Sunday, March 28, 2010

Support Reading with Pictures!

Help Bring Comics into the Classroom

Reading with Pictures is an educational non-profit organization that promotes literacy and the visual arts through the use of comics in the classroom. To achieve our goals, we’ve recently launched a pledge drive on ( to finance the publication of a groundbreaking educational comics anthology. The anthology features a cover by Jill Thompson (The Sandman) and original stories by over 50 all-ages creators including Fred Van Lente (Amazing Spider-Man), Chris Giarrusso (Mini-Marvels), Jim Gownley (Amelia Rules), Jeffrey Brown (Sulk), Scott Sava (The Dreamland Chronicles), and RWP Executive Director Josh Elder (Mail Order Ninja). This limited edition anthology will serve as a proof of concept that comics can be both entertaining and educational, and the only way to guarantee that you get your copy is by pre-ordering on Kickstarter today!

Learn more by visiting us online at

At Reading with Pictures, we’re getting comics into schools and getting schools into comics.

Monday, July 20, 2009

New Gig!

We've signed on with Chris Wilson at The Graphic Classroom to write about the latest news in the world of all-ages comics. We'll be reporting the latest from Comic-Con, so hop on over and check it out!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Link: Salt Water Taffy Author Interview

Go read this interview with Matthew Loux, author of the Salt Water Taffy series. The books are so much fun - I'm sad they weren't nominated for an Eisner.

Exerpt from the interview:

O’Shea: What’s the appeal of writing an all ages book? What’s the biggest challenge of writing an all ages book? Do you wish there was another term than all ages, so that adults might pick up the book rather than unfairly pigeonholing it as something just for children?

Loux: A great appeal for writing the Salt Water Taffy series for the all-aged is that in a lot of ways it frees me from the expectations Indie comic artists often have to do serious or emotionally challenging stories. I love that kind of work when it’s done well, but it will be a long time before i attempt anything super deep in my own career. Kids comics might be the only avenue for purely fun and silly adventure stories in the industry today, and that’s what i love to do. It is incredibly enjoyable to create stories for the Salt Water Taffy universe because of it’s freedom to be fantastical, funny, action pact, and often making no sense at all. And though the series is aimed for kids, I really did write them to be enjoyed by all ages. I try to follow the lead of master creator, Carl Barks in writing age appropriate comics that are just enormously enjoyable to everyone. On the flip side, ‘all ages’ or children’s comics’ can turn off many who think it isn’t mature enough for them. That’s probably true, because i certainly don’t write mature stories. Doing all aged material has freed me from having to do mature stories. I think also, the industry has tired so hard to be taken more seriously as a genre that it can’t handle comics that are trying to be less serious, so there’s very often this stigma among main stream comic fans against kids comics.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Not Comics: Odd and the Frost Giants

Neil Gaiman's Odd and the Frost Giants will be released in the US in the fall by Harpercollins. Yay! The book was written for World Book Day, which means it was written and published for free and children in the UK could buy it for one pound. Amazon lists the US release date as Sept. 22.

From Gaiman's website: "Odd's luck has been bad so far. He lost his father on a Viking expedition, his foot was crushed beneath a tree, and the winter seems to be going on forever. But when Odd flees to the woods and releases a trapped bear, his luck begins to change. The eagle, bear and fox he encounters reveal they're actually Nordic gods, trapped in animal form by the evil Frost Giants who have conquered Asgard, the city of the gods. Can a twelve-year-old boy reclaim Thor's hammer, outwit the Frost Giants and release the gods"

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Twittering the Eisner Nominees

I'm twittering about each Eisner nominee in the Kids and Teens/Tweens categories. It's tough to keep the reviews so short!

@TracyEdmunds on Twitter

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Animated Dark and Silly Night

One of our favorite stories from It Was A Dark and Silly Night (Little Lit) by Neil Gaiman and Gahan Wilson. Enjoy!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Eisner Nominations - Youth Categories

Best Publication for Kids
Amulet, Book 1: The Stonekeeper, by Kazu Kabuishi (Scholastic Graphix)
Cowa! by Akira Toriyama (Viz)
Princess at Midnight, by Andi Watson (Image)
Stinky, by Eleanor Davis (RAW Junior)
Tiny Titans, by Art Baltazar and Franco (DC)

Best Publication for Teens/Tweens
Coraline, by Neil Gaiman, adapted by P. Craig Russell (HarperCollins Children’s Books)
Crogan’s Vengeance, by Chris Schweizer (Oni)
The Good Neighbors, Book 1: Kin, by Holly Black and Ted Naifeh (Scholastic Graphix)
Rapunzel’s Revenge, by Shannon and Dean Hale and Nathan Hale (Bloomsbury Children’s Books)
Skim, by Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki (Groundwood Books)

Our analysis to follow....

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Bonus Review by the Boys!

