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Reading monitor

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Our requisite Google patrol often turns up many reports on comics and literacy…it’s not really worth linking to them all, but once in a while it’s worth looking at the familiar pattern.

To start with, the Christian Science Monitor looks at those darn comics-loving tweeners:

In fact, over the past five years, “tweens” – kids between ages 8 and 12 – have become a major market for the full-length comic books, previously sold mainly to teenagers and adults.

Young children are snapping up everything from superhero compilations and fantasy stories to adaptations of classics such as “Moby Dick.” Modern books including the “Goosebumps” and “The Baby-sitters Club” series are getting graphic makeovers, too.

Not everyone is impressed by graphic novels. Some teachers refuse to assign them to their students, claiming they aren’t challenging to read. But many librarians and teachers stand by the books.


And no sooner is that written than EastBayRI.com looks at all the problems teens have reading and points to comics as the salvation:

With an increasing number of distractions — iPods, cell phones, Xboxes — eating into teenagers’ reading time, it’s more important than ever that books remain compelling to this fickle age group. Teachers have the upper hand in selecting books for older children’s reading lists, but parents have it tougher. After picture books and then chapter books, the world of teen literature — undergoing an explosion in recent years — is a murkier field. But Bri Johnson, the young adult library at the Barrington Public Library, says parents should let teens find their own way.

Ms. Johnson said lots of parents come to her in hopes of turning their kids way from science fiction and fantasy, which is a tremendously popular genre among teens. “But that genre can deal with incredibly complex themes — good and evil,” she said. “There are epic things going on. They’re figuring out how the world works. You should read what you gravitate toward.”

Even graphic novels shouldn’t be dismissed, she said. “My stepmother is a (high school) English teacher in Vermont,” said Ms. Johnson. “The very last book she taught in her class was a graphic novel, ‘Persepolis,’ which had been recommended to her by another teacher. She was not looking forward to it and she was not drawn to it. But she’s very open minded and she ended up have a really good unit.”


Represent, Bri Johnson! Once again, it’s shown that librarians are comics’ greatest ally ever in conquering the world.

  1. FROM THE CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR:

    “Ghost World” by Daniel Clewes (1997). This mature tale about disaffected teenage girls captivated reviewers with its realism and heart.

    …that’s how I’m pronouncing it from now on.

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