Worth a Thousand Words: Using Graphic Novels To Teach Visual and Verbal Literacy

JAFFE, Meryl & . 176p. further reading. index. photos. websites. Jossey-Bass. Dec. 2018. pap. $29.95. ISBN 9781119394327.
Mother-daughter duo Jaffe (an author and instructor at the Johns Hopkins University Center for Talented Youth) and Hurwich (a doctoral candidate at New York University) combine scholarly forces in this celebration of graphic novels and their curricular potential. The authors devote the first chapter to assuaging fears and backing up an early defense of the medium by highlighting specific Common Core State Standards. Jaffe and Hurwich cite research that shows how graphic novels aid in comprehension, memory, language usage, sequencing, and reading motivation. Two major chapters cover foundational skills in graphic novels—both what should be taught and what educators should know. The rest of the text offers specific strategies for connecting graphic novels to subjects such as reading, writing, mathematics, social studies, and science. The authors are keenly aware of their audience—namely, those who still feel some discomfort reading or teaching graphic novels. Nonetheless, even those with a solid foundation in the medium will draw inspiration from the collection of 20-plus lesson plans interspersed throughout the nine chapters. By turns academic and conversational, the work is inviting. Excerpts from popular graphic novels greatly enhance the research by providing concrete connections to the canon. Additional content on Jaffe's website includes an extensive bibliography of recommended graphic novels.
VERDICT A solid choice for librarians and educators who still need that extra push to jump on the graphic novels bandwagon.

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