TWO YEARS AGO, LIBRARIAN MICHELE GORMAN’S ARTICLE in School Library Journal about comics for young children was summarized thus in ERIC, the government database used by “education researchers, teachers, librarians, administrators, education policymakers, instructors and students in teacher-preparation programs, parents, the media and business communities, and the general public.”
“After years of fighting for shelf space in libraries and classrooms, graphic novels have finally become an acceptable alternative to their prose-packed counterparts–and kids can’t seem to get enough of them. For that matter, neither can grown-ups. In 2006, U.S. consumers dropped an estimated $330 million on graphic novels and comics, with librarians accounting for about 10 percent, or $33 million, of those purchases. Publishers have taken advantage of the format’s rock-star status by launching special imprints–such as TOON Books, the new imprint from Raw Comics, published by “New Yorker” magazine art editor Francoise Mouly and Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist Art Spiegelman–that feature developmentally appropriate comics for the pre-K-6 crowd. That means graphic novels are now addressing important personal and social issues like the power of imagination, being true to one’s self, the benefits of teamwork, and how to cope with divorce and bullying. Teachers and librarians are also beginning to realize that these books are perfect for young readers who are making the transition from picture books to text-only titles. And with graphic novels’ hypnotic power to pull kids into a story, they’re also perfect for promoting recreational or free voluntary reading–one of the most effective ways to increase literacy and create lifelong readers.”
And now, ERIC cross-references the above abstract with a recent article by educator Peter Gutierrez, also from School Library Journal, entitled: “Good & Plenty: It Used to Be Hard to Find Good Graphic Novels for the K-4 Crowd. My, How Times Have Changed,” which prominently features (you guessed it!) the TOON Books!
From our point of view, as more and more parents discover how much young children love comics and books in general, the future of print looks rosy.