Superman Grounded: a comic book about despair and hope

I’ve read two good blog posts recently on using children’s books to help counter the despair people feel about the world today. One is a post over at Steam Powered Classroom, where Gwyn speaks about how children’s books embody the best parts of humanity.  She writes that children’s books “serve as the proverbial angel on the shoulder, whispering in young ears stories of kindness, of struggle, of the human condition.” Then there’s a post at Books, Babies and Bows about sharing books about peace as a counter to the depressive nature of world news. I think back to what I Continue reading

Lesson ideas using Superman comics

As a kid I enjoyed watching Lois and Clark, or at least the first two seasons of it, but I never actually read any Superman comics. It’s only been recently with my kids interested in superheroes that I’ve started to learn more about them. At first I was thrown by the discontinuity of the stories. I tried to link things together looking for a big storyline, until I suddenly realized that like Archie comics, there isn’t one. There are story lines, but not one big single one. Suddenly I could start looking at the different stories for what they are. Continue reading

Comic Books

My children love comic books, and I like reading them with the kids for the chance to discuss the books. Often there are subtle jokes, historical or cultural references, or just interesting themes. Benny and Penny: The Toy Breaker by Geoffrey Hayes is an easy-reading comic book for that most younger kids should relate to in some way. Bo is a toybreaker, a cousin whom Benny and Penny don’t really like because he tends to break things. It takes a bit but Benny and Penny realize he doesn’t want to break things, and they find a solution so they can all Continue reading

Simple games for learning Roman Numerals

My second child has reached the age where we can read Asterix and Obelix comic books together, with him reading the easier speech balloons and I helping him with the harder ones. As we go along we talk about the puns and jokes and I try to fill him in on random historical or cultural information. There’s something comforting and familiar about going through the same rituals with him that I did with my older boy. One of the things Asterix and Obelix comics exposes the children to is Roman numerals, and since I think those are important to understand Continue reading

"But all he ever reads is comic books…"

I want to write a blog post in defense of comic books, and particularly in defense of parents reading comic books with their children. Not only do they provide less intimidating reading practice than chapter books but their content themselves can often be quite educational. I started reading Tintin books, as well as Asterix and Obelix comics, to my children quite young. I worried a bit about the violence but didn’t let that stop us. Reading them together I could stop and explain the puns and wordplays. We can talk about cultural references. (For example in Asterix and Cleopatra, Asterix makes a Continue reading