At Comic-Con we were thrilled to meet the Patton family from Ohio. Turns out they actually read our column (!) and are big comics fans themselves. I asked them to write some guest reviews, not knowing that the girls were going to stage a revolt. *sigh*

So, here is a fabulous set of reviews by Michael, 10 and Alex, 8., and mom, Jenny Enjoy!

All Ages Reads - What the Boys Say

Michael, 10, and Alex, 8, had the pleasure of meeting “All Ages Reads” reviewers Shelby and Sarah at Comic-Con. These Ohio boys have read most of what the girls have recommended, bringing them hours of joy. In addition to being an avid reader, Michael draws comics, plays baseball, likes to skateboard and is always hungry. Alex loves football and videogames, collects stuffed bears, plays Chess and talks nonstop.

Volume I: A Cheese Related Mishap and Other Stories
By Ray Friesen

Alex says … I thought it was extremely funny. Two narrators fight to tell the story. It’s so funny! When one gets hungry, he goes into the story because a character was cooking food. This book is about a kid named Raymond who visits his Uncle Clark and cousin Fidget in the country of Pellmellia. He arrives during the Cheese Festival. Eggner Von Shmoodledike, who is a professor, invented C5, which turns things into cheese. An evil scientist, who once lost to him in a dancing contest, sends his chicken ninjas to steal the C5. There’s a penguin character (Melville) who says penguins aren’t made for the cold. There’s an intermission when Raymond reads his comics. I have read it twice and will reread it. I recommend it for anyone who likes comedy.

Michael says … Lookit! was a really humorous book. I liked how the two guys argued in the beginning about who got to narrate the story. They were bad narrators, but that made it funny. I liked when the professor showed his lame movie, “The Rivals,” which won an award named after the guy who made the movie. My guess is that it’s an award you’d get if you were really bad. The villain is Jarvis Van Chickenheimer. The two guys were rivals because back in kindergarten one said, “Cheese sucks.” At the end of part one, the main character Raymond joins the narrators to take a break and read his comic books about Captain Cautious. At the beginning of part two, the narrators return and get off script. The bad disguises on the characters cracked me up. They were horrible – a sock pocket, the narration hat and roller skates – but they worked to fool chicken ninjas. The art style was cool, and I think others would like this book.

Jenny says … This is definitely an “all ages” book. I cracked up at its goofiness and absurdity, including parts the boys didn’t get … and you already know how funny they thought it was! The good news is that the boys were so engaged with the story, they raced to read part two. The bad news is they missed some witty storytelling in the 29-page “comics within the comic” section, particularly the Caption Cautious tales, showing Friesen’s illustration diversity. After several subsequent reads (The boys reread their favorites over and over and over again.), they read and enjoyed the middle section. I highly recommend this book to kids and parents.

Kaput & Zosky
By Lewis Trondheim, Illustrated by Eric Cartier, Translated by Edward Gauvin

Alex says … It’s a collection of stories in which two purple aliens invade planets. Kaput is short, egg-shaped, has red hair and likes to destroy everything. Zosky is tall, thin and smart. First they invaded Earth and a spider was like a beast to them so my guess is that they are smaller than they look. Kaput makes bad decisions that get them in trouble, and Zosky tries to stop him. The thing is there are tons of stories. Some of them are really funny. One I really liked was about another alien on a planet who would tell Kaput and Zoksy stuff (like who the ruler of this planet is) only if he beat them in hopscotch and “rock, paper, scissors.” One-page comics called “the Cosmonaut” are in between each story. Those are very funny. I wouldn’t say it’s too violent, but Kaput and Zosky do have laser guns and do kill other aliens. The art style looked familiar to me and I liked it a lot. I think boys will like it more than girls, but some girls may like it too. Everyone has their own opinion.

Michael says … Kaput and Zosky have the goal of conquering planets. Kaput, the small one, just wants to kill, kill, kill. Zosky is interested in learning about the culture and discovering the hopes, frustrations and goals of inhabitants. It’s funny because these two guys want to take over planets in two totally different ways. One planet elects its leader and Kaput didn’t like that because no one got killed. Once Kaput won a million dollars without cheating in a gambling game and said, “That was no fun.” He ends up being made ruler of the planet and didn’t want to be since he couldn’t kill people. They go to one planet where the beings look like small, red Pac-Mans who offer to do whatever Kaput and Zosky want. The leader says, “It’s all yours. Kill us, rob us, pillage the countryside … whatever floats your boat.” But this cooperation throws Kaput off, who says he “wants to be feared and dreaded.” This frustrates Kaput, and he and Zosky end up leaving the planet. The cover art made me laugh: The characters are more worried about killing a wasp than being eaten by the big monster whose tongue they are running on. All of the stories were good, and I especially liked the last “Cosmonaut” comic. I recommend this book for everyone, especially boys. Tomboys might like it too.

