I finally got a chance to contribute some book recommendations for kids book in an official blog post kind of way. Please go check out the picture books, comics, and middle grade/ya books myself and many other authors and illustrators recommend. Just about every book has some hint of social justice in it, which is why the “M is for Movement” blog exists.
The goal of reading was affirmed again last night. My son has been reading comics for the past 4 years now, reading everything from Amulet, and the Flight series to Brotherman, Ciudad 1 & 2, and Anya’s Ghost. He’s read every single Star Wars clone wars book there is and has read several other ones from Japan, Canada, and some from other places. Although we’ve found some cool ones like the Hero twins-a Mexican mythological tale about two twins from Mayan folklore its tough to find dope comics in Spanish. There are many comics featuring African American characters whether you’re looking at old classics like the Dictator of Discipline and Static Shock or the newer ones like Ajala by N.Steven Harris and the Black Comix project by John Jennings and Damian Duffy.
But the next room after walking through the doorway of comics for my son is chapter books. He reads them at school, no problem. But he reads those because he has to. It is hard to get him to pick one up and read it on his own. When we first started reading comics he didn’t want to read those on his own either. I started reading them with him. He’d read one page, I’d read another. Or I’d agree to be one or two characters, and he’d read the others. Either way, it was all about doing this together and encouraging him; which has paid off because he’ll read on his own, in the car, at school, or in the bathroom. That last part he gets from me.
But how to get him to pick up a chapter book or Young Adult novel on his own? He’s still not ready for some of the heavier titles, which are huge whether they are about young gay or bisexual teens or Harry Potter (I will introduce those as well). But we’ve started reading some chapter books together which he is starting to enjoy. One series we started to read recently is an old one entitled “Ghost Hunters” by author Cornelia Funke and illustrator Guy Francis. Last night while reading the second installment of what I’ve come to find out is a hug series he laughed at something one of the characters said. I smiled inside and asked if he could “see” the characters expression in his mind. And when he said “Yes”, that is what I had been trying to get him to experience. The joy of imagination. Some of the other books we’ve been reading so far are Alvin Ho (Asian Amer. Character) a series about a little boy who is afraid of everything. He loves the illustrations by LeUyen Pham and has read three of the books in the series by himself. And that folks, makes me very very proud. For me, the sooner he’s able to read for fun, the sooner he’ll be able to decipher the bullshit that is presented to kids and to expand his imagination!
If you’re trying to get a young boy or girl to read who is reluctant, I highly recommend the Amulet Series by Kazu Kibuishi, it is a great door to another world.