Tag Archives: reading

Comics in the Classroom

13 Oct

Call them what you will—comic books, graphic novels, illustrated guides—but these formats are permeating the mainstream. On Monday, we posted a mini picture post from our adventures at New York Comic Con this past weekend, and you guys had plenty to say! The comments covered everything from comic books being just like TV and video games to comic books being a great gateway into reading. Just like any other medium, comics are both these things and many others.

We were lucky enough to attend a lecture given by Scott Westerfeld on Sunday. He spent a few minutes talking about how he decided to write a series of novels (the Leviathan trilogy) with illustrations, and reminded us that, historically, most novels were once illustrated. On the right, you’ll see illustrations from a late 18thcentury edition of Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility. He noted an edition of The War of the Worlds that heralded the illustrator’s name far larger than that of H.G. Wells! Illustrations are beginning to regain the reputation they lost for being just as legitimate as the words themselves.

Comic books aren’t comic books because of their content—they are comic books because of the heavy use of illustrations to denote action that interacts with the text. They can contain any type of story or information: Comic books can be about superheroes or space aliens, but they can also be about history (as with the Maus graphic novels) or science (as with The Secret Science Alliance and the Copycat Crook)! For some children, sequential art makes difficult concepts easier to grasp.

Elephant & Piggie, a series of beginning readers by award-winning illustrator Mo Willems, feature common comic-book styles while still using the repetitive text and illustrations classically used in the genre. Compare these illustrations below: On the top, you have Elephant & Piggie and underneath, you have a strip from Scholastic’s own middle-grade graphic novel series, Amulet. Both use sequential art and speech balloons while also containing positive themes that students can relate to…but one is a reader and one is a comic.

Books for older children are also embracing traditional comic-book characteristics. Did you know that Jeff Kinney actually started the ever-successful Diary of a Wimpy Kid as a Web comic? Now the very same series has kids thrilled about reading! It also deals with issues kids face every day: bullying, growing up, friendship—look how excited these kids were to get their copies of the fourth book, Dog Days.

Graphic novels, illustrated guides, comic books—however you want to refer to them—have evolved into an excellent reading tool. Many of them cover complex issues and concepts in an accessible design. Some of you noted that this format has aided students with learning disabilities, others mentioned that these books were a great way to get kids interested in reading. After reading your comments, we decided to put together a list of classroom-appropriate graphic novels that cover a variety of subjects. If you have any suggestions, definitely leave a comment! We’d love to see what books you use!

Ghostopolis | Tab October
Bone | October
Amulet | Teens September
Resistance | Teens September
Maus | Teens September
Diary of a Wimpy Kid | Pre-order #5
Calvin and Hobbes | Fall
Dork Diaries | Arrow October
Popularity Papers | Arrow September
Adventures of Ook and Gluk | Lucky September
Elephant & Piggie Pack | SeeSaw October

Reading at Home. Discuss.

10 Aug

Life these days is a whirlwind. You wake up, scramble to get everyone out the door for school, eat breakfast on your commute to work, make it through the work-day, pick up the kids, take them to their after-school activities, pick them up, make dinner, check your email, help the kids with their homework, and collapse into bed only to start the day all over again. Are we forgetting anything? Probably.

You may ask, during a day like this, who has time to read?

We all do.

Read Skippyjon Jones when you’re waiting for dinner to finish cooking. Ask your child to read Junie B. Jones at the counter with you as you all prep for the next day ahead. Snuggle in bed with Diary of a Wimpy Kid.  Make family time reading time, and you’ll all win.

Research has shown that reading at home for just 20 minutes every day can make a difference in your child’s life…so get on the reading train if you aren’t on it already.

What are your tips to make reading at home part of your family’s daily routine?

Happy 10th Birthday, Honeybee!

5 Aug

Put on your party clothes and take out the apple juice!  It’s time to celebrate Honeybee’s 10th anniversary!  Since 2000, this Book Club catalog for toddlers to fours has really grown up.

Back in 2000, Scholastic introduced Honeybee as a once-a-year catalog that would cater to the youngest children.  It was designed for caregivers who needed the perfect potty training book or the latest Karen Katz lift-the-flap.  We soon learned that these books are exactly what people were looking for; each time Honeybee was offered, its books would fly out of our warehouse.  It was all too clear that parents and teachers still wanted more… Continue reading

Better Than Chocolate! Yep, Book Clubs Are Back!

2 Aug

Do you all remember the joy in Charlie’s face when he found the Golden Ticket?  Well, that’s how I feel today, because Scholastic Book Clubs is officially open again. The early-bird teachers will start shopping online, and they will activate online ordering for their classrooms. Parents and kids will haggle over which books they will purchase.  The first boxes will soon be shipped to classrooms nationwide.  And kids across America get to be a part of the book box experience all over again.

But, wait! Continue reading

Ramona Quimby, on the Big Screen!

