I think about that?! *cracks knuckles* I think it’s pretty friggin awesome is what I think.
Stories come in many forms. In the long, long ago, they were oral traditions passed from elder to child. Then they were pictures drawn on cave walls. Then they were characters and letters and words carved in stone and scribed on parchment. We were drawing our stories long before we were reading them. How is the current trend all that different?
Listen, if a kid reads a comic book or a graphic novel and can connect with the story, the characters, the world, that’s a beautiful thing. Not everyone has the attention span for a 200,000 word epic adventure book or the tastes for a 50,000 word fiction novel. Prose is not the be-all end-all of story-telling. And comics can tell stories in ways that “regular” books can’t.
Can we just break down that phrase for a second? “Regular books.” The hell does that even mean? It evokes the condescension I’ve felt from people who scoff at non-literary works and e-readers. Which, by the way, are other great ways to read and consume stories. It’s time to destroy the hierarchy we use to qualify written works. And by “we” I mean the elitist snobs who haven’t read any new fiction since the Great Depression and believe “the classics” are to be worshipped above all others and nothing will ever be as good as The Greats™.
So here’s how to tell if you’re reading a “regular book.” Are there words on the page? Do they come together and tell a story? Congratulations, you are reading a “regular book.” That’s it. You’re done. Books are books. I mean for god’s sake, comic BOOK, graphic NOVEL. The words are literally in the name.
Let the kids enjoy their comics. Let them enjoy their graphic novels. Let them soak up the stories in the way that resonates with them. Because that will make them want to tell their own stories. Maybe they’ll take an interest in art and want to learn to draw. And maybe they’ll decide they want to tell them in a so-called “regular book.” But if they are discouraged from reading at all because of their love for drawn stories, they’ll never get to tell the stories they want to tell and we’ll never get to read them. Don’t be that guy who tells a kid that they’re not reading a real book just because their story has pictures.
I thought I would have more to say on this topic, but I’m about tapped out for tonight. It’s Friday, the weekend, my mom is finally coming to visit the house tomorrow, I need to get some sleep. It should be a beautiful weekend. I hope you enjoy it! See you Sunday!
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