Then, students started looking at all of the graphic novels in our library and noticing elements of a graphic novel. They identified speech bubbles vs. thought bubbles vs. captions. They looked at the inking and colors chosen as well as the layout on the page. After several days of exploring graphic novels, students began working on their own. They go through a process of storyboarding, thumbnail sketches, etc.
In our library, some of our favorite graphic novels are by Capstone Press. We can’t keep Princess Candy on the shelves. In addition to our print graphic novels, we have several simultaneous access ebooks that are graphic novels.
Each year we try to think about experiences that we can offer the students in this project to support their development of their own stories. Sometimes we have a guest speaker come in and do some cartooning. However, this year I reached out Amy Cox and the wonderful people at Capstone Press. Amy connected me with Bob Lentz who works on graphic novels and Ashlee Suker who works on graphic nonfiction.
This dynamic duo put together a presentation to show our students how a graphic novel is put together from the beginning to the end. We got to see how the story is planned over a specific number of page layouts. We saw how text fits into the various boxes on each layout. From this text, we also got to see the instructions that are sent to an illustrator along with research links to inform the historical aspects of a nonfiction graphic.
Every page that Ashlee showed got several oohs and ahhhs from students. They loved to see how a character went from a thumbnail sketch to a full color character in the book. It was also interesting to see the initial attempt at creating a character and how that character changed. Sometimes the final character was a combination of several sketches put together.
Bob and Ashlee paused a lot along the way for students to ask questions. Some of their questions were about upcoming projects while others were about where ideas come from. I loved when students thought about specific questions that would help them with their own project. I also loved when Bob asked the students how many pages their graphic novels were going to be. Answers ranged from 12 pages to a full box set of several graphic novels!
Bob and Ashlee closed with a preview of upcoming Capstone titles for the fall. The students saw a lot of books that they want in our library. It was perfect timing because our student book budget group is about to start and graphic novels is once again a category that they will be purchasing books in. These 2nd graders are sending their recommendations to this group, and I’m sure we’ll see several Capstone graphic novels on our shelves soon. Thank you Capstone Press for being a continuing supporter of the programs we offer in our library. You are appreciated!