Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Kids Are People, Too

This review, and the ensuing posts, debating what kids want in their comics, got me thinking about how adults review comics for kids.

Why do adults refer to “kids” as if they’re a vast monotype? Kids are as different from each other as adults are. There are 8-year-olds who like superheroes and 8-year-olds who like anime; 8-year-olds who are frightened by violence and 8-year-olds who love violence; 8-year-olds who enjoy a complex plot line and rich characters and 8-year-olds who love fart jokes.

The kid who loves Goosebumps and Tales from the Crypt is different from the kid who likes Dragonball Z and Naruto. Just because a kid likes Marvel Adventures, that doesn’t guarantee that he or she will like every superhero comic. Some kids don’t want to be “talked down to,” but others couldn't care less.

Predicting what a particular kid will or won’t like is difficult at best. Take my girls for example; sometimes they like what I think they will like, and sometimes they think I’m nuts. I loved Tellos and thought they would, too, but it just got a “meh” rating. And they don’t always agree – Sarah is one of the Archie faithful, but Shelby finds Riverdale boring. I see a huge variety of reading interests and tastes in the classroom. I brought in a stack of Teen Titans Go!, thinking my students would eat them up, but nobody touched them. One kid fell in love with The Dreamland Chronicles, another with The Incredibles, and another with Bone. And as for kids not wanting to read “baby stuff,” I had a fourth grade student who absolutely loved Jack and the Box, which seems to me to be intended for preschoolers.

So how can I, as an adult, review comics for kids? I don’t think that’s my role. I don’t think that my job as a reviewer is to predict what kids will or won’t like. I give my personal opinion about a book, aimed at other adults, and provide factual information about the contents of the book. The girls review for kids; I review for parents, teachers, and librarians.


At August 14, 2008 at 8:10 AM , Anonymous Tim Broderick said...

Hey, nice thoughtful post!


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