Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Make a Graphic Novel for Kids

I'm excited to announce here that I've made a big move! You'll now find me at Washington County Cooperative Library Services in Washington County, OR. My new position, Youth Services Librarian II, will see me supporting youth services in 15 libraries and continuing an already pretty great conversation of partnerships, grants, and outreach library service in the county. Two cities in the county, Beaverton and Hillsboro, are both twice the size of La Crosse, so it's quite a bit to wrap my head around! But my coworkers are awesome so that helps my transition a ton. I'm unsure the direction my blog will take in the future, but I promise it won't be "these are my pet peeves so don't do this" or "this is what I see that should change, but I'll write about it here rather than talking about it directly." My role in libraries has changed and I want to make sure to continue to honor the tagline of this blog, as well as value the people I will be working closely with every day. Maybe there will be more unsolicited rants. Maybe more research posts. Maybe guest posts from our member librarians? Who knows. Stay tuned, there will be GIFs.

One of my last programs at LPL was a "Make a Graphic Novel!" program, and darnit if it wasn't one of my favorite programs in recent memory. Here's how it went (sorry it's a little choppy; this is based on brainstormed notes about it I typed up for myself):

-Intro: You and I both know graphic novels are awesome, but you may not know HOW awesome. Graphic novels can do things that regular books can't do. When you're reading a chapter book, for instance, you're making a whole scene for every page in your head. Now, that's really cool itself; but, with graphic novels you're connecting directly with what the author saw when they were envisioning the story. Like you're tapped directly into the author's mind. Also, pictures can help us express emotions that we might not have words for yet, or be able to come up with words for on the spot. Here I held up pictures of a stick figure with a storm cloud over its head, to show that this conveys a simultaneous sad and frustrated emotion.
Did you know? A Newbery Honor Book for 2015, meaning one of the best books in the whole world, was a graphic novel! It's called El Deafo by Cece Bell.

Give them 3 minutes to draw themselves. It could be a person, or an animal, or any way they want to do it. The point is, after 3 minutes, no one's is going to be really awesome.
I mean it's not even in color.


Share some of Raina Telegemeier's autobiographical stories here.

Make a graphic novel scenario: When we think of what's the greatest about graphic novels, what really makes them so funny is how the author can take a really embarrassing thing that happened and turn it into something funny. It's the idea that it could happen to anyone, with the added dose of humor or surprise that makes it really enjoyable to read.
-brainstorm embarrassing situations
Think about the embarrassing situation you want to write about. It should have three parts:
1. The set-up: Why is the character there? So, for instance, the first frame can take place in a restaurant, but you might want to say something like "Thanks for taking us out to dinner, mom and dad" so the reader knows why you're there. If you're in the park, you can say, "This is so much fun!" or start with a frame where no one is saying anything but you character is swinging on a swing.
2. The pre-event: this is the cringe-worthy part that has the reader saying "oh no!" anticipating something bad.
3. The event: this is where it happens. Make the reaction over the top!
4. The ending: what happens? Does someone make a joke? Does the character sulk? Surprisingly turn into a super hero or villain and get revenge?
I had an example based on an embarrassing situation from my childhood handy.

Let them loose to create! I provided blank paper and these templates to account for the variety of ages we get during summer especially.

Also, DON'T YOU ABSOLUTELY LOVE RAINA TELEGEMEIER'S BOOKS? I read them all in a week. Oh right of course you do and THERE'S A NEW ONE? Forgive me, I was without Internet for most of last week.

And Summer Reading librarians? You're doing it. You're the greatest. Your communities appreciate you so much.