During the last week in January, Scholastic’s Graphix imprint will celebrate comics in the classroom with Teach Graphix Week! Educators and their students will have the opportunity to connect live with Graphix creators in group Skype sessions, plus Amulet creator Kazu Kibuishi will participate in a live Twitter chat on Wednesday, January 25. In anticipation of the big event, Kibuishi spoke to School Library Journal about the unique educational benefits of comics.
This is a topic near to the Amulet creator’s heart, who recalls how comics helped him to gain confidence after he emigrated to the U.S. from Japan as a child:
I like to spend time making a book that would have been helpful to me when I was ten. I came here from Tokyo and had to learn a whole new language and I remember thinking I wasn’t very smart or good at school. I found comics, Garfield, Heathcliff, Peanuts, especially from the Scholastic Book Fairs and I know how helpful this was for me. I thought I’d like to do for someone else what Garfield did for me.
Now as he makes classroom visits to 20 or more schools per year, Kibuishi is gratified by enthusiastic feedback not only from students, but also teachers and librarians who tell him about “so many new readers and kids that wouldn’t pick up a book [but] are picking up graphic novels.” Comics don’t have to be just for leisure reading, either, as proven by CBLDF’s ongoing series of classroom guides called Using Graphic Novels in Education. There’s one for Amulet, of course!
Teach Graphix Week will take place from January 23-27, 2017. Comics-loving educators can find more information and sign up for a Skype session with a creator here!
Contributing Editor Maren Williams is a reference librarian who enjoys free speech and rescue dogs.