27 Jul

Ramona has been delighting readers for nearly half a century. It’s no surprise, then, that when the first movie based on Beverly Cleary’s beloved series is released, it’s Ramona—not her sister Beezus, or their friend, and first main character in the series, Henry Huggins— who gets top billing.  Ramona is a character that children find irresistible.  She’s daring and imaginative, a trouble-maker who’s misunderstood by her parents, her teachers, and especially by her older sister, Beezus.  When we meet Ramona in the new movie Ramona and Beezus (which released nationwide on Friday) she’s a precocious 9 and 3 month year old, whose best friend, Howie, lives next door.  She can’t seem to do anything right in the eyes of her teacher or her classmates and she’s known to throw tantrums and teach her baby sister how to stick out her tongue.  Basically, she’s much like a lot of little girls I know!

It’s for this reason that Beverly Cleary’s character is still so popular.  Ramona first appeared on the scene in 1955, but her antics are just as relatable today. It’s clear in the books, and in the movie, that Ramona is in the process of growing up, and is not quite ready to give up her childhood fantasies, something we can all relate to (even if I was more of an exasperated older sister like Beezus!)

The movie deftly combines several titles and story lines from the original series, and despite its name, actually deals mostly with one title, Ramona and Her Father.  The movie does touch on some tough issues, like Ramona’s father losing his job, her sister fumbling through her first real crush, and the possibility of having to move away from their childhood home.

All in all, it’s a movie that the whole family will enjoy, but it’s probably not suitable for children younger than seven due to its length, and the complexity of the plot.  Instead, I would recommend starting them on the series early – whether you read her aloud, or on your own, it will be very hard to resist smiling at the antics of this extraordinary little girl.

**Want to read more?  The original Beezus and Ramona with a new movie cover will be available from Book Clubs the first week of August!

Also, be sure to check out this Today Show interview with a quote from Scholastic Book Clubs President, Judy Newman, and a piece by our very own Scholastic Kid Reporter, Grace Choi, who visited the set of Ramona and Beezus a year ago!

Summer of Hunger Games: Mockingjay Pin Give-Away!

26 Jul

So begins the Summer of Hunger Games!

If you have not started reading already, get on it. We will being discussing parts I and II on Friday. And to get your hunger going, we are going to kick things off today by giving away two Mockingjay Pins. Yay! These pins are exclusive to Scholastic Book Clubs so they are pretty rare. To enter, just comment on this post and be sure to include this phrase in your comment: “I want a Book Clubs Mockingjay pin!”

In addition to the pin, each of the two winners will receive a paperback copy of the Hunger Games to get started on the Summer of Hunger Games. If you already have a copy, you can give it to a friend! I’m sure they won’t mind!

You will have until tomorrow July 27th, 2010 at 12pm EST to enter. We will draw two (2) names at random tomorrow 1pm EST. Click here for RULES.

If you don’t win this time, do not worry. We will be having these all month long leading up to the anticipated release of the 3rd book in the series, Mockingjay! If you are interested in seeing how you can purchase a Mockingjay pin, be sure to check out September’s Tab and Teen Readers’ Book Clubs, which you can start ordering from on the first week of August! These pins come with your pre-ordered Mockingjay book if you order from Scholastic Book Clubs.

Also, don’t forget…if you can’t wait until Friday to start discussing, join the conversation on Twitter. We are using the #SoHG hashtag.

Let the games begin… and may the odds be ever in your favor.

Attention: The Contest is now over! Thanks for all the amazing entries you guys! Stay tuned for the winners!

Summer of Hunger Games!

23 Jul


It is the Summer of Hunger Games. Mockingjay comes out August 24th… and we intend to be ready. In anticipation of its release, the Book Talk team is going to relive the experience of Hunger Games and Catching Fire and we want you to join us!

Our plan of attack: Three books over four weeks – are you up to the challenge? Start reading tomorrow, July 24th, swing by for a give-away July 26th,  and check back July 30th to participate in our weekly discussion posts. We will be reading as if for the first time- so no worries, Hunger Games newbies, each post will be spoiler free (trust us, we’ll be checking). Reading ahead and can’t wait for the next discussion? Head over to Twitter and use #SoHG to get in on the action.

The Summer of Hunger Games will culminate at midnight on August 24th with a Mockingjay release party post and discussion.

CALENDAR:

July 26th: First Give-Away!!
July 30th: Hunger Games: Parts I & II
August 6th: Hunger Games: Part III
August 13th: Catching Fire: Parts I & II
August 20th: Catching Fire: Part III
August 24th: Mockingjay

In addition to talking about the books, get ready for some awesome prizes (exclusive Book Clubs Mockingjay pin, Whaaaaaat!) and book give-aways in the days to come.

We hope you join us for the Summer of Hunger Games… and may the odds be ever in your favor.