Skip to content

Lit: The appeal of graphic novels

‘The best graphic novels are a fantastic marriage of brilliant, skilled artwork and excellent storytelling.’
Saara Itkonen is the chief librarian at the Creston Valley Public Library. (Photo credit Brian Lawrence)

By Saara Itkonen, Library Director

Have you ever read a graphic novel before? Sometimes people hear “graphic novel” and they think kid’s comics or picture books. Comics are definitely the “grandparents” of graphic novels (your superheroes, newspaper comic strips, etc.), but there has been an explosion of publishing over the years in a variety of graphic novel genres including memoir, history, horror, philosophy, political science, fantasy, sci-fi, and other types of creative fiction and non-fiction.

The graphic novel collections at our library have been growing over the past few years. We have collections in the children’s, teen, and adult areas of the library. If you’ve never picked up a graphic novel before, you’re missing out! The best graphic novels are a fantastic marriage of brilliant, skilled artwork and excellent storytelling. They can be an easily accessible format for people who typically don’t like reading books (both beginner and reluctant readers) and for those of us who want to take a break from screens by diving into something that doesn’t require too much concentration (tired parent here).

Here are some of our newest titles you can check out:

Ducks: two years in the oil sands by Kate Beaton (2023 Canada Reads Winner)

“Before there was Kate Beaton, New York Times bestselling cartoonist of Hark A Vagrant fame, there was Katie Beaton of the Cape Breton Beatons, specifically Mabou, a tight-knit seaside community where the lobster is as abundant as beaches, fiddles, and Gaelic folk songs. After university, Beaton heads out west to take advantage of Alberta’s oil rush, part of the long tradition of East Coasters who seek gainful employment elsewhere when they can’t find it in the homeland they love so much. With the singular goal of paying off her student loans, what the journey will actually cost Beaton will be far more than she anticipates.” (from Good Reads)

Dying for Attention: a graphic memoir of nursing home care by Susan MacLeod

“When Susan MacLeod accompanied her 90-year-old mother through a labyrinthine long-term care system, it was a nine-year journey navigating a government without a heart in a system without compassion. Her family, much like the system, erected walls rather than opening arms. She found herself involuntarily placed at the pivot point between her frail, elderly mother’s need for love and companionship, the system’s inability to deliver, and her brother’s indifference. She had also spent three years as a government spokesperson enthusiastically defending the very system she now experienced as brutally cold.” (from the publisher)

Pinball: a graphic history of the silver ball by Jon Chad

“In 1976, champion player Roger Sharpe stepped up to a pinball machine in a Manhattan courtroom. The New York City Council had convened to consider lifting the city’s ban on pinball—a game that had been outlawed since 1942 for its supposed connections to gambling and organized crime. Sharpe was there to prove that, unlike a slot machine, pinball wasn’t a game of chance designed to fleece its players—it was a game of skill that required a measure of patience, coordination, and control. To prove his point, he proclaimed that he would launch his ball into the center lane at the far end of the playfield—much like Babe Ruth famously pointing to the fences. Sharpe pulled back the plunger and released, and the fate of this industry and art form hung in the balance.” (from the publisher)

Kid Gloves: nine months of careful chaos by Lucy Knisley

Her whole life, Lucy Knisley wanted to be a mother. But when it was finally the perfect time, conceiving turned out to be harder than anything she’d ever attempted. Fertility problems were followed by miscarriages, and her eventual successful pregnancy plagued by health issues, up to a dramatic, near-death experience during labor and delivery.

This moving, hilarious, and surprisingly informative memoir, Kid Gloves, not only follows Lucy’s personal transition into motherhood but also illustrates the history and science of reproductive health from all angles, including curious facts and inspiring (and notorious) figures in medicine and midwifery. Whether you’ve got kids, want them, or want nothing to do with them, there’s something in this graphic memoir to open your mind and heart.” (from the publisher)

More new titles:

The Complete Dracula by Leah Moore

Noodleheads series by Ted Arnold

Dungeons & Dragons series by Jim Zub

Check out upcoming library and community events at