In addition to my editor pitching in with guest posts this month while I work on my second book, my bookish, third-grade son wanted to run a post here at RedWhiteandGrew.com this fall. Below is his short virtual interview with Josh Elder (@JoshElder) of the non-profit ReadingWithPictures.org about his 2014 graphic novel Reading with Pictures: Comics That Make Kids Smarter * (Andrews McMeel Publishing).
From the book’s promo material:
Reading With Pictures: Comics That Make Kids Smarter unites the finest creative talents in the comics industry with the nation’s leading experts in visual literacy to create a game-changing tool for the classroom and beyond. This full-color volume features more than a dozen short stories (both fiction and nonfiction) that address topics in Social Studies, Math, Language Arts, and Science, while offering an immersive textual and visual experience that kids will enjoy.
Let me say, as a parent, that Elder et al‘s book was a big hit here, and the kid and I are both looking forward to reading similar graphic novels. We also agree that this volume is exactly the sort of engaging blend of learning and fun that works well in a home learning environment, be it “homeschool” or “after school.” It’d also be a great tool around which to build a co-op or homeschool class, too, for a range of ages. (The book is recommended for ages 7 to 12 and that seems accurate to me.)
But I digress. Time for the interview–and thanks to Josh Elder for being receptive to letting a kid come up with his own questions!
Q: My favorite comics in the book were “Zone V: Finding Ivy” and “Probamon!” My mom liked the one about George Washington and the ad for “Squirrels vs. Birds” the best. Which comic in the book is your favorite–and why?
Josh: You both made some excellent choices! For me, it’s a toss-up between “Action Presidents” and “Albert the Alien.” “Action Presidents” makes the list because it squeezes a positively ginormous amount of information into a very small space, making it all fun and memorable in the process. “Albert the Alien” gets a nod because it uses the comics format to demonstrate a literay concept (simile/metaphor) that can be very difficult to teach using only text. It really takes advantage of the format to teach the material in a fun and effective way.
Q: Are any of these comics supposed to be “just for boys” or “just for girls”? Why or why not? [Editor‘s note: the “interviewer” is very big on books being for “everyone.”]
Josh: Absolutely not! We want all our comics to be for everyone. Now, will some be more popular with boys than with girls and vice versa? Almost certainly so, but we work hard to make sure that everyone can enjoy all our comics on some level.
Q: Are you going to continue with each comic in the book? When and where?
Josh: Many of the comics featured in Comics That Make Kids Smarter either came from existing series or are the launching pads for new ones. For instance: My “Mail Order Ninja” story is part of a series originally published by TOKYOPOP with a revival in the works at Andrews McMeel Publishing. “Albert the Alien” is a webcomic series currently featured on thrillbent.com. “Action Presidents” is being pitched around to numerous publishers. “G-Man” is an ongoing comic series and illustrated novel series.
* * *
Thanks again, Josh! I hope folks take a look at your book. (Hint: it might make a nifty gift.)
And welcome, kid of mine, to professional blogging. Now kindly go practice your times tables. (Just kidding!)