Nine Classics Re-imagined as Graphic Novels

It’s back to school time. Time for pencils, backpacks, homework and… classic literature. Not only are the classics often assigned for school reading, but many of us return to them again and again for our own personal enjoyment.  These classic titles hold enduring appeal for their memorable characters, universal themes, and excellent prose.  Many classic works have also been turned into a plethora of adaptations for film, television, radio and more.  The past few years have given rise to a new type of adaption: graphic novels. 

The graphic novel format offers a fresh and beautiful way for new and experienced generations of readers to fall in love (or fall in love again) with some of these most beloved and enduring classics.   By pairing stunning imagery with cherished characters and stories, the authors and illustrators responsible for adapting these classic often do so in a way that reflects their deep love and understanding of the literature.  So whether you’ve read your favorite classics at least twenty times, or it’s you’re first time experiencing the classics, check out these graphic novel adaptions of classics available at STPL.  They may just help you look at the titles on that school reading list with new eyes.

Nine Classics Reimagined as Graphic Novels

This list includes classic children's books as well as classic texts often found on teens' high school reading lists, which have been adapted into graphic novels.

This graphic novel adaption sparkles with color, and Anne's spirit shines forth on every page. Although abridged, nothing of the story is lost in this vivid retelling of the beloved classic.

This graphic novel adaptation of Madeline L'Engle's classic is not to be missed! In 50 years of publication, the book has never been illustrated before. Now, Hope Larson's beautiful illustrations add richness and depth to this beloved story. Follow Meg Murray, her brother Charles Wallace, and their friend Calvin on an inter-dimensional journey through space and time to save their father--and the universe--from the forces of darkness.

Antoine Saint-Exupéry’s original story has been cherished by countless children and adults. Sfar's adaptation does justice to the original, preserving all of its charm and depth, but the graphic novel updates the language for a modern generation.

While newer than many other titles on this list, this work by Phillip Pullman can easily be considered a modern classic. The graphic novel weaves together words and illustrations to transport readers to the story's magical time and place.

In this first graphic novel adaption of Anne Frank's Diary, the author and illustrator deftly weave together direct quotations from the original diary with imagery that beautifully demonstrates Anne Frank's strength of character and humanity in the face of horror and tragedy. This adaption of the diary tells her story in a way that is accessible and relatable to older children and teens.

Louisa May Alcott's Little Women is arguably one of the most adapted classics of all time. This graphic novel retelling preserves the original characters' personalities, but the story is set in current times. The characters face challenges and circumstances relevant to modern youth, including issues of race, identity, illness, and family.

Lois Lowry's classic, The Giver, is especially well-suited to retelling as a graphic novel. The main character, Jonas, begins life in a world devoid of color and love and pain. Russell's artwork likewise starts out as being muted and grey, but as these elements are introduced to the story, they also creep into the images in brief, colorful glimpses. The illustrations add depth and emotional impact to an already gripping tale.

This intense, visually detailed rendition contains all of the action and emotion of the ancient tale, but the images demonstrate what is sometimes difficult for readers to grasp in the old English translations. This graphic novel is a good introduction to the epic tale, but the imagery may too intense for some young readers.

This adaptation is faithful to the original, drawing its text directly from the source material, and using the illustrations carefully and thoughtfully to add emotional impact to the situations and injustices described in the story.

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