What do Archie, Fone Bone, Hip Hop Family Tree, Usagi Yojimbo and the Peanuts gang have in common? These comic book icons have all been “caught reading.” This year, Get Caught Reading is highlighting an important, and sometimes overlooked, category for readers of all ages — comic books.
Get Caught Reading, launched in 1999 and supported by the Association of American Publishers (AAP), is a month-long, nationwide campaign to encourage literacy and embrace reading for pleasure. As part of Get Caught Reading month in May, several new posters will be unveiled featuring well-known comic book characters that are “caught reading.” The posters are free for librarians, teachers and parents for use in classrooms, libraries and other locations, and can be ordered online beginning May 2.
Coinciding with the free posters is Free Comic Book Day, which features comic book giveaways from participating stores. Free Comic Book Day is made possible by Diamond Comic Distributors, comic shop retailers, various publishers, and supported with a partnership between the AAP and the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund.
“The freedom to read is an ongoing challenge for our industry, with many seeking to censor thoughts and ideas that they don’t agree with. Comic books and graphic novels are especially likely to be challenged or even banned. We’re pleased to participate in this campaign that raises awareness of the role comic books have in our culture and supports the pleasure of reading,” said Comic Book Legal Defense Fund Executive Director Charles Brownstein.
The Children’s Book Council and Every Child a Reader are also getting involved with Free Comic Book Day by kicking off their Children’s Book Week (May 4-11)in comic book stores and participating in providing millions of free comic books and posters to kids. With over two dozen kid-friendly titles to choose from, there’s a free comic book available to help every young reader and more in all 50 states. Children’s Book Week is the annual celebration of books for young people and the joy of reading.
Comic and graphic books are among the most frequently challenged books, according to the American Library Association (ALA). Supporting the publication of comic books and graphic novels through the Get Caught Reading campaign continues AAP’s dedication to the freedom to read and raising awareness of the ongoing threat of censorship.
“Literacy and the love of reading are topics that AAP and our members are passionate about, and the ‘Get Caught Reading’ campaign underscores those ideals. Archie Comics and the Peanuts gang are iconic comic book characters that generations of readers grew up with, and featuring them shows the critical role that reading for pleasure plays in our lives,” said Tina Jordan, Vice President of the Association of American Publishers.
Our favorite cartoon and comic book characters are not the only ones who are “caught reading” during Get Caught Reading Month. Golden Globe, Tony and Emmy Award winning actress Mary-Louise Parker and other celebrities were also found with books in hand. Each year thousands of celebrities, booksellers, teachers and librarians embrace the Get Caught Reading campaign across the country. Get Caught Reading has been supported in the past by many well-known leaders and characters.
Among those appearing in posters as they were “caught reading” are former First Lady Laura Bush, Drew Carey, Clifford the Big Red Dog, Donald Duck, Tim Duncan, Dora the Explorer, Neil Gaiman, Whoopi Goldberg, Jeff Gordon, Derek Jeter, Alicia Keys, Keira Knightley, Queen Latifah , Olivia the Pig, The Rugrats, Sammy Sosa, Spider Man, and many others. In addition, more than 200 Members of Congress have been photographed “caught reading” on Capitol Hill.
New posters are available at http://www.getcaughtreading.org/.
Peanuts/Charlie Brown (Simon & Schuster)
Archie, Betty, and Veronica (Archie Comics)
Fone Bone (Scholastic and Cartoon Books); one the ALA most censored books in 2014
Hip Hop Family Tree (Fantagraphics)
Usagi Yojimbo (Fantagraphics)
The Jim Henson Company will also unveil posters featuring the Enchanted Sisters and Doozers at a later date and Mary-Louise Parker’s poster will also be revealed soon.
The Association of American Publishers (AAP) is the voice of the US book and journal publishing industry. AAP represents the industry’s priorities on policy, legislative and regulatory issues regionally, nationally and worldwide. These include the protection of intellectual property rights and worldwide copyright enforcement, digital and new technology issues, funding for education and libraries, tax and trade, censorship and literacy. Our four hundred member companies represent major commercial, educational and professional companies as well as independents, non-profits, university presses and scholarly societies.
Find us online at www.publishers.org or on twitter at @AmericanPublish.