Graphic Novels

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Brodart's collection development specialists take the following factors into consideration when selecting items for graphic novel collections:

Clarity and readability
Journal reviews and popular publications  
Availability and suitability of physical format
Age rating
Accuracy and authenticity
Literary merit
Current and historical significance
Author, illustrator, and/or publisher reputation

Age Ratings

Katharine “Kat” Kan, a Brodart collection development librarian and recognized expert in the field, applies Brodart age ratings to graphic novels as described in the following sections.  Kidsafe guidelines are general, apply to “average” elementary, middle, and high schools, and should be used in addition to the more general guidelines for selecting graphic novels. Learn more

Cataloging & Processing

What about cataloging?
Dewey: standard call number of 741.5
LC: PN2000s
Specialized call numbers: For example, COMICS GRAPHICS for comic strips and graphic novels
Should a nonfiction graphic novel get the 741.5 call number or one for the subject matter, such as 576.8 for Jay Hosler's Evolution: The Story of Life on Earth? If you have a smaller collection and think it makes more sense to keep all graphic novels together, catalog them with the standard 741.5. If you have a larger collection, or if you think the nonfiction graphic books will be better served in their subject areas, then catalog them with the appropriate Dewey numbers.
What about processing?

Brodart provides a full range of processing options for graphic novels. Learn more

Extend the life of paperback graphic novels by rebinding paperbacks into hardcovers with BrodartConvert.  Paperback transforms to hardcover for little more than the cost of a paperback.  The process uses the original paper cover of books at least ¼” thick, laminated onto heavy binder board and rebound with strong, permanently flexible glue.  Also available is the option to reinforce paperbacks with BrodartGuard.  Learn more

How should you shelve and display graphic novels?

With other nonfiction books in Dewey order. This allows for browsing in the broader nonfiction areas. Pull them from general nonfiction and put them on their own shelf or display space. The more visible the books are, the more people will find and borrow them.

Kat Kan
Kat Kan Biography

Brodart is proud to partner with Kat Kan to deliver quality selection lists of graphic materials. Popular series, classics, mainstream, and unique, Kat has her eye on them. Graphic novels continue to gain in popularity and are a growing segment of libraries’ collections.

Katharine "Kat" Kan has been reading comics for more than 50 years, ever since she learned to read. She earned her B.A. (1977) and M.L.S. (1981) at the University of Hawaii-Manoa. She has worked as a children's and then a young adult librarian for public libraries in Hawaii and Indiana, and she is now a part-time librarian in a PreK through gr. 8 school in the Florida Panhandle.

Kat chaired the YALSA task force that created the Great Graphic Novels for Teens List, and she has edited Graphic Novels and Comic Books published by H.W. Wilson; she has written about graphic novels in libraries since 1994, most for Voice of Youth Advocates (VOYA). She also reviews graphic novels for VOYA and for Booklist. Click here for an article on Kat from the February, 2019 issue of VOYA Magazine.

In 2012 Kat joined the Board of Directors of Reading With Pictures, a nonprofit organization that "advocates the use of comics in the classroom to promote literacy and improve educational outcomes for all students." She currently works as a Collection Development Selector for Brodart Books & Library Services. In her "spare" time, she cosplays (mostly Doctor Who and Star Trek), presents workshops about graphic novels for libraries and continues her quest to indoctrinate all of her students in the joys of reading graphic novels.

According to Kat, "graphic novels belong in libraries and schools because they should always be part of the whole reading mix, just like any other kind of book. I grew up reading comics, classics, history, biography, the World Book Encyclopedia, and all kinds of genre fiction. When you read a graphic novel, you need to read the art as well as the text, so your whole brain gets a total workout."

Recommended Lists 

Children & Tween

Best Graphic Novels for Pre-K - K
Best Graphic Novels for Children
Essential Manga for Children and Tweens
Essential KidSafe Graphic Novel Series for Children
Essential KidSafe Graphic Novel Series for Tweens
Best Illustrated Novels

Young Adult

Best Graphic Novels for Young Adults
Best KidSafe Graphic Novels for Young Adults
Essential Graphic Novel Series for Young Adults
Essential Manga for Young Adults
Essential KidSafe Manga for Young Adults
Essential KidSafe Graphic Novel Series for Young Adults


Best Graphic Novels for Adults
Essential Manga for Adults
Essential Graphic Novel Series for Adults


Recommended Spanish Graphic Novels - All Ages

Helpful Resources