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School Library Research

Drawing Diversity: Representations of Race in Graphic Novels for Young Adults



In light of the recent focus on diversity in books for youth as exemplified by movements such as “We Need Diverse Books” and “Reading Without Walls,” the authors sought to understand how race is depicted in graphic novels for teens. A textual analysis was conducted on a sample of books from the Young Adult Library Services Association’s 2015 “Great Graphic Novels for Teens” booklist to answer the questions: How many people of color are depicted in the sample of graphic novels? How are people of color characterized as main character, supporting character, or background characters? What are the races of the authors and illustrators of these graphic novels? Analysis of the data suggests a higher-than-expected number of characters who are people of color are depicted in this sample of graphic novels, and that those characters often play central or significant supporting roles. The researchers also found that this sample of graphic novels was, for the most part, produced by white authors and illustrators.

Board approved: February 2018


Tags: Free SLR

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