Graphic novels are some of the most popular stories for young readers, and graphic nonfiction is no exception. Today we visit the 5 Kinds of Nonfiction with author Blake Hoena. His most recent graphic novel series, Athletes Who Made a Difference, follows four legendary sports heroes from their early years to pro careers. Through grit, leadership, and resistance these individuals were able to change the world around them. Read on to discover how the graphic novel format is perfect for these athletes’ stories and to learn more about Narrative Nonfiction.
Listen to Blake speak about writing graphic novels!
Titles in this series
This graphic biography traces Colin Kaepernick’s road from young sports standout to athlete and activist. As Kaepernick protested violence against African Americans, he lost his career in football but gained a voice heard worldwide.
In an era of discrimination, Jackie Robinson broke Major League Baseball’s race barrier. Facing harassment, he stayed focused on the game, becoming the MLB Rookie of the Year in 1947 and later a baseball legend.
Jesse Owens smashed records throughout his track and field career. In 1936, he made history at the Olympic Games in Berlin, Germany. Owens won four gold medals, combating Adolf Hitler’s message of Nazi superiority.
Serena Williams has amazed tennis fans with her talent and spoken out against racism and sexism in the tennis world. She has also become a role model for a new generation of tennis players.
Praise for Athletes Who Made a Difference
“[B]alances biography and sports in a way that will interest all readers . . .”—Kirkus Reviews
“This was a really good graphic novel. It took place in a darker time in this country’s history, when discrimination was still very prevalent. Hearing one man take these challenges head on was truly inspiring. No matter how rough things got, they refused to let it stop them from playing a game they loved. As this tale comes to a close, we hear about other people who got to play this game thanks to this person. If you are a fan of Jackie Robinson then this is a graphic novel you will want to check out.” -NETGALLEY REVIEWER Jay Snook, The Good Men Project
“Jackie Robinson by Blake Hoena is a professionally-crafted, visually appealing graphic novel that is well organized and delivers a powerful story. Just the kind of book that is welcome in classroom and school libraries. A very well done text.” -NETGALLEY REVIEWER Dr J Reads
Narrative Nonfiction is a category of Melissa Stewart’s Five Kinds of Nonfiction. This post is part of a weekly series of guest articles by nonfiction authors about their craft, their process, and their amazing books. Stay tuned each week to learn more by visiting the 5 Kinds of Nonfiction page for poster and flyer downloads, curated booklists and more. You can also follow the Lerner Blog’s 5 Kinds of Nonfiction series, or the hashtag #5KNF on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.