Good Comics For Kids

Here at the Good Comics For Kids Panel!

It has quite the impressive handout listing resources.

Brigid introduces panelists, and her own blog Manga Blog, the morning newspaper of the manga blog world. She discovered that there was a lack of kids comics blogs and started one. Was approached after running the 9 months by School Library Journal.

Robin Brenner starts by asking about audience familiarity, who has 3 different graphic novel collections sorted by age. She’ll give a more general introduction to the format

There are different types of literacy, which can mean different things other than reading text. Think about visual literacy when dealing with comics. Words and pictures equally important. GNs often written at a higher vocabulary level than you might expect, this is a big advantage for young readers. Don’t think of GNs as only a gateway to reading books.

Age ratings are a huge concern for librarians when developing GN collections. Think about movie ratings.
History of comics ratings – comics companies not a big fan of ratings post comics code. They view the idea that comics are for kids as negative. Manga companies are rating their products.

Example: Del Rey manga ratings at back of book. Tokyopop has content indicators on their ratings system, developed with a librarian.

DC Comics has imprints instead of ratings. Marvel has very general age ratings which are often opaque. Marvel Adventures are reliably good for kids. Dark Horse has tons of ratings, very good with libraries.

Example: 300 rated for 16+

All ratings systems are different so keep in mind when building library collections. There are many totally unrated books that are very good too.

Manga – Always had more extensive rating system. Manga for preteens has dwindled recently. Manga is just as diverse as American comics in terms of age ranges.
Vendors are also trying to provide some resouces – look at BWI, Baker and Taylor, Common Sense Media

Eva Volin is next:

Make GNs their own browsing collection, not interfiled. Kids need to have their own graphic novel section that they can find easily. There are plenty of GNs in picture book form already, pull them and make them their own collection.

What to do when encountering resistance – Eva went into guerilla librarian mode with GN stickers, bypassed tech services dept and their labeling service. She used packing tape to strengthen books. Once circulation stats were up up, now tech processing on board. Kids read in the aisles in the library just like they do in bookstores. Sticker labels provide help to shelvers.

How to find graphic novels – use traditional review sources, vendors, catalogs, and bloggers. Also look at ALA lists like YALSA great graphic novels for teens. Or ask around, use WorldCat to see where other libraries are shelving. Keep in mid graphic novels are is a format not a genre.

Have a collection development policy!!!!

Circulation for kids GN collection is huge.

Recommended Titles:

Captain Raptor and the Moon Mystery – Dinosaurs in Space!
Adventures in Cartooning – Great for kids who are interested in drawing.
Cowa by Akira Toriyama – All the fart jokes, none of the controversial content of Dragonball. One volume! (I want to get this now)
Lunch Lady and the Cyborg Substitute – Get Smart if secret agent was lunch lady. Sounds hilarious! Basic adventure stories with some mysteries.
Cardcaptor Sakura – Out of print, being republished by Dark Horse in omnibus editions. (yayyyyy!) Clamp is gateway manga for many female fans. Features fantastic outfits and romance.
Smile by Raina Telgemeier – Perfect for middle school students. Autobiography about having dental work in 9th grade. Speaks to trauma of middle school. Appeals to both boys and girls.

Now it is question time!!!!

Toon and Capstone have ebooks, is this a trend?

Archie comics is producing ebooks too. Look on Kindle for graphic novels. Longbox is supposed to be platform independent. Also look at and from viz.

Should we put nonfiction graphic novels in with fiction GN collection?
Put them in same place for browsing, but shelve nonfiction by Dewey, fiction by title.
Or have nonfiction GNs interfiled with nonfiction books.
Put hybrids like Diary of a Wimpy Kid in with regular fiction. Frankie Pickle is another example of hybrid.

Comment on ebooks – Overdrive has a deal with Marvel and Tokyopop.
Keep in mind that Tokyopop’s ebooks are OEL only.
What material bumps content from one age range to another?

Brigid tries to avoid assigning her own ratings in favor of describing content.
Need explanation of ratings in reviews, knowing content of book most important.
Will note if there is nudity always.
Think of intended audience too. If there’s a teen book like the GN, GN belongs in teen GN collection.

Resources for ESL students? – Students will read almost anything, look at stuff from Capstone, for easy vocab for new English readers.

Adaptations of classics – Snow not a big fan but a couple publishers that are ok, Papercutz and Classical Comics, also Self Made Hero – manga Shakespeare has not so great art but their Sherlock Holmes adaptations are nice.

Need to booktalk titles?
If you put the GN collection someplace visible, kids will find it. Give your graphic novel collection a chance to find readers.

Question about nonsuperhero genres, what should they buy for kids wanting romance and horror?
MANGA!!! Also look at smaller publishers like Oni, Top Shelf, First Second.

GNs for book clubs?
Smile, Bone, Rapunzels Revenge was wildly successful. Look for Good Comics for Kids book club posts.

Yearly Manga awards?

Not so much in this county. Plenty of Manga awards in Japan. Cybils too.
Comment – Look for comic book award almanac online for source lists.

Is demand for manga leveling out?

Smaller manga publishers have shut down, publishers cutting back. effect of scanlations might be causing this. Things may be leveling out but core of teen manga readers will always be reading, more titles coming out for adults. You need to keep collecting it, and get new volumes in to maintain interest? Are you continually adding new series?
Think of manga collection like a periodical collection, use standing orders to get new volumes.

Is manga interfiled with bigger GNs – Shelved all together or short books all together depending on shelving design already in library.