Does Your Library Carry Las Novelas Gráficas?

Does Your Library Carry

Over the last decade, graphic novels have gained in popularity and are now widely considered an essential component of almost any library's collection. Beyond graphic novels in general gaining recognition, librarians have been clamoring for expanded Spanish graphic novel collections. There are two main audiences driving the increased demand for Spanish language graphic novels: Spanish-speaking library patrons and students learning Spanish (or, more precisely, teachers trying to encourage students who are learning Spanish).

So why are Spanish graphic novels so important to a library’s collection? Graphic novels, whether in English or Spanish, have high appeal because these types of books are fun to read and encourage literacy. Spanish-speaking patrons are picking up (and checking out) graphic novels in their native language. One librarian mentioned to me that while some children from bilingual families may speak English outside of the home, they still prefer reading in their native language and may also share their reading material with their parents. Graphic novels translated from English to Spanish can provide immigrants with valuable insights into their adopted culture. 

Spanish graphic novels are beneficial for students learning Spanish because there are numerous visual aids that provide hints to the plot of the story and aid in comprehension. The dramatic illustrations grab readers’ attention, pulling them in. With the help of such visual cues, students are more apt to absorb and retain vocabulary better. Reluctant readers are also more inclined to pick up a graphic novel because the exciting illustrations and small amounts of text provide a sense of accomplishment when finished, building the reader’s confidence.

Demographically speaking, the demand for Spanish language graphic novels has increased because there are more Spanish-speaking people in the US than there have ever been before. Hispanics accounted for 18% of the nation’s population in 2016, according to the Pew Research Center. Not surprisingly, libraries across the country have more Spanish speaking patrons requesting reading material.

In addition, immersion programs have gained momentum in urban areas with diverse populations. One of Brodart's customers recently noticed that more children whose first language is English are checking out graphic novels in Spanish. They may be in immersion programs and feel comfortable reading in Spanish — doing so for pleasure, not necessarily for classwork. It stands to reason that demand for Spanish graphic novels will also continue to grow.

With the skyrocketing demand for Spanish graphic novels, publishers are doing their best to keep up with new titles. There are many children’s and YA popular titles in translation, such as Raina Telgemeier's books, the Hombre Perro (Dog Man) series, and the Rick Riordan graphic novel adaptations of his novels, to name a few. Also there are Spanish editions of some adult graphic novels and graphic nonfiction. Some of the well-known publishers and distributors actively acquiring and promoting Spanish graphic novels include Lectorum, Spanish Publishers, Penguin Random House, Scholastic, IPG, and Stone Arch Books. The one area lacking in Spanish graphic novels, however, is superheroes. Marvel and DC do not currently have Spanish translations available to customers in the United States.

Booklist announced through ALA News that July 2019 is Graphic Novels in Libraries Month. Suffice it to say, when a highly recognized and accredited journal deems an entire month should be dedicated to graphic novels, their importance should not be ignored.

Demand for such titles continues to grow. Brodart’s experts in Spanish and graphic novels provide ample lists and sources to meet that need. Browsing our website, you can use the list Recommended Spanish Graphic Novels - All Ages  to place orders on popular titles endorsed by Kat Kan, our Graphic Novel Specialist. In addition to this list, all available Spanish graphic novels can be found in Bibz by using “Sources” under the “Databases & Resource Lists” section of the Search tab. Selecting Brodart’s Graphic Novels: Spanish will display all available graphic novels in Spanish.  Spanish graphic novels can also be found in our monthly free Spanish Silver TIPS lists.

You can also look for these recent and upcoming popular titles:
Cloey su unicornio (8-12), by Dana Simpson
Jugada doble (8-12), by Jake Maddox
Las vidas que dibujamos (Adult), by 72 Kilos
Lenadoras vol. 7 (10-14), by Shannon Watters
Reckless Life: Guns n’ Roses (Adult), by Jim McCarthy