I have three voracious young readers in my house. They love fantasy, science fiction, romance, comic books, manga and whatever story I happen to be writing at the moment. (I occasionally take requests.)
But I have one kid who doesn’t have the focus to read chapter books. She’s ten and reads quite well but because of some special needs issues, I have to be creative in finding her reading material.
So I’ve been feeding her as many comic books as possible, hoping to hook her on something.
Teen Titans: Year One by Amy Wolfram and Karl Kerschl is the most recent success.
This fun, charming miniseries is a modern updating of a classic Titans tale, where the young heroes–Robin, Wonder Girl, Kid Flash, Speedy and Aqualad–must band together to stop their mind-controlled mentors.
It’s full of moments that my daughter loved.
Robin and Kid Flash try to text each other but Robin has to go off with Batman and fight crime instead.
A bored Kid Flash goes through ten different activities in ten seconds. Wonder Girl sees the modern world for the first time and discovers boys, especially Speedy. Poor Aqualad is surrounded by a wall of fish who try to comfort him after a rough day.
The art by Kerschl really shines in these moments.
And my daughter was thrilled that the kids could defeat their mentors, if they worked together.
Sadly, this was only a miniseries. I wish I could pick up the current Teen Titans series for her but the content isn’t suitable for a ten-year-old. For example, a recent issue featured the comic book versions of Wendy and Marvin being attacked and graphically mauled by Wonder Dog.
Instead, I’m going to try the classic Marv Wolfman/George Perez Titans. And wishing and hoping that Wolfram and Kerschl write a sequel.
The other comic that my daughter currently adores is the graphic novelization of Coraline by Neil Gaiman. She picked it off the library shelves, carried it around for days, and renewed it three times, even before she saw the movie, which she pronounced “not as good.”
The book is about a young girl who feels neglected by her parents and is lured to another world which at first seems a wonderful playground but becomes increasingly darker and scarier.
There were several keys to why my daughter loved this one.
The heroine is a girl, the book is full of humor, and, most of all, she got pulled in by the crazy imaginative parallel world as depicted by artist Dave McKean. Her favorite part is when Coraline first climbs through the tunnel to this world.
She started looking for old heating grates in our house, but, alas, it’s far too modern for that. Or maybe that’s a good thing, considering how much trouble she could have gotten into with a real secret passage.