Comics - normalize it for kids!
Thought I'd share this with you guys -- at Book Expo America in June, I picked up a small promo pamphlet for Candlewick's new kids book series called STINK, written by Megan McDonald. STINK is the younger brother of JUDY MOODY, another series that McDonald writes.
The pamphlet here (also downloadable off of the Judy Moody website) is essentially how-to- guide in making your own comics. McDonald, who is a comics fan and a big supporter of Jimmy Gownley's AMELIA RULES, represents the latest way of introducing kids to comics -- she's a comics mole. Jeff Smith explained this concept to me this year in San Diego -- there are now vocal comics fans hiding in every industry waiting to promote the medium in their field -- from magazine columnists to movie producers and librarians to booksellers. McDonald along with others like Dav Pilkey (Captain Underpants), Mo Willems (Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus) and Jon Scieszka (The Stinky Cheese Man) represent the growing number children's book creators who are making comics a part of their stories. In a sense they are reminding kids about comics again but in an entirely non-stigmatized sort of way. I've always said that kids don't like comics, they just forgot about them. McDonald and even Pilkey in this case are not only putting comics in front of kids faces again but they are both encouraging them to create their own. This is not only the start of a brand new generation of comics readers, but creators also -- it's almost the birth of a North American dojinshi culture.
Expect a lot more moles to pop up in the children's book industry as comics creators make periodic jumps into children's books. Sara Varon (Sweaterweather) has a kid's book coming out from Scholastic in the Spring called CHICKEN AND CAT. Both Rainy Dohaney (also known to most comics fans as Renee French) and Dave Cooper both have new books just over the publishing horizon.