Reading With Pictures Review

By | Thursday, August 18, 2011 Leave a Comment
Reading With Pictures is a nonprofit organization that advocates the use of comics in the classroom to promote literacy and improve educational outcomes for all students. We work with academics to cultivate groundbreaking research into the proper role of comics in education. We collaborate with cartoonists to produce exceptional graphic novel content for scholastic use. Most importantly, we partner with educators to develop a system of best practices for integrating comics into their curriculum. At Reading With Pictures, we get comics into schools and get schools into comics.
That's on the home page of The organization, headed by Josh Elder, put out an anthology book through a Kickstarter project and I picked up a copy last weekend. It's a substantial book, clocking in at 180-some pages with contributions from more than 60 creators. Because of that, it's a little hard to write a concise review. Obviously, the quality of each story is going to vary from creator to creator, but everything in the book has a professional look to it. Regardless of style or genre or length, I didn't read anything that wasn't at least decent.
I will say that all of the stories are appropriate for younger audiences. Not only are they written and drawn in a way that children could easily understand, but many of the subjects are ones that would be relevant to kids. In fact, many revolve around school-age kids and occur in classrooms. One of the projects goals is to get comics into schools, and this would be a good book for that.

Personally, though, what I liked best about it was seeing the work of creators I was unfamiliar with. The stories by Raina Telgemeier and Chris Giarrusso were great, for example, but you kind of expect that from them. But I had never read a Kevin Pyle story before, or seen Jeong Mo Yang's artwork. There's some good stuff there, and some folks that I'll have to try to keep an eye out for in the future. Worth checking on the anthology for finding those types of works.

I'd like to say the project overall is going well, but the website provides little in the way of current details. The last news blurb is from March 2010 and the last event listed is April 2010. A tweet from a few days ago does state that they're looking for a web designer (a job I might consider if I weren't so busy for the next several months) so they're at least still kicking as an organization.

The book claims on its cover to be "Volume One." They seemed to be doing fairly brisk sales when I bought my copy and, coupled with a Harvey nomination and some of the high-profile talent on board, I don't see why a "Volume Two" wouldn't be in the works sooner or later. Worth picking up; worth even more if you pick it up to give to a school or library!
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