Jenny says … The characters provide a nice foil for one another, and their interaction is the highlight. Kaput is full of fury, and Zosky is good at redirecting his partner’s feistiness. Zosky is very logical about how to accomplish their goal of taking over planets. Even though his mission is questionable, the way he pursues it is respectable. For instance, he talks Kaput out of killing everyone on one planet because then they would have no one to plant and harvest food, cook and clean, play music, etc. Zosky brings balance to the team, but the stories wouldn’t be as entertaining without Kaput. It’s their teamwork that makes the stories work. I must nod to the second to last story in which Kaput and Zosky crash land in a cabbage patch field and become the adopted babies to an alien mother who meets their every need. Zosky finds it paradise, but Kaput is angry about there being nothing more he wants. Great stuff. The vibrant colors add to the energy of the tales. I especially loved the depictions of space as Kaput and Zosky leave one planet and travel to another. Despite disappointments, they maintain enthusiasm about their quest. If parents are concerned about the violence, I suggest they read it first, although I feel none of it is gratuitous. Rather, it adds to the humor and plot progression.

Johnny Boo
The Best Little Ghost in the World!
By James Kochalka

Michael says … It’s about a ghost (Johnny Boo) who has a pet ghost (Squiggle). I find that funny. Squiggle kind of looks like a ghost from Mario World except he’s really tiny and doesn’t have arms. In the beginning they play tag, and Johnny Boo can’t catch Squiggle. He was doing loop-de-loops and Johnny Boo said that was cheating. Johnny has Boo Power. When he says “Boo,” he scares Squiggle. Squiggle says he has Squiggle Power. The ghosts play by the same rules that Alex and I have: If one cheats then the other one gets to cheat. They end up fighting but the idea of ice cream reunites them. An ice cream monster appears when Squiggle shouts, “ICE CREAM!” Two problems come up, and the special powers of the ghosts come in handy. It was a short book that I recommend for others. I liked it.

Alex says … The main theme is ice cream, and I like ice cream. I thought it was funny how Johnny Boo buried and dug up ice cream. I like the art style because it’s cartoonish. Squiggle is a simple raindrop figure, and I think it’s creative how the author formed a raindrop into a pet ghost.

Jenny says … The character Johnny Boo is just so darned cute. His mug on the book’s cover caught my attention when we were at the Top Shelf Productions table at Comic-Con. He’s a marshmallow-white little guy with flowy 80s bangs. It’s amazing how much emotion is conveyed through his simply drawn eyes – joy, frustration, concern, hope, affection, fear and surprise. As the boys said, the illustrations appear rather simple, and the book is a fast read, but it has depth and a sweetness that was appealing.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

So Long, Farewell, Auf Wiedersehen, Goodbye

It seems we've hit, well, if not the end of the road, then at least a rather large detour.

The girls are on strike until further notice. They both feel like they have too much going on in their non-comic lives and they want to "read comics because we like them, not because we have to talk about them."

On top of that, this has become more of a job than a hobby lately, and seeing that we get paid the high salary of $0.00 to write our columns, the math just isn't working out. Comics and graphic novels are an industry that grows larger by the day and creators and publishers are looking for publicity, especially free publicity. I've definitely been feeling pressured to review more and more titles as the girls become less and less interested.

Our love of the medium hasn't diminished -- we still make weekly trips to the comic shop and I will still use graphic novels in my classroom. So, I may pop up somewhere else in the future, but for now All Ages Reads is offline.

Many, many thanks to all the readers and creators who have been so wonderful to us. Your support and kindness are the reason we kept at this so long.

You don't need us anyway! Here are some great sites covering comics for kids:
The Graphic Classroom
Comics in the Classroom
Toon Books Kids Comics Blog
Good Comics for Kids

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Nick Mag "Best Kids' Graphic Novel Awards"

What a FABULOUS idea! Per the press release:


Submission Process Now Open for Spring 2009 Awards

NEW YORK-Aug. 13, 2008-Nickelodeon Magazine, the leading entertainment and humor magazine for kids, has announced its first-ever “Best Kids’ Graphic Novel” Awards, taking place in spring 2009. The Awards will honor the best comic books and animated novels for kids published across the U.S. The submission process is open through Sept. 30, 2008, and voting will take place in December.

“Comics have always been an integral part of who we are, and these Awards will allow us to honor the great work for kids being produced in graphic novels today,” said Laura Galen, Senior Vice President and Editorial Director. “Our readers consistently rave about ‘The Comic Book’ section as one of their favorites, so awards are a natural direction for the magazine.”

All graphic novel submissions must be submitted before Sept. 30, 2008. A list of books for kids to vote on, pre-selected by the Nickelodeon Magazine editorial staff, will be available in the December issue and online at The results will be announced in print and online in spring 2009 in conjunction with the release of Nickelodeon Magazine’s popular annual cartoon-themed issue. Nickelodeon Magazine welcomes all submissions appropriate for kids between the ages of seven and 13.

Publishers interested in submitting graphic novels should send two copies of each title no later than Sept. 30, 2008. Submissions should be mailed to:
Chris Duffy or Dave Roman Graphic Novel Award Nickelodeon Magazine 1515 Broadway 37th Floor New York, NY 10036.