Picture This: Using Graphic Novels to Explore Social Justice Issues with Young Adults.

Document Type


Subject Area(s)

graphic novels, social justice issues, school library collections


Graphic novels are a major phenomenon in the reading lives of today’s youth, but educators may not be aware of the benefits of using them to teach challenging social justice issues. Further, the duality of text and illustrations in this unique visual format make them accessible to a variety of learners. This article presents a selective research- and standards-based overview of the ways in which graphic novels can be used with secondary students to explore important social justice issues related to race, immigration, sexual orientation, and mental health issues such as those associated with eating disorders. A list of recommended resources, including websites, review sources, award lists, and exemplary social justice graphic novels, are provided to help guide effective instruction and collection development decisions by teacher librarians and classroom teachers.

APA Citation

Garrison, K. L., & Gavigan, K. (2019). Picture this: using graphic novels to explore social justice issues with young adults. Teacher Librarian, 46(3), 8–12.