The inspiration for this post comes out of my own life, but I’m really interested in a bigger question.
My daughter is 2 and a half. She loves to read – well, be read to, at this point. But the reading will come. The progression from picture books to I-Can-Read books to harder books to stuff that’ll shock her parents is pretty straightforward.
But it got me thinking: I love comics. I’d like her to love comics. What’s the path to teaching her to become comic book literate?
By “literate,” of course, I don’t mean “intimately familiar with Spider-Man’s backstory.” I mean teaching her how to read comics, and, perhaps more importantly when to start showing her comics and (the biggest mystery) which comics to read.
It seems to me that picture books are, in fact, a common starting point. Many elements of comics show up in picture books – read Mo Willems’ books about the Pigeon or Piggy and Gerald, and they’re as much (or more) comic as they are literature, for example. And when you teach a kid to read text-based books, you gradually reduce the number of pictures and how they relate to the text.
But what’s the next step in comics? And when to introduce them? I’ve got Sandman and Preacher at home, but I figure she can find the equivalents when she’s 16. Calvin and Hobbes and Peanuts are great, but still not geared toward a single-digit individual.
In the meantime, is there something other than Little Lulu? And what age is Lulu geared towards, anyway?
Recommendations are welcome. General discussion of comics literacy is welcome, too. What are your thoughts?