By Lois E. Huffman and Roslyn P. Moffitt
The other week, I (Lois) asked a friend’s eight-year old daughter what she was reading. Zita the Spacegirl, she responded enthusiastically before quickly returning to her book. Her reply didn’t surprise us. She was engrossed in a graphic novel in the series by Ben Hatke.
Graphic novels and comics have become popular among today’s women and girls, and as educators and literacy advocates, this makes us happy. We want all girls (and boys) to read for pleasure, and we know the power of passion to drive self-selected reading. Boys have long been drawn to the visual excitement of comics, and in recent years many girls have discovered the allure as well.
In “Clever Mice and Resilient Chicas: What Mighty Girls Can Learn from Graphic Novels,” Elizabeth Alarid discusses graphic novels as a literary form and makes a compelling case for reading them. Two other recent news items also consider aspects of the girls-and-comics phenomenon:
Scott McCloud (Comic Book Writer): Girls Are Taking the Comic Book World by Storm
DC Is Repackaging Its Female Superheroes for Young Girls: Stories Will Focus on the Formative Years of Female Superheroes and Supervillains
Listed below are resources with specific suggestions of graphic novels and comic books for girls of different ages, elementary grades through adult. (Please be aware that some of the suggested reading materials may not be school appropriate.)
Girls Like Comics
Girls Read Comics Too
Great Graphic Novels for Girls
A Mighty Girl (List of 100 empowering graphic novels starring girls and women)
10 Great Comics for Adolescent Girls: Graphic Novels and Collections
In addition to the usual genre-specific considerations for comics (i.e., Is the art compelling? Do the text and images complement one another?), The Comic Book Review recommends the following criteria when selecting comics for girls:
Of course, “girls can read any comic book that boys can. “ What graphic novels are the girls in your life reading? Which new or classic comics are they wild about?