by Calvin Reid)
In a big step toward its goals, Reading With Pictures, a nonprofit initiative to promote the use of comics in the classroom, has reached an agreement with Andrews McMeel Publishing to publish RWP’s The Graphic Textbook in August 2014 via its AMP! Comics for Kids imprint. The Graphic Textbook is an anthology of educationally designed comics stories featuring a host of veteran comics artists.
Founded in 2009 by comics writer and entrepreneur Josh Elder, Reading With Pictures is a nonprofit advocate for the use of comics by teachers. The nonprofit also works to forge alliances both with teachers and educational researchers that can add to educational research being done on the use of comics. Among other efforts, RWP has focused its efforts on recruiting comics artist to create educationally focused and entertaining comics stories on specific courses like math, reading, science and social studies—and correlated with the implementation of Common Core Standards.
Josh Elder, founder and president of Reading With Pictures, hailed the new partnership with Andrews McMeel, a publisher focused on the broad range of children’s and YA reading material. “Our goal is to make educational content that kids will actually want to read, and no one knows more about what kids want to read than Andrews McMeel,” Elder said.
RWP has produced two volumes of Reading With Pictures anthologies—volume one was self-published as a trade paperback in 2010—both of which were financed by Kickstarter campaigns. Volume One raised nearly $15,000 and Volume two (The Graphic Textbook) raised more than $77,000 on Kickstarter to fund its production. Now AMP! Comics for Kids will distribute and promote Volume two The Graphic Textbook to retailers and educational institutions.
Reading With Pictures: The Graphic Textbook features twelve short stories that take on educational topics like math and science using fiction and nonfiction-oriented storytelling. Artists in the The Graphic Textbook include Fred Van Lente and Ryan Dunlavey, Roger Langridge, Kati Cook and others. Gene Yang, creator of the acclaimed double graphic novel, Boxers and Saints, which was nominated for the National Book Award for Young People Literature, also contributes an introduction to the volume.
The volume also includes customized lessons plans (all linked to Common Core state standards) for each story, best practices for comics in the classroom, research on the use of comics in education and a comprehensive list of educational resources on comics and education for parents.
Kirsty Melville, president and publisher, AMP Book Division, said, “The AMP! mission is to create books that kids love and their parents, teachers, and librarians support wholeheartedly. Our collaboration with Reading With Pictures takes that mission to the next level, as this revolutionary format utilizes comics—what we at Andrews McMeel do best—in a way that fosters discovery and learning, and helps educators implement the Common Core standards