As Congressman John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell’s acclaimed graphic novel trilogy March continues to win awards and be recognized for its historical and contemporary importance, the School Library Journal has published a list of nonfiction graphic novels that are perfect for fans of the series.
March, whose third and final volume recently won the National Book Award, the Walter Dean Myers Award for Outstanding Children’s Literature, and four additional awards at this week’s ALA Midwinter Meeting, recounts Congressman Lewis’s own personal struggles as a young activist fighting for equal rights and civil liberties. Although a graphic memoir about events like the 1963 March on Washington and other key moments of the Civil Rights Movement, many of the themes discussed throughout the graphic novels including diversity, acceptance, and the power of protest resonate clearly with events happening today. “The March trilogy is truly one of a kind, but the graphic medium in general has great power to convey information, bring the reader into the center of the action, and breathe life into the dry facts of history,” writes Brigid Alverson.
With this in mind, the School Library Journal recommends some other great graphic novels that take on the task of depicting history.
Whether it be the story of a group of freelance journalists reporting on the refugee situation in Turkey, Syria, and Iraq in Rolling Blackouts by Sarah Glidden; or a graphic memoir about the fallout and cleanup on the nuclear power plants in Fukushima, Japan in Ichi-F: A Worker’s Graphic Memoir of the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant, the SLJ list is a great jumping-off point for teen readers looking to learn more about world events or people. From Colonial New England in Colonial Comics Vol. II, to a new biography of Muhammad Ali, there are many nonfiction graphic novels that make great additions to any personal and community library.
To read the full list of recommended titles with accompanying grade level suggestions, click here. Don’t forget to check out CBDLF’s Rewards Zone for a special signed edition of Rolling Blackouts and our Librarian & Educator Tools page to learn about how you can incorporate graphic novels into your library or classroom.
Contributing Editor Caitlin McCabe is an independent comics scholar who loves a good pre-code horror comic and the opportunity to spread her knowledge of the industry to those looking for a great story!