This week marks the end of my graphic novel independent study. If I’m honest, graphic novels and I had a rocky start to our journey a couple of semesters ago. I tried reading Page by Paige in my YA lit class, and it was pulling teeth to finish. My mind just didn’t know how to be pulled into the world of pictures and dialogue. I remember thinking to myself, “I would so much rather read the words than have these pictures.”
I stopped by Dr. Ellington’s office and told her that I wanted to take Graphic novels as an independent study since it was on a rotation I would miss. I knew that trying to force myself out of my own will to read graphic novels probably wasn’t going to work. I didn’t want to limit myself by not liking the genre. Reluctant readers really thrive with graphic novels and I knew that I needed to be well-versed.
My journey began with Nimona. The cover looked quirky and cute and it was new at the library, so I checked it out and brought it home. I remember pedaling on the stationary bike while chuckling to myself and shaking my head at Nimona’s antics. In that very first book, I was hooked. I got so lost in the story that I forgot about trying to balance the words and the pictures. The barrier that had tripped me up now disappeared and I was actually able to get lost in the story.
My adventure through the world of graphic novels from there was an inhaling of books. I thought my heart might explode at all of the adorableness of Awkward. I cried for the lost lives of lions in The Pride of Baghdad. I learned way more about Hurricane Katrina through Drowned City then I did from the news reports all those years ago. I got to relive my Twilight nostalgia from eighth grade.
What I learned from all of these books was they all had an impact on me in some way. I was able to look through windows in some of these books to places and things I’ve never known or seen before. I was able to look into a mirror and find myself in the characters searching to gather the parts of who they are.
In a very basic and fundamental way, my love for reading was stoked and fueled. I found another medium with which I grow as a reader. I found another medium where I can help others grow as readers. I don’t know if I’ve taken a class that I was able to enjoy this much. I’ve certainly never been so excited about homework.
I never thought I would come to love graphic novels as much as I do now. I have always loved reading to get lost in the words; I never thought I could get lost in pictures too. After my time spent invested in graphic novels this semester, I know that they absolutely have merit in the hands of students.
I am thankful for this opportunity to grow and be stretched. I went from barely forcing myself through the pages of graphic novels to not being able to stop the flood of novels from coming through.