Look what came in the mail today! Four new books that will be released Fall 2012. The lineup includes: “The Secret of the Stone Frog” by David Nytra, “Benny and Penny in Lights Out!” by Geoffrey Hayes, “Maya Makes a Mess” by Rutu Modan, and “A Trip to the Bottom of the World with Mouse” by Frank Viva. They’re looking great, and we can’t wait to put them in your hands this Fall!
Canadian illustrator and graphic designer Frank Viva is currently working on a TOON Book title about an arctic adventure, tentatively scheduled for publication in 2013. Viva, who recently published his first children’s book, “Along A Long Road” to much acclaim, shared with The National Post his love of cycling that inspired the book’s idea. He told the Post that he rides his bicycle for an 8 km journey to commute from his home to his office whenever the weather permits. In “Along A Long Road,” the protagonist similarly rides along a winding road past Viva’s beautifully illustrated scenery.
Viva, whose illustrations have appeared in The New Yorker, Time Magazine, and the New York Times, also shared his thoughts on working in the field of children’s literature. He told the Post, “I’ve always wanted to do a kids book. The idea that I could combine words and pictures and books—three of my favourite things—just really appealed to me. I thought I’d get around to it one day, and finally I did.”
Viva will work his magic again for his second children’s book, to be published by TOON Books. Keep your eyes peeled for the latest updates on his upcoming title here at the TOON Books blog!
Summer is upon us, and there’s no better time to read than now. With so many days before school starts again, summer vacation can be a great opportunity for children to hone their reading skills. In fact, not reading seems to only do harm! According to numerous studies, “summer learning loss” is a real phenomenon that results in a loss of the skills acquired during the school year. Students on average score lower on the same standardized test at the end of the summer than at the beginning.
Tony Evers, State Superintendent of Public Instruction for Wisconsin, said in a local newspaper, “The loss in mathematics, spelling, and reading skills can accumulate each year so that by the end of sixth grade, children who repeatedly experience summer learning loss can be as much as two years behind their classmates.” He noted that just reading 10 or more books over the summer can help maintain or improve a child’s academic skills.
Luckily, comics make reading a whole lot of fun. Kids love comics, and their visual appeal encourages even the most reluctant of readers to open a book during those long summer days. Schools and libraries, as well as media outlets across the country have included TOON Books on their summer reading lists. This year, “Little Mouse Gets Ready” was selected for the Illinois School Library Media Association’s list of book nominations for the Monarch Award, where all children from grades K to 3 in the state are open to vote for their favorite book at their school libraries (the book with the most votes gets the top prize). Prolific children’s book reviewer Holly Newton, whose weekly column appears in the most widely distributed paper in mid-Missouri, included a number of TOON Books, including our new “Silly Lilly in What Will I Be Today?,” on her summer reading list of books for early readers.
Are TOON Books on your summer reading list?
The talented R. Kikuo Johnson is hard at work coloring the pages for Shark King, an upcoming TOON book. Here’s a sneak peak at some of the black & white art and one early color sample.
When TOON Books launched in 2008, they seemed to defy established categories—as comics especially designed for emerging readers to read on their own. So where do they belong on the shelves? At West Palm Beach Public Library in Florida, Youth Services Librarian Kathy Hage shelves our books in the graphic novels section, where enthusiastic readers often go for more fun reading. Kathy said, “We find early readers want to read comics and head to that section, so we decided to place books at their reading level there too. It’s also a great way to show parents the value of comic books…I love telling parents about how TOON Books came into being and how they are a great way to encourage their child to love reading!” We’re curious to know, where do you shelve TOON Books?
Kathy also shared with us that children read Zig and Wikki in Something Ate My Homework for the library’s second and third grade book club, and they absolutely loved it! “The children were so excited to read a comic in their book club and loved talking about all sorts of fun science facts together. It was definitely a hit,” Kathy said.
Below are some photos of our TOON Books on the shelves of the West Palm Beach Public Library:
We received a great surprise when an email came in informing us that a Polish lifestyle magazine has published an article on our books! In an extensive piece on American children’s comics, Kikimora Magazine featured TOON Books such as “Otto’s Orange Day,” “Jack in the Box,” and “Mo and Jo in Fighting Together Forever.” Author Katarzyna Nowakowska covered the gamut from newspaper strip comics like “Garfield” and “Peanuts” (the Peanuts cartoons in Polish are absolutely adorable!), to DC Comics and Japanese manga. In her conclusion, she lauded the use of comics as a way for young children to fall in love with reading. We couldn’t agree more!
