Back to School with Comics: Adding Graphic Novels to Your Library or Classroom Collection

As educators and librarians gear up for a new school year, we’re taking to opportunity to highlight our free resources designed to help students — and everyone else — love and appreciate comics! Today we feature the CBLDF series Adding Graphic Novels to Your Library or Classroom Collection, which is designed to highlight a particular book and provide useful information and resources for teachers and librarians to use when justifying the addition of the title in their classroom or library.

Adding Graphic Novels to Your Library or Classroom Collection

This ongoing feature from CBLDF provides specific resources for librarians and educators who may need to justify and defend the inclusion of the book in library and classroom collections. Each column provides specific information about a book, including a summary of challenges it has faced, reviews, praise, awards and other recognitions, and additional CBLDF resources that educators and librarians can provide to their administrators when they want to add the book to their collections.

These resources can also be used to address challenges. CBLDF can also help by providing assistance, writing letters of support, and facilitating access to experts and resources. Call 800-99-CBLDF or email at the first sign of a First Amendment emergency!

Adding Barefoot Gen to Your Library or Classroom Collection


Told from the perspective of seven-year-old Gen Nakaoka, Barefoot Gen is creator Keiji Nakazawa’s critically acclaimed semi-autobiographical manga about the events leading up to and after the dropping of the nuclear bomb on Hiroshima, Japan, during World War II. Spanning 10 volumes, Barefoot Gen, depicts the monstrosities of warfare in an attempt to encourage future generations to seek peace as an alternative to war. As Misayo, Nakazawa’s wife, commented shortly after his death, he felt strongly “that he must share with children accounts of the miseries of the war and the atomic bombing to prevent a recurrence.” More…

Adding Drama to Your Library or Classroom Collection


In 2014, Raina Telgemeier’s Drama made the American Library Association’s top 10 list of frequently challenged books due to a ban at Chapel Hill Elementary School in Mount Pleasant, Texas. The specific reason for the ban has not been publicly confirmed, but we can hazard a guess based on a small but vocal minority of online reader reviews objecting to the inclusion of two gay characters, one of whom shares a chaste on-stage kiss with another boy. More…

Adding Fun Home to Your Library or Classroom Collection


Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home, a memoir of her complicated relationship with her closeted gay father and her own realization that she was gay as well, has the rare distinction of being frequently challenged at the post-secondary level. Challenges from individual students at the University of Utah and California’s Clifton Hills College were rebuffed by administrators, but in 2014 South Carolina’s legislature went so far as debating punitive budget cuts against the College of Charleston for selecting Fun Home as an optional summer reading book for incoming freshmen. More…

Adding The Graveyard Book Graphic Novel to Your Library or Classroom Collection

Graveyard Book

The Graveyard Book is a two-volume graphic novel adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s Newbery Medal-winning prose novel of the same name. Adapted and illustrated by P. Craig Russell, alongside artists Kevin Nowlan, Tony Harris, Scott Hampton, Galen Showman, Jill Thompson, and Stephen B. Scott, the full-color graphic novel tells the story of Nobody Owens, a boy raised by ghosts, and his adventures through the graveyard where he lives. Publisher’s Weekly called it “a vastly entertaining adaptation… It’s a treasure worth having even if the novel is already on the shelf.” In February 2015, CBLDF was confidentially involved the defense of the graphic novel edition of The Graveyard Book, which was challenged in an undisclosed middle school library for violent imagery. More…

Adding Palomar to Your Library or Classroom Collection

Palomar by Gilbert Hernandez collects the author’s “Heartbreak Soup” stories, which originally appeared in theLove and Rockets series, a collaboration with his brothers Jaime and Mario. The book, which has received widespread critical praise, focuses on the interconnected lives of characters from one family in the fictional South American town of Palomar. In February 2015, the mother of a 14-year-old student in Rio Rancho, New Mexico, demanded the book’s removal from the Rio Rancho High School library collection because it contained “child pornography pictures and child abuse pictures.” More…

Adding Persepolis to Your Library or Classroom Collection


Since 2013, Marjane Satrapi’s memoir of her childhood during and after Iran’s Islamic Revolution has rather unexpectedly become one of the most frequently challenged graphic novels in U.S. classrooms and school libraries. Despite the book’s critical acclaim, some parents and even educators or school administrators react to the few profanities and scenes of torture by trying to get it removed from schools. In at least two cases that we know of, Islamophobia also played a role in the challenge. More…

Adding Saga to Your Library or Classroom Collection


Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples sci-fi epic adventure Saga has not only become one of the bestselling and most critically acclaimed comic series since its debut in March 2012, but it has also become one of the most controversial comics. More…

Adding The Sandman to Your Library or Classroom Collection


When asked about how he felt when Sandman was labelled unsuitable for teens, Gaiman responded, “I suspect that having a reputation as adult material that’s unsuitable for teens will probably do more to get teens to read Sandmanthan having the books ready and waiting on the YA shelves would ever do.” More…

Adding This One Summer to Your Library or Classroom Collection

This One Summer

The announcement of the 2014 Caldecott Medal winner and honorees had many people rushing to pick up the books for their library and classroom collections. Graphic novel This One Summer by Jillian Tamaki and Mariko Tamaki broke boundaries by becoming the first graphic novel to make the short list for the Caldecott Medal. Unfortunately, the Caldecott honor yielded an unforeseen negative outcome: Since the announcement of the Caldecott honor, CBLDF has been confidentially involved in monitoring challenges to This One Summer in various communities.More…

We need your help to keep fighting for the right to read! Help support CBLDF’s important First Amendment work by visiting the Rewards Zonemaking a donation, or becoming a member of CBLDF!