Why Graphic Novels Are Great for Learning History

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Few things infuriate me more than some readers’ disdain for graphic novels and comic books. This is probably only surpassed by people who still claim – in 2022 – that audiobooks don’t count as reading.

The world of books is full of choices from genres to mediums and the sheer number of options available should be cause for joy, rather than contempt and elitism. Personally, I’m more than happy to have the choice and to be able to enjoy books in such a different and fun way, including print, digital and audio. There isn’t a medium I won’t try, and while I have my favorites, I’m glad there are options for everyone’s tastes and needs.

That said, I got into graphic novels a bit late. Or rather, I started my reading adventures with comics, then, after making the move to books with mostly text around the age of 10, I didn’t pick up comics until around 14 or 15 years old. At the time, I found a couple of Calvin And Hobbes and Baby Blues at my local library and never looked back.

I find comics, especially about superheroes, to be a bit more overwhelming, since I usually want to start a series from the absolute beginning, and there’s an endless amount of comics to follow (my TBR is pretty big like that), but I find graphic novels an absolute delight.

I started looking at graphic novels as a learning tool when I learned hilda from my local library to try to start reading in Dutch. Over the past few years, however, I’ve come to realize how powerful and useful they can be when it comes to learning more about the history, culture, world, and people around us.

In school, you often learn a side of history — usually the side of the colonizer, which is always disguised as the hero of the story — and I admit that history has never been my forte . If you look at my notes you may believe otherwise, but the truth is that I had a tendency to gobble up theory for exams and then forget about it all once the exams were over.

I love history, though, and I love to learn, but I’m afraid the way we’re taught most things doesn’t help the information click into my brain for me to understand and remember things long-term. Not only that, but I don’t like to study, so learning in a fun and relaxed way is how things usually stick in my brain.

As an adult who likes to know what’s going on in the world, but often lacks the patience to read long historical texts (that hasn’t changed much since school), graphic novels have become an incredible medium to learn history.

Of course, historical fiction novels are also good for this: I learned a lot about the history of Korea and the Japanese conflict from novels like Pachinko by Min Jin Lee and The Mermaid of Jeju by Sumi Hahn, and on Paraguay’s dictatorship (and what it was like to be queer back then) through Cantoras by Carolina de Robertis. Not only are these novels a fantastic literary work, but they are also a great lesson in historical events.

However, fiction can often be misleading, details and historical accuracy are not always expected, and there is not always a full note of historical edits, which is up to you to do the research for yourself. same. And, of course, many of these novels, like most nonfiction books, are more expansive. But I find that graphic novels make it easier to understand those parts of the story, because they’re a simplified, less extensive version of it. Plus, the illustrations and illustrations also help, and they allow you to take some time to really look at what’s being shown to you.

If you’re looking to learn more about certain moments in history, check out the available graphic novels. They might be more fun to read and provide a clearer picture of what you’re learning. This will help you understand the larger aspects of the story and provide you with a good base for further research.

Plus – and that’s definitely a plus – they’re usually absolute works of art, and they’ll look great on your shelf.

If you’re looking for more graphic novels to help you learn more about the story, here are a few you’ll enjoy:

Intermediate books on fleeing the Nazis

Graphic Novels and Graphic Non-Fiction on Things You Should Care About

5 Graphic Novels for Kids That Tackle Tough Problems

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