This book, however, is the story of Bill Finger, the uncelebrated man behind the creation of the Batman comics and who was never given credit or proper compensation for his work. Even though the idea of Batman originated with Bob Kane, the vision of who Batman became, as well as the subsequent writing, was done by Bill Finger.
Marc Nobleman has written an important story in Bill the Boy Wonder, not just for fans comics, but also as a lesson in giving credit where credit is due. I'm
so grateful Katherine Sokolowski alerted me to this book in her
presentation on building relationships at nErDcampMI, otherwise I'm sure I never would have read it. As someone who is not a fan of comics, why would I? But this book is so much more than a biography about a comic book creator. Bill the Boy Wonder
is a perfect catalyst for talking with students about being gracious and
fair, and a great question Katherine asks her students when conflict
arises is, "Are you being a Bill or are you being a Bob?" It doesn't get more simple and impactful for students than that.
Not only does this book speak to lessons in doing the right thing, but it is also peppered with writing inspiration as well. I particularly love that Bill "recorded stray facts -- the boiling point of mercury, the Chinese character for virtue, what happens when a dog's nose gets cold -- in what he called his 'gimmick book.' He routinely skimmed it for a spark that might ignite a story." Given the importance of building community and using a writer's notebook in my classroom, Bill the Boy Wonder is a book I will be sharing with my students at the start of the school year and one that I have a feeling we will reference often, just like Katherine does.
Ty Templeton's illustrations in this picture book are very true to a comic book style and will draw in readers who are lovers of all those original vintage DC comic books, which makes Bill the Boy Wonder a perfect picture book for middle grade and young adult rather than primary readers.
I will definitely be purchasing my own copy for my classroom and I encourage any teacher looking to work on building community and better classroom dynamic to also give this book a try.
Bill the Boy Wonder: The Secret Co-Creator of Batman by Marc Tyler Nobleman, illustrated by Ty Templeton
Published: July 1, 2012
Genre: Picture Book Biography
Audience: Middle Grade/Young Adult
Disclosure: Library Copy
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