As a teacher, I have only just been immersing myself into the world of graphic novels for the past year or so. I didn't realize how much this genre has become such a pervasive part of the literary world, so to go to an event like Kids Read Comics is not just a fun experience, but it's also a way to further immerse and educate myself about this visual and literary art form.
The first session I went to was a Comics Quickdraw which is essentially like Whose Line is It Anyway meets Win, Lose, or Draw. Teams of four have to draw a four panel-comic and take suggestions from the audience for what they can draw. I went to one Comics Quickdraw on Saturday and another one on Sunday:
|Saturday's Epic Draw round|
|Sunday's Comics Quickfire with hosts Dave Roman and John Martin|
|Comics Quickfire participant introductions|
|The audience suggestion for this comic was Cheese Spray|
|And this one was The Bunny Apocalypse|
Another session I went to was a panel of graphic novelists and librarians discussing the importance of advocating for graphic novels in libraries, in the classroom, and in children's homes. The panel consisted of Scott Robins, author of A Parent's Guide to the Best Kids' Comics, Jim Ottaviani, author of many graphic novels, his most recent being Primates: The Fearless Science of Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey, and Biruté Galdikas, John Green, author/artist of Teen Boat!, and Rafael Rosado, artist of Giants Beware!
The last session I went to was the Kids Comics Revolution podcast with Dave Roman and Jerzy Drozd with guest panelists Scott Robins, Colby Sharp and Brian Wyzlic.
scaffold for them to learn those words better than they would have if they were just reading a prose novel. Heck, I'm only on page 38 of Giants Beware! and I've already come across these words: vile, valiant, odoriferous, shitake, sentient, vigilant, inclination, and thusly. So this perception that graphic novels are somehow lowbrow and less intelligent than prose novels is completely unfounded. They are developing greatly in their sophistication and authors are really creating some great writing to accompany the artwork. But let me be clear: graphic novels are not just something we should be recommending to struggling readers. We should be recommending them to ALL readers. These books are not something you give to reluctant and struggling readers and then ask them to graduate to prose novels once they've made appropriate progress. These are books for all readers to enjoy.
Speaking of Giants Beware! I had seen the cover of this book a few weeks ago and was immediately drawn to it due to the pug on the cover, as I have two of my own pugs. So when I saw that Rafael was at Kids Read Comics and they were selling copies of it, I just had to buy one. When I told Rafael why I wanted to read Giants Beware! he was gracious enough to draw Valiant the pug in my copy for me:
And of course, no Kids Read Comics event would be complete without a picture with one of my favorite graphic novelists, Raina Telgemeier, especially since I was rockin' the Smile t-shirt:
After the event, Brian Wyzlic, Scott Robins, Michael Lamore and I went to dinner at The Blue Nile, a fantastic Ethiopian place only a few blocks from the library.