Getting past "Little Lulu" and "Archie"

I had heard of Toon Books before: I got invited to an event at ALA with them but – alas! – I couldn’t go! But I’m blogging about them because the more I hear and see, the more I likey. In case you haven’t heard of them, here’s what you need to know:

* Francoise Mouly is the Editorial Director. She’s the art director of a little rag called The New Yorker. And she’s the wife of an artist you may have heard of: Art Spiegelman. No, none of us has heard of him, right?

* Art Spiegelman is the “series advisor.” Now I can’t be quite sure exactly what that is…I’m guessing that he makes sure that everything is awesome quality.

* They have a blog! And because I’m hooked up to Bloglines now, I know I can manage another blog subscription! Woo hoo!

* The most important thing: GRAPHIC NOVELS FOR YOUNG KIDS!!! And none of that ambiguous “age 10 and up” nonsense. No, like, these really are for young kids. Check out the website link above because, brilliantly, the powers-that-be have included interior art for the upcoming books (why oh why don’t more publishers do this?).

I’m completely geeked up about this because Queens librarians have asked me repeatedly over the past year (as long as I’ve been working there) for more graphics for the young kids. The young kids want them, they’re asking for them, they’re hooked on the format. In my previous job, I had 8-year-old girls begging me for Fruits Basket because they had already read every single Babymouse. And I don’t have to tell you how obsessed the young boys were with Naruto, DragonBallz, and every other series. But a lot of these series just weren’t designed with 7-8 year olds in mind. Or younger. Heck, even my 6-year-old daughter loves flipping through my Babymouse books (yes, I personally own a couple of them). Clearly, there’s an audience out there…which is why it’s curious that we haven’t seen more. Lastly, it’s important to mention that Queens is the most ethnically diverse county in the U.S., and graphics are a great way to encourage literacy to young immigrants.

The good news is that early signs indicate that not only is Toon Books going to publish books designed for young children…but the books are actually going to be good.

1 comment:

Laura said...

Sweeet. I order the graphic novels for our system and theoretically it's for all ages, but the lower end is pretty neglected because after Owly, Babymouse, and the other Little Lit stuff...