Tuesday, June 24, 2008


I have been trying to find and read more graphic novels that are appropriate for elementary age readers. My two main sources for books are Mary Lee and Beth at Cover to Cover. I am running a workshop on Content Reading in a few weeks and was looking for nonfiction graphic novels to share with teachers--nonfiction graphic novels that might help struggling readers make sense of concepts.

What a great surprise when Beth called with this new title--HOWTOONS! This is a How-To Graphic Book--I guess not a novel. It is filled with fun things for kids to make and the instructions to make them. Some are simple and some are complicated.

When I opened the book, I was thrilled to find that even the Table of Contents was in graphic form. Illustrations, titles and page numbers all on a two-page spread. Through the Table of Contents, I found that readers can learn how to do and make a variety of things--from counting with binary numbers to making an "Infamous Marshmallow Shooter". Clearly the possibilities for fun are endless!

The authors put a little disclaimer at the beginning--adult supervision is needed for many of these projects.

I like the idea that there is a book out here like this. I am not sure that I would just put the book on the shelf--it is a bit overwhelming. But, I can see using it bit-by-bit to try some of the activities described. Even though it is in graphic/cartoon form, it is full of lots of the usuals that you see in nonfiction text--labels, diagrams, etc. So, there are possibilities for teaching nonfiction text strategies with this book too.

A fun find! And, even more good news--I just found a great website that goes along with the book--lots of fun How-To Comics along with some games and more. And there is a blog that is written in a more graphic form! Who knew? The site seems very addicting.

Looks like the book has come from the people at MIT!
Fuse #8 reviewed the book in November if you'd like to read that one!

You can even see a video demonstration of the Marshmallow Shooter on the Howtoons website blog.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous8:17 AM

    I love the How To ... books.
    I didn't know about the website, though.


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