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Dual Pathways to Expression and Understanding: Canadian Coming-of-Age Graphic Novels

Abstract

In this article, the authors examine three Canadian coming-of-age stories, written as graphic novels, and pay particular attention to how the images and print text come together in the telling of the narrative. This approach reinforces the notion that form and content cannot be separated in this medium. Drawing on examples from each of the graphic novels and the interviews with the graphic novelists who wrote them, the article explores the complexity of the coming-of-age theme in each graphic novel, as well as how print text and image converge to make meaning.

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Correspondence to Alyson E. King.

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Janette Hughes is an assistant professor in the Faculty of Education. Currently, Dr. Hughes is primarily focused on two SSHRC-funded projects. Students, Poetry, and New Media explore/show how the performative affordances of new media interact with students’ creative processes, specifically how students’ poetic thinking gets restructured and reorganized as they use new media to create digital poems. In the second project, Students as Performance Mathematicians, we consider parallels between the arts and mathematics: between what makes for “a favourite book or movie” and what makes for “a favourite math idea or activity.” It also leads us to look to the performing arts to understand students’ repertoires for organizing and expressing the mathematical ideas they seek to communicate to one another and to their worlds outside of the classroom. Additional research projects focus on critical literacy through new media, graphic novels in the classroom, using wikis to teach reading and writing, and children’s discourses in virtual play sites like Club Penguin and Webkinz World.

Alyson King is a lecturer in the Communication program, Faculty of Criminology, Justice and Policy Studies. Dr. King’s current research project explores how children, adolescents, and young adults read and understand non-fiction graphic novels/texts. Dr. King is also working on an online resource to help students develop the basic writing and math skills needed for university. This project is under development at NOOL.ca. In another project, Dr. King is examining how children learn and play in on-line virtual worlds such as Webkinz World. Other research interests include the history of women and higher education, the role of science, technology and education in creating a modern Canada, and the history of educational technologies.

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Hughes, J., King, A.E. Dual Pathways to Expression and Understanding: Canadian Coming-of-Age Graphic Novels. Child Lit Educ 41, 64–84 (2010). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10583-009-9098-8

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Keywords

  • Canadian graphic novels
  • Coming-of-age
  • Text and image
  • Multiliteracies
  • Multi-modal