All Ages

Monday, October 31, 2005

Graphic novels, parents & teachers

There's been two instances in the past few days that I've had contact with people who were involved some way in promoting graphic novels to kids through the educational system.

I received a call on Thursday from an enthusiastic parent who wanted to talk to me more about graphic novels for kids. Her daughter had bought a copy YOTSUBA&! from Scholastic Book Clubs and completely engrossed in it. The parent remarked to me that admittedly had no prior knowledge to comics or graphic novels but was so happy to see her daughter enthusiastic for reading. And now the little girl was planning on doing her own comic and planned on formatting it in the traditional Japanese style, read left to right. She's 10 years old.

I also received an email from Scott Tingley, a grade 1 teacher who has recently launched a website called Comics in the Classroom, dedicated to bringing knowledge to parents and teachers about great comics for kids. The site will eventually feature reviews, related articles, community projects, lesson plans and more.

With this sudden surge of people realizing the value of comics at the educational level, I felt it was a good time to bring attention to a pamphlet that Scholastic published about a month ago called Using Graphic Novels in the Classroom. This is the perfect primer for any teacher who is thinking of introducing graphic novels into their curriculum and for any parent who unsure of the value and suitability of graphic novels for their children.


The two main contributors here are Philip Crawford, Library Director for Essex Junction High School in Vermont and Stephen Weinder, Director of the Maynard Public Library in Maynard, Massachusetts -- both are highly regarded as experts in the field of graphic novels for youth librarians and teachers. Topics in the pamphlet include overview of graphic novels (what they are, are they suitable for kids, lists of recommended titles), why graphic novels are good in the classroom (how they promote literacy and enhance the curriculum, etc.), an introduction of BONE along with number of hands-on classroom activities.

I'm not sure how widespread this pamphlet is, but I highly recommend it. If you want a copy please visit Scholastic's website or email me at and I will track down a copy for you.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

What are you doing on Saturday?

My friend Chris Butcher of The Beguiling and, in conjunction with the Toronto Public Library, is putting on the first of hopefully many events bringing young readers and graphic novels together. Whether you're an aspiring graphic novelist or a fan of video games, manga or superheroes, this will be a lot of fun.