by admin

TWO YEARS AGO, LIBRARIAN MICHELE GORMAN’S ARTICLE in School Library Journal about comics for young children was summarized thus in ERIC, the government database used by “education researchers, teachers, librarians, administrators, education policymakers, instructors and students in teacher-preparation programs, parents, the media and business communities, and the general public.”

“After years of fighting for shelf space in libraries and classrooms, graphic novels have finally become an acceptable alternative to their prose-packed counterparts–and kids can’t seem to get enough of them. For that matter, neither can grown-ups. In 2006, U.S. consumers dropped an estimated $330 million on graphic novels and comics, with librarians accounting for about 10 percent, or $33 million, of those purchases. Publishers have taken advantage of the format’s rock-star status by launching special imprints–such as TOON Books, the new imprint from Raw Comics, published by “New Yorker” magazine art editor Francoise Mouly and Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist Art Spiegelman–that feature developmentally appropriate comics for the pre-K-6 crowd. That means graphic novels are now addressing important personal and social issues like the power of imagination, being true to one’s self, the benefits of teamwork, and how to cope with divorce and bullying. Teachers and librarians are also beginning to realize that these books are perfect for young readers who are making the transition from picture books to text-only titles. And with graphic novels’ hypnotic power to pull kids into a story, they’re also perfect for promoting recreational or free voluntary reading–one of the most effective ways to increase literacy and create lifelong readers.”

And now, ERIC cross-references the above abstract with a recent article by educator Peter Gutierrez, also from School Library Journal, entitled:Good & Plenty: It Used to Be Hard to Find Good Graphic Novels for the K-4 Crowd. My, How Times Have Changed,” which prominently features (you guessed it!) the TOON Books!

From our point of view, as more and more parents discover how much young children love comics and books in general, the future of print looks rosy.

Share on Facebook

Post to Twitter

0 comments [+] / Uncategorized

by admin

Susan M. Veltfort, the chair of the Geisel committee, came over to meet us at the RAW Junior office (once her formidable research skills allowed her to find us.) We hosted a lunch to celebrate our sweep of the awards given “to the author and illustrator of the most distinguished American book for beginning readers published in English in the United States during the preceding year.” In attendance were, left to right: (seated) Françoise Mouly and Susan M. Veltfort; (standing) Geoffrey Hayes, Michael Rockliff, Leonard Marcus, Leigh Stein, Jon Scieszka and Trade Loeffler; (photo) Iru B.

While Susan could not talk about the committee’s deliberations, she could tell us her opinions of the TOON Books. She’s also hugely knowledgeable and the selection librarian for a large and well-funded library system in Washington State, so we were all ears.

Susan talked about how well the Geisel Award winner, Geoffrey Hayes’ The Big No-No!, holds up when you dissect it with careful scrutiny. She appreciated the way the story and the words are perfectly suited for beginning readers or for older ‘reluctant’ readers. She loved the fact that the story starts out on the cover and draws the reader in. She pointed out how the title page echoes a ‘hole in the fence’ motif that recurs through the book. She noted that a TOON Book carefully blends easy and difficult words, that the harder words are made clear visually, and that it involves a lot of repetition, a thrill for the young reader. She appreciated the way the soft palette (done in colored pencils) underscores the mice’s gentle personalities. Susan also mentioned that, while the twist ending in Geisel Honor Book Little Mouse Gets Ready by Jeff Smith (of Bone fame) defies reality, she kept in mind that mice don’t ‘really’ talk. She talked about how the TOON Books expand what’s possible for beginning readers. Her committee’s awards greatly expand what’s possible for the TOON Books, so we could only chime in with a love fest of mutual appreciation.

Share on Facebook

Post to Twitter

0 comments [+] / Uncategorized

by admin



Our raffle entrants really know how to make a publishing house blush. Esther Frazee of Tenacre Country Day school says, “You have provided so many of the first/second graders I teach with fun books. You are making them love reading. I teach pK-6 and many parents come in to say ‘thank you’ when I send home a TOON book with their child.”

Lucie Dubuc of St. John’s School adds, “I read Stinky and I’m in love with him! I want to offer all the series to the students in my library.”

We are still reeling over the news from the ALA Midwinter Meeting and wish to express our deepest gratitude to the gatekeepers of children’s literacy by extending our TOON Books Raffle. Best of luck and thank you for your continued love and support!

Share on Facebook

Post to Twitter

0 comments [+] / Uncategorized

by admin

We’ve seen that librarians have been at the vanguard of the “comics for kids” revolution, while the medium’s self-styled experts lag far behind, not quite understanding which comics actually appeal to today’s kids.

Our allies in the fight for good comics for kids recently asked, Are all comics for kids? Esther Keller notes, “…the problem, in my opinion, is that the perception is that if it’s a comic, it’s for kids. And that’s just not true. Those of us who are avid readers of comics know that there are comics for kids and comics for teens and comics for adults. The casual reader or the person who just knows they exist and doesn’t care to read them probably doesn’t realize the distinction.”

Her co-blogger Kate concludes, “I’d love to see more publishers follow the example set by Toon Books; the editors worked with educational specialists to ensure that their scripts were suitable for beginning reader.”

Thanks, Kate!

And to show our support for our librarian allies and celebrate the ALA Midwinter meeting in Boston, TOON Books is pleased to announce a raffle!

IT’S FREE FOR LIBRARIANS TO ENTER now at TOON-BOOKS.COM/RAFFLE.PHP

Lucky winners will receive a set of books of their choice for their library, as well as an advance copy of Zig and Wikki in “Something Ate My Homework,” the FIRST science-based easy-to-read comic!

Share on Facebook

Post to Twitter

0 comments [+] / Uncategorized

by admin

The Graphic Classroom, one of our faves and a great resource for teachers and librarians interested in comics, makes the wise suggestion of using graphic fiction as a perfect tool for read alouds! Here’s what Chris Wilson has to say about our superhero easy reader, Mo and Jo:

I have used several Toon Books with Kindergartener, first and second graders, including MO AND JO. The students loved how the two siblings fight, fight, fight, but then come together in the end. Such experiences resonate with children who have brothers or sisters. They understand and can relate and it is that relevance and attachment to literature that helps build strong ties to literature.

Do not be afraid to put kids in groups of two or three and have them do a shared reading. The students can each pick a character (which can include a narrator, human characters, creatures, animals, or inanimate objects) and read the book aloud, each reading his or her part at the appropriate time. It builds a sense of community – a shared literature experience – that is unique to comic literature.

Of course, as many of you know, Mo and Jo isn’t the only book that makes for great readers theater! Be sure to check out our lesson plan and activity sheet for Luke on the Loose by Harry Bliss, and maybe even watch our accompanying video of wild pigeon children.

Sarah, a fan and educator, says:

I just love the TOON Books series, and have used them with 1st and 2nd graders in a variety of ways this semester. They are a very motivating genre, especially for struggling readers. Further, it seems as if they are easier to comprehend as the text is mostly conversational speech and the illustrations hold a lot of information.

And now readers theater is something she can’t wait to try!

Share on Facebook

Post to Twitter

0 comments [+] / Uncategorized

RSS