Historical thinking and graphic novels

socials 10 2016 - 1Alyson King writes in “Cartooning History: Canada’s Stories in Graphic Novels that graphic narratives can increase students’ understanding of history because the genre, with its reliance on narrative, image, and dialogue, furthers the concept that history is a complex system with interrelated parts. As humans we tend to remember best through story and image, making emotional connections through colour and form, with language helping us recognize patterns of human experiences across time.  In this exercise, students from Ms. Desrochers’ Social Studies 10 class transform a linear presentation of history from their textbook into a complex interplay of image, voice, and point of view. Using the graphic novel, Louis Riel, by Chester Brown as a model, students used their creative abilities to reconstruct knowledge creating original works as a means of personal expression and understanding . Using the norms of graphic novels such as dialogue, action, and perspective, the students were able to get in the head of the characters and focus on the humanity that drive historical events.

Connection to redesigned curriculum – Social Studies 10 

Big Ideas (just a few) 

  • Developments in Canadian society can be view in many different ways depending on an individual’s worldview or perspective.

Curricular Competencies (just a few) :

  • Use Social Studies inquiry processes and skills to: ask questions; gather, interpret, and analyze ideas; and communicate findings and decisions.
  • Assess the justification for competing historical accounts after investigating points of contention, reliability of sources, and adequacy of evidence (evidence)
  • Explain different perspectives on past or present peoples, places, issues, and events by considering prevailing norms, values, worldviews, and beliefs (perspective)


socials 10 graphic novelss 10 graphic novel

Get Drawn Into Graphic Novels and Picturebooks

The library has a great selection of new graphic novels and picturebooks.

Ms. Jones’ Top 10 List of Reasons to Get Drawn In

10. Improve your art skills by copying the work of great illustrators.

9. Gain a new cultural perspective on  Japanese humour by reading mangas

8. Appreciate how complex images tell a storywithout words. (ie. wordless narratives).

7. Admire the ability of artists to convey image in only two colors (shades) : black and white.

6. Understand history or politics in accessible language and images.

5. Practice a foreign language with the aid of pictures – we have picturebooks and graphic novels in French.

4. Preview a novel by reading the graphic version first.

3. Have the satisfaction of reading a book from start to finish without a big time commitment.

2. If you love long storylines, One Piece and Naruto have more than 60 volumes !

1. Life is beautiful – open up a picturebook to find out.

Graphic Artist Steve Rolston – May 8 2013

“Which dsteve rolstono you prefer, DC or Marvel ?” Hmmm…….Mr. Rhead’s art class and Ms. Patterson’s English had a variety of questions for graphic artist Steve Rolston in the library today. An artist, Steve has worked in illustration, concept art, comics, videogames and graphic novels. Question: “Who was one of the most interesting writers you’ve worked with ?” Answer: “Brian K. Vaughn, in The Escapists.”  Steve gave us a great overview of the wide range of projects he’s worked on, and impressed us with authentic storyboards in various stages of production – from thumbnails (bigger than your thumb, still, he likes to work small), penciled drawings, to ink work. Thanks Steve – we love graphic novels and Manga (pronunced M-aahhhn- gaah – thanks Tay) here at NWSS Library !