A Graphic “Novel” Approach to Nonfiction

Given the rise of visual media in society, this year I intend to expand my collection of graphic novels, including nonfiction.  With that in mind, I turned to the Wilson Core, among other sources, for ideas.  I was interested to see that nonfiction graphic novels are classified in the arts, 741.5.  I wonder if that is the best place? And what would be a better location? To this end, are they primarily casual, general sources of information and reading of a nonfiction type, sources for research? To be read as forms of art?

Then I started thinking about the media generally–it is certainly a hybrid form.  It is not a traditional novel for sure, and would it be the best source for research?.  Would teachers accept it as a source for a research project? So, that leaves casual, popular nonfiction.  But are students who are interested in reading about the Atomic bomb really going to read Bomb for information? Maybe they are. Maybe it would be a gateway to further engagement on the topic.

I am thinking that all graphic novel nonfiction is unique in form and that a potential reader who wants to gain knowledge from a graphic novel is probably not going to seek a longer narrative text-based source immediately, but might rather browse and find another compelling, different nonfiction topic of interest.

Therefore, I am classifying all my Graphic nonfiction (they are not novels) in a special section, much like the literary graphic novels.  Within that section, they will be ordered by subject.  In other words, I will have a mini-graphic library.  This is not a perfect solution, but I can always change it.

What do you think? Where do you shelf these hybrid works?

2 thoughts on “A Graphic “Novel” Approach to Nonfiction

  1. We do exactly the same thing–graphic nonfic is shelved at the end of the graphic novels, and is organized by call number.

  2. I have also shelved my graphic novels in their own section with fiction and nonfiction side by side. I serve preschool – 5th grade and have found that most students will peruse the graphic novels and are drawn to both fiction and nonfiction.

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