While I was at San Diego Comic Con I had the opportunity to visit the FirstSecond booth. I was particularly impressed with their collection of grade school level graphic novels. After the convention, I had them send me copies of their most popular classroom series, which turned out to be Olympians by George O’Connor. They sent me three for review-Hera: The Goddess and Her Glory, Zeus: The King of the Gods, and Athena: Grey-Eyed Goddess.
There are some universal characteristics of these graphic novels that make them ideal for the grade school classroom. The panel structure is simply formatted and the art uncluttered allowing students to practice visual literacy skills with ease. Speech balloons and narrative boxes are placed for intuitive flow. Also each book has supporting author’s notes,discussion topics, a bibliography and recommended reading for young readers and older readers.
However, FirstSecond doesn’t just support teachers with the resources at the end of the book. They’ve created an entire website (www.olympiansrule.com) designed to support their series. In their link For Teachers, you’ll find teacher’s guides and reading group guidelines. Students will find information and activities to create opportunities to deepen understanding. One of my personal favorites is a link at the bottom of the page called Process. This allows students to see how Athena was drawn and how the books were written.
These graphic novels are a perfect supplement to any unit on Greek Mythology for the intermediate grades (4-6) as well as into middle school and high school. They can be used to engage reluctant readers and support ELL students with age appropriate vocabulary.