Tricksters and Graphic Novels

I've started a new module on Graphic Novels (what we're calling Graphic Narratives, as they tend to trickle down into picture books too) this semester in the MFA in Children's Book Writing and Illustrating program at Hollins University. For the module, I checked out nearly every graphic novel the Hollins Library owned to share with our students.
     I'm reading the novels right along with the students, and I've discovered a wonderful irony. Tricksters were waiting for me in Graphic Novels! Who knew!? I certainly don't have a comprehensive awareness of GNs yet, so to find so many tricksters in the few I do know, implies I may have stumbled onto a trend.
     For instance, in the Printz-winning American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang, the story revolves around the Monkey King (a Chinese Trickster), shape changing and wreaking havoc in the life of a young boy.
     In Noelle Stevenson's Nimona, the main character is a shape-shifting girl who craves making trouble.
     And of course, there are the straight out trickster stories, like Ben Hatke's Mighty Jack series - his adaptation of the Jack Tales.
      I added a sign-up sheet for students to rate their interest level from 1 to 5. So far, we've received all 5's and a few 6's! So, I'm happy to say, we'll be growing this focus on Graphic Novels and Narratives for our students. In fact, one of my current students is working on a GN adaptation of Little Red Riding Hood this very semester. And it is awesome!

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