Thank you, Kikimora, for loving our books!
TOON Books is gaining attention on the other side of the globe! Our carTOON Maker has been featured in The Book Chook blog, a great site on children’s literacy and literature from Australian teacher and reviewer, Susan Stephenson. Check out her blog post here.
Stephenson had also profiled the Professor Garfield website in an earlier blog post.
Have your own fun with the carTOON makers here!
Below is Susan Stephenson’s own creation:
Take a look at some of the reviews that were sent directly to us by teachers and librarians from around the country. You can see the complete list of reviews at Silly Lilly’s official press page.
Do you love TOON books? Send us your thoughts and get published on our press pages!
“Visually, Silly Lilly is an attractive book. The bright colors are cheery and reflect the playfulness of the story. The simple illustrations are unassuming, and yet contain fun details, such as the facial expressions on the teddy bear and the doll when Lilly is making music and trying to get them to sing. I also enjoyed Lilly’s creativity and resourcefulness. With the help of a few vegetables, cinder blocks, simple toys, her parents’ clothes, and her imagination, she explores the often-overlooked potential of everyday things. Perhaps this will inspire children to investigate their interests and discover that they can do a lot with a few simple things.”
“Silly Lilly is the story of a dear little girl who takes on a new adventure each day! A great read for young and/or beginning readers as it highlights days of the week and commonly used sight words. The text is not overwhelming. The illustrations are simply pleasing.”
“Rosenstielhl’s Silly Lilly romps through the simple panels of this graphic novel. She takes on her week with a different career choice each day. Like the young children who read her book, she sees no difference in being a city planner, cook, or vampire. She confuses the idea of career and “what do you want to be when you grow up,” with “what do you want to be for Halloween.” After reading “What Will I Be Today” to a group of 3 and 4 year olds, they shared their own ideas ranging from mom to ballerina to crayon. Slightly older children will likely laugh at her confusion. She is “Silly Lilly” after all. This playfulness has educational value though. The days of the week are clearly presented and then reviewed at the end. Silly Lilly encourages role playing in a way any child can emulate, and introduces job titles young children may not have thought about before, i.e. city planner, ending with a job many adults would envy. As with any good picture book, the pictures carry part of the story. Her teddy reacts to her antics just they way children imagine their own toys interacting. I feel this is a great addition to my collection and is a good jumping off point for many more adventures.”
Geoffrey Hayes’s latest release, Patrick in “A Teddy Bear’s Picnic and Other Stories” Has been doing so well that we’re getting ready to go back to press! We’re so excited that you all love this adorable bear as much as we do.
Take a peek at these reviews sent directly to us by teachers and librarians, and see more of the raving on Patrick’s official press page.
“‘Patrick in a Teddy Bear’s Picnic and Other Stories’ follows a young, determined bear as he goes on a splendid picnic and takes a trip to the store. The text is manageable for a beginning reader, as each panel contains around one sentence or expression–and there are plenty of sight words. The illustrations are amusing and easy for the reader’s eye to follow.”
“Patrick in A Teddy Bear’s Picnic and Other Stories by Geoffrey Hayes, on the surface, is a light, humorous look into family life. We meet Patrick, his mother, and (briefly) his father as they enjoy simple delights like an outdoor picnic, an indoor picnic, and meals together.
Patrick’s mom shows motherly concern for her son as she insists on naps (which he can’t see the point of), but she also trusts him with responsibility when she sends him to the store despite his worry about a local bully. The character of the bully brings another dimension to the stories that takes us beyond the “slice of life” glimpse into Patrick’s daily doings. In one instance, Patrick is led by his mother to ignore the bully’s actions and move beyond his emotional response. In a later story, however, Patrick’s mother encourages him to see himself in a different light and builds his confidence so that he stands up to the bully. The ending scene of that story exemplifies how most kids would love to end their own bully stories: Mom asks, “So, did you run into Big Bear?” “No!” says Patrick, “He ran into ME!”
The bright colors and rounded lines of Hayes’s art will appeal to children, and the text is so well chosen that most early readers will be able to read much or all of the book independently. They may not even realize that they’re building an entirely new visual literacy as they absorb elements of graphica such as bolded and capitalized text for emphasis, onomatopoeic words in bright colors, italics, and thought bubbles as opposed to speech bubbles. Recommended for preK-2nd grade.”
Kelly L. Farrow
TOON Books Blog
Looking for hip comics for hip kids? Look no further--TOON Books, award-winning easy reader comics for kids, are here to help!